Wednesday, 21 December 2011


2 week post op appointment, Doctor says things are healing remarkably well!! This sitting on my ass is paying off. She even okays an easy'll be good to get out and start using those muscles again, just "Don't push it!".

So yesterday I make a big batch of spicy chocolate peanut brittle for the boys at the shop, get all geared up for the first time in weeks!! I'm so excited, plan is to spin for half an hour, it's sunny out and beautiful! In the 2 minutes it takes to ride down to the shop to drop off the brittle, I make the decision that it's not a good idea to ride yet :( Not quite pain, but it's definitely uncomfortable, and the chamois is hitting my incision.

So, coffee it is instead, then spin first ride in 2 weeks totaling 4 mins!!!! It took me longer to get geared up! Grrrrrrrrrrrr....and it's sunny and beautiful out again today. Couple more days and I'll give it a try again...fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Sorry I've Been Lazy

Yup, I'm a flake.....where the heck did my blogging motivation go???? After my super wicked awesome fun trip to Louisville, I kind of hit a wall with the season. What you say?? Yup, long season, plus some colder weather, and a couple cans of CIL paint and I was good and ready for fat and sassy season.

The weekend following Louisville was Island Cup finals, none other then the Ricky Bobby at Western Speedway right here in Victoria. Oh my, how nice it really was not to travel. The course was muuuuudddddy, and it was gnarly cold.....but once I got rolling I had a great time and a great race. Raced with the Expert again, keeping myself in shape for Provincials and the USGP finals in Bend.

At this point I had decided Bend would be the end of the season for me, with my motivation waning for the year and my budget completely spent, it really wasn't looking very positive in terms of being able to go to Worlds in Belgium in January, and being able to train properly until then as well. But I was pretty confident I could squeeze a couple more weeks out of myself!

The following Tuesday I recieved a call telling me to be ready for surgery for my hernia on Wednesday! A hernia you say...haha, yup I've got the old man hernia!! Happened about 5 years ago from a little crash on a recovery ride, and it had finally gotten to the point that it really needed to be fixed. I guess the wait list for this surgery is 14 months, but you know, when you bat your eyelashes at the Dr...haha, noooo, due to being an athlete and going back to work up north (this Friday...uggg) I had a really small window in which I could get this done so I was put on the emergency call list. And when you get put on that list, things happen fast! So I was in full on shut down mode, one last big ride on tuesday.....only to get another call saying that an emergency, a real emergency had come up and I had to wait again.

Well, let me tell you, it's really hard to go from full shut down mode, then turn around and tell yourself you've still got a couple weeks to go....playing mind games with myself. We skipped BC Provincials, just not being really excited about traveling and the cold mud forecasted. I ended up taking a couple of days really easy and come monday I was really excited and rejuvenated to race and ride, completely ready to finish my season off! Half way through a 3 hour ride on Tuesday I get another call!!! Scheduled for my surgery now on Monday, Dec 5th....geeeez. I'm going from up to down to up to down!!!

So here I am, just over one week after my surgery and I'm dying to get out and ride or do something!!! I am really, really surprised how much this little operation has kicked my butt. I figured 2 maybe 3 days of couch time and I'd be able to function normally......nope, I'm just finally starting to feel like "normal". You'd be amazed how many movies and how much TV you can watch in a day. I haven't ever taken time fully off of doing anything, so I'm really hoping that the rest does me good. 1 week of recovery down, 3 more till I can get back on the bike.....I'm determined to let this heal properly, because I sure as heck don't want to do this again!

Not the best way to cap off the season, but it's done. I've had some good time to look back over my season, the ups and downs. I'm not really happy with how my cross country season has gone, besides my stage racing, but I really think that I've learned a lot this summer. I'm thinking next year that I may take a slightly different approach to my racing. It's always been a life long goal to go to the Olympics, but with 3 Canadian women in the top 7 in the World and Canadian women being the top ranked in the World, it's a really lofty goal, but it's absolutely amazing for women's mountain biking in Canada. I can honestly say that I gave it everything and I don't have any regrets about my career....And no, I'm not saying it's over, but different.

I've found that I'm excelling in and falling in love with the multi-day enduro races and cyclocross races....2 very different extremes!! My focus for 2012 will be races such as Transrockies and Furious3, and if I can learn how to swim better some Xterra events, with the odd Olympic distance race thrown in like Nationals and Canada cups. And I'm going to use all of this as training for a kick ass Cyclocross season!! World Championships next year are in Louisville, first time ever on North American soil!!

So again, I'm hitting the pavement looking for sponsors for the 2012'd be really cool to see just how far I can take this Cyclocross racing with some support, especially when I'm doing half decent as a fully self funded racer against those fully funded racers.... :)

Hurry up 3 weeks!!!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Louisville second day of racing

After a night of relaxing, stretching and eating, I was slow getting out of bed in the morning. Day 2, whether it be a stage race or just a double header, never fails to hurt. A couple minor changes to the course made it, in my eyes, even more challenging and more exciting to race at the same time.

My third row call up ended up being a second row due to a no show ahead of me, so I lined myself up behind Merideth Miller and Caroline Mani (impressed to see her out here with her wrist all wrapped up). Off the gun my path opened up nicely, but I had my worst start in a long time and couldn't capitalize. Slipped the pedal, OUCH, got myself sorted out and worked back up, then found myself pinched into the fence about halfway down the start straight.… but I still found myself near the top ten going over the barriers, so it couldn't have been that bad.

The race stayed closer together today versus yesterday. Yes, Katie Compton did solo away for the win again, but her attack didn't come till later in the race an it was really neat to be in a train of 10+ women through the first lap and a half.

It's also really exciting going through things like sand pits with 10+ other women at one time. Mayhem can happen then, like a big crash and you could find yourself jumping clear over someone sprawled out in the sand. Something like that really can happen!!!

Personally I don't feel I had the strongest of races (maybe I need to do more Xterra training again....haha). After working my way up to I think 5th was my highest spot, I found I was in trouble and just a world of hurt from lap 2 on. You know your working hard when your arms start going numb, and not just the rough bumpy ground kind of numb.

A small battle with Chloe, but she slipped from my grasp. Then a very small battle with Laura Van Gilder, I mean she almost passed me like I was standing still. My longest battle was with Sue Butler, I always find myself around her. I was able to claw my way back onto her wheel and stick with her for a lap, but slowly she created a gap I couldn't close.

The 5th and final lap, I'm pretty sure you could have seen the mushroom cloud go off over my head. Teal Stetson Lee had a great last lap, and caught and passed me handedly. Through the last technical section I closed the gap slightly but not enough to make contact. But I did manage to just hang onto another top ten :-)

And Regan killed his category!!! Taking his first USGP win. Redemption for who ever took him out the day before. Amanda had an awesome race finishing just outside the podium in fourth!!

Stupid appointment!!!! Don't even get to enjoy my last night in Louisville. Packed bike and showered, then caught the 6:40 to Chicago (swore I would never fly through there again, but it wasn't too bad) then onto Toronto. Now I'm spending a great night in the Toronto airport (not enough time to get a hotel) then early morning Vancouver flight, followed by the little puddle jumper back home. Yaahh! The exciting life of an athlete, airports, airports, airports…but I'm not complaining…well maybe a little, this floor is cold and hard!!!

On the agenda! Island cup finals this weekend in Victoria, BC Provincials in Vancouver the following weekend, then the last USGP in Bend in December. So I've got under a month to find my "pop"!!!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Loooooeyville Day 1

Oh my oh my that one hurt a little more then a little. 55 fast women starters in my largest cyclocross race ever. Third row call up isn't great for the holeshot, but I have a great start and always got to go for it. I wasn't able to move my way up to an opening fast enough for the holeshot, but I hit the grass in top ten.

Hitting the barriers really fast in the lap it jammed up if you weren't in the to 10. Then just around the next corner you hit the steepest stair overpass I've ever seen and it packed up if you weren't in the top 2!! It felt like you had to lift the bike over your head just to clear the steps…so glad I'm tall, short people would have troubles climbing this one.

