Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Vote for me cause that'd make me smile!

Hey there's lots of year end votes going on at Pedal and Canadian Cyclist and I'm lucky enough to be nominated in both along with a lot of other talented Canadian riders so check it out!

Pedal is pleased to announce that on-line voting for their Annual Cycling Awards honouring Canada's top riders is available here.

With the New Year approaching it's time to reflect on the 2007 season and make your selections for Canada's top riders. Winners will be selected on the basis of votes accumulated at www.pedalmag.com by readers across the country.

All entrants are eligible to win one of three prizes:-
1st prize a 1-yr subscription to Pedal
- 2nd prize a Pedal Poor Boy Hat
- 3rd prize a Pedal T-Shirt You can complete as many or as few categories as you like, but you are limited to only ONE entry per person.

Voting ends at 12 midnight on Sunday, December 30, 2007 (EST) and the winners will be announced on Monday, December 31, 2007.

For Canadian cyclist voting go here:
http://www.canadiancyclist.com/default2.html

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Winter holidays

Dec 22nd and the snow banks in Revelstoke are already huge



Keith and I headed to Revelstoke on Saturday. It snowed non stop from Saturday morning until Sunday night adding to the 3 ft of snow already on the ground. Saturday was the opening of the expanded ski hill on Mt. Mckenzie. The DH ski area is now 5 times the size it was. Top to bottom runs were taking us 25 minutes and we had to stop for tons of rest breaks to give are legs a break from the demands of powder skiing. The terrain is unreal. Lots of variety, powder and long fun runs. Best of all, there was so much terrain that you never had to wait in line. We only had to stop when our legs couldn’t take any more burn. Keith, who has been waiting for this since grade 4 had a huge grin on his face.

Although I drug my camera around all day. My batteries crapped out before I got any good mtn. pics. You'll just have to go ski there yourself!!!
Christmas day we took advantage of the snowshoe trails for a hike on Mt Revelstoke.


New Years plan is to head to the coast with my new mtn. bike (which arrived yesterday while I’m out of town!) for some riding and a good party at Sandra’s with a bunch of good friends. Can’t wait.

What's in the works for 2008?

So the leak is out. I will be riding for a new team next year. After two fantastic seasons on Norcos I will be joining the Luna women’s mtb team next year. Riding with Luna will give me the opportunity to be fully supported at all of my races as well as, the opportunity to race and prepare for races with very talented and experienced team mates. After years of racing as an individual I’m looking forward to travelling and racing as part of a team.

I’m also excited to announce the addition of Oakley as a sponsor for 2008. Christmas is coming multiple times this year!!!

I want to say a huge thank you to Norco for their support over the last two years. The bikes and staff were great and I’ll really miss the crew next year.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Check this out!!

602 supporters have already signed on. Hope you will too


To: Union Cycliste Internationale (U.C.I.)
We, the undersigned, find it regrettable that there is still a considerable disparity between the UCI minimum prize money for men and women. We understand that because competition in the men’s field is deeper, more places receive prize money. We do not understand why the women who are receiving prize money receive less than their male counterparts. Therefore we propose that the UCI show leadership and mandate equal prize money for the top five men and women. Article 3 of the UCI Constitution states: “The UCI will carry out its activities in compliance with the principles of: a) equality between all the members and all the athletes, license-holders and officials, without racial, political, religious, or other discrimination.” We ask the UCI to honor its commitment to equality.

http://www.petitiononline.com/equalpay/petition.html

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Ummmm, Ummmm: presenting to an audience

Thursday I gave my first Tobacco free Sports presentations at Logan Lake Secondary. I was super lucky to start at this school as the students were great with tons of questions. I presented to the grade eights and nines and managed to get through my whole presentation without forgetting anything major! Thanks to Mrs Hall for inviting me out and Mr. Dell who was subbing on the day and got things off to a smooth start.

I am one of 8 athletes in BC who is going into schools to share our sport story in hopes young people will turn to sport rather than tobacco to make fun, cool friends, have a good time and grow as a person.

Is eating healthy enough?

For the longest time I believed that if I ate balanced, healthy meals I’d be getting everything I needed without supplements. This idea has merit and is stress free when it comes to hoping that companies list all ingredients in their products, but is eating right enough for an athlete?

After losing a significant amount of weight this year due to training demands and cutting out junk food (mostly) I sat for many months on the lower end of healthy body weight. After chipping a tooth this summer and then reading an article about osteoporosis in cyclists I started worrying about bone density. Although not considered to belong in an at risk group I was able to get a bone density scan thanks to the National team affiliated doctor. It turns out I was being a bit paranoid, but not overly. My bone density fell within the normal healthy range, but was a bit lower than expected for someone my age. So my doctor recommends more calcium (with vitamin d) for me and more weight bearing activities to keep my bones healthy long term. I’m healthy, but I did get my attention drawn to a potential danger and a lack in my diet, and knowing my body, can now do what I need to keep it healthy.

I’ve heard Canadians have the most expensive pee in the world. We tend to over supplement, but for those of us that push our bodies beyond a normal activity level you have to take care of yourself, keep electrolytes balanced during and after workouts and make sure you’re getting what you need from your diet.

didglobal.com allows you to search products safe for athletes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Water bottle slushy anyone?

Today I woke to frosted rooftops and grass. After helping with the media launch of Operation Red Nose – A designated driver service that supports local athletes – I bundled up and headed out for my ride. Still -3 at noon and still frosty everywhere. At only 1.5 hrs into my ride I had that familiar experience of an ice filled bottle. Luckily from years of experience I knew to pack a bottle in my back pocket to keep my 2nd bottle from freezing. With 2-4 layers of clothing covering every part of my body I was still frozen at 2.5 hrs in and had to head home to finish my ride on the trainer. No doors open, no fan and it still took me 15 minutes to warm up! Yeah winter… come on snow, bring on the xc skiing!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My first car purchase!


As I promised here is the picture of our 'new to us' Toyota Echo. It's a fun little car with a way different feel than the Subaru, but great for getting Keith back and forth to work

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fall is great



After my return from a summer full of racing and travel I took some downtime to enjoy being at home with no where i had to go. Sandra and i had been excitedly planning a weekend in Naramata (near Penticton) full of pumpkin and biking. Jean Ann, Sandra, Keith, Myself, Jeanine and Sandra's mum convened on their cottage thanksgiving weekend for 3 days of hanging out with great food, friends and trails. We had no tv, phone and cell reception on at the edge of Lake Okanagan which we looked out at from the balcony. We fell asleep to waves lapping against the shoreline.


