Thursday, 30 July 2009

Jour très triste!

I finally made it to the chocolate bowl place and was super ready for the ultimate hot chocolate experience....and it closed at 5:30 pm....what kind of cafe closes at 5:30??? geeezzzzz

Had a great ride today, was supposed to do just a road ride, but couldn't resist the call of the mud and snuck on the course a cruise through the technical second half of the course. I was actually really, really surprised with how well the course held up after last nights crazy storm. We must have gotten 10 cm of rain (I'm not joking) in less than an was absolutely ridiculous. But it was really good for the plants..hehe..and there's nothing like finishing a great ride with a wild raspberry feast...yummmmy.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Est-ce que c'est le soleil ?

Wow, what is this big burning ball of fire that produces heat and light???? The mythical sun...hehe...haven't seen the sun in a while but yesterday was awesome. Hot and sunny all day, oh yeah, don't forget very very humid. I went for an early morning spin at 10 and came back an hour later drenched. Today is supposed to be something similar, not as much sun, but about 40 with humidity....good day to go sit in an air conditioned coffee shop and drink the worlds best hot chocolate. That was my mission yesterday but I failed....second attempt today. You have to know, this isn't just any ordinary hot chocolate, it's amazing and will totally wreck hot chocolate for you forever....but you have to be in the mood for this extremely rich drink...if not, it'll totally put you over the top.

Happy Trails

Monday, 27 July 2009

Mud St Anne

Never fails to be a challenging muddy race. All week I was watching the forcast for Sainte Anne de Beaupre, the small town at the base of Mont St Anne, and all week the forecast called for rain everyday, with 30-40 mm on saturday and sunday..yikes. But everyday I checked, the rain was pushed back another day...but I kept the mud tires close on hand. Just light rain during the night, but the course was drying up great and come sunday morning everything looked in awesome shape and the Bontrager Revolts (great all around dry to tacky tire) stayed on. Just as we were called to the staging area and the skys opened up. Oh my goodness rain.

The start was the very typical World Cup start, 55 starters sprinting into the first corner. They got rid of the start loop this year and there was no big climb off the start to string us out, so by the time we hit the first singletrack we were all off the bike and climbing over eachother trying to gain a was pure World Cup madness..very euro style. As we all strained ourselves through the single lane the race quickly became very spread out.

The rain hadn't soaked into the ground yet, so most everything was rideable, but as the race wore on, the raining stopped and the mud started turning into chucky peanut butter...vera slickery. The sketchy rock garden descent stayed in surprisingly good shape through out the race, though there were some really good stories of really good crashes. After the race I found out there was a "chicken line" cut the night before around the rocks..oh well. I managed to clean the section everytime, but on lap three the berm at the bottom after the downhill claimed my front and rear tire at the same time and I slide through the berm (about 15 feet) on my rear. It actually was kinda fun..hehe.

I had a solid day all in all, faded a little at the end....oh yeah, but my highlight of the race was chasing the current World Champion jersey of Margarita Fulliana down to the finish line......hehe. I was definitely motivated to put that notch into my belt, but didn't catch her and finished 23rd on the day.

Today I got up early, ran into fellow team Canada rider Ryan grabbing hish bike from the mechanics and we road up the ski hill access road in the pouring rain for about an hour. Too bad the fog was so thick we couldn't see anything because it probably woulda been a great view. From there we started down the DH world cup course..hehe, that was a little short lived, and found a more xc friendly trail. It ended up being a wicked 30 min downhill through some pretty nasty mud...oh my poor clean bike... Thank for the wicked ride.

After a crazy long travel day (not sure how a 3 horu drive turns into 7 hours of travel.......) we made it to of the best hot chocolate....which I'm looking for tomorrow.

Super big thanks to the entire CCA staff that helped out at the guys rock.

Oh yeah, huge congrats to Kika for winning her second World Cup!!!!!!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Mont St Anne

Plan of action for today...relaxation.

I arrived in Mont St Anne on wednesday evening to stories of a crazy downpour all wednesday....and the course was a disaster, super duper muddy. Quebec never fails to be wet and muddy, I think in the maybe 20ish times I've raced in Quebec, it's been dry once or twice... in other words, always expect mud. The rain had stopped and wednesday evening was warm and all thursday was really nice, so by the time I got out on course things were starting to dry up nicely. Most of the course drains relatively well, but there are a couple singletrack sections (which seem to be all tricky technical sections) that just hold water..even when it's been nice for days, they are slick and mucky.

