Wednesday, 26 November 2008

This past weekend Dallas and I got away ...wow, it's been a while. We headed out to Lake Louise in a desperate hunt for snow. There's only about a foot of the white stuff but the xc skiing was awesome. We had a late start to the ski on Sat, because we didn't leave Calgary till 12, but managed a good 2 hours of skate skiing. I must say Dallas, despite taking last ski season off due to knee surgery, you're skate technique has inproved immensely....I think you're a closet skier. We book a room at the Lake Louise Hostel, it's pretty nice, really log cabinish and cooked a huge gourmet pasta dish with chicken sausage. I was somewhat dissappointed with the food market in Lake Louise...I was expecting to find more then just sausages and hotdogs....then again, it's Lake Louise in not quite the winter season.

Our grand plan was to do a night snowshoe, but after skiing and supper we were both just about comatose. So we opted to tromp around in the snow until we found a big snow pile and proceeded to play "King/Queen of the Pile". Hehe, how old are we...yeah, I know. But there's something really fun about just goofing off in the snow.....I think I won.

Sunday was supposed to be an early start, but we didn't managed to hit the trails til 10, which suited me fine because it was a pretty frosty morning (-14). Because we had our classic skiies today, we went all the way to the end of Morraine Lake Road, right to the lake. I've never been down there but it was really beautiful and majestic. After returning to the car to pick up more water and drop off Dallas I headed out for another hour on a little side route that I'd never done before...day of exploring for me :) This trail ended up only being groomed for the first km or so...then it turned into rough backcountry...hehe, well kind of. There wasn't quite enough snow cover so a couple of the downhills were a little sketchy, but I managed to make it down white knuckled (not quite the body part used for skiing) and sore from the whole body tense trying to slow and steer my classic skies.

Have to say I was pretty tuckered when I got back to the car 4 hours after the initial departure....but for some reason decided it'd be a good idea to go climbing for 2 hours that night back in Calgary with Grant and Heather Eastman. I do have to brag though :) I lead my first 5.10b.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Chocolate for Life

Many of you know that cycling and chocolate go great together...match made in heaven. But what would something like healthy chocolate be like?? Is there really such a thing? And is it really possible to make money by eating chocolate....hehe...that'd be really cool.


Acai Berries
I know I put a link up for my parents chocolate sight earlier (http://www.mmmxocolate.com/) and to tell you the truth, I was really skeptical. It's multilevel marketing, which is a foul word to a lot of people (really, in truth, everything is multilevel marketing to an extent). But the more I've learned about the product and the buisness, the more excited I truely became...and now, I've joined up too and now I'm selling chocolate :)
"What do you do for a living???......I sell chocolate"
Unprocessed Cacao
The cool thing about a chocolate buisness is that billions of people crave and eat chocolate everyday. This past weekend there was a conference in Alberta and they sold over $400,000 dollars worth of this healthy Xocai chocolate...crazy chocoholics!!!
Healthy you ask...right. Actually it's true. There have been many labs and doctors working on this product, and repeatedly testing it and discovering new health benefits everytime. And lets not forget...it's chocolate!!!!!!!
If you've any interest in learning more about the product or about starting your own buisness center, just drop me a line (mical@shaw.ca) ...I mean, how can you go wrong with healthy dark chocolate sent to your house every month.

Friday, 31 October 2008


HAPPY HALLOWEEEEEEENNNNNNN


Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Alberta Pyschocross


Photo courtesy of the very talented photographer Patrick "not Doyle".
Everyone did however miss a shot of me landing flat on my face :)

Friday, 26 September 2008

A Healthy Chocolate!!!!

Who'd a thought....but it's great. For all you chocoholics out there:

www.mmmxocolate.com
www.hclpro.com/dbdyck

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Bow 80

Despite the 2km of calf deep mud/cow poop slogging, the Bow 80 was yet again an awesome race. I'm so glad that it mad a come back this year. Pepper Harlton from Juventus and I rode together for the majority of the way to the first feed zone. From the first to second feed zone I managed to put a little time gap on her on the climb, but it was never a very big gap, so the pressure was on for the whole race. The last third of the race consisted of lots of mud and lots of pushing your bike through the mud...yuck. I finished in just under 6 hours, almost an hour slower then my time two years ago when it was dry. Crazy to think that the mud may have slowed me down that much because I honestly believe I'm stronger then 2 years ago. My only consolation is that I finished up in 14th position overall, and took my first "Queen of Kananaskis" belt buckle :)

I'm now recovering from my third gut bug hangover of the season, I know, awful stats, in hopes to finish the two cross races this weekend in Edmonton..only four weekends till cross nationals.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Wrapping it up

Alas, my bum is starting to heal..yippee. Two weeks ago, the last weekend in August, was the NMBS race of the year in Brian Head, Utah...nothing like 10,000 feet to kick your butt. I had a pretty good short track, won a preme, which in turn blew me up a little and dropped back to 10th. I finished 3rd overall in the short track series for 2008, not bad considering last year I got pulled from every single short track except one :) The xc was one big loop, 5 miles of climbing off the start, and some pretty wicked single track. I was riding really well, pacing well, until hitting a corner just a little too fast. Both wheels started to drift and I went down hard, tearing off my right butt cheek and skinning my elbow and knee. It was tough getting back in the groove, but I managed to settle in again and pick off a few more riders. I think I was moving up into 8th place, with 6th and 7th with in view, and I flatted...yuck. After wasting my CO2 and the tire only holding for a corner, I ended up running for almost an hour into the second feed zone...only to find that everyone had packed up and left (they thought I'd DNFed somewhere). One of the three guys left had a pump that I used, and finished the race 40 mins back...not too bad..hehe.

This past weekend was the XC8 at Buffalo Pound, SK. Super cool race. Dallas and I drove down and camped fri and sat nights. It was an 11km, I'd say 9o% single track loop, and I managed 8 laps. I finished my 8th lap three mins before the cut off to do another lap, and the girl was like "You can still do another lap"....to which I said.."nooooo, noooo I caaaan't" in a slurred voice. I was absolutely cooked and headed straight for the hamburger stand. I do have to say, I absolutely loved coming across "the bee" aka Tory a couple of times...she definitely mad me smile :)

I've entered the working world again...for now....if you can call what I'm doing work...well, it is really busy. I'm working mornings at Starbucks again, that means 5:30 am starts..yuck. So if you're in need of a good buzz in the morning..stop in and see me.

Tomorrow we find out if the Bow 80 is a go...keeping the fingers crossed.

Ciao

Monday, 25 August 2008

TR

Helllllooo!!!

Sorry everyone, I've been taking a little bit of a blogging hiatus, but I think it's time for a quick update.

Transrockies...definitely didn't start out the way that I had planned. Friday before the race I started to get funny guts, but I shrugged it off, thinking it was just a one day thing. But it only got worse, and I spent more and more time on the toilet. Then come Sunday morning while waiting in line to sign in at the start, I found myself throwing up in the rose bushes infront of everyone...lovely, I know. I decided to sit the first day out, and ended up getting 1.5L of IV and a good dose of gravol. The morning I was determined to ride...but I couldn't even keep breakfast in, so I decided to sit another day out and headed to the hospital for some advice and hopefuly medicine. Instead I got another litre of IV, another good dose of gravol, directions for just a clear liquid diet and the doctor told me that I wasn't going to be riding this week (I'd show her :)

I seriously considered packing it in a couple of times and heading home to my nice warm toilet versus the cold stinky outhouses that I was frequenting..I'm sorry, I know. Day three I got up, managed to keep down a little breakfast and suited up to join Dallas who had hammered the first two days (as long as I signed in with him in the morning, he was allowed to ride with another team and we would take the maximum time penalty). Day three was a 45km TT around Nipika, which worked out good because I could bail and be close to the finsih at all times if I got in trouble. It was an extremely slow and painful ride, but Dallas stuck it out with me (and my dad joined us), and we managed to finished our first stage as a team.....to which I celebrated by heading straight to the bathroom.

Things slowly got better through out the week. Day four was 109km to Whiteswan Lakes, and Dallas had to practically drag his girlfriend the distance...but we made it and finished in 6th. That night was the the first supper that I ate in five days...most of which I kept with me. Day five into Elkford was a tough day..we'll leave it at that. But it was the best damn supper that I'd ever eaten that night..and man did I eat a lot.....lots of lost and missed calories to make up for.

