Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Quick and Dirty

The quick and dirty update….requested from Regan, nagged by Regan, pestered by Regan…that I update from the weekend.  Haha, okay, not that bad :)

All this overtime is taking it's toll on my system and it's taking a lot longer then I would like to recover from every workout.  Managed to take thursday and friday off, and a four day weekend was exactly what I needed.  Actually a 10 day weekend would have been perfect, but you take what you can get.  We loaded up the car and headed over to Vancouver for the V_CX_C race in Abbotsford.  First big effort since getting back on the bike, and when I saw Catherine Pendral and Sandra Walter at the start line the suffer score just went up, like 40 fold!

photo from Regan Pringle
Had my typical great start, always have to lead out, and quickly found myself in a lead group with Catherine and Sandra.  The long straight course with big climbs didn't suit me to begin with, but throw in a World Champion training full time and I was in a world of hurt.  Going into the fourth of seven laps Catherine really pushed the pace and I was dropped off the back of the group, suffering and finishing in third place….race to fitness this weekend!!

photo from Regan Pringle
Back to the island and up to Shawnigan Lake for Island Cup finals.  Most amazing venue ever, and super fun course with some very rad singletrack :)  All cross races should have single track!  Opting to race with the men, Wendy Simms and I had an epic battle within a battle!  It was so much fun switching back and forth, some sections I would ride faster, some she would ride faster.  I was feeling surprisingly decent considering how trashed I was from the day before, and was looking forward to fighting it out to the finish.  Three laps to go I hear the distinctive sound of a tire burping behind me and Wendy disappeared.  Two laps to, the  race running over an hour for me, my body started to shut down a little and I managed to just settle into a slightly uncomfortable pace to finish off the race…OUCH!!

photo from Regan Pringle

Trying my best to recover this week, getting ready for Nationals this weekend!!  Really wish it would RAIN!!!  PLEASE

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Gateway Cup

I'm falling behind again, but now it's time to catch up a little.  Two weekends ago was the St Louis Gateway cup, and my first race with the team in a couple weeks....this work thing is really getting in the way of my riding!!  Finished up my friday workday, hopped on the 9 pm flight out of Victoria and somehow survived the red eye flight into Toronto.....the nice little first class upgrade definitely helped with that.  Landed in St Louis at 10:30 am absolutely cooked, my only saving grace was the saturday race was a night race :)  Passed out for a couple hours and really had to struggle to pull myself together to get myself ready to race.

UCI points from last year gave me a second spot call up, yippee! Off the gun, I hung with the leading group for the frist half of the race.  The flat, untechnical course created a full on dirt crit style race, and lots of drafting.  I was feeling better then I should have, and hung onto the back as the fifth in the breakaway.  Half way through the 3th lap, things started falling apart a little.  I couldn't match the accelerations and popped off the back of the group.  Struggling in no mans land for a couple laps, I was really happy to see my teammate Amanda Carey gaining on my quickly.  Three of us in the chase group worked really well together, this gave me just enough of a brake to catch my second wind.  At one point, we managed to pull the lead group to within 30 second.  Coming through the final couple corners, I put myself into a good spot and pinned it, putting a gap between myself and 6th place, finishing 5th in my first UCI race since Vegas....definitely happy with this.

Halfway through supper at Whole Foods I completely cracked, having slept maybe 3 or 4 hours total in 2 days really caught up to me hard!  Thank goodness Sundays race was a later start as well, as I don't think I moved in 15 hours!

A nice slow start on Sunday was exactly what I needed, though I definitely was struggling with the fact that I had to race again...haha, amazing what a dramatic lack of sleep can do to the body.  Again I had a good start, and found myself in the lead pack again.  The pace felt a lot faster this day, and I popped off the back again... so I was really thankful when I noticed Nicole Duke coming up behind me.  I was a little unsure of how things would play out, but we managed to work very well together and pulled the lead group to within 8 seconds!  Going into the final lap I found myself out front pulling, and it was obvious Nicole had not intention of going around me, so I just kept the gas on.  With only a couple corners to go, just accelerated past me, but I managed to hang on and grab her wheel.  Coming out of the last corner onto the final straight away I pinned it, passing Nicole and taking 4th place by maybe half a wheel length....that hurt!