Through the twisty wooded section, out through rough grassy field, through the sand pit, back into the trees section near the end of the course (where all the climbing was), one final steep decent, turn around and run up the last climb and back out onto the start/finish pavement. It is easily one of the funnest and hardest courses around. No where out there to hide, no where out there to rest!

I think I went out a little too hard. After settling into my rhythm Nicole Duke was just out of my reach…couldn't quite close the gap.

Lap 3 and 4 were rather difficult, slowly Mereidth Miller passed me, Chloe Foresman passed me, and I couldn't give the gas to stay with them. It wast until part way through the 4th lap when Amanda Carey passed me that I was able to pick it up a little. I chased her down for the whole last lap, with Sue Butler, Pepper Harlton, Georgia Gould and a couple other girls breathing down my neck. Up the steep hill into the turn around to the run up, I was thinking it was probably my last chance to pass her, so I gassed it and found a line around Amanda (only to have her roll her tire off right behind me).

Finishing 9th place in my first Louisville racing experience. And now I have nasty gel belly!! Big salmon dinner, that was funny enough all the way from Canada, with potatoes, salad and chocolate and I'm all ready to do it again tomorrow !!!

Regan had an awesome race despite two good crashes, and finished 3rd!!! Amanda "Sport Bean" Wakeling finished 8th, Norm Thibault finished 12th and Peter Wellsman finished 21st. Awesome job islanders!

Huge thanks to Pro City, Zed Wheels, Lazer Helmets, Magpie Obsessions for the tire sponsor, VellendTech for the awesome Sidi shoes and Planet Foods for my Honey Stinger!!! Couldn't do it without you all!!! And big thanks to Regan Pringle for hanging out in the pits for me (haha and telling everyone that "No, she doesn't have a pit bike")

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Tour de Louisville

2 days and 10+ hours of driving (ya I'm getting soft from my old Fort Mac long haul days) and we are in Louisville.

Decided to play tourist today and checked out some pretty cool landmarks. First off we hit the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum to check out some bat making. It was pretty neat, lots of history coming out of that place.

After a quick lunch in a hole in the wall sandwich shop we drove through by the mid town slaughterhouse (yuck) to sneak into the cheap seats at Churchill Downs to watch a horse race. What an amazing venue!!!! Home of the Kentucky Derby!!!

A quick trip to the venue had me sooo stoked to pre ride the course tomorrow. It looks so fun!!!

Amanda "Sport Bean" Wakeling is just making us some of her secret recipe butternut squash soup! Yippee!!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Cross Nationals adventures

Here I am sitting stuffed in the back seat of the mini van with fellow Islanders Peter Wellsman, Amanda (aka Sport Bean) and Regan, on the way down to Louisville… and getting flack from Regan about doing my blog haha, so…okay.

I wasn't completely sure I'd even race nationals until the day before. Pre-ride felt a lot better then I thought it would, first ride outside since the flop on my face. Ground vibration was okay, but the torque needed for the steep climbs and fast accelerations didn't feel so stellar… wait, that's 80% of cross racing. 40 mins of pain can be handled with a double dose of Advil!!!

I had a great start, surprise, surprise, and had the holeshot. The first super steep run up I didn't have the ummpf to ride but Pepper did, passing me an putting a gap between us as I needed to run until it was shallow enough to remount.

I hammered out in second place for the rest of the lap with Emily sitting close on my wheel, and she gassed it by me on the first big climb again. This course was definitely designed for a climber with the super uber steep pitches. It's pretty amazing how much upper body strength you actually use when just trying to turn your cranks over up these nasty hills.

I was able to hold onto a third place at our Canadian Nationals. I don't think I did any more damage to my shoulder but oh my gosh it was sore when I finished!!!! I have to admit I'm a little disappointed with my placing, I was really gunning for the Maple Leaf jersey, but at the end of the day I'm really happy that I was just able to ride.

I had registered for the Sundays Nationals Revenge, but decided to take the day off and be super fan…wow, that is really tiring!!!

Now we are loaded in the minivan, 4 people, 5 bikes, 16 wheels, 1 set of rollers, and all our food and luggage…oh ya and a couple bike boxes!! Oh ya, master Tetris packer I am, just really hope they don't want to search the van at the boarder..…YIKES

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Lots of happenings and going ons

WOW, where have I been?? You'd think with the long hiatus I've just had from blogging that I'd have some really good stories...nope, well a few. Here's a little recap.

Recovered from the Naniamo double header weekend with a nice little head cold. But I fought it hard and ended up with only a fraction of what every one else around me seems to be coming down with. It did take a little chunk out of my scheduled long week of training.

With the help of Pro City Racing member Alex Hui, lead the first Pro City Sistas mountain bike ride!! We had 4 awesome hard core ladies out shredding the trail :) Just for future reference, my route picking abilities suck!!!! I took us on some double black diamond

Getting stoked and excited about upcoming nationals, besides the fact that its out in Toronto again, I did some great training last week. Then decided I needed to make things even tougher on myself then they already would be and had a great little crash during our wednesday night underground cross series. A shortish little trip to the hospital in the back of an I love laughing gas. It's pretty wild just how much a separated shoulder hurts!!! I was really convinced I was dying. Thanks everyone for letting me be a total wimp out there. At least I got out of moving duty...hehe...I make a good supervisor!! (Oh ya, Regan and I just moved into our very own place!!!! Yippeeeee)

So here I am day before heading to Toronto, and I've got conflicting opinions on whether I should even race or not. Might be some rotator cuff damage but haven't been able to get into have a scan yet so don't know for sure....maybe it's better not knowing. We are going regardless as I've convinced Regan he needs to race. I'm hoping a week of easy trainer riding and lots of moving pizza helped with the recovery, and I really hope I decide that my shoulder can survive the 40 min race :)

Either way it's going to be a fun trip to Toronto then down to Louisville, Kentucky for the Papa Johns USGP. It's either that or stay home and paint...which I actually really do enjoy doing, especially when it's red!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Watch more video of Who's #1? North America Cyclocross Rankings 2011/2012 on

Yipppeeee!! I made the top 10 again :)

Have you registered for the Furious3 yet???!!! Furious3 is a new race series consisting of three separate 3 day events. That’s right, 3 awesome days of mountain bike riding!

2011 was the first year for the Furious3 held in amazing small mountain town of Fernie, BC, no better place to do it. Each stage of the 3 day event starts and finishes in downtown Fernie, eliminating the need to move base camp each day making it an easy event to plan and book hotels for. Fernie trails are some of the most amazing and epic trails in North America. From fast and flowy to slow and technical, lots of climbing but lots of descending, you will not be disappointed with the riding…..and 3 days of it. Like most stage races, you can compete on a team of 2, or unlike all stage races, you can also compete solo.

2011 Furious3 in Fernie was a huge success with a lot of very happy racers, and the organizers have worked hard to bring back the Furious3 Fernie, but also introduce two new locations for 2012!!! Furious 3 Whistler and Furious3 Moab!! That’s right, how does a 3 days stage race in Whistler in August sound, or a 3 day stage race in Moab at the end of September sound??? Sounds like I’m going to Fernie, Whistler and Moab to me!

Furious3 Fernie June 30 – July 2, 2012

Furious3 Whistler August 24-26, 2012

Furious3 Moab September 29 – October 1, 2012

Registration for Furious3 Fernie and Whistler are open, but filling up fast, and registration for Furious3 Moab opens Nov 15, 2011. Sign up now for your Best Damn Mountain Bike Race…..Period experience, I know I’ll there.


Event Photos

Monday, 17 October 2011

Double Header on the Island

Oh ya!!! First double header on the Island this past weekend, with two awesome courses in Naniamo! Saturday was our very own Island Cup Championships at Beban Park. This was the location of the my very first cyclocross national championships in I think 2005, and a very similar course....minus a gnarly nasty steep wet grass run up, and the barriers in the barn. Bright sunny and very chilly morning, definitely feeling like fall right now on the island...but I'll take the cold and sunny over the cold and wet any day!

Friday night I joined Robin Farrell at the fire fighters calender launch...hehe. Yummmmm, great food :) Late night (10pm is late for me), then early morning drive up island to Naniamo.