Day six into Blairmore was another long day, and we actually managed to race that day..yippeeeeee...and finished 2nd. And finally day seven into Fernie, we were both pretty shattered from our hammer ride the day before, but pulled off a 3rd place. To which we finished up 10th overall in the mixed category....not bad for starting out in last place and 6 hours behind after the first day.

I've been pretty shattered all week, practically just drooling in front of the tv or napping most of the day. Over a week later, I'm still feeling a deep down tired, but when I'm on the bike, I can definitely feel some good base fitness. This past weekend we did a great 5 hour hike to have lunch at the top of Grimm Pass...and my toes are still killing me...and a 3.5 hour road ride up Highwood Pass....my butt is still sore...yikes.

Getting ready for my last flight of the season, heading down south to Brian Head, Utah for this weekends final NMBS race of the 2008 season. Can't believe it's that time of year again.

I want to send out a huge thanks to Dallas for putting up with me and dragging me through the TR, and my parents for being the best damn support/cooking/everything crew at the TR. As well as everyone who helped and encouraged us along the way. I'd definitely do it again, I mean, it can't be that hard again...can it??

Friday, 8 August 2008

Transrockies

Just finishing up the last minute packing of all the gear needed for a seven day mountain bike ride through the Canadian Rockies. This year the Transrockies covers about 550km and rumored over 12000m of climbing (ouch...). Starting in Panorama, we'll make our way south and eventually end up in Fernie. Along the way we'll be making stops at the K2 Ranch in Invermere, two nights at the Nipika, the very remote Whiteswan Lakes, Elkford and the Crowsnest Pass.

Dallas and I are competing in a pretty stacked co-ed field and I hope our bodies and bikes hold out for the journey....as well as the good weather.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Mud and Guts and Stuff Like That.

This is going to be an interesting race :) Lots of peanut buttery mud, slippery roots and rocks...yikes.
Bromont World Cup - women tomorrow (Sunday) at 11:00am....here we go again.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

How Slow Can You Go???

That's the name of my game at the moment. I must first off apologize because I'm going to be a bit of a downer in this post. It's really quite weird, I mean, feel great, very motivated to ride and race, pre-rides and warm ups feel good....but come race day, I've only got one speed...not fast enough. As you've probably guessed by now, the World Cup in Mont St Anne was pretty much a disaster. I got pulled from my first World Cup in five years..yikes...since my very first one at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.

After the first lap I was suffering so much but from so far back that I just couldn't figure it out. I pushed hard through the second lap, actually riding the technical sections better then usual, but still finding myself moving very quickly backwards through the field. The third lap I really struggled mentally, feeling really down about how things were turning out and the fact that no one would feed me a beer on course. My fourth lap actaully felt the best and I was able to move up four spots and snag 29th just before I was pulled.

There have definitley been a couple of tears and I've been pissed off since Sunday.....trying to stay positive is a really hard thing to do right now..I am totally ready to sit down with a carton of ice cream to help quench my woos. Trying a little bit of a different game plan for this next week, and I'll see how things go this weekend in Bromont.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Nationals

It's been almost a week now since the dreaded nationals race last weekend in Mont St Anne. It's an absolutely amazing course with lots of technical sections, lots of climbing...in other words a "real mountain bike course"....I know, how cliche. I felt wonderful going into the race, very well rested and coming off a good racing weekend in New York. Even during the warm up I was feeling that it was going to be a great race....the end of my nationals curse.

Welllllll...I definitely didn't have the race I was hoping for, but my ride was great. I seemed to be loosing time everywhere. The steep climbs, the tough techy sections, the flat trasitions, the .....yeah, just about everywhere. It seemed the harder I tried, the farther I feel behind. Ended up finishing in 6th place, which really isn't bad, but it was over 11 mins down from the leaders and over 6 mins down from Wendy Simms and Amanda Sin in 3rd and 4th, where I realistically believe I should have been.

I've spent the past week replaying everything over in my head....I like the idea that you learn way more from the events you don't do well in then the ones you do do well in....and I'm ready to give it another shot again. This weekend on almost the same Mont St Anne course, with some cool mods, is the next World Cup race. I'm feeling good and I'm really excited to race again....

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

New York

Hellllooo....I've had really shotty to no cell and internet coverage, and I've felt so isolated....I know, it's pretty sad. I'm sitting in a small motel with Amanda Sin and her husband Kasey in Lyndon, Vermont and I've finally found some internet.

As a quick recap, the cross country on Sat was great. A really fun course with lots and lots and lots of climbing....which almost means lots of downhill :) Finished 6th there, had a solid race that I'm really happy with..but was definitely hoping for a podium.

Sunday was the short track and it went great. It was fast paced and a group of about 7 of use stayed together for almost the whole race..expect for the two luna girls, Katerina and Georgia, who broke off the from. In the last lap I felt great, so I attacked really hard to move up into third...and I closed the gap fast to the leaders and only finished 3 seconds back...yeah baby..hehe. 3 seconds..ugg..should have tossed my water bottle and saved the pound...hehe...but it was my best placing as of yet so..yippee..

Did a little teaser of a recovery ride today in East Burke on the Kingdom trails (damn racing and having to recover and get ready for nationals..and ..and)...definitely have to come back and check out more riding here sometime.

Right now, we're just packing up and gettting ready to finish our drive north up to Mont St Anne...ciao

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Going...Going....Gone

I'd finally had enough and cut off all of my hair...yesssirree. My sole purpose for growing it out so long...about a foot and a half long...was to be able to donate my hair. The Fringe Hair Company in Calgary takes donations of at least 10 inches of unprocessed hair. And the crazy thing is that it takes about 12 donations and over $1000 just to make one wig..wow...I really hope someone gets to enjoy mine. For me, it feels great for the summer and I'm about 2 pounds lighter :)
Tomorrow I'm off to Windham, New York for NMBS #5...never been to NY

Monday, 7 July 2008

Canmore Canada Cup

I think this is my favorite course of any circuit that I've raced so far....long hard climbing rewarded with fast and technical decsents....real mountain biking. From the gun, X-terra racers Melanie McQuaid (BMC) and Danelle Kabush (Luna) shot out and took the lead and I grabbed their wheels and hung on. I felt comfortable climbing around the first switchback, so I accelerated and took the lead. I pressed the pace as hard as I could without blowing up to the top of "the oven"....the top of this climb is appropriately named because it gets really hot up that steep exposed climb. As I crested the climb after about 10 mins of hammering, I looked over my shoulder and saw that I had gapped Melanie, but not by much.
Dropping into the singletrack I felt really comfortable, these descents are my favorite style of riding. Today however, I couldn't seem to find my groove and I felt like I was fighting my bike over every root and drop. Melanie quickly closed the gap and I could hear her right behind me. The whole first lap seemed to run like this...I'd pull away on the flats and climbing, only to be reeled back in on the technical downhills...arrgggg..that's not like me.
From the bottom of the infamous Georgetown climb, I've heard that it's about 400m of climbing up through the start/finish, through the feed zone and all the way back to the top of the oven...yup, it's painful. Coming through for the second lap I had put just under 30 seconds into Melanie..I could still see her every time I ventured a peak over my shoulder. Jeanann McKirdy (Rocky Mountain) was stilling in 3rd about a minute back, I could see her coming through the start/finish as I was heading into the second switchback on the climb.
The second lap went a lot smoother, my groove, although not entirely groovy, was coming out slowly. As with the third and last lap. I was able to pull out a strong finish and win for the second year in a row on the Ziggy Gnarly Canada Cup course. Melanie finished second at 2 mins and Jeanann finished third at just under 3 mins.

Thanks to the Rundle Mountain Cycling Club for hosting the awesome race!!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

High Altitude Short Track

After I realized I had just pulled a total rookie move by thinking my 1:15 race started at 2:00 (yeah, that was smart), I managed to actually get in a pretty good warm-up. A little easy spinning and lots of hard sprinting to get the juices flowing in my legs...thank goodness for the morning coffee ride, I was actually feeling not too bad.