Then it was time for my annual cyclocross race at Vanier Park. Photo by Greg Descantes

I typically describe cyclocross as all my weaknesses on a bike thrown in to 45 minutes of pain, but by the last 2 laps I seemed to be figuring it out and made my way up to 3rd at the BC Cup.

My new Norco CX bike feels great and with some more practice I think I could delve into the world of CX;-)

Yeah!! A bike race in Kamloops! Henry Pejril came through again for the cycling community hosting a fantastic weekend of Cyclocross racing. On Saturday October 20th we had our provincials and sunday Nationals. Attendance was great for Nationals and we had 2 Ecstatic National Champions crowned.
Nice Ride Wendy. Thats how excited every race winner should be!!!!

Wendy Simms outpowered Alison Sydor and Lynne Besette for the title. While Ontario boys Mike Garrigan and Greg Reain distinguished themselves from the rest getting away early. Garrigan overtook the reigning National Champion Reain for the win.

Riders all seemed happy with the twisty and fast course. There were a couple grumbles about the lond sand section, but what's a course without a tough challenge? I've seen Euro cross races with way more sand and they gave birth to the sport.


Me? Well I had 2 great races. In provincials I lead the chase over Wendy and Lynne finishing 3rd. That gave me the Silver medal as Lynne was from Quebec. Sarah Stewart also like me, coached by elitewave.com earned bronze followed closely by Jean Ann Mckirdy.

At Nationals I got called up at the back. This day though I was determined to start better and try to contact the leaders. I was able to move up oodles in the first 2 turns and found myself with Kelly Jones leading the Chase group on leaders Besette, Simms and Sydor. Jean Ann and Mical bridged up and we headed out on lap 2. I miscalculated my speed though and hit a curb while hopping it. When I went to put down a powerful pedal stroke I got the horrible feedback of a flat tire. I stuck with the girls along the straighaway, but couldn't corner quickly with the flat and they pulled away as I drifted back through the field. Team 3 Rox racing helped me out in the pit zone giving me a spare rear wheel. Thanks guys!
I'm pretty sure I was dead last at that point and began my fight to the front. I felt awesome and pushed myself hard to move up. It was a blast. I ended up finishing 10th, 1 minute off 4th. Not bad for the time i lost with the flat and traffic so I'm pretty pumped. World cups have definitely made me a better cyclocross racer. I know I only have to go that hard for 45 minutes not 2hrs!

For complete results checkout canadiancyclist.com or pedalmag.com

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Thanks!

So as the Season winds down I thought I would take this time of reduced blogging to thank a bunch of important people in my life. So in no particular order......

Mom and Dad
My parents have always been extremely dedicated and supportive of my brother Geoff and I.

When I decided to move to BC and headed west with my mountain bike it was my mom who hauled my road bike across the country to visit me. Mom started her plane trek from New Brunswick on Sept 11th. Yes 2001. Her plane was forced to land in Winnipeg due to the tragic events in the US. Now in Winnipeg with a bike box my mom spent several dayscarting it back and forth to the airport trying to catch a flight before finally settling on the train. It had been raining and the cardboard bike box was now soggy and crumbling. Mum arrived in Victoria tired and vowing to never travel with a bike box again. I don’t think I ever adequately thanked her enough for that. Thanks Mom!


Dad was my first sponsor. As Geoff and I got more ambitious about racing it was Dad that drafted a sponsorship proposal for each of us expressing his belief in our abilities and his desire to help us a long the way. Dad also signed up and became a commissaire for the NB race circuit and tirelessly drove us to races as Geoff and I inevitably fell asleep in the passenger seats. Thanks Dad!

Keith. My secret weapon. He pretty much does it all. Keith has been my training partner, my technical coach and my major support system. He is always grounded and confident in me, pushing me to strive higher. It was Keith that encouraged me to stick out the low paying jobs which allowed me the flexibility to train and race by telling me anyone could go back to school and get a “real job, how many women can say they could be one of the best mountain bikers in the world?” Thanks Keith!


Dan. I met Dan when he was coaching the Uvic Triathalon club. I keenly showed up to all the practices hoping to figure out just how these interval things would make me faster. We’ve worked together for the last 4 years. Through balanced elitewave.com programs and keeping training fun and interesting I have seen huge improvements every year and am looking forward to another year of training under his guidance. Thanks Dan!
Dan at the 1/2 Ironman. Dan has done 10 full Ironmans!!!!


Geoff. My brother got me started. He gave me his old bike and patiently took me out riding as I made my way slowly and clumsily around the trails. He introduced me to the sport that has shaped my life and given me countless fun memories. Geoff is still an active part of my racing success offering advice and support as he blends his own DH racing career with his work as a coach with Endlessbiking.com


Norco. Neil Mckinnon the Eastern events manager in 2004 took me and my Norco (care of the Bike Barn in Penticton) under his wing. He kept promoting me to the team guys and I guess it worked. That fall I signed with Norco and we have grown together. Norco has been fantastic, increasing their support over the years and including Keith as an important part of my team. The bikes are awesome and the crew is great. Special thanks to this year’s crew Pete, Jamie & Havy as well as Fee and jill who were super fans!
Havy and me at a Canada cup


Sues and Grainger. Raised a wonderful son and always have room for us when Keith and I show up on their doorstep with multiple bicycles and often a cat or two in tow. They have taken in our cats for weeks at a time so we can travel together and they keep Keith well fed and loved when he gets left behind as I go off ot race for a month. Thanks!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Tobacco Free Sport


PRESS RELEASE

BC Athletes to Speak Out Against Tobacco UsePacificSport registered athletes to share “be your best. be tobacco free” message(September 11th , 2007) – The Tobacco Free Sports (TFS) program has a new face – nine new faces to be exact.


Starting this month, the Tobacco Free Sports program, a provincial initiative funded by the Ministry of Health in partnership with PacificSport, Alcohol Drug Education Services (ADES) and Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), will have nine PacificSport registered athletes representing the program as the Tobacco Free Sports Athlete Ambassadors.


“I know I could not have achieved the success I have if I used tobacco products,“ says Kamloops mountain biker Catharine Pendrel, Gold Medalist at the 2007 Pan American Games. “Sport has been a huge influence in my life providing me with great self respect, confidence, identity and rich opportunities. For kids that are tobacco users, I believe setting athletic goals can provide the motivation and peer group to help them be tobacco free.”


This energetic and dynamic group, representing all regions of the province, has been prepped with professional public speaker training from the Esteem Team, a national non-profit organization that promotes athlete role models to inspire youth to achieve their life goals, as well as tobacco use prevention information from Vancouver Coastal Health. The athletes will be speaking at a variety of sporting, non-sporting, school and community events, weaving their personal sport story into the risks and effects associated with tobacco use.