Warming up I was kicking myself for not bring all my winter riding gear again!! But once the race got going the temp was perfect! It was a really fun course with a great mix of fast straight aways, tight technical single track (I wish was was UCI legal), a sweet BMX course and of course some leg killin mud. After hammering the first couple flat grass corners we were shot down a rutted out gravelly decent onto a rolling tight singletrack section. Geoff Robson had the crash of the day there, I miss it but saw him rolling around on the ground for a while before picking himself up and finishing the race. Witnesses say he flew and rolled and hit the ground really hard.....OUCH. From there we moved onto the BMX track, a very technical track by cross standards. Once you roll over the starting gates you hit the steep jumps hard and fast, it was really hard to keep you bike under control while trying to maintain any speed. I cased the last double in the very last lap hard, but managed to stay up, when I gassed it to pass one of the masters men racers before hitting the singletrack again. There were a number of racers walking really stiff after not being as lucky in the BMX's definitely not soft landing.

After the BMX track we headed to the short stair run up then into the mudddddd slog. It's funny, I pinned through here and I felt like I was not moving!!! But I was really happy to hear that I wasn't the only one. Once the track opened up, you had 2 corners to recover before hitting the final confusing mess of corners that switched back into itself and around it and, was confusing in pre-ride, but when you hit it in the oxygen deprived state of racing, people were blowing corners left, right and center!!

photo from Geoff Robson

I had a great race, feeling strong and took the yellow winner towel for women 20-35.....after cheering Regan onto an awesome 9th place against some really fast guys....we packed up and drove back to Victoria to host the Pro City Sistas wine tasting and Rom Com party. Bridesmaids is hilarious!!!!!!

Another early morning drive up to Naniamo in the morning took us to Bowen Park, and the same really hard course as last year. This is one of the most challenging courses I've ever done, a lot of hard steep climbing, rough singletrack and deep sand! I decided to race with the big boys today....gave Regan a kiss and the throat cut...the gloves are down!!

Norm does his little pre-race talk to the group and before he's even got his bike turned around the guns goes off!!! haha, crazy start, no one was ready for that one...but we're off. My typical good start doesn't mean a whole lot racing with the men, and as we gas it up the long road start, I find myself right in the thick of the group. I had a great race, blew a little at the 40 min marker, but working through those last 20 mins are going to make me faster....right??! Finished 8th in the men and didn't get lapped, like I did last year on this course, which was my big goal.

I'm definitely really cooked today, hurried home, got fed and cleaned up in time to make the Sunday night yoga class down at Lululemon.....only it really wasn't the best recovery yoga class and I'm sore and cooked now...haha. I think I was sweating more here then during the race!!

Thanks Regan for the yet again awesome weekend!!! Less then 2 weeks till we move into our condo :)

Friday, 14 October 2011

Whats going on this weekend?

Spent the night sealing my tubular tires.....and I think I'm still a little stoned right now from sniffing all that glue, and I only got one set done! It's funny how labor intensive these tubular tire things are.....but they are definitely worth it!!!

What's going on this weekend??? Cross on the Rocks double header up in Naniamo, on two pretty sweet and super fun courses. Saturday is the Island Cup Championships on the old Nationals Course, one of the hardest but funnest courses around......bmx course included.

Saturday night is the Pro City Sistas wine tasting party.....yippee, and great recovery for the Sunday race!

Plane tickets are booked for the not so stellar looking Nationals course and the wicked looking USGP in Louisville the weekend after!! I think I'm hooked!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Fort Collins USGP

My first USGP cyclocross done and in the books, and what a really cool experience. After a quick pre-ride of the course on Friday in the blazing hot blue bird sky, there was no way that I was believing the snow warnings for the next day! A fast, and very rough course on a sloping farm field, it's a different course then I've ever ridden before. With 3 relatively long steady climbs, lots of tight corners and fast rough descending, it was guaranteed to be a very hard race.

Saturday morning we woke to sound of none other then rain! Just above freezing and rain!! REALLY??? Turning on the news showed the all of surrounding towns with 2, 3, 8 inches of snow!!! Wow, even though it was forecasted, I really wasn't expecting that!! When Peter Wellsman came back freezing and barely able to move, I was a little less then stoked to go outside. After begging to borrow a trainer to warm up under the back door of the van I was warm, dry and read to go play in the mud. As I was standing at the start line I was thinking, cross is all the things you don't necessarily like about mountain biking....riding in a grass field, in the mud, in the rain, in the snow, running with your bike and carrying your bike.....but in cyclocross, it's so much fun!

Second row call up I lined up behind Nicole Duke, which ended up being a great decision because she took off at the gun getting the hole shot prime, giving me room to move up into the top 6. With the clayey mud and the tight turns, it was definitely a mountain bikers advantage course. My Challenge Grifos worked awesome in the mud on my new CrossRock AX, and my super comfy Sidi Spiders were killer with the long Sidi toe spikes in the gnarly mud. Katerina and Katie (aptly names the Clash of the Titans) put an early gap on the field, with Georgia and myself chasing and creating a little gap to the rest of the chase. I managed to stay within contact of her for about a lap and a half, but she was slowly powering away from my.

There was a lot of tri-poding, slipping and sliding going on, but I managed to have a clean run and stay up on my bike.....and even grabbed my first dollar bill hand out!!! Haha, I'm proud of that one :) My fingers were so frozen that I could get the bill stashed properly, so it ended up flapping in my face for the last lap as I finally managed to stuff it down the neck of my thermal undershirt. After slopping across the finish line in my first 4th place in a USGP, I promptly washed my bike and went straight into the shower fully clothed. That poor shower!

Yup, I slept good that night. And woke to the beautiful sight of blue sky again! The course went from sloppy mud to hard packed and fast over night. Second row call up again, I found myself behind Caroline Mani and Georgia Gould. Great decision again, as Caroline got Saturdays holeshot, letting me move up into the top 6 starts! Again Katerina and Katie didn't want to have anything to do with the rest of us and took off! I found myself battling with Nicole Duke for the first 3 laps, Meredith Miller caught, passed and put some good time into us. Part way through the third lap Caroline Mani and Sue Butler caught up as well. For the next lap and a half I was hanging off the back of this group by a thread. I'd close on the corners and the barriers, and get dropped on the accelerations and straightaways. I thought I was going to crack! And I could definitely feel the little bit of altitude today with my ragged breathing.

Caroline put a gap on the chase, and I had a pop of energy to pull away from Nicole and Sue. For the last 2 laps, Caroline was just out of my reach and I was just out of Sue's, and we were all gaining fast on Meredith and the last podium position. But alas...haha, I rolled in 13 seconds off the podium in 5th place. I'm really happy and still a little surprised with how strong I'm feeling right now...maybe this Xterra training really is good for me :)

I was finished racing by 3:30, was cleaned up and bike was packed within 20 mins (thank the skies it was dry on Sunday) and we were on the road by 4 to catch our 7pm flight out of Denver.....I think that was a record turn around. Thanksgiving Monday was the 3rd Cross on the Rocks race and I had all intentions of racing, double header, sheesh, what about a triple header.....but getting up Monday morning I made the decision to just be a super fan. It's really nice sometimes just getting to run around and cheer your ass off all day! Record turn out for this island race at 191 people!!! That's something like 50 more then the previous record the previous weekend. Awesome, awesome, awesome event......definitely would be a better venue for Canadian Nationals then whats planned right now.

Thanks to all my sponsors, and a huge thank you to Regan for getting up at 4 am to glue my tubulars for me!!!!I have the best mechanic/boyfriend every!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Monday, 3 October 2011

Lumber Cross

I think this was the nicest weather that I've ever seen in Port Alberrni!! Everyone says it gets killer hot in the summer, but every time I've raced there, it's been gnarly wet and muddy. This little mid island (literally right smack in the middle) town and it's ASS (Alberni Single Speeders) association puts on a really cool race. Hosted at the historical sight McLean Mill, the course winds in and around the cool old Mill equipment and contains a mountain bikers amount of tight singletrack. The Cross on the Rocks series has the best courses around!!! And Roland and Katie are the most amazing results posters.......they had everything up last night!!!! (only hours after the race)

Super Norm convinced me to race in the Men's race as training for the upcoming Fort Collins USGP races, so I lined with with 23 men on the starting straight. I gave Regan the "You're Going Down" throat cut, then a I haven't decided who is more agressive when racing, men or women. I think I was rubbed out more in this race then ever, but it's great training learning how to race with my elbows out :) I had my typical great start, found myself in the first set of singletrack in a pretty good position, and battled for the first couple laps with some fast dudes. Still feeling a little fatigue from the previous weekend I didn't have the pop to pass on the straight aways, and found myself clogged up through the singletrack, but it was actually the best that I've felt all week.