My Ridey X-Fire and Stan's Iron Cross wheels were as always to most amazing equipment to race, I am always so happy when I ride these bikes!  Kenda has released a softer version of my favorite Kommando tire, which really feels like a tubular tire.  It's amazing, you actually get that kind of squirrelly feeling in some corners that you get with tubulars.  My Oakley Radars with clear lenses and Lazer Genesis are always my favorite choices for cross or mountain or road.

I had a special thank you to send to Absolute Black for their CX chainring!! This thing is super cool technology and I am totally sold!  I have almost never used my large chainring in a cross race, except for starts, but the prospect of the single ring has kind of scared me.....I know, I have some werid fears.  The narrow-wide design of the ring holds the chain really tight so there is no need for a chain guard or chain guide.  I've tried it out with the SRAM X-9 mountain derailluer with the clutch and there was zero issue, but I also ran it in St Louis with my SRAM Red derailluer with not even a though about the chain or ring while racing.  And to top that off....I dropped over a pound off my bike :)

Just finished a couple 80 hour work weeks in Kitimat, missed BC Provincials (not very stoked on that), but I have 3 weeks to get myself in top shape for Canadian Nationals....OH MY!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Cross is on a Roll

Oh my goodness, do I have a couple of races to tell you about!  Now that we are a quarter of the way through the season, it's more then time to do some recaps.  Starting the season off in style with the classic Marymoor velodrome venue for Starcrossed.  Probably one of my favourite events; great venue, beer gardens and rad fans.  After loosing touch with leaders Gabby Day and Courtney McFadden in the third lap, I found myself in a head to head battle with Sue Butler and fast track racer Jessica Butler.  Half way through the final lap Sue and I managed to put a gap on Jessica, and coming through the last couple corners I out manouvered, then out sprinted Sue (closing in fast on Coutrney) to pick up third place and my first podium of the season :)

Back to work for two days, then down to Vegas...ugggh, I definitely have a love hate relationship with this event.  Love the event, don't like anything else involved with Vegas.  I could get two days off work, so I flew down Wednesday morning, napped all morning and afternoon, then headed to the venue for our 8 pm race.  Best way to break in a bike is race it hard haha.  Being a full on fitness course I new I was going to suffer but I always seem to forget just how much this course hurts.  I found myself moving backwards and forwards through out the race, and finished with a very forgettable 19th place.

They have managed to knock about a pound off off the Ridley X-Fire this year, while keeping it just as stiff and nimble......Love this bike!  Pair with the new SRAM hydraulic disk brakes, Kenda's ever faithful Komandos and Stan's lightweight Iron Cross wheels, this is an uber fast race bike this year.....rider needs some work to be worthy of this bike!

Home for a couple of weekends, first double header of the season, in the worst weather and conditions I have raced in in a while.  New Brighton Park on Saturday in Vancouver was raining so was beyond words!!!  Well not quite but it really put my bike and my Kenda Kwickers to the test, and they never disappoint in the mud, taking my first win.  Sunday in Cumberland for the typically hot dry race, was again cold and wet.  The rain let up a bit and the deep mud slowly turned into peanut butter....slow grind.  I decided to race with the men, get my hour of intensity in, and I suffered!  Third lap I decided to take the short route and go over the jump, saves about 5 seconds....if you land it smoothly.  I landed it no problem, but hit a little too hard and flatted....that was a loooong run to the pits.  Finished DFL...but still finished :)

Work unfortunately has been a big deciding factor for my race schedule this season and I've had to pass up a lot of events that I would really like to do.  I just finished almost 2 weeks of drilling on a barge in Kitimat, BC.....that's always really good for the training program....NO IT'S NOT!  But I do have to admit it's a cool experience.