“Tobacco use is still the single greatest cause of preventable illness and death across BC,” says Minister of State for ActNow BC, Gordon Hogg. “If we can harness and distribute the positive message coming from these athletes we can inspire future generations to work toward a healthy, tobacco free life.”


ActNow BC is a partnership-based cross-ministry health and wellness initiative that promotes healthy living choices to improve the quality of life for all British Columbians.
“Each of these athletes has had to work extremely hard to get to where they are in their respective sport and each of them has a story to tell of their journey, says Roger Skillings, PacificSport CEO. “They have set goals, overcome obstacles, and have made positive choices in their lives. They are excellent role models for youth and adults alike and their message of living life tobacco free is very powerful.”


For more information about the TFS Athlete Ambassadors, or to inquire about booking an Athlete Ambassador for an event, contact Janet Filipenko, Program Coordinator at jfilipenko@pacificsport.com or 604-730-7273.


The Tobacco Free Sports Athlete Ambassadors are:
Stacie Anaka (Victoria - Wrestling), Michelle Bartleman (Sea-to-Sky Corridor - Skeleton), Josh Dueck (Okanagan - Para-alpine Skiing), Andrea Dziewior (Vancouver Island - Para-alpine Skiing), Spencer Landsiedel (Fraser Valley - Swimming/Modern Pentathlon), Ali Lee (Victoria - Field Hockey), Callum Ng (Vancouver - Swimming), Catharine Pendrel (BC Interior - Mountain Biking), and Chris Wong (Northern BC/Vancouver - Freestyle Skiing).
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Media Contact: Joanna FoxPacificSport Manager of CommunicationsC: (250) 882-5426O: (250) 744-5537


Program Contact:Janet FilipenkoPacificSport TFS Program CoordinatorO: (604) 730-7273

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Racing is officially over…time to be a tourist


The official count down!



The gang Houshang (coach), Kiara, Me, Richard (Chiro), Chad (mechanic), Michel (Performance manager), Ben (physio). Yes it does seem like a huge staff, but COC has alotted funds for a performance team.

Michel Leblanc, former national mtb coach is now Sport Performance manager for the COC. He was with us through the week ensuring all the things were in place for us to have good preparation for the event and to workout the kinks for next year. He was also our guide/host for some great sightseeing.
The Birds Nest will hold the opening/closing ceremony and athletics. Check out that haze!!!

After the race we got cleaned up and headed out for an eveining on the town. We drove by the Olympic village and related buildings and then did a walk around Tianamen square and checked out the official Olympic countdown timer. After that we went out for dinner. Again they served us Western Chinese food, but we got to have some mooncakes. Sept 25th is the moon festival in China and a big celebration. Baked goods stuffed with a range of things from nuts to fruit to bean paste are eaten this day.
We could choose between Pumpkin and Egg/peanut mooncakes

Sunday was an epic tourism day. We started with a drive out to the great wall. We took a chairlift up and hiked along the wall for about a km. It is quite steep in sections with lots of stairs. It’s amazing to think the wall extends for thousands of Kms. I can’t imagine the hours put into its construction. Not worried about preserving the nature of the area a tobbogan type slide runs from the wall back to the base. It was a super fun ride down, made frustrating by the people in front who wouldn’t lay off the brakes in the corners. Still though, it was a good time.
The great wall

Afterwards we took our chance with a food vendor to try sprout filled dimsum.

From there it was off to the Forbidden city where michel bargained with a local who offered to be our guide. He was a funny guy who enjoyed joking around and telling us little trivia about the emperoros and concubines (3000) that had once filled the city’s walls. The palace and grounds were very ornate and attractive with most of the construction in marble. The city is having many renovations done to it so it is prepared for the Olympics and swell in tourism next year. We ended out tour in the Emperor’s garden and moon festival building.
Inside the Forbidden city.
The city opened to the public in 1925 after 3 years under the Child Emperor appointed at age 3

Now things got serious. We headed to the Silk Market with our game faces on. The silk markets are all about bartering. From the outside you have no idea of the Chaos that awaits you. People pull you into their stalls to check out their wares which ranged from perls, to Arcteryx jackets, beautiful silk embroidered clothing and tablecloths, shoes, artwork and chopsticks. They give you a retail price and immediately say for you a special price. From then on it is barganing back and forth with prices being offered on a calculator. If you pay more than 10% of their original price you’re likely overpaying. The market was 5 stories high and we all split up to seek out our items and compared finds and prices when we next saw eachother. 3hrs later we all carted shopping bags full of gifts out to the car. You can’t rent a car in china, you have to rent a driver and his vehicle. Our poor driver must have been glad to drop us off at the end of along day!

Last Day
Kiara headed off early for her flight while Houshang, Chad and I didn’t leave until 4:30 that afternoon. We had planned on a trip back to the silk market, but with Monday morning traffic we didn’t want to risk it. So instead we explored the area around our hotel finding a street full of produce and snack food vendors. As the food was lain out beside heaps of garbage and stagnant water, it wasn’t something we intended to try, but was neat to see that other side of the city. From the giggles of the locals I don’t think they were used to seeing tourist there.

In 24 hr’s I’ll be home with Keith!!!

Race Day:

The polution is definitely more noticeable today with the haze dexcending into town, but there is a nice breeze keeping it cool and clearish. The women raced at 11 and the men at 2. There were 24 starters in the women’s field. Only certain high ranked countries were invited and each could send 3 men and 3 women. Some nations or riders were not invited to participate, but travelled to China as Staff so they could ride and check out the course. Gunn rita was there, but did not race. There were atleast 5 different teams from China racing and I was a little curious of just how many uber fast chinese girls there were. The race was an opportunity for riders and staff to learn as much as they could about the course, conditions and logisitics. Some riders treated it seriously where others were their purely for information.

I decided the best way for me to get valuable information was for me to race the course like I would any other race. It was going to be tough. There is no recovery on the course featuring many short steep climbs. It’ll be hot and the air might be bad. Again we monitored my core body temperature throughout my warmup and race and will be able to compare that to heartrate and lap times.