My new ZedWheels where awesome, so stiff and light weight making the already stiff Trek Cronus even stiffer and lighter (16.1 pounds), and my new Challenge Fango Tubulars were awesome...but I do think this mud tire was a little overkill for the conditions..haha...but if it was like last year (mud, mud, mud) they would have been perfect!!! Half way through the 5th or 6th lap I was sitting in top 10 and feeling good.... then there was a wonky pass, a rock shot up into me, and my front tire went flat...SOB, SOB, SOB....not the brand new tubular!!! There was some foul language coming from me, before I realized I was still racing, so I jumped off my bike and ran to the tech pit. Thank you to the guy that helped me change my front wheel, and I was up and running just in time to jump back in and chase after Russ Anderson who was also plagued with flats. I don't think I've ever seen as many flats in a race as I have on this course, every time I passed the pits there was someone different there. It probably was not my smartest idea to run my brand new wheels/tires on this course, but I was so excited to try them out. I have been informed though that they can be fixed (it was a very small puncture) so all is not lost...yippppppppeeeeee!!!

Getting back into the race, I battled back for the remaining 5 or so laps....ya, there was an absurd number of laps!! And finished in 11th (sprint finish for 10th but I couldn't quite do it!!) and only under 4 mins down. Pretty excited that I'm starting to come around and feel recovered from the Xterra adventure, hope the pop comes back into my legs this week.

I want to send out a huge congrats to Regan, 6th place in the fast dude category!!! And the rest of the Pro City Racers who raced awesome...half of which were also plagued with flat's so cool lining up with 4 other fruit loop kits :)

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Magpie Obsessions

Welcome and thank you very much to my latest sponsor, Magpie Obsessions. Magpie Obsessions makes handmade custom jewelry and has some really cool creations. Everything from bike jewelry to head badges to silversmithing to chainmaille to beading. It is some of the most creative and well done work you'll find. If you are looking for a unique one of a kind piece head badge for your bike, this is the lady to see. If you're looking for a delicate titanium bracelet, yup, look here. And yes, this is my momma and her fantastic art with my poppa taking care of the background work.

Magpie Obsessions is sponsoring me with cyclocross tires for the 2011 season to go on my brand new and super light
Zed Wheels which I am extraordinarily stoked to try out. The CrossRock AX is so light and stiff, and the hub sounds oh so good!!!

Thank you so much to my new and all my old sponsors for all of the support!!!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Xterra US Championships

Survived my second Xterra race in Ogden, Utah, and yes, I was actually a little scared that I really wouldn't survive. If I'm ever to do these again, I really need to learn to swim properly!! You know you're not doing good when another racer stops you and asks if you are okay...haha, yup that really happened.

As a pro, we got a 30 second head start over the age group categories in the swim, which I really liked as there was probably 3 times as many starters as the Whistler was nuts. I was on the look out for Lance Armstrong, but it was really hard to tell who was who in our wetsuits, swim caps and goggles. Off the start I felt good, steady but easy pace, not worried about trying to keep up with the rest of the pack.....I figured at altitude I really didn't want to go out too hard, especially in the water, I'd be in real trouble. Everything was going great, until the age groupers caught me, which really didn't take that long :( All of a sudden I was swarmed!!! And being yanked on, hit, and I panicked again. I actually did some full on back floating this time, no back stroke, but FLOAT....and I still had trouble catching my breath. I feel like I was hyperventilating for the entire 1.5 km (it was actually longer then the announced 1.5km because the leaders were way off pace too). Half way to the first buoy I was thinking "What the hell am I doing out here!!!!!", and I still have to do a second lap.

Alas, I kind of pulled myself together a little, not much of a rhythm to be found while hyperventilating, but I managed to get a couple stretches of good swimming in. Sighting while open water swimming is another thing that really needs some attention...I keep making things harder on myself then they really need to be. I had one stretch of my "good swimming", feeling good about how it was going right then, only to run smack into a marshal kayaker trying to get me back on course .... I had managed to get myself right in the middle of the triangle course......just what I needed, more distance. If you see any of the helicopter footage of the swim and see a little pink swim cap in the middle all by itself, it's more then likely me!!

But I did survive, and I didn't trip coming out of the water this time!!! Small victories are so important at this stage. I'm also proud to say that my bike wasn't the very last bike on the pro rack, there was one more right beside me. I guess the pro guy that racked right beside me beat me in the bet as to who would be last out of the water..hehe.

Transitions are another part of my game that needs a little focus, but this one was much smoother then my first one. Off on the bike, I hammer the road section and pass a number of people, gluing my front wheel to the back of some fast dude for as long as I can hold him. It takes me about 30 mins to finally catch my first Pro woman. FINALLY!! Although the bike is by far my strength, with a 1000m of double track climbing and only 550m of fast non-technical descending, this isn't a course that suites my riding style.....and at altitude non the less. I manage to motor through a number of people, passing a couple more of the pro women before I get stuck behind a small pro descending rather too slowly for my liking. I follow behind her for a ways, but when it opens up, open it up to pass. THUNK!!! One of the 5 rocks on course, and I nail it. I hold my breath.....but it seems to be I keep motoring.

5 minutes down the trail I realize my back wheel is starting to get really squishy :( I jump off and get to finally use the Genuine Innovations Big Air that I've been riding with all year. Yup, that's my first flat of the year, and as usual, the Big Air works awesome. I throw a bunch of air in the tire, it seems to be holding, so I jump back on not loosing any positions and cruise off. Just as I'm closing in on another pro woman, I realize I've gone flat I get to test out my race flat change. I can't quickly find a hole so the Genuine Innovation tire plugs aren't going to work unfortunately, that would have been a much faster fix, so out comes the tire lever and the dirty ole tube that's been pasted on my seat tube all year. I should have timed myself because I'm pretty sure I did a really good job on this one, and my Big Air had just enough CO2 left to fill the tube. Back in the saddle, I realize I'm in last place again....haha....and I'm stuck behind a long string of people. Slowly I pick off as many people as I can, and only 2 pro at least I'm not last.

I hit the run feeling pretty good. I guess the good thing about altitude is that you actually can't push your body too hard, it's physically impossible because you just can't breath good enough to go really hard. I pass a whole wack of people up the first nasty run. Ya, I can't believe that I was actually passing people running up hill.....small fast steps really work. It's an almost 10 km trail run on way more technical, rolling terrain then the bike and I find that although I crack at the 3 mile marker, I'm really enjoying myself. Around the time I crack, I'm going a little cross eyed, and I see a big black fuzzy butt in the woods......another black bear!!! Nope, MOOOOOOO......just a fuzzy black cow. The run finishes with a mile downhill singletrack running....I've been grilling everyone about how to run downhill...and although I know I'm still not great, and I probably looked anything but graceful but I was able to successfully run downhill better then my last attempt.

The killer was the last 50m steep uphill stretch just before the final small descent into the finish....this is where everyone was watching...I really hope I wasn't drooling too much at this point. Almost 30 mins behind defending super fast champion Mel McQuaid, I finished 15th in the Pro Women category.

What now???? Hmmm, I think I'm going to stick with cross for the rest of the season...hehe. Thoughts of Fort Collins are dancing in my head at the moment....maybe :)

Monday, 19 September 2011

3 Cross Races in 5 Days!

Yes!! Survived 3 hard cross races and one full day of Vegas in 5 days…… now I'm sitting in the Seattle airport enroute to Salt Lake City sipping my second double americano for the day and trying not to fall asleep. Im actually feeling a lot better all things considered then I thought I would. I couldn't escape from Vegas fast enough, it's definitely not my kind of place. I would do Cross Vegas again, but I think it would even be more of an in and out kind of trip then I did this year … but you gotta do it at least once.