This short track course was one of the most difficult that I've seen, with lots of climbing. I had a great start off the gun and pulled in close behind Georgia for the first lap. By the second lap she had started to gap me and that's were I made my next rookie move. I was feeling pretty good, and knowing I was just on the rivet I decided to try to stay with her. Katerina passed me and I pushed on to grab her wheel. Being that the course is at about 7200 ft, you sometimes forget that your limit comes a little faster then normal and once you've blown your rivet, it's tough to recover... I think I got carried away and blew past my limit faster and harder then when I eat mint chocolate chip ice cream in a chocolate dipped waffle cone...mmmmm....yup, there was no coming back from that one.

For a couple of laps I kept trying to push through, but I couldn 't seem to get enough air down my throat...and believe me, it wasn't pretty. After being passed and dropped by so many girls I finally smartened up and backed off a little to let my lungs and legs recover. I spent another lap slowing my breathing back to normal, letting my lungs fill back up with an adequate amount of O2 and settling back into a maintainable rythm. For the last three laps I was able to pull my pace back up and pick off two girls to finish in 9th place. Definitely not the outcomes that I was planning this weekend, but a very good lesson was learnt the very hard way..I've still got a headache from breathing so hard.

Dallas raced his second ST race after the my race, and with a back row call up he had his work cut out for him...and man, it was definitely a good work out.

After cooling down, we performed the ole shower in the sink trick and hit the road north. After a couple hours of driving, we found a nice noisy campground in Idaho Falls...that had real showers. Getting up early in the morning, we drove into Helena and with "Montana Singletrack" map book in hand, found some really, really wicked singletrack along Helena Ridge. Definitely worth checking out...you'll probably even find some of the white paint from my Trek frame smeared across a rock (dammit)..nothing a couple bandaids won't fix :(

Huge thanks to Dusty, Zack, Laura and Shep from Trek for helping out with feeding and maintence this past weekend...

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Deer Valley XC

You know your hurting from the altitude when your soft pedaling and your heart rate is up into the hard working zone. The start of the the cross country course is at about 8000ft, and there is a fair bit of climbing each lap. Off the start I settled into what I thought was a good hard pace, but was quickly left in the dust, literally, as I found myself in about 15th by the top of the first major climb and hurting. With decending definitely being my strong point, I was able to recover somewhat and settle in again. Each lap I started to find my groove a little more, and maybe my "slow" start was good, because I was able to pick off a number of positions.

Going into the last half of the third and last lap, I was sitting in 8th position with Luna rider Chloe Forsman and Trek rider Jenny Smith just in front of me. Up the last gradual climb, I clawed my way up to them and managed to gun it past Chloe and catch up to Jenny by the top. But I'd missed my last good chance for anymore passing. The remaining couple of klicks was predominately downhill (my forte), so I just calmly road behind Jenny waiting to see if she'd slip up or blow a corner (I mean, you can't make an aggressive pass on your own teammate). She road super cleanly to the finish and she finished 6th and I finished 7th ..awesome.

After my race, I had a quick cool down spin with Catharine who pulled off a great 3rd place in the Luna train at the front...congrats...oh yeah, I must mention the fact that she's officially been named to the Canadian team for the Olympic games!!!!!!!

Then cleaned up half assed and ran up the hill to feed and support Dallas in his first NMBS race ever!!! Racing against guys like Geoff Kabush is a whole new experience and it's tough to know what to expect. He raced hard and definitely felt the effects of the altitude...I'm super proud of him for giving it all he had today.

Just finished a nice lovely ice bath...I'm pretty cooked right now...going to rest up and try to hit the short track hard tomorrow...it's supposed to be a really tough course...yippee :)

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Park City

Wooooowwwieeee.....the course in Park City is definitely fun. After 10 hours of driving yesterday, from Helena, Montana to Park City, Utah, we finally got lycraed up and went for a ride at 7:30 pm....just as the weather was starting to come back down to bearable....30ish.
The course is long with lots of really windy tight and flowy single track, which is how mountain bike riding should be. Start off with a long climb up the side of the main artery of the Deer Valley ski hill, once you hit the top, you decend for what feel like 20 mins. It's going to be tough for racing though, because it's so tight and no room for passing..oh well, have to just enjoy the trip. The base elevation at Park City is about 7200ft, which you can definitely feel right off the bat....

Just enjoying a coffee and heading out for another spin of the course.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Road Trip

This afternoon, Dallas and I are heading out, driving down south to Deer Valley, Utah for the fourth stop on the NMBS series tour. I'm checking out the forcast for the area, 32 degrees and sunny, all the while looking out my window at the solid stream of rain beating down....yes, I'm excited to go south. From all accounts,I've heard that the riding in that area is absolutely amazing, so that pumps the excitment level up another notch. Oh yeah, not to mention the pink shorts I'm supposed to pick up to match my Trek jersey..no more looking like a giant valentines card, though the red and pink combo was kind of starting to grow on me.

This past weekend was the Suffer Springs race in K-country, the hardest and funnest (I don't know if that's a realy word) 2 hour race course around. The elite men and women and expert men and women all started at the same time, so the narrow start was a pretty hectic. It was cool getting to ride with some of the people that you don't usually ride with. The first lap I got to watch as a Hardcore rider in front of me lost his front wheel in a huge bog and endoed into the mud...always great for entertainment :)

My dad raced and broke his goal of two hours for two laps...great job poppa. And congrats to fellow Terrascapers Jeff Neilson and Nicole Muzechka for their wins in their respective categories. Thanks to the Deadgoats for hosting the race!!!

Off to finish my packing, and printing off my resume....I'm going to try to learn how to sell myself this weekend to teams like Trek and Luna, so I can support my biking habit...wish me luck.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Friday, 13 June 2008

"A Letter to the CCA ..."

Very well put Daniel Sessford.

http://www.pedalmag.com/index.php?module=Section&action=viewdetail&item_id=13619

Thanks from me and many other canadian cyclists!!!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Oakley

Steve Blick from Oakley was super nice enough to help me out and set me up with two new sets of really awesome glasses (after complaining that my eyes were sore in the blazing California sun ...though the blue iridium lenses of my Radars are super stellar for the treed areas. Here I’m sporting the new women’s fit Enduring Edge in a sexy cinder red (both the Luna girls are sporting the Enduring Pace, which has the rounded lens versus the curved lens of the Edge).. they are super comfortable, lightweight and awesome for riding or even just bumming around. I was told the lenses have a hydrophobic coating (which repels water), it’s really neat because the water just beads up on the lens when it rains instead of coating the whole lens and making it impossible to see. The women’s line of glasses has slightly narrower frames designed to fit the narrower faces of women..yippee. The second set I received are the ultra cool casual Script, and I have to say I like these. Mine have the Cappuccino frame (perfect for a coffee lover) with the brown gradient lens…love them! Perfect accessory for any podium shot or coffee run.

Check them out.. http://www.oakley.com/

Monday, 9 June 2008

Canmore Iron Lung

Canmore is always a super cool place to ride and race, and this past weekend's Alberta Cup (Iron Lung) course didn't fail us...even in the rain it was lots of fun. Thanks to the organizers for the great event and thanks to all the other racers, spectators and feeders that came out and braved the weather.

This is a neat pic that Patrick took (aka Lungsnot)...love it (though my helmet always seems to be a little off center :)

Monday, 2 June 2008

Hardwood Hills Canada Cup


My "rest" week of no crazy flights, driving or worrying about school was just exactly what I needed. I woke up Sunday morning feeling great and super excited to race..only to look outside to see Barrie engulfed in a cloud. Warm-up was chilly and there was a constant mist that kept everything cold and wet.


Off the start, Jean-ann McKirdy took the lead and pulled up the first km of wood chipped doubletrack. I was feeling really good and punched it a little and entered the first bit of single track just a head of Jean-ann. Cyclocrossed over the first wet rock and held an easy but constant lead through into the second set of singletrack....then all of a sudden I was ripped off my bike...what the?? My shoulder is really sore....oh no...I've totally ripped the shoulder out of my favorite jersey on a tree...oh well, no time to worry about it right now....back on the bike and in line with Jean-ann and Emily Batty.


For the first two laps the three of us ride together, taking our turns to pull through different sections and trying to put as much time on Amanda Sin as possible. Amanda is super good at coming from behind and closing gaps. Entering into the third lap I'm feeling pretty good and punch it for about 30 seconds and open up a gap from the other two girls. Jean-ann reacts and pulls through and now it's just the two of us.