I was given Lucky number 13. I know the Chinese read a lot into numbers. 8 is a lucky number so the Olympics will begin the 8th day of the 8th month, 2008. 9 signifies longevity. I’m not sure what 13 means to them…. But hopefully something like a promising future! I had a typically bad start and found myself in the last 5 headed into the dirt. On the climb I picked some girls off, but not enough to have a clean and traffic free ride up the steep poppers where girls were veering in all directions.
Start/Finish area
The race stayed together for a long time as the terrain wound up and down with lots of super sharp turns. By lap 3 Ying Liu was off the front – I honestly don’t know if anyone tried to go with her. Sabine was leading a group of 5 with Rosara, Gould, JingJing, Lene and myself. I could tell Sabine was just setting pace and not full out racing so I decided to see what the course was like without traffic. I passed the line of girls and took the front with JingJing hoping on my wheel and overtaking me a couple climbs later. I think this split the group apart and made things more interesting. I came through that lap in 3rd, but Sabine passed me soon after and me, Rosara, Georgia and Lene rode in and around eachother for most of the remainder of the race. My legs started feeling fatigued and I could swear my seat felt too low. I was feeling some cold chills in the woods. I kept looking down at my knee angle, but it looked okay. I caught and passed Rosara who looked to have blown. On lap 6 I could no longer deny that my seat was too low. I hoped off and sure enough it had sunk an inch. Here’s a lesson for you. Don’t put energy gel wrappers in the same pocket as your allen keys. It makes them hard to open! I got my seat adjusted and was back on without out loosing too much time. Lene and Rosara had repassed me, but when I arrived in the feedzone I saw Rosara had stopped feeling sick. Feeling much better with the right seat height I set out to attack the course once more. Maja Wokowlski caught me on that lap though and I finished in 7th.

The final descent has had rocks planted on it.

It was a good race and a good course. I think if I’m back next year I will be ready and able to race it hard and well. Being in China was definitely some motivation, but it was a little bittersweet as it is likely that either Kiara or I will have to stay home with Marie Helene being the favorite for one spot. Kiara had a tough race hiting her handlebar on a tree while descending and being flung from the bike. She tried to get back on, but was unable to pedal due to bruised or torn muscle. She’s walking around fine now, but is a little tender.

China


From my hotel window. The hotel had all the luxuries of home...except a smokefree environment



Kiara and I flew from Graz - FrankFurt - Beijing. We had been expecting to travel with Max as well, but I guess he wasn’t feeling up to the trip. As we waited to board our plane we saw news flashes that a typhoon was to hit Shanghai that evening. Great.

It was another sleepless 9hr flight for me, but the time change was only 6hrs from Europe so it wasn’t too bad to switchover. A “Goodluck Beijing” Team was there to pick us and the Aussie’s up and take us to bike storage and the hotel. We had to store our bikes at the mtb venue, as will be the preocedure for the Olympics, and then stayed at a nearby hotel as the Athlete village is not completed yet. It’ll be about 25km from the venue. The skies were clear and the pollution not nearly what I had expected. Maybe Typhoon Wipha had cleared the air for us.

China was a different travelling experience than any I’ve had before. Usually I can feel my way through an area, but with all the signs being in symbols rather than letters I was hopeless to guess at what I was reading.

The hotel was nice, but allowed smoking… except in bed of course. It served us western style chinese food which was a bit dissappointing, but still pretty good. Everyone was trying so hard to please that it was like we were being constantly followed and greeted everywhere we went. That night we headed back to our rooms after super. I looked out my bedroom window because I could hear music and the square behind the hotel was filled with people. Hundreds of people were out there line dancing, exercising, couple dancing and playing music. It was crazy and Kiara and I wanted to be a part of it so we ran down and joined in. Just like at home there was a group off to the side in the shadows of a tree fumbling as they tried to learn the steps. We fit in there perfectly and joined in for several dances before heading up for bed.

On Thursday Kiara and I did 3 laps of the course. We monitored our body temperature in the heat (about 30 so not extreme) by ingesting a pill with a thermometer in it and wearing a monitor. We also experimented with cooling vest as it is anticipated to be around 42 with the Humidex for the Olympics in August. The course is well shaded, being predominately double track in the woods, but it’ll still get warm.

The course is interesting. Traction is awesome, hard packed and smooth. It is definitely a power course with many short steep climbs. Although the base elevation is 68m and the max elevation 125m the course is for the most part climbing. The descents have had rocks planted in them adding new meaning to the term "Rock Garden". There's a couple of little drops with young officials yelling out caution so we don't hurt ourselves! The venue has transformed since we got here with flags and banners going up and sod being laid down. We will do 7 laps of the 4.5 km course.

On Friday we did another 2 laps and Ben the exercise Physiologist took some video of different sections and riders. Back at the hotel with time to Kill we had one of the volunteers take us shopping at the grocery store across the street. We needed someone to explain to us what the foods were that we were seeing. She was a great help and Kiara and I got a couple items to sample.

Crossing Slovenia

That mtn in the background is part of the Pohorje range and the site of the World Cup. Below is Maribor.

Sunday, after riding around Maribor to check out some local scenery, Sandra and I packed up the Golf and Headed west to Portoroz and the Adriatic Sea. Although most Europeans seem to be great drivers, Slovenians miss this talent a bit making for intersting driving. On the way to the coast we stopped in Postojna for some cave exploration. We spent and hour and a half walking through underground caverns surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites. Although from the outside the place looked disgustingly touristic the caves were absolutely amazing.
Stalactites and Stalagmites.
The caves were huge and went from 80 to 150m down. Some caverns are so large they hold concerts in them twice a year. Neat, but bring your coat!
After that long in the cool caves we were happy to return to the sunlight and warm temperatures and continued on to the coast. Although only a 2.5 hr drive we had to go through something like 5 tolls. We arrived in Piran, a coastal city, only to find parking in the city was only available to locals. As I tried parking within the town a parking officer came up to me and said. “you are soooo Lucky I see you. Look.” I looked. “Look” In small print, below three other languages was a little sign that said “Parking for inhabitants only”. Again I was told how lucky I was as I was made to move my car. I didn’t feel lucky. I just wanted a parking space!
A beautiful evening awaited us in Piran
We strolled around the city for a bit, but not wanting to hike all of our luggage and bikes to the hostle we headed down to Portoroz, the next city. Portoroz was more than a little more swanky than we had anticipated. We couldn’t find anything less than a 4 star hotel with prices to match, but at this point we were so beat that we gave in and settled on the hotel that had offered us 40 euros off their standrad price…still almost double what we had envisioned paying.
Our hotel
The next morning we enjoyed the deluxe complimentary breakfast and headed out for a ride. The ride was amazing. We just biked around until we saw something interesting and then headed in that direction. First we climbed up the wine route through vineyards, olive groves and Bamboo. Then we saw a neat old church atop a steep hill and found our way to the village of Korte. The houses were all built close together so we passed through narrow cobbled alleys with stone buildings in various states of repair or disrepair on either side of us. From there we were treated to an 18% twisty descent. We decided to head up to the next church on a hill and made our way to Paden a similarly enticing town.