StarCrossed on Saturday was as usual, great!! Unfortunately due to booking conflicts at the velodrome the race was moved to Lake Sammamish park instead. It was still and awesome event, but the course at the velodrome is really cool. Being at a park too, it wasn't quite the night cross it was last year, but the beer garden fans at the barriers were still amazing!!!

I really wasn't sure how I would feel. Walking around Interbike (the big dumb bike show) all Thursday really kicked my butt, and my warm up was very sub par. I lined up thinking, okay, just have fun with this. Two Alberta girls, I won't name names, lol, missed call up so I was able to squeak up into a first row start position…SCORE!!!! I couldn't remember if this was one of the races that had the holeshot prime, so off the start I took full advantage of my great starts (and no, no holeshot prime here) and gassed it. As a mountain biker I like to be able to ride an open course and not have to fight around the corners, so I charged to string out he field. Katherine Nash (Luna), Sue Butler and Caroline Mani (French Nat Champ) stuck to my wheel like glue, and it was pretty neat hammering out a lap and a half with those fast women. Half way through the second lap, Katerina passed me through the sand run (ya, I dont know why I'm so slow on the run, I'm tall I should be fast!!!!) and I was able to stick on her wheel for a couple corners, but she just had more gas coming out of the sand then I did. We would hold pretty even through out the lap, then she'd put time on me through the sand and out the other end.

She stretched out her lead and I stretched out my gap over Sue and Caroline who were working together and charging, through out the race. With 2 laps to go I come down the fly over ramp and getting a little lazy, end up landing on my saddle causing the seat to rotate nose up…NO!! Figuring I can ride it out to the sand pit, then hammer the saddle back into place on the run, I continue pushing my pace not wanting to give up any time. Then in a moment of lapsed focus I take the corner into the pits a little too hot and go down hard! My bike skids into the pits and I power slide right along with it. Jumping up faster then I hit the ground I'm back on my bike and trying to pedal. My chain had fallen off and while trying to get it back up on the front chain ring it sucks back up into the frame and jams.… flash back to Cross Vegas, though not nearly as bad. Sue and Caroline fly by me, I get my chain sorted out, and decide to hit my saddle back into place (everyone was yelling at me here to relax and chill out… haha, I guess it probably looked bad, but I really didn't wan to ride with the saddle tilted up) and got back in the race. Lap and a half to go, I hammer as hard as I can to chase back up, and not loose more time to the girls behind me, but in the end I finish just off the podium in 4th place.

Sunday I wanted redemption!!! It rained pretty hard all night, so although it was the same course, it ended up being very different. Second row call up (no squeaking into a front row today), I settle into a group of the same 4 of us from the previous day. Going through the start finish after a lap I look behind me and see the chase group closing, so I launched and attack… yup, mountain biker brain again. Katerina and I charge off and the race ends up looking almost the same as StarCrossed. No crashes and no mechanical today!!!!! I end up on my first big cross podium in second place between the Czech and the French national champ.

I am super stoked with all my races, but really excited I was able to keep it all together for the last race. Regan had 2 amazing races too, with a really solid 3rd and 2nd respectively!! He's back!!!!!! And a super solid presence from the rest of the Pro City Team and numerous other Victoria racers! Junior racer Amanda Wakeling kicked butt in the women's cat 4 and cat 3 races!!

Huge thank you to all my sponsors, Trek Pro City for the super awesome Cronus, Lazer Helmet for of course the Helium Helmet, VellendTech for the super sexy and super confortable cross specific Sidi Spider and Honey Stinger for the best race chews, gels and protein bars for warm up, staging and recovery nutrition. After a week of practically no swimming, this Xterra in Ogden is going to hurt!! Maybe some TRX to get me back in shape.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Cross Vegas!!!

First kick at the cat for Cross Vegas!! Pretty neat event for sure. The course is nothing special, wide open power course with wide sweeping turns, short run ups, long straight aways and lots of rowdy fans. After raining all morning I was a little scared with my tire selection of file treads (and that's all I traveled with … the forecast leading into my departure was hot and dry with 30 % chance of showers.… not the flood warnings we were getting. Only in Vegas can a 30% chance stack up against you. But the sandy grass drains remarkably well and my tires were perfect.

I had my typical awesome start and was feeling really good. Sitting in about 5th in a small group half around the first lap i rubbed the wheel of the girl in front of me and went down. No biggy, rubbin's racin, jumped back up and on my bike, no time lost.… but my chain had jumped off, and somehow managed to get jammed. After some frantic tugging and cursing and pulling I finally managed to get things straightened out and haha, I was DFL ain!!! The whole field had zipped past me :(

Well here we go!! I actually had an amazing race, I felt really strong and road everything clean and solid. The one thing about starting from the very back, its a nice feeling passing everyone!!! Managed to claw my way back up to 15th with top ten within my sights.

Checking out Interbike today and hopefully going to hunt down a chain guide!!!!!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Cumberland Coal Cross

Phew.....first cross race of the season done and out of the way!!! Cross bike arrived Thursday afternoon and Regan spent Thursday night and Friday morning putting my sexy new Trek Cronus together for me...yippee..just in time!

Oh ya, it's purdy for sure :) With Cross Vegas fast approaching I needed to test out how file tread tubulars react to grass and gravel corners, so the boys from Trek Pro City let me use a classic 1980's set of sweet carbon Zipp stiff and fast and I'm really liking the tubulars. So very excited for my very own custom Zed WheelWorks CrossRock AX...I think I'm ruined for clinchers now....oh no, only expensive tires from now on!!

Early morning wake up and a 3 hour drive north up Vancouver Island to the cute little town of of my favorite mountain towns. The Cross on the Rocks series has gotten completely out of control! It's amazing how many people are coming out to these races now. There were even enough women to break us up into 2 categories for the first time...keep coming out ladies and bring more friends!!

This race is a fast, flat, all out power hammer course, with wide sweeping corners, the largest whirly-whirl ever (I was getting dizzy in it) and a trip through the BMX track and the pump track every lap....and as always, it's soooo fun. With a large women's field, the first cross race of the season, and my first race against many of these ladies this season, I was nervous race. It's funny, no matter how many times I've raced, what I've raced, who I've raced and where I've raced, I still get the pre-race's probably a good thing, means I care about my race :)

I had a great start, took the hole shot and with thoughts of Cross Vegas in 3 days, I hammered, boy I do love my starting kick. Dawn Berg Anderson as always was fast, and grabbed my wheel as soon as I went by. I managed a small gap through the first lap, and road hard and steady for the next 4 laps. My bike felt dialed and I felt great!! I think all this cross training is good for me.

Regan moved up from intermediate to expert, and raced some wicked fast men. I'm really proud of him, suffering through the 30+ degrees (I think the long sleeve skin suit was not the right choice...for me either) and finished 17th in his first expert race!! Coming off his broken collar bone he's of the mindset to just throw himself right into the heart of racing again and race himself back into fitness....if this is any indication, watch out guys!!!

Now I'm frantically packing my mountain bike and my cross bike to get ready for my action packed 11 days of holidays??? Haha, how about 4 races in less then 2 what am I getting myself into??????? Here's how it's going to look: Tuesday fly to Vegas, Wednesday night race CrossVegas, Thursday partake in Interbike, Friday morning fly to Seattle, Saturday evening race StarCrossed, Sunday race Rapha Gran Prix, Monday fly to Salt Lake City.....take a couple days breather and get used to altitude, Saturday race Xterra USA Championships (haha, yup, I'm doing another one), Sunday fly home!!! Then I might need a real holiday...YIKES.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Pic's of the awesome weekend

Getting ready to take the plunge along side another former mountain bike animal, Tanis Banks-Tomlin. I totally look like a swimmer, so we'll just leave it at that, no more swimming pictures!!

Oh ya, way more comfortable on bridges then in the water.

Huge congrats and a big thanks to Mel McQuaid who waited at the finish line to make sure I finished in one piece. Yah!!! Reigning Canadian Champion on one of the toughest courses!!

A bunch of super fast ladies.
Of course me on the left, Brandi Heisterman (2nd - yah mountain bikers!!!), Mel in the middle, Danelle Kabush (3rd - another mountain biker), and Emma Garrand (4th).