By this time we've been caught by some really anxious juniors...many of which are starting to blow and we end up getting stuck behind in the singletrack....arg. The mist is still in the air, and while racing it keeps the temperature great, and the trail in perfect shape (no puddles but keeps the sandy course really tacky), but the roots are pretty slippery and some are pretty tough to navigate.


Going into the fourth and final lap Jean-ann pulls through for the feed zone and I hop on her wheel. Up the first hill I roll up beside her and hear that she's breathing pretty hard so I decide go. I pull in front of her and push the pace. I look over my shoulder and see that Jean-ann has grabbed my wheel and holding on, so I put my head down and keep trying to accelerate up the last crest into the first single track. I can feel my lungs and legs starting to burn, but I'm determined to make my attack stick so I keep pushing. Coming out of onto the double track I venture a peek over the shoulder and see that I'm starting to put some space between us. Slowly I'm able to pull away and with this course it's totally "out of sight, out of mind", but the time gaps are always very close. I end up riding the last lap by myself, but never feeling very comfortable because it's so easy to make one little mistake or slip up can make or break your race. My goal for the last 20 mins is just to ride a clean but solid race and keep trying to put power into the pedals.


I come around the last couple of corners, down the BMX course and through the finish...managing to ride a clean last lap and hold my lead of only 37 seconds over Jean-ann. Yippee.....my first time on the top at Hardwood, and third Canada Cup win...I'm definitely happy (need practise opening champange though). Emily and Amanda are not far behind in third and fourth.


I'm heading home for a couple of weeks, which I'm totally ecstatic about, to rebuild and get ready for nationals and the second half of the season...and spend some time with my neglected boyfriend, family and friends.

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Night before Hardwood Hills

Getting ready to race Hardwood Hills tomorrow...always a fun course.



Congrats to all the Canadians over in Andorra..great job (especailly Catharine...wowwie)!!!! Wish I was there.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Whirl Wind Activity

Things are finally settling back down after a week of craziness. Monday morning I got up at 2:30 am to drive the 2 and a half hours into LA from Buellton, CA, return my rental car and catch my 7 am flight (spend over an hour going through security at that time of day). Got home early Monday morning and spent the afternoon cramming for the Engineering Geology final exam...yuck. Just so everyone knows, my textbooks made the world tour and barely even got opened...lots of cramming was needed. Tuesday morning I got up nice and early and headed outside for a 3 hour road ride with my dad before I headed up to the Uni to write my first final. After that I headed home and crammed for my Contaminant Hydrogeology final. Wednesday morning I got up early again to do the same, only to be faced with nasty cold and rainy conditions, so my 3 hour ride was unfortunately spent on the trainer in the basement.

Wednesday evening was pleasent, Dallas and I went out for a wicked sushi dinner and finished off with tea and chocolate cheesecake..yummy.

Got to sleep in a little on thursday and spent the day packing and organizing my post school life....ie, packing away textbooks. And thursday evening I flew out east to do the Canada Cup races in Mt Tremblant and Hardwood Hills. Stefan Widmer was either nice enough or dumb enough to pick me up at the airport at midnight and we finally made it to the palace in Mt Tremblant just after 2 am. Since I was the last to arrive, and maybe because I was the only girl in the house, I was given the pull out couch in the living room..no problem, except there was no sheets or pillows to be found at 2 in the morning....oh well, I didn't feel like sleeping too much anyways :)

Friday morning I met up with my coach Steve Neal, who I haven't seen in almost a year, and did a couple of laps of the course. I was surprised, I actually felt really good, and it's always a fun course there...even when really muddy (which is 95 % of the time)

Saturday was the race, I didn't feel 100%, but it was definitley fun racing with Emily Batty, Amanda Sin and Jean-ann McKirdy. The race was really close with the 4 of us for the entire 2 hours. I think each of us lead at some point in the race. My turn was the third lap when I made it first into the singletrack. Being my strong point I put some time on the other girls and coming out for my fourth and last lap I thought why not go for it. I was super happy to see the feed zone (couldn't quiet hold on to my bottle on the third lap and it shot off out of my hand..that was a sad moment..oh well). Amanda, climbing like an animal with Emily quickly closed my gap and put the boots to me up the last steep climb. Emily took the sprint, 5 seconds over Amanda, I trailed in just over a minute behind and Jean-ann finished in fourth behind me.

Saturaday evening was the traditional le Petite Caribou party, to which I called it a night pretty early..I wasn't just a part pooper, I was really, really tired.

Currently I'm hanging out in Brooklin, Ontario at the Batty farm, they've been nice enough to take in some bikers for the week, and I did an awesome ride with Emily today. Oh yeah, last night was the best sleep I've had since my crazy drive to LA...definitely needed to sleep in till almost 10 :)

Tomorrow I've been told is pancake day..can't wait.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

104 degrees (what's that in C???)



I'm going to take a little break from my last minute cram fest for my last final exams ever....yeah, that's right...ever...and do a little update of the scoarcher down south. Santa Ynez valley this past weekend was the third stop on the NMBS series tour. It's a neat little hot and dry wine growing region about an hour inland from the lush Santa Barbara coast. The race is on some private land out literally in the middle of a field, and for the weekend it's total tent city. The cross country course was very similar to last year, lots of climbing, nothing really technical, fast corners...but this year was super stellar hot and really, really rough.
Off the start I got in a great position, fifth behind the three luna girls and Trek/VW girl Lea Davidson. Georgia was at the front pushing the pace hard and I held on for as long as I though was smart and decided due to the fact that I do so well in heat (not really), I decided it would be in my best interested, not only for racing but for self preservation, that I back it off a couple gears. It was probably a really smart decision, although I lost a bunch of spots in the first lap, I managed to finish very strong and move my way back up to 5th place on the last lap....first NMBS podium ever!!!!
I think this was more a race of attrition and staying a cool and hydrated as possible, then you know, actually hammering out as hard as you could. Not even 20 minutes into the race I started getting the chills, and no word of a lie, I though my brain was melting and my eye balls were burning. The ice down the bra, in the helmet, down pants and anywhere else it would stay was key for the start. And there was a greek god on course (I think I was hullicinating though..because now that I think about it, he wasn't greek) with enough cold water bottles to splash every rider going by on one of the big exposed climbs, I'm sure he got more than just my marriage proposal that day. A couple girls stopped to take their insoles out because their feet were burning up, many gloves were shed, myself included was riding superman style with jersey completely open, and North America's top racer got carted off in an ambulance after passing out on course (she's recovering very well)....it was crazy.
After an amazingly uncomfortable but incredible ice bath, lots of stretching and rehydrating, and a great nights sleep, I got up early Sunday morning and joined Catharine and the rest of the luna crew for a cool morning ride and a great coffee. There are some really neat roads in the region and I'd love to be able to spend some more time riding around and exploring...may have to do a training camp here sometime.
Sunday was the short track, which ran on the start and finish of the xc course. Due to the heat the organizers were very gracious and cut the race to 15 minutes plus 3 laps. I had a great start again today and spent the entire race in the top 5. With 4 laps to go, Katerina made a jump up the only little hill, and somehow I totally saw it coming and reacted, managing to grab her wheel and sit for a lap behind her. I guess for a brief moment there was a couple bike length gap between myself and the chase of Catharine, Kelli Emmit and Heather Irmiger, but they closed that gap and we all sat on her wheel until she attacked again on the same climb. This time I managed to hold her wheel up the climb again, but couldn't stay with her as she powered away on the flat..crazy. She stayed just out of our reach for the rest of the race, and it came down to a four person sprint for second. Coming out of the last corner, I was sitting at the back of the train in 5th and little gap had opened up between 3rd and 4th. I managed to outsprint Catharine for 4th, but couldn't close the gap on Kelli and Heather...happy with two podiums in a weekend.
I have a big thanks to Zack and the Trek team for letting me crash them this weekend, to Steve Blick for hooking me up with some really nice new shades (one of which I'm sporting in the action shot), and Shimano's Greg Hammond for the wheel help.
Now back to cramming...then Thursday I fly to Montreal for the next two Canada Cups.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Down South Again.