Through lack of road signage we ended up at the border to Croatia. We then figured we obviously should have turned right not left and headed back to where we had come from. We rode up a long gradual climb to a gas station at the summit. We took advantage of the gas station to check out a map and planned our ride home through the various coastal towns. After a 5 minute intense rain shower we found our way onto a bike path that took us along the Sea, through tunnels and farmers fields and 2.5 hrs later we were back in Potoroz in time for me to pack up my bike for China, grab showers and head to the beach.

We had come to the coast with some Bikini time in mind, but the weather was not cooperating. After a blustery beach walk we headed to an internet café. Just before we made it it started to down pour and we were trapped under a shop awning. I haven’t seen rain that hard in a long time. You could watch sheets of rain blow down the street. In a minute of running we were thoroughly soaked making the cappuchinos at the café pariticularly good. 1hr later the rain stopped and the sun came out. Yeah!

We headed into Piran and spent an hour in Bikinis dipping in the Adriatic and soaking up some sun. We then did another pass through the town to get some gelato. Kids were out in the sea getting a swim lesson… Sure beats the pool.

Sandra was in Heaven floating in the Sea with the City of Piran in the background

Unfortunately we had to make it back to Graz Austria that evening so our beach and town time were cut short to make the trek back across Slovenia and into Austria. It was an awesome way to finish off the World Cup Season and get some mental freshness before heading to china the next morning.

Afterparty

Best Bull rider ever!
Sram girls crashed the Shimano party with Mike from Rocky

That night we headed out for some typical Slovenian food. Basically meat and potato type dishes. After the 4 cross a popular Slovenian Band played ska/punk type music on the hill and we all got to have some fun. I gave Bull riding a go –mechanical - which was awesome. It makes you crazy dizzy though.

Slovenia: World Cup finals

Slovenia is an interesting country. Maribor, where our race was held, is in the North east corner. It’s a fairly typical European town and has lots of rolling hills dotted with church steeples. Compared to Switzerland it seems more natural, less manicured and there are way more trees, softwood and hardwood. In 2.5 hrs you can cross the country and hit the Adriatic Sea and the border with Croatia. Food is cheap, but hotels, laundry etc are pricy.

The finals course proved to be very tough. The laps were only 4.5km or so, but the trails were demanding. There were a lot of singletrack climbs that were rooty or turned upwards sharply. Sandra and I got to line up side by side being numbers 24 and 25. The start was pretty good and soon enough I was able to pick my way up to the front. About mid climb however me and another girl interlocked wheels and I was brought to a standstill. After separating I got going again, but someone told me my quick release was open so I had to get off again. It was frustrating as I knew I needed to be near the front before the woods, but now had to repass a bunch of girls. I wasn’t able to work my way up to where I was, but low 20’s or high teens.

We entered the woods and descended down a mesh of roots.the traffic wasn’t bad on the descents, but as soon as we entered the tricky climbs mistakes started to happen and I could see the girls I wanted to be racing pulling away on the front. By the end of that lap I moved into 14th or so and was able to pick off a bunch of fast girls on the next open climb. From there on it was picking people off 1x1 where I could. By lap 3 Rosara, Ren, Petra and myself started riding together. I felt stronger on the climbs, but they were better at the transitions keeping us together for nearly 3 laps. When Ren decided to go it was decisive and she opened a large gap. On Lap 5, after attacking each other for lead position several times, Rosara and Petra had more in the tank and pulled away from me. Elisbeth Osl, who had been slowly closing on us from behind, also picked me off for 9th. I didn’t have a huge fade last lap, just more than the other girls. It was a good race and my first top 10 at a World cup…yeah Prize money! It definitely would have been nice to hold 6th which was the best position I had gained that day, but it was a good fight for 6-10 place.

Sandra had a tough day .The legs just didn’t want to go for her, but she’s pumped for another wicked WC season next year. Wendy also had a tough day doubling flatting while on her way to a 20 something placing.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Warm "Homecoming"

On Monday I was back at the airport and again headed to switzerland. Sandra picked me up at the airport and had truffles waiting. Yummy! We then headed back to her aunt's and Uncle's place near Bern.


Sandra and her family are amazingly awesome. They had a bouquet of flowers and a Congrats cake waiting for my arrival. Having a Chef in the family comes in handy. Her relatives Sepp and Sonya were off to Slovenia the next morning where they are going to holiday and come cheer us on at The World Cup finals.



Sandra and I started the trek to Slovenia that evening after getting in a good workout. We made it to Freidrichshaffen that night....only to find out we weren't actually supposed to be there as it was in the wrong direction. Ahwell, only 30km off track and we found a nice place to stay. German breakfasts consisted of a meet tray, cheese tray and buns, but it was pretty good.




Travel Day two saw us through 3 countries as we passed between Germany and Austria a couple times to follow the autobahn and then down into Slovenia. We again went off course, the directions being in German, and found our selves on the highway to vienna. We passed through a ton of tunnels, one of which was 8km in length. But we made it and saw some great country side. Fresh snow dotted the mtns in Austria, but we arrived to Sunshine in maribor.

The course looks great. a lot of rooty singletrack and a nice climb off the start to separate the field. It should be good and I'm looking forward to having another go at a top 5 podium.

I'll try to get some pics from Slovenia up soon, but here's a snap shot from my hotel.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Forgive my lack of eloquence, but HOLY ****

You know those days when you get on the bike and your like, “ooohh I’ve got good legs today”. That was this morning warming up for the world Championships. I arrived in Scotland on Tuesday after a couple days and a race in Switzerland. We’ve been staying at this great hotel and have been completely taken care of so I was able to completely indulge in resting my legs. Yes I did get a little stir crazy at times, but got some good reading in.

All the Canadians were feeling that the course was awesome. Although it was a little over constructed with all the corners being burmed, it was really fast and fun. I was also pleased to find a 10 minute climb to stretch my legs on, knowing that even in a world cup field I’m one of the strongest climbers.

