Sunday, August 21, 2011

Val Di Sole

So yesterday I raced the Val Di Sole World Cup. It went way better than I expected considering my “wicked” (sarcasm intended) lead up during the week before.

We left Canmore in a torrential downpour and drove to the Calgary airport Monday afternoon, hopped on the plane after the lightning left and flew to Toronto and then Zurich. From Zurich we took the train towards Val di Sole Italy and finished off our 36hrs of travel with a van ride to our accommodations. We had a sweet hotel about 200m from the race course, with really cool blackout blinds on the windows so I can sleep in, and windows that are hinged in a way to switch between doors and open (but locked) window.

So it seemed like Tuesday just did not even exist, and Wednesday we went for a ride. Catherine and I did a warmup on the bike path and I was talking to her ( I think she was listening) and a bee or wasp flew into my mouth and stung me between my teeth and lip. I kept riding and did a lap of the race course, but during the lap I basically started drooling. The right side of my face went numb and then started to swell up quite a bit. Eventually I found some Benadryl and ice and the swelling stopped.

This is me with the fat lip, fat face, swolled eye, and a "bird beak", yeah, I felt awesome...

The next day I woke up with a tight throat and wasn’t sure if it was a further reaction to the sting or a cold. I went training and had a decent day but the then the cold got worse. Friday I felt pretty bad at times and Saturday was race day. For my warmup I started a hard effort and promptly went to the side of the road and hacked up some nice lung butter, after that I was ok and felt a bit better for the next warmup efforts.

I had a decent call up for the race in 67/120 guys, so I was pretty excited about that. However, right after the gun went off Bury Stander who was on the front line broke his chain and caused a massive crash, so basically I came to a dead stop because I decided not to run over this guy’s head that was in my way, so I got through the crash and then was off. Anyway, I rallied together and rode a pretty slow first lap because there were so many people trying to get into the singletrack at the same time, we would do max effort sprints and then stand still until we could fit through. Then on lap 2 I was able to open it up a bit more and I felt pretty good. This course consisted of about 5 climbs of 20sec to 1min that were super steep and I was able to stand and power up them and pick off a 1 ride on most of them, so it was fun to move up and pass people all race. I consistently passed about 10 riders per lap to finish 76th, so it was an ok day. I am actually happy with my race all things considered, and am looking forward to world champs in 2 weeks, knowing that I can be way faster than right now by just getting healthy, - and I hear it is a fun race course that should suit me well technically.

Catherine had a great race, she rode really well for the first 4 laps and then blew up a bit and lost 7 spots, finishing 39 – which is still her best European world cup ever so that is exciting for her too. We are off to Champery Switzerland Tuesday to prep on the Worlds course.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


This year I raced TR3, the three day version of TransRockies. It was a super competitive field with top racers from Canada and the USA. And best of all it was all on sweet Fernie Singletrack.

Steff, Magi, Catherine, and I all stayed with Marni and Andre's place - many thanks for putting up with our mess and smelly bike clothes.

Day 1 was a time trial and I went out second. I had decent legs but nothing amazing, Barry Wicks was my 2 min man and he caught up to me, so then I stuck with him and finished up 4th. Day 2 was a much better day, I had way better legs and felt pretty good. We were in a lead group of 6 and were directed the wrong way by a course marshall, we rode up the hill for about 6min and then blasted back down, apparently another 20 people did the same thing but did a loop, so it didn't really matter since all of the top 30 got lost. From there we had to pass a ton of people and eventually caught my wife who was leading everybody at that point! On the big climb Neal attacked and Max went with him, and Steff and I rode our own pace. We did a good climb and then bombed down Porky Blue, a crazy steep 1000m vertical descent down into the valley. Steff and I then worked together until the finish where we had decided to wait until the end to sprint. I lead out and the finish straight was longer then I expected, so I started too early and he came around to get 3rd and I was 4th. Catherine had a great day and won the women's, by enough to take the overall.

Today for day 3 I had good legs again and pushed pretty hard. The group split up on the first climb and I was in 3rd in no-mans land. I rode there all day for the 5x350m climbs and descents of the day. At one point I caught Neal who was fixing a flat and I passed him, he was about 30sec behind me and then I put some decent time into him before the finish to finish up 2nd on the day and 3rd overall.

I'm very happy with my ride and now am excited to head to Europe to race world cup finals in Italy and World Champs in Switzerland. Thanks a lot to Xprezo Boraso for the great bikes and support for this year.


So, I've been racing my bike all over the place these last few weeks.

After Ste Anne was Windham World cup, I had a great race there and finished 9min back from the leader and 41st, 3rd canadian. From there we flew out of Albany NY on a tiny plane and all our bikes were lost for 4 days.

The next weekend was Nationals, and I had another good ride, not as good as at the world cup but decent none the less. I felt pretty good and duked it out with Morka for the last 3 laps. It was super fun because we went so hard and fast, but he got me at the end and I was 6th.

Next up was Edmonton Canada Cup, this one was a bit crazy. It had poured rain all week and then the sun came out the day of the race, so we had the worst of all worlds. The mud was so thick and sticky that we had to run about 1km per 6km lap. The running was so slippery that you had to dig the toe spikes or heel spikes in to run on flat. I had a good race and finished up 3rd, with enough points to win the overall Canada Cup series!!! Catherine won her race and won the overall- so we are the fastest married mtb couple in Canada! Big thanks to Terry and Dianne who let us stay at their place, fed us great food, and brought the whole family out to cheer us on!