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!!!!!