This past weekend was the second Cross on the Rock race for 2013, right here in Victoria, and we had to largest turnout to a cyclocross race in Canada I believe, 278 people, plus 32 kids!!!!  And this is on a small island, cross has gone bonkers on the island!   After bonking 20 mins into my ride the previous day, feeling really jet lagged from a couple of 13 + hour days of work and really not sure how everything would react.....and the prize money put forth for the event, I decided to race in the women's category.  The legend Wendy Simms and super fast Dawn Anderson are always really good competition, and it's always a good battle between the three of us.  I was surprised how good I felt and I really enjoyed the course.  Thank you Pro City and Binab Reality for hosting such a great event!

The season is just flying by!
Huge thank you to all my sponsors, Stan's No Tubes, Ridley Bikes, Laser Helmets, Oakley Glasses, Kenda Tires, SRAM, GU Energy, Rumble and Pro City for all of the continued support!  St. Louis Gateway cup in 2 weeks, here I come!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Transrockies 2013

Wow, the end of the Transrockies Epic 7 day Stage 6th year racing, and it was absolutely amazing yet again.  I've raced the the coed 3 times, twice with the super fun Mr. Tubby Butt (aka Jeff Neilson), twice in the TR3 (3 day edition) and my final time in the solo 7 day....grabbing my 5th Transrockies win.  Really sad to see it come to an end, but really excited for the 2014 Singletrack 6 that is being spawned from the race.  New format, new venue and exciting new trails!  It's going to be so rad...I already can't wait!!

The first 3 days were in the beautiful Fernie, BC, easily my favourite place to mountain bike in the world!  TR3 racers started with us, and this was a stacked field, keeping the pace for the first 3 days really high for all us 7 day'ers too.  Day 1, I had a tough battle with Jean Ann Berkenpas to the finish line, attacking on the last long climb and running scared for the 20 mins of downhill back into the finish, opening up a 28 second gap.  Day 2, Pork Blue, is never a great day for me....the hour 45 climbing kicks my rear end every year!!  I can hold on for about an hour, then I start to crack.  Petra Tlamkova, the European climbing machine living in Whistler crushed the day, beating most of the men to the top!  I limited my losses to around 4 minutes, making up some time on the steep downhill, and Jean Ann took the leaders plate.  Day 3 started an finished up at the ski hill and encorporated some classic, love, love. Super steep climbing and very fast right singletrack descents.  I had a great start, slotting in between some men into the first singletrack downhill and rocked it!  I really enjoyed this day and was riding strong.  My Cannondale Scalpel was climbing like the billy goat it is, and I was holding on for dear life on the descents...using the full power of the Magura brakes!  The last looooooong, and I mean never ending climb, I looked over my shoulder to see Jean Ann working hard to close the gap.  She caught and passed me as we laboured up the legs burning, praying for the end of the climb.  Hitting the Mega-Sore-Ass with 2 guys between myself and Jean Ann, I watched the first guy crash hard on the wet wooden bridge right at the start of the trail....great way to start a technical downhill.  Cyclocrossing around him as he yelled is was okay, I hammered the downhill...wahoooooooooooooo, so fun, and crossed the line 2 seconds behind Jean Ann :)

Due to the major Kananaskis flooding, the route was drastically altered and we ended up staying 2 days in Blairmore...camped out beside the busy railway track.  It's been a number of years since I've ridden the Crowsnest and I was really excited to see what Crowsnest Coffee master, Troy Misseghers had in store for us.  Day 4 was a short fast day, I had a great start, managing to stick with the guys on the long road start, which made for a world of difference through the single track.  Once we hit the super long steep hike-a-bike to the back side of Pass Powderkeg, the local ski hill, all that was left was to enjoy the fun new switchbacks into town.  I had a great day on the bike, putting in 3 mins on Jean Ann and taking back the leaders plate.  Day 5 brought back some memories of the more classic Transrockies days....longer with lots of climbing, epic views, and wide open descents.......55 km our longest day of the week, which is about half of the typical long TR day...crazy!! (can't believe I did those 100 plus km days back to back).  I had another solid day, just staying out of reach of Jean Ann, just over the next hill and just around the next corner, surviving the gnarly loose sharp and moving babyhead rock field....thank you Stan's NoTubes and Kenda tires for not flatting!!