Woke up this morning to nice and warm California weather...hmmmm..love the sun. Had a long travel day yesterday, I know, I know, you're probably thinking "ahhh boo hoo, your in California"..hehe, I know. Got lost by the LA airport when I picked my car up, then got stuck in LA rush hour...yuck, but finally made it out to Lompoc (which is a small town only 30 mins from the course), got a hotel, built my bike and went for a stellar evening sidewalk ride. It was absolutely beautiful out, and actaully a really, really nice time to ride.

I have just finished having a big breakfast and heading to the course to go for a spin and meet up with the Trek team (they're putting me up for the weekend..sweet).

Ciao

Monday, 12 May 2008

Madrid recap

Okay, I think I’m finally recovered from jet-lag.. That’s been my excuse for the really late Madrid race report. So here’s the quick and dirty recap.

Madrid is a huge sprawling city of about 4 million people (yikes) and a very confusing net-work of roads, thus the theme of week, as you’ll undoubtedly hear from any other North American, was getting lost….but that’s a whole other topic. The race course this weekend was set at Casa de Campo, a huge park almost right smack in the middle of this great city. Although this is really neat racing right in Madrid, the park comes stock with all night people and is supposedly not very friendly after hours….as well, you had to guard your bike and valuables a little more closely than usual.

The course is extremely fast hard packed and there is nothing technical, except for the fast loose corners. And although there are no long extended climbs, each lap seems to have a fair bit of climbing. The start was very fast and the course was not very conducive for passing, however there was a lot of jostling which resulted in a couple of good crashes. Alison Sydor however was absolutely amazing to watch seemingly dance through the crowd, every time I tried to follow her wheel, the gap would close up….it was pretty amazing. I had a call up of 49th position and managed somehow to move into a really good position for the first climb, but due to the shear volume of people, I was forced to get off my bike and run. In the process I got tangled up with another girl and had to fight to get her pedal out of my front wheel. That momentary blip in my plan caused me to loose valuable time and at least 20 spots.

Due to the nature of the course, riding in packs and drafting was a very important tactic, very similar to a road race. I was feeling great, moving up from one pack to another, making my move over the top of the climbs, until I finally ended with a pack that was moving at a good constant clip.. quickly picking off lone riders. I think again this is a very deceptive course with respect to the amount of climbing, the many small steep climbs tend to creep up on you, and near the end of the race people were slowing down and blowing up like crazy. Slowly the group I was racing with started splitting up and in the last lap I found myself jockeying with a Spanish racer. I ended up taking one of the corners a lot faster than she did and just about took her out….not a very good idea in front of a Spanish crowd….ooops. I finished up in 27th position, not as high up as I was hoping for, but there was only 7 minutes separating myself and in leader, yup, it was a really tight race.

After the race we had a great “team Canada” super at a restaurant in the park. I don’t know if ox is a Spanish dish, but Ricky, Catharine, Sandra and myself shared some delicious ox loin…mmmmm, it was great supper and really cool to hang out with a bunch of Canadian racers.

Monday night I found myself sleeping on the Madrid airport floor next to a large guy with an amazing capacity to reverberate his snore around the entire terminal…needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night. After 13 hours of flying, plus more the 18 hours in airports Dallas picked me up on the Calgary end of things, only to have me sleep the next 14 hour. But man, did I ever need that.

Fast forward to the present.... had a blast this past weekend in Edmonton at the Perogy XC race. United Cycle and the organizers did an amazing job of putting together a great event. Got to hang out with my boyfriend, family and lots of people I haven't seen all winter...it was wonderful...as well as enjoyed some stellar race time perogies. Currently I'm cramming my butt off to get ready to write my last final exams next week....oh yeah, but first, I'm off to California on Wednesday for the next NMBS race....I'll keep you posted.

Ciao

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

How Swiss


Yippeeee.....yodaladewhooooooo (okay, that's not even close), but I saw the Swiss Alps today. I truely didn't believe Sandra when she said that you could see them from the house, it's been so overcast everday....but today we had sunshine and lots of blue clouds. We drove a little closer to get a better picture.





Ahhh, my Swiss love...hehe.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Race Day

Section of the course called "Dual Speed"


Got up nice and early, had a huge bowl of porridge, sat with the window open and enjoyed the really nice sunny German weather…and got ready for the race. Sunday was the second World Cup of the season in Offenburg, Germany, and I was totally expecting a mudfest after reports from last year and the forecast from the week. But we were all very pleasantly surprised by the 24ish degree heat and lots of sunshine come Sunday morning…I definitely couldn’t have been happier.

Warm-up felt good, my legs finally felt like they were coming back to life…maybe the flu/food poisoning from two weeks ago took a little more out of me then I would have liked to admit. My start position was 59 this week, one up from last week. Not great, but considering how painful last week was, I’m definitely not complaining. The start laps were fast and short, 2 laps of the 1.1 km loop with a really steep climb in the middle. I started off pretty good, but kept getting pinched out by other racers just clawing their way forward. Each time on the steep climb I was able to punch it and pass a number of girls.

The first three laps I found extremely painful, I just couldn’t settle into a rhythm and I found myself very quickly dropping farther and farther back in the pack. I was able to stick on Alison Sydor’s wheel for about a half lap (that’s a really cool feeling..I mean, she’s a living Canadian mountain bike legend), but soon lost contact. Soon afterwards, Emily Batty passed me easily, and I almost lost contact with her wheel, but that’s when my legs finally decided to come out and play.

By the end of the fourth lap, I was told I was in about 45th position, but with a number of positions just ahead. There isn’t a lot of climbing all at once in this course, so it’s deceiving I think, and a lot of people go out really hard and the bonk creeps up on you….there was aver 1100m of climbing over the entire race, so that isn’t shabby. I was feeling great, and picking riders off like a mad woman..hehe, it was awesome. It’s an absolutely amazing experience racing here, the organizers created a walking loop for the spectators that was really easy to navigate, they had various food vendors out on the course, and announcers at a couple of the difficult drops commentating and just raising the excitement of the crowd that much more. Having almost 20,000 people lining the course, watching and cheering definitely gives you the goose bumps, it’s a neat atmosphere.

By the end of the sixth and final lap, I had managed to move my way up to 29th position (I actually had to sprint for 29th…kind of feel like a dork sprinting for 29th, but I mean, that’s start positions and UCI points….come on). I’m really happy with how the race unfolded, going from almost in tears because everything was moving in slow motion to feeling and riding great….maybe next weekend in Madrid I’ll feel that way the whole race J

After the race while watching the men’s race, which is always really cool to watch, I wandered around trying to find some authentic German food to try from one of the vendors… I ended up opting out, everything smelt really, really good and greasy, but my post race belly just wasn’t interested in having any of it….so I totally flaked on the German beer and food. I wish I had enough room in my bags to bring home some beer, you can by a 750ml locally brewed beer for under a euro. Oh well, at least I got to enjoy a killer dessert!!!!



Well, I’m off for a ride and then playing tourist in Switzerland.

Thank you everyone for your support and good lucks.

Ciao

Friday, 25 April 2008

"Open Castle"

After a week of recovery, eating lots and stretching, we arrived in Offenburg today, the Thursday before the second world cup. Offenburg is a very beautiful and touristy area of Germany with miles of vineyards covering the rolling hills surrounding the area. We even got a sample bottle of local white wine with our rental suite. Offenburgy means "Open Castle", and I've heard that there is a small castle somewhere..going to have to go exploring. It's kind of a mountain biking mecca here too, rumor has it that there is 6000km of marked mountain bike trails, and there are tons of rolling roads through the various vineyards..definitely would be a neat place to do some bike touring.

I still don’t feel like I’ve fully recovered, the massage did wonders, but my legs are still a little tender. That race in Houffalize definitely took a lot out me. After a day off yesterday I was super excited to head out for a ride today, and did a lap of the course. It’s a really fun course, technical, not a lot of climbing and a couple of really steep and very sketching descents….it’s awesome. I’m slowly getting my singletrack confidence back.. it’s amazing how long it’s taking to feel comfortable in that stuff, I mean, that’s the kind of stuff that I love. I hoping to get out on the course tomorrow and Saturday to do a couple more laps and get everything dialed.

The weather is really wonderful right now. After a cold and very wet couple of days in Switzerland, the sunny humid weather of Offenburg is extremely welcome. The forecast for the weekend looks good, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it stays dry… I’m getting soft and really loving the hot dry weather.

