Posts

Showing posts from 2008

The "quick" update on what’s been going on.

Image
Although the Olympics have passed, the season was and is still full of adventures. After Australia Keith and I joined up with our family to share in my cousin’s wedding celebrations in Calgary. I was able to steal my parents away for a couple days so they could visit our new house and spend some time with us in the loops. Only 4 short days later though I was back on a plane and headed to Austria for World cup finals. I lacked a little lustre for the final, but held on to 8th behind team mate Katerina and clinched 2nd overall in the series behind fellow Canadian Marie Helene Premont. Georgia took 5th overall. Lunch with the Orbea teamin Austria 1 week back at home and I was off to California for ClifBar’s Epiphany ride and Interbike. At the ride we did 30, 50, 90 or 150 miles…depending on motivation and bets placed. Every 1.5 hrs we had cliff product breaks to help us along the way. The ride recreates the day owner Gary Erickson decided he had to come up with a GOOD energy bar. 180 p

Oakley Safe House

Image
Oakley (Steve Blick and Greg Welch in particular) was amazing to me and my family. Blick hooked me up with some new enduring fog resistant glasses for race day and was in the feedzone in case we needed eyewear changes during the race. When I went to visit the safehouse Greg got us all some amazing cappuchinos and glasses for everyone. Good coffee is hard to come by in China. I was doing okay in the village, but my family was reliant on KFC for the best coffee in town. Yikes! Very styling guys! After coffee we headed upstairs for the beach party and Lunch. I got my post race beer...decided having beer race night before I tried to give a live interview in French wasn't a good idea. Geoff & Seamus and their familes showed up and we got to spend a couple hours hanging out together enjoying being at the Olympics and having finished racing. That cool guy camoflouged into the back ground is Steve Blick.

The village

Image
Team Canada's Building The Gardens Gardens were put in between the residences. The residences will become luxury apartments after the para Olympic end in September. Even the Rocks played music!

Olympic venues

Image
The water cube where many world and Olympic records were set. Unfortuantely I never got to go inside. The bird's nest. site of the opening and closing ceremonies and athletics Inside the Bird's nest during the men's marathon. The winner ran 42 km with an average of 21km/hr breaking the Olympic record and being 2 minutes from the world record. Keith got to go up the commentator's tower with me for my radio Canada interview. The view was amazing.

The Olympic mtb course

Image
The final descent into the finish Switch back climbed near end of loop followed by the descent below which cracked more than a few bones. If you watched the race coverage you saw Rosara Joseph do a spectacular endo here. I did the same thing 5 days earlier. It was super steep with a bit of a drop midway where being a little to fast or far forward sent you flying superman style.

Friends and Family in China

Image
Dusty (Georgia's husband) sporting his homemade "Go For Gould" T shirt and Luna Team manager and all round Good guy, Waldek Mom, Dad and Keith inside the Bird's nest Stadium Keith and I at the men's mtb race. That's the velodrome behind us. The BMX track was on the other side of small Laoshan mtn. Coach Extraordinaire, Cycling Olympic Team manager, Birthday boy and newly married Dan Proulx

Where am I now?

Just got into Canberra Australia yesterday. It's been quite an adventure! I spent 2hrs driving what should have been 20 minutes thanks to google maps trying to send me on a route that didn't exist! All this time I was driving a right hand drive standard Toyota Yaris with my bike box in the back. I made my way to Tracey and Jeremy Sheppard's place (of Victoria, BC fame) and slapped my bike together with 20 minutes od day light to spare. On my short spin through their neighbourhood I saw 2 kangaroos! a muma and baby. My ride was accompanied by tons of cacatua birds. It's been fantastic to chill out with the Sheppards and their roomie Dale and play the what's so and so up to game. Also had my first mamoth sleep in ages which was delightful! Feeling like I'm in a bit of a time warp though flying from hot and hummid China too a crsip energizing spring in Australia. Today's high will be 15 degrees.

Okay, so that was pretty cool

I came to the Olympics with the belief that I was a medal contender, but respecting the level of competition in the women’s field, I was thinking a top 5 would be a great ride. To race all race in medal contention was awesome. I didn’t have to convince myself that this was just another race to keep my head cool for race day. It’s weird but being here has not been overwhelming. It feels right. Like another World cup with more surrounding fanfare. The athletes around me look like me and my friends and everyone is so good at what they do, so the atmosphere stayed relaxed around the village. The preparation . Tuesday was my first training day in Beijing. I got out for 3 laps of the course with Marie. She kept asking me in various sections if this was the same as last year and the answer more often than not was no. The course was more rugged and even more steep climbs had been added. It was a super cool and interesting course, but very tough. Every lap I was doing the steep ch

Whew, I m here!