Day 5 - Gibson Pictures
Day 6 was a long day, long transfer in the morning to Kananaskis, and big climb backwards on some classic big mountain trails.  Honestly, I've never even considered riding up Cox hill's such a fantastic downhill......and it ended up being a lot of hiking and slow steep climbing.  I got dropped pretty quickly on the road into Cox hill, left my legs in the Crowsnest Pass, Petra was gone, but I managed to keep Jean Ann in sight.  We ended up climbing a long time together, but I managed to slowly put a little gap between us.  1 hour to the top, with some refreshing cold mountain rain, I was really hurting at this point.  Once you hit the top, there are still a couple really good hard climbs....which I never realized having always ridden in the opposite direction.  Once I hit the downhill I was in no mans land the rest of the day, a sorry place to be when I hit the road.  Again, due to flooding, there was a major reroute and we ended up having to finish on 8 km of road.....and it just so happened to be sleeting and hailing and raining and windy and miserable....and I suffered the whole way in.  Petra put some good time on my, but I held onto the leading position for the night.

The final Day 7, from Deadman's Flats to Canmore was TT style, with 20 second gaps.  Starting with some tight slow singeltrack, it was a grind to get the legs moving on day 7.  Really big climb to the highest point on the nordic centre followed by some Canada Cup/Nationals fast technical single track......sooooooo fun!  Long rolling hills out to the last check point and the slow log back into town.  I took the win on the day, securing my first 7 day solo victory!!

It's funny, racer brain kicks in pretty quickly, just about when we are sitting around the table at the banquet watching the footage from the week....can't wait for Singletrack 6!!

Day 7 - Gibson Pictures

My recovery week has been more then a little off this year, heading straight out to the field for work, lugging equipment around the forest taking water samples in 30 degree heat....yes, it's taking me a little longer then I was hoping to get my legs back.  Planning on starting some cross intervals this week, it's that time of year again!!!! So legs, hurry up!!!!!

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Cameron Law Cycling Weekend

     I would just like to start by saying thank you To all the organizers and volunteers that made this such an awesome weekend of racing all over the South Island. Events like this fizzle and die without your continued efforts and support....So Thanks!

     Friday night was the kick off, The Rumble Dallas Rd. TT. Now this is not my forte, especially when trying to set up the ole' pink flame madone. "Regan, make it faster" was my plea the night before. So he slammed the front end low, I mean on the race of the bearing low, to get me as low as uncomfortably possible.  And I broke out the Stan's NoTbes cyclocross skin suit to make myself as aero as possible.  Just under 8 minutes and I managed to snag 3rd place!  Late friday night at the shop, Regan changed me back into road bike mechanic/boyfriend ever!

Rumble TT  - photo from Morgan Turner
Saturday morning, up bright and early, I rode the hour and a bit out to Metchosin for the start of the road race.  A little more of a warm up than was necessary, but I was definitely ready to rock.  Off the gun there was a suicide attack that stayed out for a full lap or our 8 lap race, but no one was really worried as the pack easliy brought her back in.  After 3 laps the pack had whittled down to only 6 women, the steep climbing taking it's toll early on lot of legs.  For 2 laps the 6th girl rallied to stay on and had to play catch up a couple time, but half way through the 5th lap she was just gone.

Trek Red Truck had 2 women in the pack, and with the 3 solo riders, it was pretty interesting to see how tactics where unfolding.  It was very clear that Megan was the strongest climber of the group, and the only race tactic (not my forte either) was to try and split that team up, which didn't work.  it came down to a 5 person sprint....which I'm not too bad at.  Rolling into the bottom of the last hill, myself, Nik and Megan were dead even.  Megan went first and I didn't have the jump on the uphill finish to close the gap, but grabbed second place in my first road race in.....................I think 6 years.