They have re-routed the course from previous years and I actually find it feels a lot harder then usual. They have used most of the same trails/sections as always, with the exception of the usual freightening sketchey which we are now sent down a steep mess of rocks that could be a mess if covered in mud. As well, all of the major climbing is at the end of the lap instead of the beginning....but then all the descending is at the end as well..yippee.

Today, my only mission for the day was to roll down to the cool little internet cafe at the bottom of the hill and drink Americanos, eat pastries and geek out for a little. It's really nice not having internet in the condo, I'm needing the detox...the couple of days I spent in Montreal by myself I found I spent a little too much time on the computer to pass the day.....and I don't even like computers..hehe.

Big mistake today tough - no chamois for my ride to the seat is a lot harder then I realized..gonna be standing most of the way home.


Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Wine and cheese and coffee and pastries and crepes...oh my

After a couple of days of relaxing and riding in Montreal (or Point Claire to be more exact), I've made my way east again to Quebec City. Just hanging out in the airport for a couple of hours waiting for the rest of the national team to arrive before we make the trip to Mont St Anne. The rest of the this week will consist primarily of more rest, a couple laps of the course (keeping everything crossed that the rain isn't too bad this year), some coffee, tour watching (hopefully we have that channel), and some yummy, yummy pastries (when you're in Rome...hehe).

Hope all is well around the country and I'm really excited to head west again. The east is nice, but I really miss the west.

Oh yeah, Jeff Neilson (my awesome BC Bike Race partner) and I are doing the Transrockies Aug 9-16..yippeeeeee!!!!


Monday, 20 July 2009

PEI Pic's

Red Sands Beaches

What's this??? little jelly fishy thingy....they do sting

Jumping off the wharf at Basin Head beach

Little Harbour Beach - wedding photos day

Saturday, 18 July 2009


Yuppers, on the far east coast of Canada....get to put my feet in both oceans in less then 3 months. Spending the weekend here for a wedding, doing a little touring, a little fresh seafood eating...yummmmmmy....experienced the "COWS" ice cream experience (though I ended up wearing more of the mint chocolate chip then eating it..hehe)....even yummmmmmmier.... and a little biking. There's some pretty nice roads for riding around here, you can link up lots of quiet highways for a really nice ride. Did my first set of intervals today since the BC Bike Race (minus the race last weekend), and everything actually felt really good. I was very pleasantly surprised for a change. It's been a little tough mentally recovering, getting out on my bike everyday, feeling tired and just ending up spinning easily again...but alas, I smile today at how things feel, maybe it's the fresh salty air.

Just getting prepped to get dressed up...doesn't happen very often so I have to work myself up to it...hope no one minds all my scrapes and bruises...and my lack of make-up (never mastered that feminie skill).....and going to enjoy a good ole' east coast wedding. I hoping to slip out sometime and go flouncing in the ocean though :)

Monday I'm heading back to Montreal to spend a couple relaxing days waiting to meet up with the national team in Quebec City on Wednesday.


Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Bath Time for the Rig

After a dirty weekend in the office I figured the 9 was in need of a little TLC...

Oooops, looks like I got some more scrubbin to do. Wonder if that's from the bike or me???



Check it out, local alberta photographer Patrick Graham interviewed me for his site!!

Thanks Patrick

Monday, 13 July 2009

Nothing like a little ride..... Followed by a little coffee....YUM

XC Nationals 2009

After listening to the sounds of rain on the roof most of the night I really wanted to just snuggle down deeper under the covers and sleep, but the damn ducks outside my window would have none of that…..hehe. The course however was in remarkably great shape considering the rain, there is so much sand that the water drains away fast.

I’ve taken this whole past week really easy to recover from the BC Bike Race, and I ended up doing a long warm-up before the race just to get my heart rate to react. Off the start I felt surprisingly great, I managed to stay relatively close to Catharine and Marie-Helene through the start loop without feeling like I was over extending myself.

Through the first singletrack I don’t know what happened but I found myself smacked off my bike and flat on my face so fast I couldn’t even say ‘OH NO!!!”. Amanda was really was really close behind in fourth and by the time I jumped back on my bike she was right there. I got things cruising again only to look up and find myself going off course on a sharp left corner….this time I had time for the “OH S*&^!!!!” right into the tape. Amanda slipped by me here and I hoped on her wheel as fast as I could.

Amanda and I road together for the first 2 laps, she’d pull away in a couple spots and I’d pull her back in through other sections. I still felt really strong, surprisingly strong. Half way through the 3rd lap my legs started feeling the tiredness I was expecting from the start and tthhiinnggss ssttaaarrrtttiiinnnggg slllllloooowwwwwiiiiinnnggg ddddooooooowwwwwnnnnnnn. I finished 4th place, best nationals finishing for me ever, and all things considered I’m really happy with how the day went. Huge congrats to Catharine Pendreal, Canada's newest national champion!!!!!

