Saturday, September 25, 2010

Vegassed out

Party at ClifBar. Best at the Show Foosball, beer,and live music

Interbike has come and gone and with it my last trip to Vegas. The show now moves to Anaheim, CA. Vegas is an interesting place to say the least. I'm glad I've seen it, Cirque de Soleil and Phantom, but I'm glad I do not have to spend more time here. A couple early morning runs down the strip alongside homeward bound revelers, gamblers and the leftover smells and discards of a night of partying has me wondering how people survive here.

For an athlete, or those that like fresh air, dislike shopping and waste it is overwhelming to say the least. Some of the hotels and displays are definitely impressive, as are women's abilities to walk in 4 inch heels. With sufficient funds you can see some amazing shows with sets that won't be traveling to smaller towns like Kamloops, but you see it at the expense of witnessing the more depressing parts of our culture as people don't go to Vegas to use moderation.

The show started with Dirt Demo in Boulder City where the Luna Chix took 22 female bike and clothing shop owners and reps for a mtb ride in the desert in their new Luna Sport outfits and camelbaks. It was crazy hot out and the trails are tough, but we had a great time.

From Dirt Demo you move indoors for 3 days. 3 days of perfumed air (to cover the cigarette smoke), parties, dimly lit paths through casinos and full days at the expo definitely wear you down, but it was great to connect with my sponsors, check out their new products and visit with friends. It's also one of the few chances I get to hang with my Luna Ironman bud Terra who's belief that if she isn't helping someone through her involvement in sport than she's not doing her job, epitomizes the philosophy behind the Luna program.

Ohhh the Labours. Terra and I sign some posters

Interbike shows me how lucky I am to be with the Luna team and our group of fantastic sponsors. The Luna sport line is looking awesome, ClifBar and Luna have some great new products (Luna chocolate chunk, Clif Crunch white chocolate macadamia, Luna protein bars and the revamped Clif shot gel...when you can actually eat gels on a spoon you know they're good). Shimano, Avia, Mavic, Fox, Orbea, Maxxis, Vetta, Camelbak, Oakley thank you for a great season of support and innovation!

Now it's back to reality, and cyclocross race organizing! Come race in the interior!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The show down

So I’m sure you’re dying to know who won the bet, Matt or I. Well Matt did win the race, but not the bet. He redeemed his man card by catching us a fish, with his hands.

Sunday dawned to rain, lots of rain. I can’t say I was excited to race. You know I just wasn’t really into racing up a mtn so close to Worlds, but there was a lot of trash talking happening so I had to suck it up.

Mt Revelstoke is a beautiful climb. It averages about 5.5%, climbed 25.4 km and 1400 m of elevation change. On a clear day you see beautiful mtns. This Sunday you say the rain dripping off your nose and a lot of mist. With 10 km to go I was having trouble shifting, my fingers were so cold. I couldn’t squeeze my bottle hard enough to get water out of it, but at least I was climbing.

I reached the crest in 1hr 16 min and 45 seconds and Matt had not caught me. Wahoo. As I descended down to the cabin where organizers had goodies and hot chilly waiting for us I saw Matt charging up to the finish line. He did a respectable 1hr 14min 08. 2nd and 3rd place were separated by only 1 second 1:15:46 and 1:15:47, fast times put in by Jason Kilmartin and Patrick Paquette. 2010 Nordic Olympian and current Masters National mtb champion Gordon Jewett took 4th ahead of me with a time of 1:16

In all there were 59 hardcore finishers including 13 year old Kellen Visaugh and 72 year old Jerry Livesey.

Complete results on the Flowt bikes and skis website.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Back home and the garden looks like something Alice would have stumbled into and not resurfaced. I did find this Zucchini though, 15inches makes a lot of zucchini bread.

Rainy weather isn't too conducive to activity, but I need to keep some miles in my legs for the Epiphany ride. I am determined not to double bonk on the 9hr ride this year.

I've been reading "Talent is Overrated" and highly recommend it.

Matt and Catherine are home, but only for a short while. We had a farewell get together for them last night as the head off to Victoria for the winter on Monday.