Westhills Road Race - Photo from Morgan Turner
Nothing like an hour ride home to cool down and blow the crud out of the legs.  But after well over 4 and a half hours on the saddle in the heat I was a little cooked.  Regardless of the long cool down, I still needed a 90 min easy warm up just to get my legs "open" for the Sunday crit.  45 laps of the historic Bastion Square makes for a very fast paced and very spectator friendly race.

After a very hard lesson last year, I quickly learnt that being the most aggressive rider just means that you really have no idea what your doing, haha.  That's definitely not to say I'm at all keen on sitting in the entire race, but I am willing to accept the fact that launching 47 attacks and riding away from the group is probably not the best race plan.  Maybe being tired from the day before gave me the right amount of smarts to race a really good crit finally.

Shortly into the race I went for the first prime, winning $50 in a very close sprint.  I settled into a good groove, making a handful of hard attacks and chasing down a number of hard attacks, but definitely not wasting a bunch of energy.  The pack stayed together a lot more this year, which made the whole race dynamic really interesting.....and a lot of yelling.... which seems to be typical of road racing.

With around 10 laps to go I went for my 2nd prime and the best prime ever, $50 to Choux Choux Charcuterie...our local bacon supplier.  After that last spring, my legs were ready for the finish.  Half way through the 2nd last lap, I attacked, stretching the pack out a bit.  Megan came around me and kept the pace high.

Coming out of crash corner for the final time, I attacked, but couldn't shake Megan from my wheel.  One last corner and we were both heads down sprinting neck and neck for the line.  If it was an inch I'd be surprised, but I nabbed the win!  Have to say I'm very honored to be added to the list of all the names that have won the Bastion Crit....and 2nd overall in the Omnium.
Bastion Crit - Photo from Morgan Turner
Top Step - Photo from Donna Marie

Followed that weekend up with a super fun 12 hours of Cumberland with Regan, finishing 2nd on some of the best trails around...though the 18th time down Space Nugget was really hard.  Thank you to all the amazing sponsors and volunteers at these amazing events on the island.

Just under one month till the Transrockies!

Monday, 27 May 2013

Perfect Pemberton Trails

Without a doubt, we could not have asked for better conditions for the Nimby 50 in Pemberton this past weekend, it was absolutely perfect.  As quite often the hottest place in Canada, last year the race was an absolute scorcher.  This year with rain all week and threatening rain for race day, I was a little worried that it would be a clayey muddy mess.  But race day was dry, trails were tacky, and the weather was a little chilly to start...perfect.

From the start I knew last years winner Brandi Heisterman would be the one to watch, and it was a good battle to end.  I think my lack of high end right now paid off because I didn't go out like my normal bat out of hell and blow up.  A couple of wheels behind her up the first long climb, I worked hard to try to pass her into the first single track but she nabbed the first prime and stayed in front of me.

Into the Nimby climb, 101 switch backs up to the top...yup that's right, I was a couple of wheels behind and set a comfortable pace that seemed to match Brandi's.  Last year being my first year here, I attacked the bottom of the climb and ended up walking a lot of the last third of the course where the climbs just get punchier and punchier.  This year, much better plan of attack.  About 1/2 of the way up I had moved right behind Brandi's wheel, she dabbed on a corner and I was following a little too close and really dabbed.  Off the bike and running, she managed to put a good distance between us and it took me some good time to catch back up to her.  As soon as I caught her wheel, so pulled over with seatpost issues, but that didn't slow her down as she was charging hard.

Into the Red Bull downtime I had 15 seconds on Brandi and was excited, I rocked the downtime last year.  But this year, I road it like a donkey, not very well at all!  Not sure what was going on, but I definitely didn't feel great this year.  At the split in the trail, I couldn't remember which way I took last year, so I took the smooth route this year.....that ended up being the wrong decision.  The smooth route ended up climbing back up a little, going a long way out and finally back towards the downhill, easily twice as least it gave my arms and hands a little brake.  As I was meeting back up with the rough line, Brandi popped out right behind me....Gaaaaah, lost any advantage I had.

