Saturday, July 28, 2012

TransRockies Stage 1

After arriving a day early in Fernie to explore the Resort and ride some trails it was time for some bike racing. With this being my first time there was some things I've learned for the future. A) When stage 1 is a TT don't to start after 100 people, start near the front. B) Don't sprint off the time like its a World Cup XC race. C) Go easier and come to the race faster so you don't get as tired. Pretty simple few rules.

Anyway I managed an earlier start thanks to my high end contacts in the race..Started off riding fast, slowed down, thought I was climbing really fast but turns out I wasn't, went downhills fast which it turned out I did according to Strava, thought "wow this is a lot of up hill", pedaled quite a few times in the two hours one minute race, ate lots of Honey Stinger product and smiled lots because of the beautiful views, winding trails and sick descents. Pedaled my slow legs in for 7th on the stage. Let's hope with two more days I ride into some great legs, because if they get worse then I may be in trouble when we approach days of almost 6,000 ft ascent. 

Props to my house mates and fellow U23 riders Antoine Caron, Evan Mcneely and Felix Wilberg for some good cycling bike riding out there.

The afternoon was spent drinking, eating, stretching, rolling, eating, drinking, feet up, eating, ice bath, and of course interwebing. Watched Antoine head onto the stage podium with his full spandex get up, which was probably a first ever chamois on a stage race podium.

Tonight were eating some more, resting and hoping that tomorrow doesn't feel like we had just squatted a bus or had our legs beaten with baseball bats. 

 Fernie Mountain Resort exploration ride.
 The Engineer talking about stuff and fixing nothing..
T dang what a day, a day for neature that is!
Hoping we were not going to run into any mountain cougars or biting goats like this:

Friday, July 27, 2012

Okanagan Livin' to TransRockies

After a much needed couple weeks at home it was time to hit the road again for TransRockies in Fernie, BC.  A place I've never been too and super excited for this 3-day stage race. Evan Mcneely and Antoine Caron made the trip all the way from the other side of the world to attend this adventure.  Personally I think Mcneely came all the way out for our local toonie race where he actually took all the Strava KOM's and set some records. Going to need to bring back those 32 seconds on our 36  min race here..Bastard. 

Anyway Mr Mcneely had arrived in the Okanagan Tuesday and we did some Peachland stuff Wednesday like shooting guns and driving trucks on back roads through big mud puddles. Then we race a toonie race. Strava file here: The seven hour drive from Peachland-Fernie was made yesterday. Arrived to a beautiful condo on the mountainside. Housemates Antoine and Felix Wilberg met us there. Tomorrow is some trail exploration before the big show starts Saturday. I believe it's a first MTB stage race for us all, so if we suck on the second or third day don't judge us..were young precious one day cross-country racers!

 Okanagan lake is just gorgeous.
 I do think they're pretty neat, but I respect their distance.
 Few more guns to the collection.
 Postil area, Kelowna.
 Showing Mcneely the damage from his 12 gauge shot.
Yep, it's upside down.
.22 Semi-Auto
 Mcneely went from a pellet gun to .22 to12 gauge..surprise.
Mission Hill winery, Westbank B.C.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kelowna RBC Grand Fondo 2012

What a fantastic event this past weekend in Kelowna at the 2012 RBC Grand Fondo! I was lucky enough for the second weekend in a row to take part in local events. Thanks to Planet Foods for getting me entered last minute!

