Saturday, June 28, 2014

After a successful World cup campaign, I was back home but still itching for some racing.  Fortunately BC delivered.  After a down week to recharge, my husband Keith and I hit up the local Wednesday night toonie series in Revelstoke doing as many laps as we could in 1.5hrs.  Revelstoke trails are so good I could ride them all day so the only problem was the fading light and the fact we still had a 2.5hr drive home for keith to work the next day.  More impressive than the trails even are the amount of women Revelstoke has gotten into racing!  When is the last time you have seen a 50/50 guy/girl ratio?

On Friday we were off again in our camperized Sprinter van, this time to Squamish BC for the infamous Test of Metal.  The next morning we joined over 800 riders on the start line for 60 km of climbing and singletrack. The day winds up with a post race BBQ and awards where everyone swaps race stories.  Test is one of those great examples of how mtn biking is a lifelong sport.  There are both 15 and 55 year-olds beating the coveted under 3hr finish time.  For me these local races are a fun chance to ride with the guys and push myself and themJ.
Riders like Olympian Geoff Kabush and Max Plaxton can do the course in around 2h30min, myself around 2:50 (when I don’t flat) while some people take 6hrs.  But we all can do it and the fans for everyone are amazing….yes you ladies in pink tutus and the guy with the bag pipes!

Then it was back to some solid training leading into the Stoked to Get Spanked Race in Revelstoke.  From Nationals in mid-July to Worlds in September there aren’t a lot of non-A race training weeks so this was an important time to really get the most of my fitness and training, rest into BCBR (7day mtb stage race) and then sharpen for Nationals, Commonwealth Games and the World Cups.

Revelstoke delivered once again with a wicked weekend of riding, racing and spending time with friends.  Saturday was a birthday get-together for Keith at his parents, complete with Spiderman balloons and piƱatas thanks to our little niece and nephew Eva and Ivo.  Then next morning it was race day again! Early in the race Matt Hadley, Raphael and myself were able to open a gap on the field until we hit the enduro timed-descent.  I gave Matt the lead and as anticipated he opened a gap I couldn’t reclose.  But I too opened a gap on third and rode solo the next 1.5hrs.  Over 2hrs at race pace on Revelstoke trails is definitely a test of condition. Matt won; I was 2nd and Raphael 3rd.  My husband Keith took 2nd in the Enduro (Wahoo) and 10th overall.  I was pretty happy with a 7th in the Enduro and a great lake swim afterwards!

Next Race: Packing.  On Thursday I left for Colorado Springs and the final US cup of the series.  I am sitting 2nd overall to my Luna team mate Katerina and want to show my support for all the time and energy that has gone into promoting domestic racing this year and helping us achieve HC status race in North America.  Thanks Sho-air and USAC.

Right after the race though I am back to the airport on a direct flight to Vancouver.  I should arrive at 9:30 pm where Keith will meet me with my full suspension Orbea Oiz and our camper van so that I can start racing the 7 day BCBR stage race the next morning at 8am with my Team mate Maghalie. 

Perhaps an ambitious schedule, but the kind of thing I thrive on and feel you should do every once in a while.  Races of passion keep the mtb fires stoked and taking on something ambitious makes you feel capable and ready for anything….

So let the games begin!



Monday, June 02, 2014

After feeling amazing in Czech, riding my way through the field, I was looking forward to the World Cup in Albstadt, Germany and hoping to be able to give last week’s winner, France’s Pauline Ferrand Prevot a bit of a challenge for the win.  However, she is currently riding in a league of her own and handily rode off the front once again.

This weekend I was able to navigate my way to the front a bit more quickly than last week, but not quickly enough.  Pauline and Gunn-rita had already distanced themselves from the field.  In the early laps I thought I might be able to bridge up to Gunn-Rita but found myself in a bit of a cat and mouse situation.  I had the legs to maintain laps with her but not to escape my group and close the 20 second gap.

A chase group was formed between Jolanda, Maja, Adelheid, Tanja and myself.  I say chase, but don’t really feel we chased, rather we raced each other for 3rd.  A little disappointing of a situation, but one you find yourself in when you are up against teams and everyone wants to be as rested as possible for the killer climbs!  We climbed as hard as possible and chased each other down the descents.  At one point, (the funnest time of the race,) Maja and Jolanda tried to get away and I got to chase them down the descents, later Adeheid went to the front and pushed a punishing pace which formed a gap between her and I and the rest of the group, but that closed again on the descent.  For 5 laps our little group stretched apart and came back together until the final lap when first Jolanda surged off the front and then Tanja.  I thought my legs were still ok, but the power seemed to go and I was left chasing them down for the final podium position.  It was one of the toughest races I have done in recent memory, punishing climbs and tactical positioning.  It reminded me how hard World cup racing is and how critical it is to have rock solid determination and grit.  It made me excited to race more. 

The World cup is now on a 2 month break and it is time to turn attention to training weaknesses and building strengths for the second part of the Season.
Thanks for the cheers

Catharine