These awesome pictures and many more from none other then Regan Pringle of reganpringleshoots

Monday, 5 September 2011

My First Big Cheque!!!

Swim, bike, run.… does that make me a tri geek now?? Hehe. I did my first ever Xterra race this weekend in Whistler, BC !!! Not sure if I already have racers amnesia or what, but I had a great time. Painful yes, but it was a lot of fun, and I only mildly embarrassed myself in the swim.

Okay, ya, the swim......this was basically my second swim in the wetsuit and probably my sixth swim since I decided this is what I was doing.… and my first mass start swim (yuck!!!). First 50m of the swim actually went really good and I was thinking "wow, maybe this won't be that bad". Then someone's foot knocked that idea out of me and replaced it with a throatful of lake water. So in the middle of the swim I come to a complete stop, sputtering and chocking. Didn't take me long to remember i was still in a race so I got moving again, but all that drowning I was doing took a lot out of me. All I could manage to do was a little breast stroke and yes, I did some backstroke in the race. Finally I got my rhythm back, only to realize the group I was swimming with had completely missed the first bouey!!! Doing extra distance was the last thing I needed, but I turned around and swam back…ugggg. I did notice not everyone was silly enough like me to backtrack back on course. Finishing the first 750m we had a short beach run, the most painful 30m ever, then back into the water for a second lap around the lake. My second lap went much smoothly and I was a little surprised when I made it to the bike to find mine the last lone bike of the pro rack, haha.

But I get a head of myself.… no one told me just how hard it would be to walk let alone run out of the lake. Pulling myself out of the water I was thinking "smooth, fast transition onto the bike, no problem"........pulling my arms out through the wetsuit I miss judged the set up from the beach to the grass, yup you guessed it, I tripped!!!! Arms stuck in the wetsuit I fell flat on my face and T-Rexed around on the grass for a couple seconds before I could get myself back up!!! Haha, I really hope someone got that on tape!!!! Transition wasn't so smooth either, buckles on bike shoes are not the easiest thing to do up while you're trying to go fast!!! And my honey stinger sponsor Clay was standing there cheering, and more then likely laughing his ass off at me the whole time…way to impress the sponsor!!!!

The bike was a hundred times better. Once I managed to get my gloves on, which was another difficulty, and get moving I felt pretty strong. And this course is a mountain bikers course without a doubt!! Tight and technical and lots of bridges....yippee!!! I started the bike the 13th woman (last pro) and finished the bike in 3rd place......unfortunately my great transition time is added to the bike time so it really doesn't look ad impressive as it felt.

Heading out on the run I really didn't know what to expect, but I knew Danelle Kabush was hot on my heels. This was a really tough run up and down a lot of great and very hard mountain bike trails. Danelle caught me really fast and passed me like I was crawling so I ran in fourth place for most of the run. Had a couple good tumbles on the run.…tripping and staggering all over the place. An finishing the damn run on a long downhill!!!! Super yuck!! There is an art to running downhill fast and I don't have that yet. With less then a km to go Emma Garrand caught me, please let me note she is a runner, and I lost fourth by 9 seconds!!

So all in all, I finished 5th in my first Xterra and had a blast. More then a little cooked right now, but excited about learning how to swim better. When you start more then 8 minutes down right off the bat it's a long day of catch up. Huge congrats to Mel McQuaid grabbing another Canadian Championship title very handedly! And to fellow mountain biker Brandy Heisterman who had an awesome day in second place. Mountain bikers 2 Xterra Pros 3. Not too bad

Now I'm getting myself in cross shape for Cross Vegas in 9 days, yikes!! But first I'm going to enjoy an ice bath back at Alta Lake in Whistler!

Huge thanks to all my sponsors for helping through the weekend. Pro City Cycle, Lazer Helmets (which are actually very easy to transition with, VellendTech for my Sidi shoes, Genuine Innovations, Oakley and Planet Foods with all the Honey Stinger products that helped me get through the day. Also a big shout out to my mechanic Regan, Pro City Sistas Jen for the awesome wetsuit (though I think I needed the model with the built in propeller ) and my mentor and superstar Mel (thanks for the gentle nudge to give it a try)!!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Zed Wheels

I send out a huge thank you and big yippee to my newest sponsor, Victoria's very own custom wheel builder Brad Head of Zed Wheels.

I'm really excited to rock his new CrossRock AX tubular wheels at Cross Vegas!!! Look for them!!

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Monday, 29 August 2011

What am I getting myself into!!!!

Nose is healing good!!! Scar isn't too bad, and I don't think I'm going to loose the end of my nose...though I did cut through all the nerves and I can't feel the right side of my nose, very weird feeling! I've been back swimming, and good thing too, the big Xterra race is this weekend...YIKES!!!

My big goal is not to embarrass myself, by doing something like drowning in Alta Lake. Though I think the wetsuit will save me there, hopefully I don't trip trying to get out of it...or, oh my...haha, could be very exciting. The swim is 1500m, which I'm hoping will take me less then a half hour. It's hard to make a goal because I haven't swam that long continuously yet, but I think that's a safe goal.

The bike is 30 km...yippee, and it sounds like it's going to be really technical. PHEW!!! May be able to make up some time there....probably not much on Mel McQuaid, she's a beast I tell you!! And incredibly strong!! I have been told that the main route for the bike is on the trail "River Runs Through It", which is a slow, twisty singletrack with a number of bridges and low stunts...good thing I'm turning into a west coast rider.

The run is 12 km (why the extra 3 km from last year I really don't know...and I don't know that I like that!!!). I've been slowly upping my running, but I know it's going to be painful regardless at the end. Running and cycling muscles are completely different and my running years are very far in my past, hopefully there's some running muscle memory left in me. My first goal for the run was an hour, but after a couple of runs, I'm think more like an 1:15 would be realistic!! Regan, you're going to have to carry me back to the truck!!!!!

And now I've gone and signed up for Cross Vegas for Sept 14...yipppeeee. Nothing like a Wednesday night cross race, the biggest cross race in North America, to start off the season!!!! Then I'll fly right to Seattle where I'm hoping I can get Regan to pick me up at the airport so we can go do StarCrossed and the new Rapha Focus GrandPrix on the weekend!! Can't believe it's already that time of year again....Here we go again! Busy, busy, busy...I'm looking for a job for the fall too, yuck.

Thursday, 25 August 2011


Nothing like a nice little mid-week ride up and over to Duncan and home with Mel McQuaid. That's the first 5 hour road ride for me for the year! Yup, not ashamed to admit I sat in Mel's draft as much as possible while she hammered out her intervals on her spacey looking TT bike.

Today I'm going to get back in the water, I think my nose is good enough to go (maybe not in the lake yet). And, yipppee....getting my stitches out!!!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Xterra Training

All recovered from the TR3, and feeling strong. I have to say that stage racing is the best training ever for me, I always seem to come out really strong afterwards, especially if I manage to keep myself healthy. And it looks like I finished up just in time!! The second half of the Transrockies had more of the typical rain (though not nearly as bad as the last two years) that makes the clay really slick....yes, I weenied out this year, and I'm okay with that.

Huge thanks to the guys at Trek Pro City for hosting the ladies night at the shop on tuesday. Nothing says a great night out like a chocolate fountain (ya, and Bill gave me the chocolate to melt...that's dangerous), cheese and crackers, wine and manicures!!! Ya, that's right first one and I love the hot red nails.

Xterra training is going great, 2 weeks to go and I'm excited, very nervous, but really excited to give this a go....and Whistler is always a really fun venue. Thanks to one of the many great Pro City Sistas I have my very own super spacey wetsuit that is going to make me super fast (well hopefully not last) in the water!!! Along with a couple really good runs (with blackberry picking detours) and rides I'm feeling really strong for this time of year...

Friday I had a bit of a set back......a very painful and scary set back. Hanging up my bike in the bike room, rear wheel up on the wall, I manage to hit the big heavy glass ceiling light cover and smash it. It happened really fast, and didn't feel a thing, but next thing I know I have blood spurting out the side of my nose and all down the front of me. I'm usually pretty calm, and blood really doesn't upset me too much, but I panicked when I saw myself in the mirror. Calling Regan, cause I know I can't drive myself to the hospital, I end up freaking him out so bad that he calls the ambulance for me....yippee, another trip to the hospital. The glass was so heavy that it actually managed to slice right through the cartilage, but was stopped by the thick cartilage that separates my left and right nostrils...sorry, I know it's gross. You know it's a little serious when they get you in right away...I think that was my fastest hospital visit ever. 7 stitches in my nose, and 3 in my temple (didn't even know that I'd cut myself there) to add to my overall count.