After a 3:30 AM wake Saturday to drive my brother to the airport it was an early arrival at the Fondo venue. With hundreds of excited cyclists and even spectators out it was bound to be a good day. Another early 7 AM start through the streets of Kelowna. With 10 km of neutral(enforced slow riding) riding people had their positions sorted and were ready to tackle the 4,500 ft of climbing. With a big group of riding through the first 30 km it was bound to split up when we hit the main climb of the day, Predator Ridge, because of its twenty plus minutes of climbing, gravel sections of a couple pitches that topple 15%. Their was a KOM at the top of the climb which totally blanked my mind once we got there, I was wondering why some guys were hitting the top of the climb in full standing attack mode. Anyway I was pretty stoked to ride about 5 km of gravel roads on the skinny tires. By the time we descended down into Vernon we had a group of four and soon became eight. We had times were everyone rotated through nicely, then times were people just sat around. It was fun, there were jokes told, chatted about our leg cramps and just enjoyed the day.  The sun seemed to hide behind the clouds all day which made for a muggy hot, but probably better than 39 C hot that took it toll last weekend for the Penticton Axel Merckx Grand Fondo. Over the last five km I was hurting pretty good from the leg cramps, which seems to be a road bike thing only for me, so I sat on the back and had Mr Matt Hewitt from Vernon lead me out for the sprint of the non-race race. Was able to cross the line first and have the fastest time of the day for the 122 km ride through the beautiful roads of the Okanagan. With long climbs, short climbs, fast descents, bike paths, gravel roads, vineyards, orchards and lake views it made for a spectacular day of bike riding. It was crazy that I probably got the most media attention ever after the event. Great to see the community backing this year event so much! This may now help with trying to find some local sponsorship and support now!

News Paper article HERE.
Strava riding file from the Fondo here:

The week leading into the Fondo I had done a little adventuring with my little bro before he headed off to basic training for the Canadian Armed Forces. There was some mountain biking/hiking into a secret lake behind my house where the fish swarm the waters and make it almost easy enough to catch them with just nets! After accomplishing finding this lake after many years of it eluding me it was nice to see it. The next day was 4X4ing into my uncles trappers cabin with my uncle. We took along a quad and my MTB so I could ride the 11 KM descent out. Two missions have been accomplished and there are many more to do still! wait and see the pictures of the adventures.

I was also able to help out Planet Foods move some of their product around. A lot of their product..Pretty much if like good coffee you need to drink some Kicking Horse coffee!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

La Bresse World Cup Pre-ride

Axel Merckx GrandFondo

Unreal weekend in Penticton at the Axel Merckx GrandFondo. I was fortunate enough to be apart of the ambassador program and attend all the weekends events. It all started with a "tour" watching breakfast from 6-8am on Saturday followed by the kids Piccolo Fondo in the afternoon. I have honestly never seen so many kids out riding bikes, well not just riding but tearing up the streets of Penticton! One kid upgraded  from a shorter race on his run bike to the big kid pedal bike race and kept right out front! Unbelievable. I will also put down 10 bucks saying he will be a fast little biker in the coming years.. It was also great to see so many people out supporting the kids. Some of the Bontrager-Livestrong road bike bike racers were helping as well as Alison Sydor.  It was then time to de-chamois and head out to Popular Grove Winery for a little event. Beautiful views from there. Then Pre-Fondo dinner extravaganza where everyone loaded up on pasta and were able to watch Ron Hayman be inducted into the Cycling BC hall of fame! Then athlete panel discussion with Kevin Cutjar, Jeff Symonds, Ian Boswell and Alison Sydor. 

Sunday was the big 160 km push. Something that was going to kick start from long riders again as I haven't ridden over 75 km in two and half months..Started the ride fast as people were trying to "establish the front group" in a GrandFondo ride, not a race! Then someone ran across the road and obviously miscalculated  our 50 k/ph speed and one of the Livestrong riders smoked him and did some front flips and luckily landed in the ditch. After that there was a nice pace back through town and we then stopped at all the rest stops to top up water and fill our bellies with delicious honey stinger treats. At about 110 km the Livestrong boys rolled and paceline and my mountain biker legs said hell no, so I just rode back into town with a slower and slower pace until I felt like I was just baked in a oven by the finish. 35C at the end, 7 bottles, 4 waffles, 3 chews, banana and a sandwich later I was ready for a lake dip. Found some conditioner and went lake showering and hung out at the awesome post-fondo venue area. With smiles everywhere and some people walking around with the bonk look it was a great afternoon. 

