Wednesday, 27 June 2007


Nothing like a little late night swim to cool things off....little chilly though.

Mont St Anne World Cup

World Cup numero uno pour moi..for the year. Coming into this weekend I was more than a little nervous, it’s been over a year since I’ve done a WC and I haven’t been too sure of my legs the last couple of months, well since my field school. Not to mention my demons from last years race, with what, 20 good crashes through out the race…yikes. 75 starters for the womens field, pretty impressive for a Canadian World Cup. Based on UCI points, I was given plate 53, not great, but way less pressure being in the back. The course was almost identical to last years, tough steep climbs and awesome techy downhills. Fun and fast, but you definitely need to be on your toes the whole time. It was supposed to rain all day during the race, but only a cool overcast to keep everything perfect.

Off the start, not even 100m into the race, massive pile up. Rumors say that only the first 12 girls got away completely clean, and nearly half of the pack either went down or had to dismount to get around. Slamming on both brakes, with a full wheel lock up and being hit by more riders from behind, the only thing I could do was dismount and basically cyclocross through the mound of bikes and people. In the process the only person that I saw was Kiara Bisaro sitting in the middle of the cluster trying to protect herself from people and bikes. Later found out that she is completely covered in bruises, chainring and tire marks, and a concussion…that poor girl.

Once through the mayhem, I found myself in the mid twenties and breathing really, really hard. My first two laps, although clean, didn’t feel good at all. I struggled with some of the techy stiff and my climbing was sooooo sloooooow. By the end of the second lap I found myself in the mid thirties with a big treat to go backwards even more. Then, in the third lap, I don’t exactly what happened, but everything started slowly waking up. Teammate Susan Haywood and Wendy Simms passed me handedly, but I thought to myself “That’s enough damn it!!!!” and I grabbed Sue’s wheel. For the start of the third lap I followed her and a couple of European girls not feeling too bad at all. On a climb part way through I made my move and passed them both in an attempt to grab Wendy’s wheel. Then, following her for the remainder of the lap, passing a few more girls in the process, I punched it at the feed zone in the fourth lap to pass Wendy. I was definitely feeling a lot stronger here, not saying that the climbs didn’t hurt, but I was able to move a little faster up them. Midway through the fourth lap I also caught up to Canadian and travel partner Sandra Walter, and feeling really good I pushed slowly past her.

Entering the fifth and last lap I found myself in 25th position with two girls about a minute ten ahead. I could see them at the top of the first climb and I started pushing harder. In the end, I almost caught 24th position, missed by less than 2 seconds at the line, with 23rd within sight the whole time. Honestly, regardless of the fact that this wasn’t my best placing at a World Cup, I’m really happy because my splits from the leaders was I think the smallest ever for me. Racing an event like this definitely helps you learn how to push yourself a little more than you could before and the experience of actually racing next to someone the whole time is a whole new ball game.

Now, we’re spending a couple more days of relaxing in Mont St Anne, and then heading up north on Thursday for the next WC. Today matt Hadley, his brother Adam, Sandra, Jean Ann McKirdy and I went exploring some of the local trials and found miles of awesome singletrack. Definitely can’t complain about that J Now it’s time to feast again.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Oh the madness

Hardwood Hills always does an absolutely great job of hosting the Canada Cup race, and this year was no different. With the bulk of the course similar to last year, there were some small changes in the route to mix it up and keep us on our toes. Learning to ride the fast swooping corners is something different than I'm used to out in Alberta, but really fun none the less once you get the feel of it.

Waking up Sunday morning, honestly, I couldn't have felt better for a race. Staying an hour away in Brampton probably wasn't the best of all ideas, although my traveling buddies parents are amazing people to visit and stay with. With an 11:30 start time, the plan was to get there at the latest 10, and for me to start my warm up at 10:30. We left the house at 8:45, with just a quick Timmy Ho's stop to grab a coffee, leaving us with more than enought time to make the drive. Cruising along we all of a sudden come to complete stop, the 400 North to Barrie is shut down....WHAT!!!!! Three full lanes of traffic are slowly funneling onto the off ramp for a backroad detour. I could just feel my blood pressure start to rise. An hour later, a really full belly of coffee, and a dangerously high stress level, Jeff has the van just about floored coming into Hardwood Hills. With only 40mins to the start, we fly around and somehow I manage to pull off a 30min warm up, not great, but it will have to do.