Up through the feed zone, and into the last loop of the course....the Victoria style trail, steep punch climbs and rock face trails.  Up the first climb I was feeling good and put in a little effort, slowly pulling away.  This gave me a big encouraging boost and I had saved enough from the first half to charge.  I worked hard to create a gap, going over the bars on one section just putting my wheel in the wrong spot, haha, it was a picture perfect form over the bars.  Through the last of the singletrack my only thought was smooth is fast, smooth is fast.  The Kenda Kozmik Lite II always seems to amaze me, with the Stan's Race Gold wheels and sealant I ran 23/24 psi no problems, tracked really well in the dry and muddy corners.  Smooth is fast, and no flatting is even faster!

Out on the rail way, hammer back to the road and a good 2 km in the headwind to the finish.  I was in no mans land, running scared of Brandi charging behind me.  Took my first Nimby 50 win by only a minute twenty.  Thanks for the awesome race Brandi!  Huge Thank you to the organizers and many volunteers of the Nimby 50, love this event and I will definitely be back next year and year after and year after and............

Huge thank you to all of my amazing sponsors!!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Sea Otter - Hotter Otter 2013

It's been a number of years since I've done the Sea Otter Classic, and this was one of the most enjoyable. It was a great weekend with the Stan's NoTubes crew and the Women's Elite Team....and getting to finally ride my new Scalpel 29er!!! A lot of tweaking the new XTR, setting up positions and testing out the Kenda Tires, then it was time to race. It was a busy hot weekend, with Shannon, Kenny, Kaila, Amanda, Nina, mechanic Chris, junior Taylor and myself.......almost a full team, missing Vicki, Sarah, Sue and almost new mom Jenny (okay, maybe half the team).

Friday morning was Short Track time!! It's been a couple years since I've done one of these, but its like a shorter cyclocross race on the mountain bike. 20 mins plus 3 laps of pure hammer. It was really neat getting to line up at the start line with 4 team mates and being able to try to ride team tactics with Amanda during the race....tactics are definitely not my strong suit. Amanda and I managed to find ourselves in the chase group of 6 girls with 2 laps to go and I could see the pink kit of Nina just out of reach behind. There was an attack into the last gravel pit and getting stuck behind a bobble I got spit out the back of the group and tried to chase back for last half lap, finishing 12th, just out of reach of the sprint pack with Amanda finishing just ahead of me and Nina close on our heals. Taylor and Kenny raced the XC later that day, with Kenny stomping out an impressive win in the Masters Me !!!

Saturday, during the heat of the day, we headed out for the pro women's one lap of the 20 mile course. With a road start of one lap around the Laguna Seca raceway, we had the typically sketchy mountain bikers in a road pelaton feeling. I don't know how it happens but I managed to find myself in a really good position coming off the pavement and on to the dirt. My Kenda Kozmik Lites were great in the fast loose powder that is the Sea Otter cross country. My engine wasn't completely up to snuff yet and could maintain contact on some of the longer climbs but I managed to pick off a few racers on the long last climb back into the raceway.

Not even 3 hours later we were back in our spandex getting ready for the cyclocross race. Following most of the short track course with a few added features and some high speed barriers, but oh how I do love cyclocross. Nicole Duke, Caroline Mani and myself broke off from the field early in the first lap and worked well together to put some distance between us. There were a couple small attacks but with the relative flat wide open course and lots of head wind, we stayed tight together the entire race. Coming into the last lap I giggled, saying it looks like it'll be a 3 way sprint. Last lap Nicole put in an attack, then I countered. We had managed to put a small gap on Mani. Nicole went down really hard into the high speed barriers, I had a moment when I though should we stop. Mani quickly caught me in the gravel pit and we kept motoring. Through the last technical boulder section I bobbled and Mani was able to put just enough distance into me that I couldn't close. Grabbed a second with Nicole closing fast behind us.