I have to say that was probably the funnest event I've been too in a long time, so if you have attended the Fondo I would highly recommend it! Everything about it is top notch.

Video Recap and a few photos below from the mid-Fondo riding to kids racing and start line pictures:

GrandFondo Race Recap (my backside makes an appearance at 2:34)

Had some one handed golfing/beer golfing with my brother the other night.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Windham World Cup Recap 2012

Well, I have just finished off a two month road trip with seven races in eight weekends. Yesterday was World Cup #6 in Windham, New York. A nice small mountain town with a ski hill that put's on a killer venue for a UCI mountain bike World Cup.

Last Monday myself, along with the National Team made the drive from Monte-St-Anne to Place Placid, NY for a night's pit stop and a morning training ride. We stayed right across from the legendary HoJo's(Howard Johnson) restaurant where only two original one's remain in the U.S. After we were stuff on the buffet some went to bed and some went downtown to check things out. Last year we stopped there as well and it just happen to be the 4th of July, which ended up being pretty neat. Morning ride on some local trails was pretty awesome. Afternoon drive to Windham, where we arrived to our favorite accommodation in  Windham, the Thompson Hose. With a river next door, pool, shuffle board, mini-put, tennis, breakfasts and dinners it it quite the vacation place. Spent some days riding our bikes on the course, getting a sun tan and resting in the creek/pool. Team Canada spirits were high, as usual, and we were all quietly confident and excited for the race. After a great showing in every category and every discipline last weekend at home in Monte-St-Anne I think everyone wanted to show our nations power one more time.

Personally, my race was alright. Not great but not horrible, the only thing horrible was my start and first lap. It was an interesting start for the race, as we started in the town and rode almost 2 km up to the course and then did the 8-9 min climb. So really we started, race hard and fast up hills for something like 10-12 minutes and then descended back down to the start/finish to finish off four more laps. I believe I came through at the end of the first lap about 35~ isshh, a whole lot worse than last weekend, and just tried to think as positive as possibly and started to push through riders lap by lap. Finished off 23rd, not what I was hoping for after a 13th last weekend. I definitely wasn't climbing as well as last weekend, but hey that's bike racing! No matter what your handed you have to take it and go with it, head up and look forward.  Great work by all the Canadians out there! Pretty cool to see how many Canadians were out representing. Whether it be winning the race, finishing top-10 of competing in their first World Cup and taking away experience it was just great to be apart of the weekend.

We all have a fair sized break now to rest, regroup, train and make our selves hurt more than ever in the near weeks. With some heading over to London for a big one later this summer and others just prepping for provincial or local events. Myself, I am really REALLY looking forward to this weekend's Valley First Axel Merckx GrandFondo in Penticton, BC. It will be a great way to have fun, meet people and enjoy the fantastic scenery of the Okanagan Valley.

Today was a fantastic wind down and capped off a great trip. Little food eating followed by some mountain biking on local trails then watching the Downhill World Cup. Super excited to be apart of the crowd when Steve Smith took the lead with only one rider to go, who of which beat Smith's time. But it was pretty cool as usually our venue's are separate or just don't mesh with travel.

Hopefully some good stories throughout the summer as the racing settles down for a while. Looks like the next race with be a 3-day mountain bike stage race in Fernie, BC called TR3.

Big thanks to all who supported me on this trip. Couldn't have done it without the help and support.

Picture update extravaganza below:

Race Report on CanadianCyclist:

Race Report on PedalMag:

Video Reports & Interviews on CyclingDirt:

 Swimming hole?

 Thanks to the GoPro, I didn't need to climb in to get the view..
 Swimming area, thanks to Max Plaxton!
No stress about bike racing.
Leandre Bouchard tearing up the creek.
Post race recovery ride, National team style.
Big fun group ride.

View of Windham.
Downhill course.
Cross country finish area.
Downhill finish area.
Life of a biker, pack bike, build bike, race bike, hotel, repeat.