Before they leave though, Matt and i have some trash talk to sort out. The 27km Revelstoke Hill Climb. He thinks he can put 5 minutes into me, has recruited light wheels from a friend to do so (Derek I thought you were my friend!).... sunday will be the test.

Matt does the math and it doesn't look good..for anyone

Reflections on a 4th place finish

Willow Claims worlds Bronze, Irina Silver, Maja Gold

Well, I'm sure you have guessed that 4th wasn't my goal for the World Championships in Canada. I had a lot of momentum behind me with two world cups wins and the world cup overall, a win at MSA last year and a huge group of supporters that traveled from New Brunswick, Ontario and BC to cheer me on. The crowds were insane. It was the loudest race i've ever done. Kids with NB flags ran alongside me screaming, the switchback climbs were lined with roaring fans and the descents exploded in noise as you came through.

My preparation was good. I felt strong and ready. My head was good. I didn't feel overwhelming pressure, just confident. The race started with my best ever World cup start and some good line choices saw me move into 3rd for the start loop.

Eva Lechner, Maja and i got off the front, but into the woods on lap one i wasn't able to enter first and the chasers caught back up to us. On leaving the first woods Eva slipped and I got out front. everything was looking good. I was out front with about 10 seconds, but on the 2nd half of the lap I had some costly slips and lost my advantage on Maja.

We entered 2nd lap together, but again i couldn't grab first position into the woods, lost focus and lost contact with her.

Canadian Cylclist captures the amazing fans

I felt strong, but Willow caught up to me. This time I was determined to grab first wheel into the woods. I did, but barely. Willow and I rode together the next lap before she pulled away from me. I don't even remember the details, just the suffering and the amazing noise of the crowds.

The best part of the race by far was the last 10 minutes. I don't know if there has ever been a tighter battle for the final positions. Irina had bridged up to me and I was having flashbacks of the Olympics. But going into the climbs we could see Willow. In the woods she was off her bike and then again in the rock garden. The two slips put us into the rock garden at the same time. Willow rode the alternate line while I rode the rocks and Irina ran them behind me. Willow and I entered the base at the same time and the crowds erupted. We raced to the base of the next climb just trying to keep our legs turning over when Irina came by on the climb. Into the final switchbacks she dabbed, but I had to as well and gained no advantage. We chased each other into the final descent. Irina, Me, Willow. Through the feed-zone and to the finish with just 2 corners and a bridge to go and then Willow was passing me through a corner. One last chance around the next corner if she made a mistake, but she had the bit between her teeth and I would finish 2 seconds off the medals, 6 seconds from Silver and about 54seconds from Maja's winning time.

Had we all not put up such an epic battle for the podium I wouldn't have felt nearly as pleased with my ride. But I was there. I battled hard and in the end i got beat. Medals are important yes, but more important is that I'm there. The other girls are just also damn fast. It was by far my best Worlds, not what I wanted, not what I was maybe capable of if i had played my cards slightly differently, but i'd rather put my energy into getting faster for next year than be-groaning what i could have done differently.

I've lost some sleep over it already and now it's time to move on; and yes losing Worlds makes me hunger for it more next year.

Canada put on a great Worlds and our athletes rose to the challenge. Lauren Rosser, the little ripper from squamish is now the JR World Champion with another year of Juniour left. Steve Smith took Canadian men's DH to a new level placing 2nd behind Sam Hill. Our juniour women's xc had their best finishes since the early 2000's and our juniour men showed we have some great talent coming up with a couple top 10 finishes. Emily Batty grabbed a 5th in the U23 race, Mikaela 14th. Team Canada rode well in the relay and Kabush rode a strong 8th in the men's xc. Housemate Matt Hadley had a great ride finishing 45 after losing at least 15 position reinflating a tire. In my race Marie-Helene rode to roaring fans to finish 9th while Amanda Sin held onto a top 30 after double flatting, finishing just off Mical Dyck. Catherine, Jean ann and Sandra rounded out the top 45. In all we were 68 riders with a great team of support staff. I can't mention everyone, just that they all rode extremely well with lots of heart.