So it’s Saturday morning and my legs are feeling awesome. It’s overcast, but dry and I have a fun course ahead of me and a third row call up. Off the start Petra Henzi and a woman from the Netherlands crashed, but I was able to avoid the downed riders and tried to move up. I had a good start, but wasn't really able to move up until about 2km as the pace was fast. After that I cranked it up a notch and passed a ton of fast girls. Georgia Gould and Rosara Joseph grabbed my wheel. By the top of the first climb we were in the top 10 with a Polish girl in front. I reeled her in steadily with Rosara urging me to pass her as she was slowing us down. We eventually got by and on the flat I bridged up to the lead 4 women who were playing cat and mouse and letting Marie Helene sit up front. I briefly thought about taking over pulling, but quickly reminded myself this was the first time I’ve ridden up front so I should probably not be pulling WC winners around the track on lap 1.
Photo by Fraser Britton (Pedal mag)
Heading out into lap2 we have to climb up this rock face type deal. A lot of riders were struggling with it –men and women- and the two girls in front of me messed it up and forced me off the bike, but I was quickly back on. Sabine was just in front of me, but had the gas to burst back to the lead 3 where I had to try to steadily bring them in. On the climb lap 2 I guess the Chinese rider Jing Jing attacked forcing the pace and opening on me and dropping Marie. I bridged up to Marie mid lap 2 hoping that together we could ride faster and reel the women in, but she was setting her own pace and I opened up on her. Pretty cool. I had secret hopes of a top 5, but to be riding in 4th ahead of Marie was pretty cool. From there I was alone until the end of lap 3. Athough I wasn’t making mistakes on the descent, between the flats and burmed corners Marie and Rosara were finding some time on me. By the start of lap 4 they were on my wheel. My legs started hurting pretty good on lap 3, and lap 4 was no different. I was hoping to be able to pull something special out for that last climb, but my legs were the limiter. At about 1/3 of the way up the climb Marie and Rosara passed me. Marie stormed away while Rosara and I battled back and forth for position. Rosara eventually claimed the lead going into the descent. Both women pulled away from me that lap and I rode in still very ecstatic with 6th. Wahooo!!!!! Marrie finished in 4th and Kiara in 11th. Great rides all round.

Thanks so much to everyone that has supported me this year. Keith, mom, dad, Geoff, Grandma, Norco, Dan. Thanks also to everyone that believed in me and my ability to get a top 10 at Worlds. Hopefully it’ll just keep getting better!

I'm off to cheer on norco Team mate Fion tomorrow in the DH as well as the Canadian DH'ers.The Best Western GlenSpean was our home for the week. It's a great hotel about 15km past Fort William. We looked out at lush rolling hills and our hosts Suzanne and Ian were amazing. I'm sure they celebrated our departure with some good beer. The good Scotch was to get through the week.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Ich Bin Ausländerin Und Spreche Nicht Gut Deutsch


On my way to a 4th place finish at the SwissPower Cup Finals Race in downtown Muttenz near Basel.
Photos by Michel sturder www.msturder.ch

Yeah!! I’m back in Switzerland hanging out with my friend Sandra and her Aunt and Uncle. Ricky Federau and I arrived in Zurich Thursday after a sleepless 16hrs of travel. Our VW Golf was waiting at the rental agency and was the perfect fit for our bikes and gear. Awesome! With my second immersion in German it’s getting a little easier and I’m picking up some good phrases thanks to Ricky and his remembrances of German classes as a kid. He taught me the lyric above - I am a foreigner and I don’t speak German well – a convenient phrase to have at my disposal.

So it’s been a matter of trying to get our sleep schedule switched to this time zone, not an easy task and working the travel kinks out of the legs before Worlds. The three of us headed to Basel, near the border with Germany this weekend. On Sunday we raced the SwissPower Cup finals. I have to say it was one of the more interesting courses I’ve done, but definitely wouldn’t go so far as to say it suited me. The race started on a rough horse track. The week before we arrived had been so rainy much of Switzerland was flooded and the track had water ruts. Being more like a road race start, I took it pretty casual and wasn’t fighting for the front. With 2.5 start loops I thought I’d have lots of time to move up, but when I made my move with half a lap to go, dropping to the bottom of the track I found it was really sandy and slow and got shut out heading into the “technical zone” which consisted of three 3 foot drops and a sharp uphill. Some girls were struggling with the drops and it got all clogged up. So when the course opened up again I was way off the leaders. Good going Kika! I chased like crazy across the dead flat road stretch and into the paved climb and caught up to the top 6 or so girls by the single track climb. I was done though. I was wheezing and my legs hurt bad. The lead three girls –including Sandra - still had a sizeable gap that I was going to have to recover before I could close.

The descent was slick clay, but they had removed a tight corner making it a bit better to clean. It was still challenging to stay upright and putting a foot down meant you got nasty guck in your pedals and cleats. The single track up and down section only took 4 minutes. The rest of the course was pancake flat and a large amount of it was paved. From the descent we headed into a singletrack section along a stream. Nothing too tricky, just some twisty trail with a couple short steep poppers. The final section of the course was within the race track’s centre field. It was basically an obstacle course that had us riding up stairs, jumping a gap over water, riding logs, little bridges and drops. It was kinda fun, but got redundant by the 5th of 7 laps. I was able to catch Sandra by lap 3 or so and after putting a little gap into her we basically maintained the same pace all race. Had we known that was to be the case we could have teamed up. I was pulling away on the climb and she was reeling me in on the flats. Unfortunately I didn’t get my chance to ride up front because of a poor starting approach. The top 3 women, Sabine Spitz, Lene Byberg and Katrin Leuman road almost the entire race together which would have been fun. But Sandra and I had a good time and finished up with me in 4th and her in 5th. She wound up 4th overall all in the series.

Didn't I used to do this on horses?

It wasn’t really the race performance of my dreams, but I was definitely glad to get this one in before worlds. It’s been a month since my last race and I could definitely still feel the travel in my legs. Ricky too suffered in the race. He came up with several colourful descriptions in German and English to describe the way he felt and raced. He finished up 35th of 103 world class guys though so not too shabby off of Jetlag. We head out tomorrow (Tuesday) for Scotland and I am feeling confident my legs will be happy come race day Saturday. Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Velonews

Hey Guys, Go check out the latest Velonews.
On page 128-129 (Planet Dirt) you'll find a story on me and Sydor.

So what’s next?

September 2nd Swiss Power Cup: Zurich, Switzerland
September 8th World Championships: Fort William, Scotland
September 15th World Cup Finals: Maribor, Slovenia
September 22nd Good luck Beijing Invitation Race: Laoshan, China

As you can see I’ve got an exciting and busy fall planned. It all kicks off this Wednesday with an ungodly 4:00am wakeup to get to the airport in time to start my Around the World Adventure. I decided to kick start the next set of races with the Swiss Power cup to get my mind and body focused for Worlds the following weekend. I am psyched to get back to Switzerland and visit Sandra and her family –my favorite Swiss – Sepp and Sonya. Ricky Federau and I will be traveling together and teaming up with our Swiss counterparts. It should be awesome. I hear there is even a Minnie golf tournament in the works.