Super fun but really long weekend at Sea Otter. Huge thank you to all of our amazing sponsors! Love my Cannondale Scalpel 29er with the Kenda Kozmik Lite and my Candy pedals.....and of course the Stan's NoTubes Race Golds!!! Thank you Uvex Helmets, 3T components, Fizik Saddles, Northwave shoes and Esi Grips. Couple days in Durango getting my altitude on, then we are heading down to Prescott, Arizona for the Whiskey 50!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Gearing up for MTB Season

What am I doing, where have I been...oh my gosh, I AM still here!!!  And slowly pulling myself out of fat and sassy season.  After a full year of office working and only being able to train part time, I've been fully enjoying being unemployed right now!  But I do tell you, it's harder then I thought it would be to move back into the realm of volume training.  A previous 20 some hour week would be a solid week of training but right now I'm finding 16-18 hours are really taking a lot out of me.....and of course, there is definitely no easing back into it haha.  I am enjoying the time though!!

Island MTB Cup #3 this past weekend in Duncan was fantastic, very wet and very technical after a very hard steep climb.  Had a great time battling Mel up the climb and rallying with the boys on the downhill.  Great opener and prep to get the body back into gear for racing Sea Otter and Whiskey 50 in 2 weeks....yikes!!!

Super excited to be riding with the Stan's NoTubes Elite Women's Racing Team this summer!  Carrying over from a great cyclocross season and program, I'm really thankful that Shannon was willing to keep me on for the mountain bike side of things.  I'm super excited about my full Shimano Scalpel 29er!!!  Giggity Giggity.

I want to make a little shout out about my Stan's NoTubes Alpha 340's that I've been running on my road bike all winter.  Yes, tubeless road wheels.....and they rock.  Running slightly lower pressure 90-100 makes them a very comfortable and stable feeling tire on the rough roads of Victoria.  And I haven't flatted all winter...knock on wood.  Following the Bill Fry at 100 miles an hour (not quite but pretty darn close), I nailed a rock with my rear wheel hard enough to dent the rim and nearly throw me in the ditch....and I didn't even burp the tire.  With a tube or even a tubular I can almost guarantee that this would have been a flat tire!  Yup, I officially have NO TUBES in any of my bikes....and don't miss them at all :-)

2 weeks more of training and kicking off the season in style!  Maybe Cumberland Island Cup this weekend as one last opener.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Louisville 2013

Well, that's a wrap, and there's absolutely no better way to cap off the season then with Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.  They did an amazing job with the event and I don't think there is a single bad thing I can say about the week, especially considering the conditions they had to deal with.  Regan and I arrived monday night into Louisville to 21 degrees shorts weather, yes, hot and wet.  Shannon raced the Master 45-49 womens qualifier on tuesday (the only women's qualifier for some reason), and Kenny raced the Master 40-44 men's qualifier on wednesday to both move on to the finals.

That night you could feel the temperature drop fast, and we got a call at 4:30 am from the front desk with a tornado warning, yes, tornado hit Louisville.  Huddled in the laundry room with 10 other people at 4 in the morning, awesome!  Followed quickly by rain, sheets and buckets and tonnes of rain.  Then snow!

The already chewed up Masters course went from bad to worse, but Shannon still rocked a 2nd place on Thursday and Kenny a 10th place on Friday (without the aid of a bike wash - frozen lines and power washers...ooops), while Regan and Richie worked tirelessly, chipping, scraping, spraying, just to keep a couple gears on the bike somewhat functional.

The Elite races were scheduled for Sunday with the U23 and juniors on Saturday, but with the forecasted flood looking ever more likely, the UCI moved all the races to Saturday.  Minor kink in the prep plans for the race, but everyone is in the same boat, so Saturday morning after a good inch of fresh snow and -10 it was race day for me.  Like I've said, I really wasn't too sure how good my fitness was going into this race, I've worked hard to stay motivated up north and do the time, so I was really, really nervous for this race.  Thanks to the Pro City race team killing me the previous Saturday, I did know that I still knew how to suffer :-)

Third row call up, not great, but at least not 4th row haha.  It wasn't a huge field, but all of the top players were definitely there at the start line.  I had a great start, definitely the best part of all my races, avoided a big crash off the start that took out the back of the pack, and took a couple low off camber lines that allowed me to pass 5 girls at a time!  At the top of the steep limestone stairs I found myself behind Katie Compton (who didn't seem to be having a great time on her bike), but it flashed through my head, maybe I can stay with her!!  Came through the start finish on lap 1 in 9th place...WOW!!!  But I quickly felt my slight lack of fitness starting to set into my legs and started making a lot of errors on the 2nd lap....which ended up costing me a lot of placings and time.  Slippery off camber and frozen ruts are not my friend when slightly cross eyed.