Check out for some cool video coverage and interviews.

Hanging out in Montreal for a couple of days, trying to dodge the crazy rain..yikes, thought I was going float away in todays storm. Wednesday I’m hoping another plane out east to PEI…really excited, never been east of Quebec. Out in PEI for the weekend, then back to Quebec for the next 2 World Cups…


Thursday, 9 July 2009

Slow Recovery

Bonjour ... yup, that's pretty close to the extent of my french. Even when I ask "parlez vous anglais" which I've been told means "do you speak english"...I get the blank stare.....

After a red eye Westjet flight out to Montreal, I had a little bit of an interesting time picking up my off airport rental car. I had booked it with points, but didn't have a number to call to get the shuttle and the name "EZRENT" wasn't in the phone book, and I couldn't seem to get my internet up and running to check the online reservations......lovely. After an early morning call back home...thanks dad :)....I finally managed to find my way to the hotel to pick up my car. Nice little Toyota Corolla, which definitely doesn't fit my bike box, oh well, that's what straps are for right...hehe. Loaded up and started the 5 and half hour drive east, then nooooorth. It's a really pretty drive, but feels like we go sooo faaaar noooorth. I had to stop a couple times, with not much sleep on the plane and a long drive, thought I was going to nod off, but a quick run around the car and some coffee kept me going.

I arrived in St Felicien around 3 in the afternoon, found the cool like B&B (minus the second B), that I'm staying at with Amanda Sin (who kicked butt in the Canada Cup last weekend in Bromont by what...10mins), her awesome hubby Casey and teammate Peter Glassford (who also kicked butt with a stellar finish of 4th place....right on team). Grabbed a few groceries, built my bike and went for my second spin of the week....huuuuge 2 hour week so far. In my excitment to go ride, I never noticed that our kitchen only had a microwave and fridge.....I bought ground beef and cooked it in the microwave...yummmmmmmmmy....yikes....great healthy meal if I ever cooked one. We later found a toaster oven so I'm expecting my salmon to turn out way better.

After nearly 12 hours of which I still had to fight to get myself out of bed, went for a quick..well slow lap of the course. From what I remember of the World Cup course a couple of years ago, they've changed a few things but it's still an awesome course. I'm riding my hardtail this weekend and after all of the rough single track of the BC Bike Race this techy stuff is pretty smooth :) Still feels like I've just ridden hard for a week though, hoping the next couple days of rest bode well for the rest of my recovery....Nationals on Saturday. to find more espresso.......


Think I'm excited to ride Whistler???

Awesomee week of riding, huge thanks to the organizers, volunteers, support crews and my awesome partner.
Thanks Regan for the photos :)

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Eastward Bound

Just finishing up my last minute packing as I'm getting ready to take the red eye flight out east and on to the next adventure. Leaving Wednesday 1am Calgary, arriving 8am Montreal = 5 hour flight. Pick up rental car then drive 5 hours north to St Felicien. Canadian Nationals on Sat...yikes.

I went for a quick spin today around town to shake out the webs and see how things were feeling. Definitely not recovered yet, my legs still feel pretty heavy, but I think that's totally to be expected.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Made it to Whistler

Home, tired and clean, but for some reason still stinky...maybe it's my socks.

This past week was a lot of fun, lots of great riding and great people, I'm kind of sad it's over...on to the next adventure.

Day 6 - Squamish
I've always wanted to race the Test of Metal and Gearjammer, but I've never even had the opporunity to ride in Squamish before, so I was super pumped for this day. We spent the night in Squamish, which meant no early morning shuttle and was extremely nice. All the traveling around between stages really wears you down. The start through town is the usual fast pace, gaining a lot of elevation initially on the road. Half way up the road there was a really big scare as the pack rounds a sharp right corner and standing in the middle of the road holding a "Slow" sign and wearing a safety vest is a small boy, no bigger then 3 and a half feet, with a total look of dread on his face. There is a lot of yelling but everyone in the peleton manages to split and very surprisingly the poor kid doesn't bolt and no one gets hurt and the entire race passes by. Crazy start.

All of the climbing off the start is quickly rewarded with "Rob's Corners", a mellow grade decent with probably a 100 berms. It's a really neat trail, you almost don't have to pedal the whole way down, just pump the bike through the corners. You do have to remember to turn left then right then left then right...and so on....though I'm sure Erik was just picking blackberries :)

The was a lot of great singletrack on this day, some big climbing and some really steep decending. There was one particularly tough, open, hot climb on course that for some reason seems to stick in my might have something to do with the sound of the marshall seated under the rainbow umbrella on a steep open climb opening a beer........drooooool.