At the start, I'm still shaking, more than a little jumpy and very jittery, but once the gun goes off, life is perfect again. Not the crazy start I was expecting from the Chinese National team leading out, but a good pace none the less. We soon move into a long train behind them. Before long, I can no longer see the red and yellow suits of the Chinese, but I see Kiara occasionally, and can feel Emily Batty breathing down my neck. Feeling great for the first three laps, I push the pace and try to make up the little time between myself and Kiara. But coming around to the fourth and last lap I can definitely feel that my legs and body aren't going to cooperate as they promised. At the start of the lap I check over my shoulder and see Emily coming at me fast and furiously, and I think to myself, "I'm gonna make her work for this one". I hold her off until the last km and a half, but by then I've got nothing left. Every little push up a hill and my legs are screaming at me, and soon enough that sound is starting to come out of my mouth. I'm almost in tears trying to hold her wheel, and I'm slowly slipping away. Then in one of the final corners, half gooned from exersion, I go down in a soft corner of sand. Sitting there I simply have to smile, I haven't pushed myself that hard for a long time. Finishing in 6th position, not the spot I was looking for, but a great race and effort all the same....and yes, even when it hurts that bad I can honestly say that I had fun riding my bike.

Jeff racing the Master Expert finished a really solid 5th place against some really fast locals (home court advantage definitely).

Now, after a couple lazy days up north, swimming in the lake and biking, we're heading east to Mont St Anne. Nothing like a little 10 hour drive to make the stiff legs feel great. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for another dry Quebec stint...maybe pushing my luck.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Cottage Country.

This is just a quick update, I'm not in Pigeon Lake anymore..hehe, I know, it's been a while. Currently sitting in a little cabin on Dixie Lake in the cottage land of Ontario. Just got in from a nice swim in the water, great for sore legs. Today was the forth Canada Cup at Hardwood Hills, always a great event. Finished sixth, had a pretty good ride, I'm happy. I'll write more, but for now I'd better hit the sack and stop drooling all over my computer. Nite.

Monday, 4 June 2007

Pigeon Lake

For all of you who are extremely attracted to the typical cyclist tanlines, beware, mine are pretty darn sexy. Forgetting to put on sunscreen when it's thirty above out works wonders in this department, kind of a little painfull though...oh well, all in the name of sexy tanlines right.

This weekend, the classic Pigeon Lake Road Race. I had some demons to conquer here. Five years ago, in this very location, I road my very first road race on my dad's ancient pink Fiori with down tube shifters. Come to think of it, this was probably my very first road ride ever....scary. And the cherry on this rained and rained and rained and rained the whole race. For two and a half hours I struggled to stay with the pack, not too mention struggled with the concept of these tiny tires with no knobs. In the end, I managed to stick with the top pack until the last km of climb to the finish where I was completely blown off the back. I finished the race cross eyed and utterly nuked, but managed a top ten in my first road race..yippee.

This weekend, Dallas and I decided to head up the night before and camp at the Pigeon Lake provinical park. Spend a nice evening with the bird sized flies. All was well until about midnight, when the sky opened up and the angels started peeing on us. Thunder, lightning and lots of rain...great, just it's going to be just like five years ago. But come morning, there wasn't a cloud in the sky, just a really wet tent and and soggy bikes to show for the night.

After a tough week of training, and a really tough long saturday filled with MAP intervals, I had no expectations coming into my first road race of the season. With both the A and B cats combined, I think we had 30 women at most, not a big group. The pack stayed together pretty much for the entire race, a couple of attacks and counterattacks, but not much that held (it's a pretty flat course, with a head wind in every direction). Being of the full on mountain biker mentality to go faster, I tried subsequent attacks and covered every attack that I could from Natasha Kuzmak, to which my legs screamed in some crazy accent to me "WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO US?!!!!!". In the end, the group finally started to splinter, it was a seven girl sprint to the finish, and I nudged out Natasha by a half wheel length for the win. Ha, take that Pigeon Lake demons.

Dallas with his bummed knee pulled off an amazing first cat 3 race and took the win as well. Great job babe. On the way home we hit up Mickey D's, I opted for the healthy salad while Dallas went for the full on Big Mac........yuck, hehe. Great to see everyone out there this weekend.