Regan wrote me instructions for my ride :)

But I really am lucky not to have hit my eyes!! After a day off yesterday (the nicest day of the year!) I set up the trainer today to make sure I didn't end up blowing a stitch and watched good ole Transformers....that's a great movie for trainer riding. Couple more days of easy then back at it. Hopefully I get some feeling back in my nose!!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Awesome pictures from the awesome photographer John Gibson !!!!

Day 3

For those who say, Day 3 couldn't have been that hard!!! HA!!! I say, here's the course profile!!!!!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

I love this race!

Okay I know I missed a day..... But I was so gooned yesterday I could barely walk straight!!!  I'm uber pooped after todays stage so this is just a quicky.

Yesterday, Day 2 of the Transrockies was one of the harder days of racing. Almost 2 hours of steady climbing is definitely not my forte, I think they need a Clydesdale category !!  I was able to keep Mel McQuaid and Catherine Vipond within sight up till the first feed zone, but I cracked pretty hard here and found myself barely moving over the rolling doubletrack and mossy slow singletrack to the summit of Porky Blue.

Porky Blue is this gnarly fast steep switchbacked descent where you loose over a 1000m elevation in something ridiculous like about boiling brakes!!  From the top of Porky to the finish I was in no mans kinda funny how you start to loose focus when you're 2+ hours in and buy yourself....and it's kinda lonely.  Missed my mule (Jeff Neilson) from the past two years.

Finishing 3rd behind Catherine who stomped the day, and Mel who also had an awesome ride, I lost my pink jersey to Catherine. 

So enter day 3 of the TR3 and I have just over 2 mins ahead of me to Catherine and 2 mins behind me to Mel.... Day 3 was a battle from the get go.  Course profile for this stage is pretty nasty with 5 major very steep climbs, a couple of which have 2 summits, and 4 long fast and technical descents.....oh ya, and 90% singletrack, this was one of the best stages ever....and killer hard. 

It was a slow climbing day, spending most of my time in my easiest gear, sometimes barely even turning the pedals over.  But each and every downhill was more then worth it!!!  So fast, so long and so technical (thank you Troy soooo much for letting me use your dually, I would have been suffering a lot more on my I'm soft!!!) each trip back down the mountain left me giggling like a school girl. 

The last climb up to Island Lake Lodge wasn't the most enjoyable way to finish the stage, haha.  Leaving the gravel road at the bottom we entered an old rail grade trail that was just littered with huge roots, making the riding very rough and slow.  Thump thump thump Ouch!!  Popping back out to the gravel road for a little reprieve, we finish the final stretch up a steep, seemingly never-ending grass  climb. I was moving so slow at this point under the baking sun that the black flies had a royal feast of me.  My biggest thanks ever to Crazy Larry for his motivating yelling that helped me get up the final stretch!  

I had a great ride and was able to grab back the pink jersey!!! Jean Ann had a great day and I could feel her breathing down my neck all day.  Mel unfortunately missed a corner and went off course, it would have been incredibly hard riding with her up those climbs!!!!

My fourth TR was a success and yes, I will likely be back next year!  Thanks momma and poppa for the great support as usual.  Thanks to the girls for pushing me hard for three great days. And a huge thanks to entire Transrockies crew for hosting a great event yet again (and for the great weather this year....finally!)

One month to get myself in shape for the Xterra in Whistler...yikes. 

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Sweet Singletrack in Fernie!!!

I can't believe it's that time of year again already!! Transrockies!  Yippee.  I've opted for the TR3 this year instead of the full seven days of riding.....which I'm actually kinda sad about because the course in the Kananaskis uses all the best trails!!!  TR3 this year is all on the super duper awesome trails of Fernie!!!  Oh how I love Fernie riding:)

After a big mint chocolate chip ice cream with my old TR and BCBR partner and his wife last night, and a delicious organic supper with my folks, I was stoked and feeling good!!  Day 1 was a 32km (my gps says 34km) TT with 1 min gaps.  Based on UCI points Catherine Vipond started ahead of me and Jean Ann Berkenpas behind me....and Mel McQuaid somewhere in the mix behind her.  400m out of the gate I heard the train blowing it's whistle as is rolled through town and right over the course .... Uggh.  Thankfully they let me start again and reset my time,  but now Catherine had a 6 min gap on me...outta sight outta mind.

I had a great start, feeling strong climbing up the first hill,  yup starts are my forte.  Up over the first climb, crossing a chunck of road about 10 mins in I go to shift into a harder gear in the back ..... And nothing.  Ahhhhhh what the????  It's like the shifter is empty, pushing all the way through the lever but nothing is engaging. Big double BOOOOOOO.  Stopping quickly I can't find anything jamming the derailluer, so I give a little sob and a swear and come to terms quickly with the fact that I'm running a really expensive two speed for the next 30 km.  Thankfully the my big ring is only a 38 tooth (which is pretty small) so I'm able to use my big ring a lot.  

I'm stuck in the second easiest gear in the rear, so glad it's not one of the harder gears or that first climb would have double sucked.  Long uber steep grind of a climb, almost 500 m in about 2 km.....ouch.

As I crest the mountain I switch to big ring and I loved the super fast steep technical descent....didn't even need to pedal for most of it.

Through the feed zone, thanks poppa for riding out to give me a feed, the up into the second half of the course.  This half is a lot more rolling and fast, with some short hard steep climbs and fast open sections.  I was definitely hating my gearing on the flat to slightly downhill road section!!!  Haha it's probably the only time you'll ever hear me wish for a climb.  Spin spin spin tuck spin spin spin tuck.  I was looking over my shoulder the whole way running scared.

Looking at the profile, the majority of the run back into the finish was predominately downhill, and this spin spin spin thing was just wearing me out.  By tightening the cable on the barrel adjuster I was able to get my chain to stay in the fourth gear in the back.  Once I got it there I didn't want to risk changing gears again so I was really suffering on a couple of those final climbs haha.  Regardless of the gearing these trails are incredible!!!!  And way more fun this year when they aren't so soggy and so slippery that you end up tripoding everything like last years TR.

So spin spin spin tuck spin spin spin tuck, spinning in fear looking over my shoulder the whole final stretch into the finish!!!  Yippee I survived!!!!  And I actually did a lot better then I thought I would pulling off the first stage win :).

 Yah clean jersey for tomorrow!! And a new rear shifter.....upgraded from a 2 speed to a 20 speed....

Can't wait for supper I'm hungry!!!!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Liittle Sunday Ride

Thanks Mel for helping me get my endurance back!!!


Wow, moving is a pain in the butt!!! But I think this move is very worth it. Our new pad is about 4 times the size of our last one, and we can actually stand up in the bedroom!!! Crazy I tell you, crazy!! Almost done, it's wild all the stuff we kept pulling out of the crawl space in our old place, when you stay in one place for any period of time you just amass junk!! Purge time!

Tomorrow, yikes already, I'm heading over to Fernie for the TR 3. Nope, no 7 days of slogging through the mud for me this year, going to keep it to the Fernie trails instead. Pretty excited!!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Canada Cup Finals


That was the scene at Canadian Nationals last weekend, but this past weekend in Edmonton for the Canada Cup finals was far from sunny and dry!! The course runs under the high level bridge just off of 109th ave, right in the heart of the city, so it's an extremely cool venue. But for anyone who know Edmonton and Edmonton mud/clay, when it rains it's next to impossible to ride. I pre-road on Friday in the pouring rain and it was actually almost a little better then because the ground was so saturated that the water was just sitting in puddles on top of the trails....but the roots were nasty. It stopped raining sometime during the night and race day Saturday was sunny and the mud started turning to chunky peanut butter.