The following Tuesday Ricky and I head to Scotland to meet up with the rest of team Canada to prepare for Worlds. Canada has decided not to enter a relay due to lack of rider interest, myself excluded. By this time I should be on the right time zone and well rested for the “Big” race. Fort William promises a wicked course and I’m sure it won’t disappoint based on the race I did there in 2005. I’m ranked 29th going into Worlds with 4 women in front of me racing the Espoir category instead and Gunn Rita still absent from this year of racing so a poor starting position will not be the case and I’m excited to see how I can do after an exciting summer of racing.

Everyone leaves Scotland on the 10th with many of us heading to Maribor, Slovenia for World cup finals. I’ll be meeting up with Sandra in Zurich and doing a road trip through Switzerland to Slovenia. Should be rad! I’m looking forward to seeing a new country and World cup race venue and of course visiting many backereis along the way. Sandra is going to hang out with me for a couple days after the race to see more of the country and keep training at the tail end of the season fun.

Recently added to the schedule is the Good Luck Beijing Invitation race. Yes I get to go race the Olympic Mtb Course and I am a little excited. What a great way to send you into the off season with some motivation!!!! I’m not sure how it ended up being 3 women and one man being sent, but am thankful that I was selected to go. I have to assume 1-2 of the guys declined the trip, but who knows. So I head to China on the 19th making it a trip around the World by the time I fly back in to BC. At the moment I’m slated for one race on the 22nd, but there is a possibility of doing another on the 25th. We’ll see….

Good Bike rides and car crashes

Having time at home to ride has been awesome. Keith and I have been able to get out on some good exploration rides and enjoy an atypically cooler august in Kamloops. After many a good training rides you inevitably need that recovery ride. So as I head down Columbia on my road bike having just been invited to the Good luck Beijing Invitation race I am in good spirits and ready for a mellow ride. About 5 blocks from my house however the drivers side door of a parked car swings open just as I am about to pass the car. Boom! The right side of my body collides with the door and I am sent sideways to land on the center line a couple feet away. I pick my self up and get off the road leaving my bike, but luckily no cars are dangerously close. My head is spinning, “I can’t believe that just happened”. I’m okay, but a little freaked. My bike on the other hand and the car door are in need of replacement. Keith was able to get there within 15 minutes with ice and so bruising was minimized. Muscles are tight, but nothing a little time and massage won’t work out. As a rider you’re always watching out for that sort of thing but when cars have tinted windows and no lights on there just aren’t the warning signs you look for. For the umpteenth time this summer I feel incredibly lucky.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tobacco Free Sport

So I am one of the lucky athletes selected to be a Tobacco Free Sport Ambassador. With the program we will travel around our region of BC sharing our sport stories and encouraging a tobacco free lifestyle. To do that we needed some public speaking training, or a tleast I do, so after a fun weekend in Squamish and Whistler Keith and I headed to Vancouver. We’re now crashing with friends Jenny and Chris as I go to my tobacco free sport ambassador training for Two days and Keith gets to do lots of visiting with our Vancouverite friends.

Finally, Comfortably numb

After an only partially successful attempt at comfortably numb in July Keith and I were determined to ride the rest of the trail. What we got to ride before was so much fun we wanted to check it all out. We headed to Pemberton Friday night and camped out at a great park called Nairn Falls. After a two year abstinence from camping, Keith and I were tenting again and cooking with a camp stove. It was great! Saturday morning we got up early and after a quick Oatmeal breakfast were driving to Squamish for TT provincials. Well I raced and Keith went for an mtb ride. The race was about 38km and a fun foray back into road racing and a good way to get in a wicked flat land power interval. The race took me just under 57minutes and then I got to kickback at a BBQ with the other racers and some friends. My but was incredibly sore…there’s something about that TT position that makes sitting down within the next hour very uncomfortable. We headed back to the campsite that night and after some down time headed out for the little hike to the falls. They were pretty cool. The water was so powerful it had caused underwater passages to form between the pools of water. (pics to come)

Our friends Dave and Craig joined us the next morning to ride Comfortably numb. We started in Whistler Village and after about 10km of road riding ended up at Wedgemount where the trail head starts. From there the trail climbs switchbacks and twists over very rooty terrain for about 7km before sending you down a little descent and back up through some gnarly tricky terrain. Although the trail is definitely rugged you can get some pretty good sensations of climbing fast…especially when you’re riding with three guys. It took us about 1hr 30 of hard trail riding to reach the ½ way point. From there you’d think you start going down…and you do, but not before climbing to the highest point, descending and climbing back up. The descents were rocky, challenging and fun and all rideable and I was LOVING the Phase for all of it. We had a wicked ride with only 1 flat tire and a couple rain showers, but were all pumped on a wicked day of riding. The trail took us 2hr 45 of riding which we though was pretty good as the sign recommended 4-7hrs for completion. From there we followed some fast fun bike paths back to the village and ended the day with a fast twisty descent right to the parking lot. It was wicked.

Being a tourist at home

Keith and i hiking Helmcken Canyon


Helmcken Falls (4th highest falls in Canada)


I got back to Vancouver Monday night and Keith was at the airport to pick me up and take me home to Kamloops. After a lazy day of hanging out at home on Tuesday my Dad arrived in town. We got in some fun summery stuf like having a BBQ on the back deck and checking out some local sites. Keith, Dad and I did our first trip out to Wells Gray Park where we did a little hike around Helmcken Falls. The falls are 3x higher than Niagra. It was a beautiful park and Keith and I are thinking about going back with the road bikes for some camping and exploring. The next day we headed through Salmon Arm to Revelstoke to show Dad some of the local area and the places we love to ride and spend time
.That's my Dad!

Best Short Track Ever

Still reeling from my first Norba podium the day before in the xc I headed out for an AM coffee spin with Mical and Joele. Legs didn’t feel soo bad, but could definitely feel them whenever the grade turned upwards.

In my warm up my legs started to come around. The last week they just didn’t feel like they were clearing. Seems I just needed 90 minutes of race pace climbing to flush them out! Tired definitely, but I thought my legs might pull through for me on the day.

One lap of the short track course in North Carolina took about 3 minutes of which probably close to 1min was climbing…good for me. The rest of the course was a series of tight corners with some max power bursts between. I had an okay start and was able to use the climb to gain positions. On second lap the leaders were still close, but I knew to do well I still had a lot of moving up to do. At the top of the climb there was a tight corner. I buried myself to get to the corner with the group ahead of me and then cut way inside and asserted myself into a leading position by clearing at least 6 girls in that one move. From there on out it was going hard until I caught someone and then going harder to get by them and on to the next. Mary, Katerina and Georgia were off the front, followed by Willow and Heather and then Sue and Leah. I kept reeling in girls and the leaders. Finally with about 5 laps to go I caught Willow and we separated ourselves from Heather. I was putting out a good suffer face, but was riding well and Willow and I stuck together the rest of the race. The last lap was super fun with Willow continually attacking and me trying to maintain my lead. I kept my lead through at least 5 attacks by Willow and sprinted hard to the finish with Willow finishing in the same second. Yes I won a sprint!!! Katerina took the win, followed by Mary. Georgia got gapped with a couple laps to go but held onto 3rd, 8seconds in front of me.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Hope you brought your climbing legs!