Tried some German cheese last night, I was really disappointed after the "Swiss" cheese experience. Off to find some coffee...mmmmmm.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Okay, so this face pretty much sums up my entire 2 and 1/2 hours of racing in Houffalize..hehe I stole this pic from Rob Jones on Canadian Cyclist

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

World Cup #1

OUCH - pretty much sums up the entire first World Cup race for me, and from what I hear, for a lot of other people as well...at least I'm not the only one who was suffering. It stopped raining and the sun was shining bright for the start of the race. It actually got warm enough to ditch the arm and leg warmers and start drying the course out a little.

I totally wasn't prepared for the pace at the start of the race, oh my goodness, and I've typically got a good start. The pace off the gun was astounding (and watching the men's start, the lead quads almost didn't make the first corner due to the pace). I managed to hold my own up the climb, spinning and conserving energy, I think I actually moved up a couple positions because people were blowing up left, right and center. But when I think about it, I probably would have been better off going a little harder up the climb and moving into a better position for the first singletrack. The only person that I recognized during the climb was Willow Koerber, but rumor has it Sandra Walter was blazing the Canadian trail up in 5th place going into the forest..great job.

By the time I hit the first mucky singletrack, everyone was running and climbing over eachother just to gain a position. I actually saw a small Russian racer come up and intentionally push another girl off her bike and down a steep slope.....pure madness. Due to the fact that you were completely limited by the pace of the pack at this point, I actually felt really good when things opened up a little and found myself very quickly picking off spots on the climbs, just by easily spinning past people. Finishing up the start lap and first lap, I felt pretty good, and heard at one point that I had moved into top 40..wow, this was easy.

The second lap was uneventful and stayed relatively in the same position, and still feeling like I could push it when I needed, and there was lots of energy left in the tank. But by the time the third lap came around, my body just started shutting down....my legs collectively decided that they weren't really into doing work anymore and each pedal stroke became a battle. By the time I pulled into the start finish area, I was sure that I was going to get pulled, there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to finish a final lap. But I rolled through the expo and started up the climb again. My final lap was definitely my slowest and I lost about 5 minutes off my pace in that lap alone, but I'm actually really proud of myself for finishing at that point.

The race ended up being 2 hours and 36 minutes for me....crazy, I though World Cups were supposed to be shorter. All I could think about at the end was the crazy large crepes with nutella that I had seen the in the expo earlier...I mean, when you burn 2700 calories in 2 and 1/2 hours, what else should you be thinking about.

We're back in rainy Switzerland now, and I actually just finished a trainer ride....I'm serious, it's really not nice out right now. Going to rest up, stretch up, eat up and reflect on this past weekends events...it can only get better from there. I have a massage booked for tomorrow, and on thursday we're headed up to Offenberg, Germany to get ready for the second World Cup. I hear it's supposed to be another mucky one.

Auf Wiedersehen
(Good Bye)

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Houffalize

Hallo or Bonjour

Houffalize is a quaint little village nestled snuggly in a valley in the rolling hills of Belgium, and the whole town is alive with the World Cup. I’ve been told that the entire town seems to just close down for this weekend, and I can see that it pretty much has to, because the course moves right up the heart of the town every lap. Can you imagine completely closing down all of say Banff or Bowness for a race, and having the many coffee shops that line the course packed with people watching, and having the kids from the local elementary school out on the field cheering…and it’s just the pre-ride, two days before the actual race. Never have I seen such openness and love for the sport of cycling, it’s absolutely awesome and refreshing.

Sandra and I are located about 12 very winding km away from Houffalize in the small village of Nadrin. Thursday we headed out for an easy “recovery/endurance” ride and somehow managed to get very lost in the sparse Belgium forest. Now when you think of a forest, don’t think of the typical Canadian forest, think of a completely manicured forest void of any underbrush. It seems that Europeans like the “clean” forest, not at all natural looking, kind of errie and very weird.

Friday we headed into town to ride the course. We actually had to park just outside of town and ride in because the road into town has been transformed into the maze of the expo. You can drive through, but it’s much, much faster to walk or ride. The course is very challenging, right off the bat on the first lap you’re sent straight up the main road through Houffalize on a 14% to 16% km long road…good way to split up the group fast. The downhills are for the most part steep and somewhat challenging, with some really good ruts, sharp sharp corners and some off camber roots. The climbs are steep as well, but nothing technical at all, very straight forward. There actually isn’t much in terms of flat terrain to rest, so it’s going to be an “on the ball all the time” type of race. I really hope that it doesn’t rain too much, could make some of the downhills very treacherous..good to be a Canadian (though this being my first real singetrack of the season, I’m a little rusty right now).

Now I’m off to try and figure out what to do with my Euro travelers cheques that no one will accept….I guess people don’t use travelers cheques anymore…but that’s all the money I have.

Enjoying a bagette and cheese in France
Lost in a Belgium forest.
The race machine.
Ciao

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Willkommen!!

Well, I managed to survive the 12 hours hours of flying from Calgary all the way over to Switzerland. Everything went really smoothly, watched "I am Legend" and "American Gangster", plus a couple of sitcoms. Didn't manage to sleep very much, which was my plan...sleep the whole way from Toronto to Zurich, then when I get to Zurich it'd be 8 in the morning and it'd be just like I woke up from a good nights sleep. Didn't work that way, I think I managed about 2 hours of really bad sleep..oh well.
Sandra picked me up at the airport nice and early. When I booked my ticket, I didn't even take into consideration the time she'd have to get up to drive the hour and a half to come pick me up.....I owe her big time.
After stopping to get a couple of groceries from the local market, in which I struggled because I'm a complete moron when it comes of any language, including english, I built up my bike and we went for a ride. Sandra's aunt and uncle live just outside of the capital city, Bern, on a farm, and there's nothing but miles and miles of twisty farm road. Most of these roads appear to be single lane with no shoulder, but they are indeed two way highways. There are soooo many turns that I'm surely going to get completely lost when I head out by myself this afternoon, which will definitely be entertaining. But it was a really cool ride, saw lots of neat country side, and if you've never been to Switzerland before, absolutely everywhere looks like a postcard...it's really pretty.
Managed, for the most part to stay awake yesterday until about 9:30pm and crashed hard, the time is about 8 hours ahead of Calgary time. Slept for almost 12 hours, and I feel like I could sleep for another two days. In fact, I'd probably still be in bed if the rooster hadn't woken me up at 10 :) Oh yeah, the weather here isn't very nice right now, we had to completely bundle up in winter gear to head out for our ride this morning..and my fingers were still cold. I'm waiting for it to warm up some before I attempt to go out for my second ride. Right now I'm enjoying I think a double or triple americano to warm up and try to stay awake today.
Tomorrow we're up early to make the 6 hour drive up to Houffalize, Belgium, where the first world cup is. Checked the start list online and I'm in 60th position..yuck, but there are 130 girls entered...it's definitely my biggest start. The weather forecast doesn't look much better then here, so I'm definitely packing mud tires. What a shock after the 31 degree heat of Phoenix..kind of miss it now :0
I'm off to try to learn some German, wish me luck.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Now that's what I call a breakfast, big plate of porridge (all the bowls were dirty) with strawberries, yogurt and granola...outside in the sun. Man, I love burning so many calories in the day.

If you've ever wondering about moving a cactus, I didn't know they did such things.

The view from our condo in Phoenix.

Ahhh, packing.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Bad luck for Canadian Women

Sob, snifffff, sob.....yeah, I'm a little sad. After racing a well planned and well executed race, and sitting in a very good and comfortable spot just 10 minutes from the finish...I have my first race flat in what...ever. I think I deserve to be a little sad.

50 m from the start, the xc course moves to unpassable single track for about 5 minutes, so the start is extremely crucial in this race. Katerina Nash goes down hard, not sure if she buzzed someones wheel, or just slipped out on the pea gravel, but it doesn't look pretty. I manage a safe, good start and find myself in top 8, sitting right behind fellow Canadian Emily Batty. There is a small group with Gerogia, Willow, Heather and Lea just ahead. On the first open climb, I punch it a little to bridge up to the leaders, and when I make contact, they've lost Gerogia's wheel...which is the last time anyone sees her for the rest of the race.