After 4 weeks of rest, only small training rides and racing on the weekends, I was well rested for the weekend. I felt great off the start, having one of my strongest starts to the season, hitting the first singletrack section just ahead of Jean Ann. I managed to open up a small gap along the open road section leading to the back half of the course....and the really muddy section. Once we were forced to dismount and start running Catherine Vipond made up the gap and passed me.....I was trying to ride too much and just should have kept running. You'd think with me being the tallest rider out there I'd have super long legs and be able to run really fast....but that's actually a myth!!! I have pretty stubby legs for my size...haha....and Catherine looks like she's turning into a runner.

On one of the steep technical descents (one that is usually no problems at all) I decided yet again I needed to try and ride move Mical!! Half way down the muddy rooty slope I lost full control and smashed a tree nice and was a big thick tree too, one that didn't have much give....with my leg and the side of my face. It took me a couple seconds to collect myself, Jean Ann passed me running, followed by Sandra and Rebecca Boumont. Sandra slide out just as she was passing me so I was able to hop back up and slide back into position in front of her. Once we got out of the muddy singletrack onto a stretch that I could actually ride I noticed that my seat was twisted almost 90 degrees around....yah, that's uber comfortable to ride on. Stopping to fix my seat Sandra and Reb passed me and I lost contact with them in the 30 seconds it took to loosen off and re-tighten the seat clamp.

And that's where I found myself for the rest of the race...haha, seems I'm always in no mans land. Through some of the switchback sections I would see the pick bikes of Jean Ann and Sandra, but never seemed to any time difference with them. In the last lap I noticed on the open sections that Reb was slowing down, and I'm gaining on her fast. I catch her on the last climb and give a burst of speed to pass her and put as much time into as possible. There is over a km of flat straight gravel/road into the finish and I pop out of the last singletrack well ahead of her, but as I look over my shoulder I see she's not ready to give up without a fight!!! Awesome!! So I have to work hard to stay ahead of her and hold onto my fourth place finish.

I have to yet again thanks to my Lazer helmet for saving my noggin from the tree and to my Sidi Dragon for being comfortable like slippers while running through the forest! Thanks to Clay at PlantFoods for the best tasting sport nutrition HoneyStinger products, Genuine Innovations for always being on my bike even though I hope to heck that I never have to use it and Steve Blick of Oakley for the awesome new Radars with really cool new photochromatic lenses (these are a must try!!!)

Getting ready to head home for two weeks, yippee, to hang out with Regan and whip him back into shape. Have to take my bike in to the boys at Trek Pro City to get it all tricked out and tuned up for the TR3!!!! Huge thanks to my momma and poppa for all the support the past two weeks....see you in two weeks for another week of fun!!!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Fast and Female Canmore Clinic

I didn't know they caught us dancing!!!!!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Still Racing

Ya, I know, I've very much fallen off the blog bandwagon....okay, back in the saddle. A fair bit has happened in the past two weeks since Mont St Anne, week trip down to Windham, NY for another World Cup, then out to Canmore for Canadian Nationals.

First off, Windham World Cup. Oh wait, we stopped by Lake Placid on the drive down to take in some post Olympic magic, and enjoy a good old American 4th of July. It was a pretty jammed packed overnight stay. Did some awesome trail riding, went swimming (or flouncing in the Lake), ate at one of two remaining Howard Johnson restaurants (9.95$ all you can eat taco buffet....oh ya!!!), and watched the 4th of July fireworks.

On to Windham, it's one of those classic mountain bike courses that the US is known for, with one long climb and one long decent. I really enjoy with course, the climbing is long and steady with only a few really steep sections. And the downhill is fast and rough, and a little technical through a couple of sections. I had a much better race here then at Mont Ste Anne, finishing 40th, but I know I've still got better in me somewhere.

This past weekend was Canadian Nationals in Canmore, Alberta......miss this place for sure. It was probably one of the funnest courses that I've ridden. Technical climbing, tight fast technical descending and of course Soft Yogurt.......the fast new pump track inspired descent!!! Overall, it kinda felt like there was more descending then climbing....of course I'm gonna love it!! Matt Hadley and his crew did an awesome job of building the course and Ed Garvin and the his Cyclemeisters did an awesome job of laying it out and hosting the weekend.....Thanks!

After another week of rest, I felt good going into the race. I had my typical good start, but I right off the bat I was having troubles pushing myself into the race zone. I found myself racing back and forth with BC's Brandi Heisterman, she'd smoke me on the climbs and I'd make up time on the downhills. We played back and forth for most of the race, but at the end she a had a little more gas then me and ended up pulling away. Jean Ann Berkenpas had an early bike issue and I could tell she was charging hard to catch back up. Going up the final climb into back into the stadium I found a little more in the tank and pushed myself to stay ahead of her. I held on to 8th place, and totally gooned at the finish. Not the placing I was aiming for, not the feeling I was hoping for, but I left it all out on the course and it was the best race I could have had on the day.

Sunday was the team relay I had the opportunity to race as the last rider for team BC. One lap of a slightly shortened course, all out as hard and as fast as you can go!!! Neil Kindree got us off to a great start, Evan Guntrie continued to extend out lead and Quinn Moberg hammered hard to give me a minute buffer going into my final lap. Of course, I had Adam Morka and Derek Zanstra chasing me down, but I was determined to hold them off as long as I could. I hammered hard out of the gate and up the climb.....which at full gas feels a lot longer and harder then I remembered. Adam caught just before the top of the climb, shortly before hitting the singletrack descent, and I didn't have the gas to respond as he passed me and hammered by. Popping out near the stadium to loop through the eye dropper and down into Soft Yogurt, I had about a minute lead still on Derek. It's amazing how fast that minute can disappear, I was ready to give him a shove off the trail when he passed me on the final climb back into the finish. We managed to hang on for a great 3rd place!!! Thanks guys.

After the relay podium, we all scrambled to get changed and help out as ambassadors for the Fast and Female clinic hosted at the Canmore Nordic center. 40 plus, 9-19 year girls learning different mountain bike skills and that it's fun to be active. It was a great turnout and a really cool event to be a part of!!!

Now I'm hanging out in Calgary, relaxing with my parents and their new dog :) I've got the Edmonton Canada Cup this weekend, then the TR 3 in 3 weeks, then......I'm not really too sure what the rest of my season is going to look like right now....but I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

My Mont Ste Anne debacle

Mont Ste Anne

Wow I really don't know what that was!! Definitely not my fast though. From lots of past experience I know first hand that this course can eat you up fast if you go out too hard so I made it my goal to keep myself in check off that start. This is one of the most challenging but also rewarding courses on the world cup circuit.....or any other circuit for that matter. It's what you call a "real" mountain bike course with technical climbs and descents. And let me tell you there is a lot of steep climbing here too!!!

So onto race day. Nothing like 29 degrees and super humid to shock the system! Making starting easier even more important. I had a great start keeping my heart rate low and not pushing into the red. Everything was going perfect and I felt really good. Actually a lot better then I usually do on this course.

Near the end of the second lap, not even 40 mins in, it was like a switch and my body just started to reject the idea of doing anything. It truly was a strange feeling, legs felt cold and tingle. Ya strange!!! I know a lot of racing is being able to push through pain but today I didn't have what it took to push through this. I slowed my pace trying to get things to come around but things just kept getting worse. I ended up started my 3rd lap but going backwards fast. At this point it seemed my brain signals were almost getting crossed and I couldn't ride in a straight line.

Finishing lap 3 I was pulled, first time in a couple of years and let me tell you, it's really not a very good feeling. And I have to admit I almost just booked my ticket home to forget about the next world cup in Windham, and take the time to sort myself out. But I truly am a sucker for punishment and keep coming back for more.

So plan for this week is to recover (even though I only raced for an hour yesterday it feels like I've done a 4 hour hammer ride) and try to calm my mind and come to terms with what happened this weekend. I know I'm a better rider and a faster racer then any of my results have proven this year. I just to keep remembering that but at the same time reminding myself that at the end of the day it's just bike riding......which I LOVE to do.

Thanks Regan for being my rock through all this self discovery. Thanks momma and poppa for your continued support. Thanks to all my sponsors for helping my out this season. Thanks to everyone who believes in me :) sappy I know haha.

Alright fast, where are you!!!!!