Jeff and I had an awesome ride today and finished a solid 3rd in the open mixed, still maintaining our 2nd overall by almost a half hour.

Day 7 - Whistler
I have had the pleasure of riding some pretty awesome xc trails in Whistler, so I was also really excited about this day. Unfortunately I do have to say I was a little disappointed with this course. We started off almost initally with a massive hike-a-bike, then continued to climb gravel roads for a half hour only to be send part way down the hill on a gravel road. Wow, all that work for a gravel road decent. Though the singletrack that they did send us through was pretty darn cool, lots of fast switchbacks and a little black diamond run.

Our goal for the first half of the ride was to stick with the Monavie-Cannondale team as much as possible. The gapped us a little on the climbs and we pulled them back in on the decents. We entered the feed zone together, and left almost right afterwards. On one of the steep gravel climbs Sue spun out and I heard the voices in my head.. "She's walking it, you can walk it too, we've got enough of a lead"....but I liked the voice that said "F&*% it, I'm riding this thing". Jeff was determined not to get "chicked" and as soon as we crested the hill we both grabbed a couple of gears and started givin er. The course ended up being about 5 km longer then the course profile suggested and we were both sucking wind at the top of the last climb, but we gave a couple yippeess and yahooos and took off down the last decent.

Finished the week off with a burger and fries and a couple of drinks at Dusty's. It was really neat and a lot of fun riding with Jeff through out the race. It was also super cool to have so many people I know racing (the Deadgoats, Dee and Nic) and supporter (Alana, Jay, Regan - crazy run in with fellow Fort McMurrayite I haven't seen in ages) this week totally makes the whole experience that much better.

Wednesday - Quebec

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Ultimate Singletrack Experience.

Almost a whole week without the computer...yikes...actually it's been nice; read a book in 2 days flat, get to bed early. So now I'll lump days 2,3,4 and 5 into a quick update before I fall asleep.

Day 2 - Naniamo to Parksville
Early morning ferry from Van to Naniamo, oh yeah, 15 min late ferry. Nothing like a run in bike shoes across the tarmac to grab our bikes, pee behind the car and run to the start line. You'd think with everyone in the race on the ferry, and the ferry ebing late that they'd postpone the start at least a couple mins...nope. It was a rolling neutral start through Naniamo for about 20 mins, but once the police cruiser cleared the path it was allllllll out. The day ended up being a long day pre-dominately new, rough, remote singletrack. I am totally ashamed to say that I was actually excited to hit the gravel road for a couple kms...I don't think my arms/fingers/shoulders/bum...everything could have handled much more. Jeff and I had a great day and finished 2nd.

Day 3 - Cumberland
After a crazy windy night on the Parksville beach (didn't know that a tent could bend that way), we took an early bus ride to Cumberland. Wow...awesome trails, sooooo fun, I would totally go back there to ride. I hit a wall half way through but the only thing that got me through (besides Jeff giving me the occasional push) was Jeff's insistance that "Space Nugget", the last trail out, was totally worth all the pain...and wow it totally was. Had to let out a couple of yippees and yeehaws through there, and finished 2nd on the day again.

Day 4 - Earls Cove to Sechelt
Really, the 4:30 am wake up call from the chicken is not the best way to wake up...I wanted to throttle that thing this morning. Day 4 started with a 30 min bus ride to the ferry, 90 min ferry ride to Powell River, 45 min bus ride to ????, 45 min ferry ride to Earls Cove..yikes. And the race started on the road right. This day I was in a world of hurt all day. The pace started pretty mellow as everyone needed to warm up just a little, but it didn't stay like that for long. There was a lot of climbing, a lot of powerline riding , a lot of hike a bike (felt a little like the Transrockies..which is totally cool when you're expecting the Transrockies), and 1 hour into the 4 1/2 hour ride I blew. Thanks to the best partner Jeff 'f" Nielson, who had to practically drag and pull me the entire race we finished 4th (after getting lost and loosing 3rd in the process). I totally owe Jeff a litre of DQ for that one :)

Day 5 - Sechelt to Langdale
Early morning (theme - early monrings). Best course so far. I totally can't do justice on this course trying to explain it, so I won't evem try, but if you get the chance to ride out it!!!! Jeff and I had a pretty good day, lots of fun, finished 3rd, battling it out with Pat Doyle and Geoff Clark at the finish...hehe.

Tomorrow - Squamish

Ciao for now