Wednesday night Mical, myself and Kris Sneddon arrived in Charlotte North Carolina for round 5 of the NMBS series. Luckily I had already reserved a car as only 1 agency still had vehicles left. We had to try out three different SUV’s however before we found one that could fit three people with bike boxes and luggage. It was a little sketchy with one box jutting into the front seats so that when I had to brake hard catching a restaurant entrance last minute the box came forward shifting the car out of drive. It was a bit of an epic trip through the twisty, hilly roads out to Banner elk. The directions we had were limited and the signage even worse. But eventually we pulled off the foggy wet road and were given beds at the Kona team house. After a wicked 10.5 hr sleep Mical and I set out for a pre ride.

Starting at the base of Sugar mountain the course headed up….way up to the top. I’m not sure how many km we climbed nor what the elevation change was, but I was the first racer to the top of the climb first lap and it took me 30 minutes. After this climb we headed back down the mountain looping in and out of the woods as we crossed ski runs loosing vertical quickly. The descents were really rocky and the thunder showers the last few afternoons made the course greasy. In preriding I had been descending okay so I was a little unnerved when I entered the woods and was a pinball being tossed back and forth from Rock to rock. I really should have left my tire pressure as it was rather than adding more with someone else’s pump and gauge that morning. Georgia Gould and I had been duking it out on the climb, but I had opened a gap near the top. By the time I was in the woods though she was on my wheel. We both struggled down taking turns apologizing and letting the other pass as we picked ourselves up from spills or near spills. I went down hard on my hip on one rock and she pulled away.

Heading into lap 2 Georgia was still in sight and at random points I could see Marry McConeloug or Katerina Nash behind me. I did another hard 30+ minute climb, but didn’t have the legs to reel in Georgia. Heading into the first woods 2nd lap I could hear a rider closing on me. Willow was ripping up the single track, hungry for a podium position in her home state and known for her technical skills. She caught me near the end of the descent and we rode the rest down together and headed out onto the climb determined to reel in Georgia together. We took turns at the front when one of us was stronger in a section. My legs were definitely hurting, but when I was on her wheel I felt good and within my limits. It was all good until the course turned steeper and I just couldn’t produce more power. This was at about 20 minutes up with 10 minutes still to go and Willow just starting pulling away. I was desperately hoping Mary and Katerina weren’t close enough to close because I wasn’t confident I could respond if they caught and attacked me. I crested the climb in 3rd and was pretty confident I could hold it to the end.

Three laps took me 2hr and 38seconds and I ended up losing just under 3 minutes to Georgia and 1.20 to Willow, but held off newly crowned Czech National Champ Katerina Nash and US National Champ Marry McConneloug. Wendy and Mical duked it out all race dropping the girls they were racing and finishing 12 and 13th. Joele rode a strong race making a couple guys feel abashed at how she could school them on the technical descents after 2 years of riding. Kabush took 2nd in the men’s race to Jeremiah Bishop. Toulousse finished 9th, Sneddon 12th and Hadley 16th. Solid rides all round.

So I finally got my first Norba podium! Short track is today at 3 and it looks like we’ll be getting more rain.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Muddddy!! But the Pendrels Like it!



First off Just want you to know my Bro finished 3rd at Canadian DH Nationals. Ripping! This set the weekend up nicely for another Pendrel on the podium.

Mt Washington Resort on Vancouver Island hosted the 2007 Mtb National championships. Mt. Washington is a beautiful hill with great vistas, riding and alpine meadows and lakes. As usual Tim Hortons was sponsoring the event and kept the riders and volunteers full of warm coffee and treats. These were especially appreciated this weekend as the weather was not cooperative. It rained pretty much straight from wed afternoon until Sunday morning. At times it was a light mist and at others full on down pour. Tuesday I did a tempo lap in 24 minutes (dry), but by race day lap times were 28-30.

After many days of rain, the course was very mucky. The opening climb forced all riders to dismount at some point. MHP as expected took the lead from the start, but I was able to maintain my top 5 starting position into the base of the climb and was fairly successful at the mucky climb. Melanie Mcquaid started like a storm and flew by me on foot to claim 2nd into the first woods. All the contenders were close as we entered the woods (Kiara, Wendy, Sandra, Mical, Amanda). We were all blown away by just how fast MHP could run. I think I spent 2 laps thinking about this before I regained focus on the task at hand. Man she’s just fast everywhere! She can go harder for longer whether on a bike or on foot. I think I would have actually raced closer in time to her had it been dry.

Melanie went down in a mud bog at the top of the first descent getting between Kiara and myself and allowing me to open a gap. After the first gnarly, rooted, and twisty descent we took a short fire road to a meadow which had become a soggy, mossy leg drainer. I slid out on a crossways log and Kiara and Melanie were on my wheel. Kiara and I rode away and I had the lead into the second descent. Kiara was descending really well behind me and I lost concentration and slipped going down. She sweetly asked if I was okay before smoothly taking the lead. I was able to stick with her down the descent and up the next climb. I wasn’t prepared to settle in though. I like the success I’ve been having and new I’d have to ride aggressively to get the silver. So, on the climb to the feed zone I sat in until I was ready to spring and then went for it. Through the feed zone, down a fire road and back into a neat climb that forced us to keep focused. I think I get to claim being the only one to clean this entire climb multiple times…yet MHP was still putting a minute+ a lap into me! At the top of the climb we rode up a rock face, across a rocky outcrop, down some steep faces and then do some twisty mucky single track before getting back to the start finish. I wasn’t cleaning the rock face in the wet so spent more time running than I would have liked, but overall I was riding well up and down. My Norco is perfect and Sram kept me shifting and on top off my gears all race.
Rob Jones captures the race and course conditions

It was a strange race because your muscles got so much more taxed than your lungs. I couldn’t race as hard as I would have liked because I had to be so smooth and calculated to clean things. After first lap I maintained my second place to the finish. Kiara still nursing a sore back after the MSA crash was third and not surprisingly Amanda Sin rode strong finishing 4th. Simms is back on track and moved up through out the race to finish in 5th while Mcquaid and Walter took 6 and 7th. Mical, who has to be praised on her ability to overcome adversity and keep smiling, built up a new bike that morning and feeling completely drained pulled off an 8th place finish. Good work Girls!!!