Friday, November 12, 2010

A weekend of Cross in the centre of the Universe

This year after a two year hiatus from cyclocross (my previous experience being 4 races), Keith and I decided that I should organize a cyclocross series in the interior of BC so we could do some cross racing, but not have to do a ton of travelling every weekend.

The series was a huge success introducing lots of people to this new discipline and giving Keith and I the cross bug.  Then air Canada emails me info on a seat sale to Toronto.  Cyclocross nationals are there, I've got lots of family there, I have been racing cross and I figure a trip to the Big city could be fun.

Hosting my race the weekend before I was pretty busy and stressed out and looked forward to a trip to TO for a fun race with Keith.  Racing cross is a nice mental change for me, I don't have to put the same mental and emotional energy into it.  Race morning I started getting super grumpy about things that weren't a big deal though.  Ahhhh, so I guess I do care about my result.  The fact that I was dismounting way too far in advance of barriers and am inexperienced at cross was making me nervous.  I got a grip though and took to the start line.

I had a great start, but then relaxed a little thinking I was safe in the train.  Then came the realization that in cross you never rest and I've allowed riders to gap me from the leaders.  I spend the rest of the race chasing.  With 1\2 a lap to go I see 3rd and 4th place unravelling a bit and decide I can make the podium.  I dig hard for my fastest lap of the race and quickly catch 4th.  Then in the last corner I'm able to sneak past Pepper Harleton to claim bronze.
Wendy Simms and Katy Curtis dominated the day with Wendy winning the sprint for her 4th national championship.

Kika cyclocross nov 6-10 028
But racing isn't over now.  Sunday is Nationals revenge, the day where everyone who's nationals doesn't go as well as hoped gets to give it another chance.  For Keith this was the case and he moved up 10 positions!  I was happy with the way my race finished, but I wanted the chance to start harder and see if I could win. 

After yesterday's practice I was much smoother at the barriers.  The course designers had also dug trenches at the base of climbs to try to force people to dismount.  It didn't work for the earlier start groups and so 10 minutes before the women's race they dug a deeper wider trench.  I tried to ride it unsuccessfully on lap one and was forced into an unplanned slow dismount.  The girls around me ran past and attacked the crest getting a gap.  At the crest of the painful run up I dug deep to bridge up and by the end of the lap had successfully made contact. 

kika cyclocross nov 7-10 015 At the crest of the run up the next lap I attacked again and got a gap over 2nd that I was able to hold till the end. Natasha Elliot never let me ease off the pace though.  After a mechanical the previous day she showed she was riding strong.  The run up definitely made an already tough physical course harder. Unfortunately Wendy wasn't able to stick around for Day 2 of the fun as she has a 1yr old to go home too. So it was me in 1st, Natasha 2nd and Pepper Harleton in 3rd just ahead of Katy Curtis.

After a fun weekend of racing, visiting family and sightseeing I think we may add cross nationals in toronto to next year's schedule as well!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Wow do I ever suck at doing blog updates in the "off Season".

So what's been happening?  Lots as always.

Currently I am in Toronto for cross nationals and some family visiting.  We shall soon see how I am as a cross racer when I go head to head with Wendy, Mical and Natasha and I'm sure lots of other gals with superior cross skills.  It should be a lot of fun though and I'm looking forward to watching Keith race.

Toronto has already proven eventful.  Within 2 minutes of pulling out with my rental car (the acquisition of which was lengthy) I get pulled over by the Police.  When I ask if I have done something wrong the officer informs me I have Quebec plates (is this a crime in Ontario?)  He checks my license and as a good BC gal I am let go.

We get to my cousin's apartment and as he shows us the view from his 23rd storey apartment, Keith notices a house is on fire.  We promptly call 911 and run over to see anyone is inside as all the lights are off, but luckily the fire truck beats us there.  17 fire trucks later the flames are being doused and we get to bed at about 1:30.

What will tomorrow bring?

Thursday, November 04, 2010


Ron Ellis, Evan Guthrie and Dan Macdonald at Kamloops cross

This year I organized a cyclocross series in the interior with the support of Clifbar, Cycles Lambert and Oakley as well as many other fantastic local sponsors. Penticton and Kelowna had fantastic organizers and I had little to do, but Kamloops was my baby. I figured this meant I should really do some cyclocross racing! So between making a cedar shed, starting an Anatomy and physiology course and organizing my Kamloops race Keith and I were booting it down to the coast for some cross racing. We hit up two BC cups, one being the infamous pumpkin cross where we got to get costumed up and jump over horse jumps.

Sandra's kickass carving

I got an email from Fox asking me if I wanted to go to Whistler to do some filming. Silly question! So between races and weddings and exams I was off to Whistler for a couple days of filming and relaxing with the Anthill film crew. We did some really neat shoots with Darcy swinging from overhead cables as I crisscrossed rock faces and Johnathan driving a truck while Collin filmed me "hopefully" shredding some trails. We had phenomenal weather and I was pretty pumped to be able to get in a bit of trail riding in whistler. Look for some fox and whistler tourism videos this spring.

Stringing the cables

More Cross
After Whistler, Pumpkin cross and 2 exams we were in the final days leading up to my cross race. I knew organizing a race would be a lot of work, but wasn't quite prepared for how much time and energy it would consume. My normal routine was constantly interrupted and I'll admit to losing a couple hours of sleep.

Everything came together amazingly though, even the weather. I was blown away with how supportive the City of Kamloops was by meeting with me numerous times to choose a park, mark irrigation lines, paint lines etc. The local shops and riders were equally supportive giving prizes, racing and volunteering. Tons of racers came together to help set the course up Saturday afternoon. The local kids didn't tear it down overnight even though it was Saturday night and the next day was Halloween. We got 54 people out to race and tons wearing costumes. The racing was fast and entertaining (see the results page) over a BMX track and twisting through a park. Keith beat me and is now retiring from competition, at least against me.

Evan gets more air than me. Definite style points and not only for the shorts.

Afterwards everyone hung out to enjoy the beautiful day smoothies from pure cuisine and coffee from Juniper Market as I with my trusty sidekicks Cheryl and Bevin handed out the gingerbread cookie medals and about 40 prizes.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Married on a Mountain

Also in this time our beloved house mates of 2 years got married and all the family and friends descended on Kamloops for several days. Matt and Catherine's wedding was perfect, up on a mtn, looking over a ski run they tied the knot and then we dined on a conscientious catering buffet, before Keith and I delivered our speech and assigned the bride push ups in her dress. Dancing and roasting marshmallows over an open fire completed the evening in style.

Turning 30 and the Epiphany

In September I turned 30 and then made another attempt at the 150 mile epiphany ride with ClifBar in Napa Valley. Always epic, last year I double bonked, starting at only 4hrs in so this year I entered it afraid, well more afraid but better prepared. Not only did I have a bigger summer base of riding miles, but I did my best to draft for the first couple hours and eat lots often. I ended the ride feeling strong enough to duke it out with the masters men up the final climbs with some painfully placed attacks. It is so much better to finish strong then spending the last 3 hrs just trying to make it and hoping desperately that someone will stop their car and offer you a ride.

Salmon Run
Not far from Kamloops you get incredible glimpses of the salmon run so when Geoff and Mom were in town for my big 30 we took them out to see it.

Geoff and mum, Ahhhh