Lap 3 I slowly started getting my rhythm back slightly worked my way back into the race.  Had a good battle with Pepper Harlton again, but lost her when she dabbed in the sand pit.  Fought and finished in 19th place at my first World Championships for Cyclocross, and easily one of the best cycling events I've ever been to.  Watching the men's race was absolutely amazing!!!  My Stan's IronCross wheels worked fantastic in the icy mud with Kenda Kwickers at 22 psi...yes, 22 psi with no problems.  My Ridley X-Fire was flawless, along with my Lazer Helmet and Aeroshell (single best cyclocross accessory), and my Sidi Spyders.....we easily have some of the best gear around.  Thank you Shannon and Kenny for all the hard work you've put into the team making it run so smoothly.  Thank you Regan for making my bike work super smoothly like always.  Thank you Richie and Aaron for fantastic race pit set up, and Cindy for everything!!  Including the underground Zip-lining!  And thank you to Louisville and all the fans, especially all the crazy Canucks that made the trip down south to cheer!!

Officially in fat and sassy season, bringing my xc skies up to Fort McMurray this rotation, not even worrying about a bike for a couple of weeks.....but really jazzed about the Cannondale Scalpel coming soon!

Photos Courtesy of Kenny Wehn

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Worlds Prep

    Wahoo,  I've been a slack ass with the blog, since I won myself a tattoo!! I do fall off the blog bandwagon from time to time, so almost one month later, here I go.

    Bend USGP was awesome, probably one of my favorite courses and venues.  Regan and I loaded up our fast growing puppy and did the good ole road trip down south.  Stopping in Ferndale at Transition Bikes to pick up Regan's new toy, we had a great and uneventful drive down.  This was my first experience in Bend, and I have to say it's a pretty neat city.  The course is on Deschutes Brewery grounds in the Old Mill District, so the river and the big smoke stacks in the back ground make for a very neat picture.  I had a great battle both days, Day 1 sprinting to the finish with Teal and Day 2 battling with Julie on the last lap, finishing 7th both days.  Last race till worlds!!

     The monday after Regan and I did something that we've never done before!!  We slept in and just enjoyed being tourists in Bend!  Lots of walking and exploring and tiring the poor puppy out.....she was dragging her butt back to the hotel for sure.  Nothing like sitting outside on the patio enjoying a coffee in December....and being too warm.  From there we headed north to visit my parents in Calgary for a couple of days.  Hit The Elk Pub in Spokane (from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives)...YUMMMMM, spent the night in Fernie and Laila got to experience her first snow (cute!).  3 days in Calgary, and I flew straight up to Fort McMurray for 10 days of work.....or prison camp more like it.  It's really not that bad, I really only worked 2 or 3 days this rotation....but it worked out to be well over 50 hours in those days, needless to say I spend a lot of time recovering.

 Showing the SSCXWC Trophy to fans
Thx Verge and Stans Notubes For the Nat.Champs Kit

      Quiet Christmas at home, fun surfing filled weekend in Tofino for New Years with some great friends, and now I'm back up north doing my time.  With less then a month till CX World Championships in Louisville I'm trying to tailor my workouts to have me fast for that weekend.  In a way, trainer riding is almost better for this because I can really focus on my intervals......sometimes, days like today when I'm recovering from a looooong shift, I feel a little drunk on the bike :-)

   This is going to be an experiment in self coaching and sleep deprivation going into Worlds!  Lets see what this body can do!

Thank You to Matthew Lasala For the use of these beautiful pictures.