Now, I'm sitting in a train of about 7 girls, and all you can do is be patient with killer cactus's lining both sides of the course. Rounding a sweeping corner, I feel both of my wheels let loose and my bike washes out from under me..uggh. I think that I managed to bounce up at the same speed I feel down and somehow catch back onto the end of the train. Just a little skinned shin from that one, not bad, but missing skin burns a little.

Coming out of the single track to finish the first long lap (almost 40 minutes) and I feel the pace just slow right down. Katerina, who had gone down in the first 50 m, had powered back witih an incredible ride and was now out ahead of the train by about 30 m, with no one looking to close. On my left, I see someones wheel trying to push through, and so I figure, might as well and I start pushing hard too. I'm able to bridge the gap back to her wheel and drag two other girls by the time we hit the feed zone.

Now in a group of about 4 girls, we're hammering through the field, and we slowly pick off riders left right and center. Some join onto the group, others shoot off the back. With ten minutes left in the race, I find myself in the 2nd to 5th place group, with about a minute gap on the next group of Kelly Emmit and Willow Kroeber (who later flatted once she passed me in the ditch), with Katerina, Catherine Pendrel, Dellys Star (Australian National Champ) and myself, and I'm feeling really good. Cresting the last long climb (long for the course), I'm sitting behind Dellys who is slowing down fast, so I move to go around her on branch of the path moving into fourth. Then....................flat. It happened so fast, and of course I swore a little. I hope off my bike and shoot my CO2 in the tire, it seals up, but as soon as I sit on the bike again, it blows. Checking quickly, I've got about a 1cm ugly gash right in the top of my tire. Putting in my tube, I'm passed by about 10-15 girls, with everyone saying..."Oh, I'm sorry". When I get the tube in, there's not much CO2 left in the cartridge so I can't even pump my tire up enough to ride in, so I start running, and slowly more girls start passing me. 50 m up the trial in a realy rough section I find the ground littered with CO2 and manage to squeeze enough out to limp my way back in. Rounding the corner I see that Catherine has suffered the same fate as me, with the same CO2 problems. We go from 2 in the top 5 to 1 in the top 10. I think I heard that about 5 or 6 of the Canadian women suffered flats this race....who's sabatoging us!!!

Finish in 24th position in the xc and 11th overall in the GC for the weekend. The day before was the short track, which was extremely painful with lots of false flats and a steep, loose run up. I managed a 9th places there.

Oh well....it's part of the game. Hopefully I've gotten all of my crashes and flats out of the way before I go to Europe. But hey, I felt awesome during the race, so all in all, I'm super happy with the two weeks of racing down south. Plus I got a little bit of a tan (SPF 45 keeps you a little white, but I'm okay with that).

Heading home today, back to school for a week. Then I fly over to Switzerland on the 14th of April. Oh yeah, huge thanks to the Trek guys for upgrading my bike to XTR this past weekend, I forgot how nice that stuff is.

Happy trails :)

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Fountain Hills Super D

I know, I'm falling way behind on the picture posting and taking, I really do appologize, I've got all summer to practise up again though.

Yesterday evening was the first event of the Fountain Hills Stage Race....Super D, well actually it was more like a 20 min TT that was slightly downhill about 60% of the time. Lots of fast sweeping corners and a few short uphills, oh yeah, and a rattlesnack, made up the majority of the course.

As per NMBS usual, the start was pushed back almost 20 minutes, so my warm-up ended up being over an hour and a half, I was getting kind of hungry and tired by the start of the race. Off the start, I beelined it to the first cactus in sight, not even 5 m down trial and clipped it with my hand. Not a very smart move, my hand was stinging for the rest of the ride. There was 30 minute gaps between each of the racers off the start, so it felt like I was the only person out on course the whole time, it was only near the end that I saw the rider two positions ahead of me...good sign, making time. Due to the shear speed of the course, and the loose gravel on most of the course, I think I ended up over shooting three corners, not bad from what I hear. Towards the end of the run, my lungs were burning, my legs on fire and my eye watering (not from speed but from the sun).

But I managed to pull off a good run and finish in 5th place, behind Gerogia (so glad I didn't start in front of her), Katerina, Wendy and Dellys Star (not sure who that is, but awesome ride).

It was a super late night getting home, with an hour drive from the course. But we had a huge dinner of salmon, potatoes and salad, and a really great sleep, so although I'm tired, I'm feeling pretty good for today. Our short track race is late again tonight, almost 5pm, with the men racing after, so I've got all day to rest up.......well, do homework.

Ciao

Thursday, 3 April 2008

American Style


Nothing like a jacked up F750 to help with the emissions problems.

Oh yeah, here's my new rig. Sporting XT this year, loving the Reba fork again.


Getting ready for the Super D tomorrow. There isn't much elevation change on the course, so i think it's going to be lots of pedeling, TT style.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Short Track

Made it to Arizona, safe and sound, after a long day of travel yesterday and some stress at the car rental...trying to soak us an extra $25 a day on insurance that we really didn't need. But all is good, even managed a star light ride last night when we got in..it was awesome. There's not a cloud in the sky down here, so every star was out. Matt Hadley lent me his head light, which was awesome, because the last couple of minutes I was riding completely blind.



Oh yeah, Sunday was the first Short Track race of the season and Fontana is definitely a neat course. Start out on the xc course, climb up part of the four cross course and finish up on the xc course. Started out with a second line call up, and picked a great line off the start, managing to avoid a huge bung up. First corner, not even 50 m down course, is almost a hairpin. For some reason everyone tries to cut the corner as sharp as possible, but I had Trek mechanic Dusty's voice in my ear telling me to go wide...great idea.



After the first corner, I found myself in about 10th place and feeling good. I attacked on the first climb up the four cross course and moved up into 6th place. Up a head I could see Wendy Simms pushing the pace, and I settled in and drafted for a lap. Again, on the climb up the four cross course, I pushed past again and moved up into fourth place and put a gap on the girls behind me. For the entire remainder of the race, I found myself in no man's land with three girls together just ahead of me and a large group just behind me. I thought to myself "should I sit up and wait for the next group, or just keep going?". Feeling good, I decided to see if I could either bridge the gap in front of me, or at least hold on. After 25 minutes of pain, I managed to hang on for my best NMBS finish ever, fourth place and first time on the podium..yippee.

Spending a week just outside of Phoenix, doing some warm weather training and getting ready for the next NMBS race this weekend.

Oh yeah, here's a couple cool pic's:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/mtbphotos.php?id=/photos/2008/mar08/NORBA_1_08/NORBA_1_0816/women110

http://www.cyclingnews.com/mtbphotos.php?id=/photos/2008/mar08/NORBA_1_08/NORBA_1_0816/women115

Ciao

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Fontucky

Today was the first 2008 NMBS series cross country mountain bike race in Fontana, California. It's almost the same course as I race two years ago, just shortened a little, but the same fun flowy sections, the same rough breaking bumps, the same half foot deep powder, and the same ghetto..yippee. It's actually a pretty cool course, especially for LA. I was called up 15th, in the second row, and I rolled up directly behind Sonny and Georgia from the Luna team, knowing they'd be fast off the line. I had a great start, managed to avoid most of the bottleneck in the first corner only 50 m from the start, and fell into a comfortable pace in about 10th place. About 5 minutes into the lap, the course hits an open road climb, and feelling good, I pushed the pace up to about 6th place...wow, that's a first for me. It was really neat, the entire race I was with and could see the same 6 girls in front and behind me, that doesn't usually happen in a Canada Cup race. The depth of these events are just incredible. For the first two laps, I held my spot, back and forth with various racers....Kelli Emmit passes on the climb, I pass Willow Koerber on a soft corner. Part way through the third lap Emily Batty is breathing down my neck. I fend off the first attack, but she pulls by on the second attack. For the next half lap, she pulls ahead, then I slingshot back and close the gap, she gets chain suck and I drop my chain. In the fourth and last lap, I sitting about 5 seconds behind Emily and I railing around a sandy corner that they've layed boards down to ride on, and my race just about ends.

Miss judging speed and accuracy...or completely missing the board, I loose my front tire in between two of the boards and my whole weight starts to shift. Then I see this five foot wall of dirt coming at me as I clip the side of the trial and feel the stem hit me square in the groin....ummmp. There I am, laying in elbow deep sand thinking what the heck just happened, and oh my goodness does that ever hurt. I must honestly say that I contemplated not getting up for a couple minutes, but then I see Heather Irmiger catching up fast, so I grab my bike and try to pull myself back together....but man does my groin ever hurt. She passes me easily on the next climb and I try to hold her wheel, but it's not happening. And a quick glance over my shoulder confirms that Lea Davidson from my Trek team is closing in on me fast, so I suck it up, put my head down and hammer. Less than 1 km to go, she catches me and I hop on her wheel for as long as I can, but she slowly pulls away. In the end, I finish in 9th place...yippee, honestly I'm pretty happy with my first race of the season.

Between Katerina Nash in second place, and myself in ninth, there is less than four minutes...moreover, between Wendy Simms in third and myself in ninth, there is just over 3 and 1/2 minutes.....in other words, it was a tight race till the end (except for Georgia off the front). Oh yeah, not to mention, 4 of the top 10 women are Canadian......we're taking over the world..heheh.

3rd Wendy Simms
4th Catherine Pendrel
5th Emily Batty
9th Me

14th Amanda Sin
16th Catherine Vipond (wicked)

I have yet to find any pic's of the race, but if worse comes to worse, I'll send a little pic of my nice bruise :o

Tomorrow, short track race number one..wish me luck.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Southward Bound

I absolutely can not believe that it's that time of year again. Even though we had some killer nasty weather and the winter seemed to drag by, it's over and the first race of the season is this weekend. That's right folks, this weekend. Tomorrow evening, wednesday, after classes, I'm boarding the LAX bound plane for the first flight of the season. I'm spending a weekend in Fontana (east LA) to do the first NMBS race, then flying over to Phoenix to do a week (awww shucks) of training until the second NMBS race in Fountain Hills. Ahh, warm weather, get to work on muy eternal bikers tan.

Crazy though, I don't even have my new bike yet. My dad has been nice enough to let me ride his mountain bike for the past couple weeks just so I could get some off road miles in, and I'm picking the new rig up on thursday down south. Just enough time to break it in and make sure everything fits properly....keeping my fingers crossed.

Stay tuned for photos :)

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Thank you

The evening of Saturday, March 15, my local Terrascape Racing Club hosted the first annual indoor 4 Hours of Power..and it was a great success. We had 17 teams with 2 - 5 riders on each team sign up, and it ended up being a lot of fun. I just wanted to send out a huge thank you to the members of Terrascape Racing for all the effort and time put into making this event go, and thank you to everyone who came out and rode or took part.

Now the weather is great, and it's time to ride outside. Hope to see everyone out on the road or trails this summer.

Cheers

Mical

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Tie-Dye Tights

Yesterday I was having one of those days, nothing seemed to be going as planned. While I had taken my car in to get the mysterious no brake fluid problem checked out, I decided to take my cross bike out for a little ride in a part of town I don't usually go to.....blow off some steam. It starts off a little chilly, but I'm just happy to be away from everything for an hour or so, off in my own little world. So when I see him, I'm not 100% sure that I'm not daydreaming. From far away, he just looks like a guy wearing a purple fleece coat, nothing odd about that. But as I get closer, I can't help but stare at the unusual choice clothes for a walk in the park. It's a round little man, with a big grey beard and and grey hair, hiking boots and a purple fleece coat. But that's where normal ends.....he's wearing what looks like a women's black one piece bathing suit with blue and green tie-dyed tights underneath.....what the... Not sure if I'm in my happy place dreaming about bunny rabbits and elves, I do a double, then a triple and probably even a quadruple take...nope, I'm really seeing it. Somehow I manage to roll by keeping a somewhat straight face, only to collapse on a park bench (hopefully out of earshot) with another cyclist who's just seen the same thing and we laugh till I'm almost crying.....you definitely don't see that everyday.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Four Hours of Power

Picked up my European and Swiss money, some American money, and some traveler’s cheques…received my tickets in the mail….I think all I need right now is a bike!!!! Yeah, it’s that time of year again, waiting for the new ride to arrive….anxiously waiting. With all of the warm weather that we’ve been having, I’m dying to take a new mountain bike out and get it totally broken in.

For anyone who hasn’t heard, my local Calgary based team, Terrascape Racing, is putting together a fundraiser event in the form of an indoor bike race “Four Hours of Power”. Half of the proceeds will go to Access Advantage which works to help reduce barriers in participation for children, youth and family’s, and half of the proceeds going to help fund my trip to Europe for the World Cups. It’s going to be a really neat event, with a fully catered banquet afterwards and really cool prizes…so if you’re not doing anything on March 15, come out and join us. There is information put up on www.canadiancyclist.com and www.albertabicycle.ab.ca .

Thank you for your support.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Winter Riding

So here I am, feeling sorry for my cold self, checking out all of these blogs and photos of people riding in warm places...Tuscon, Hawaii, California....I'm having some serious warm envy. Lately it's been tough just motivating myself to go outside from my house to the car, that kind of thing. Three minutes outside is too much.
For the past couple of days, it's been warming up a little, but I'm very slow to come out of my cave. Breaking the hibernation cycle is a slow, tough process. You know, it's warmer out, so you ditch the puffy jacket for something a little more stylish, but not as warm and you end up feeling just as cold as when it was -40 out...if that makes sense?
Thinking about it, my dad has been riding none stop too and from work in this nasty weather and that got me motivated. Dallas did a super epic road/gravel ride on Monday on his old fully rigid hard tail and that got me motivated. Checking out pictures of people riding in warm places, although it filled me with envy, definitely got me motivated. So today, I pulled my single speed off the wall and headed out on a awesome snowy ride....and man did I have a blast. (It's actually only been a week since I've ridden outsite but this cold snap has made it feel like months) So I'm begging you, if you see me, give my butt a kick and tell me buck up and just ride outside...I'll love you for it.

Just over a month till the first race......almost can't wait that long.

Happy Trails

Friday, 1 February 2008

Hot Yoga

I've tried various forms of yoga in the past year, but last night I dragged Dallas out to try "Hot Yoga". Pretty neat experience, I don't think that I've ever sweated that much, seriously, but it felt great and I feel awesome today. Lots of back work, strength and a really good purge of the system.

www.calgaryhotyoga.com

Definitely worth a try.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Cross Training


For all of you that have heard or are experiencing the brutal arctic front, I feel for you. I've been a wimp for the past couple of days, barely making it from my car to school, work or home. Lately I've felt like just curling up with a good book and a big mug of hot chocolate all day long. 50 below seems to have that effect on people, though kudos to my crazy dad who still insists on riding to work..


Although I haven't been cross country skiing since the cold snap, I've become more active in other cross training activities during these cold times. Last night I meet up with a couple of friends for some indoor rock climbing action. A couple hours of monkeying around ...hehe, (I know, I'm lame too) definitely helps to take your mind off the weather. After taking some time off of climbing, I've really been enjoying getting back into it this past winter as it's something completely different than cycling..and my fingerprints are finally starting to grow back too.


Today, I went to the gym early before class and did a super tough strength workout and core, and tomorrow I think I'm going to try some "Hot Yoga". Till the weather returns to more bearable temps, I'm restricting my self to indoor activities...you'd never know that I grew up in the North :)


Hoping this weekend to head out for a ski of the Cookie Race loop in the Kananaskis, which is a 42 km classic ski loop. Super fun with lots of hills and lots of fresh snow.


But for now, I'm heading downstairs for a little ride on the trainer, hope there is something good on the TV :)

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

School or Bike Races???

Surviving my first couple days of school haven't been that bad, I only have two courses left to graduate, so I definitely can't complain. Contaminant Hydrogeology and Engineering Geology (a course somewhat designed to help geologists and engineers communicate with eachother better).
I have discovered one big problem though, I'm going to miss all of my final exams during my trip to Europe to do the World Cup events...hehe. Not that I'm really upset about that, but I am really hoping that I can work something out to write them at a different date so I can at least gradute. I'm making the trip to Dean's office tomorrow to try and plead my case for a deferral.....oh to be done with school :) Wish me luck.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Happy Holidays


Ever wonder what you'd look like made of wood?? My grandpa carved and painted this incredible figurine out of wood for Christmas for me. Yes, that's real hair coming out of the helmet, whose, I don't know. And if you can zoom in close enough, you'll notice that I'm sporting the latest MED (my initials) edition front fork and Nike shoes.....wicked.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Years.