It’s Thursday and I have just been told that our race will be pushed back a day due to deteriorated course conditions. Whoever heard of a mtn bike race being postponed because it got muddy! Honestly though I feel good about it. We now get to race Saturday at 10 am. So the typical morning race, not afternoon. The men will go after us at 3. I’m feeling good. Got onto the sleep schedule easily. Legs get another day to recover from travel, get another day to know the substantial course changes since last year and it’ll be a better calibre race without the mud. So what are the Olympics like? Pretty rad. Keith and I took the 12 hour flight over on Monday and then I went off to the village as he met up with my parents and cousin Adrian at the airport. Our bus went through security screening to enter the village and then I went through security to get past bus drop off. A COC staffer was there to take me to Canada’s digs and point out the cafeteria, the international zone and so
I'm on route! After two great weeks of training in the Kamloops heat, keith and I were up bright and early to catch our first flight. I was just as nervous heading to the airport as I am for any big race...and it's still 5 days away. I just can't wait to be there. We're now enjoying the perks of the maple leaf lounge as we await our flight to beijing. From there I'll head off to the village and Keith will rendez vous with my mom, dad and cousin. I'll try to put up a little blurb every day to share my experience! Waahhoo

Kamloops, You Rock!

Image

Some pics!

Image
The luna crew enjoying some cappuchinos Sandra and my cousin Adrian at our pancake breakfast in Italy Atop the Fluela pass Our new kitten has taken to breast feeding off of our large male cat Isaa! He doesn't seem to mind though The BBQ I just assembled all by my self!

The sweetest sight

Image
There are some moments in a race to savour. One of the best has to be looking behind you on the trail in the final minutes of a race and not seeing another rider. With about 4 minutes to go at the MTB World cup Sunday I got to look back at the forest trail I had just covered, seeing hundreds of bike tracks through the mud, but no other riders. With 200m to go I could hear my name being called and knew I was about to win my first World Cup. The eyes started to well and a smile formed which wouldn’t leave for several hours. The venue of my first elite Canada Cup race in 2004 was now the host of my first World Cup win! I woke that morning at about 4am to the sound of pouring rain… and I fell back to sleep smiling. The rain would continue until the final moments of our race. A quick peak at the course prompted me to throw on Maxxis Medussa mud tires. It was a good call with the mud bogs and slick descents. The course, which had been altered recently on account of the large amounts of ra

Yeehaa!

Image
Thanks again to canadiancyclist.com for the photo You’d think that to ride to 2nd at a World cup you had this phenomenal day where everything fell into place. So it was weird to be racing in 2nd, but feeling kinda flat, like I was still mentally and physically a little sleepy. It had to be the slowest World cup start I’ve ever done…and the reason I was able to lead the first start loop! I lined up with Gunn Rita Dahle on one side and Marie Helene Premont on the other - no pressure! Gunn Rita set the pace off the start with Marie and I moving up to rematch after last weekends’ close race. I ended up leading the start loop side by side with Marie. This start loop in years past usually saw me drop into the 40’s. Going into the climb I was third wheel. Marie was opening on Gunn Rita and I. Near the crest I knew I should try to lead the woods, but my legs didn’t want to attack for the hole shot. The gap to Marie grew. After the first woods section I made a surge to pass GR and try to hunt d
Image

Nationals..5.5 seconds from the Jersey!

I think that was the most exciting race I've ever done. Although off to an uncertain start, it turned into a ferocious side by side battle. From The gun I grabbed 3rd wheel. Marie was off incredibly fast and I was struggling on Jean ann's wheel wondering why other girls like wendy, Mical and Sandra weren't over taking me. Every one was starting smart and I guess figured my slower start good work to their benefit! By the climb I found my groove and focused on closing the gap to Marie. By the second climb I had reeled in some good distance and closed it on the switch back climb. After the next woods section I attacked and passed her into the descent. From there till mid 4th lap I lead the race. I knew Marie was having some sort of trouble as I gained 20secs on her after the tech zone where I presumed she stopped. Many thoughts were going through my head. Am i super peaked...my gap was now up to 1 min, is she trying to give me the jersey, is she pacing to come ba

Back to canada

Keith and I left New York monday morning and headed for Montreal. It was a good drive through lots of great rolling hills. We stopped for a bit of a bushwacking ride in the adarondacs before heading on to montreal...where I think they are rebuilding every road overpass. In Montreal we spent the night with my friend Heather and her roomies near mount royal. We checked out some fresh bagels being made and got some for tuesday breakfast and then headed out for Mexican food and 400 centenial beer. Before heading on to MSA we had our Bagel breakfast and did a ride on Mount Royal wher we passed moms doing uphill aerobics with their baby carriages. Yeah that's right

I think I like short tracks now

Like Criteriums, short track races used to inspire intense feelings of dread and anguish. I just hurt the whole time to suck at the race. 3 years later they are starting to be a lo9t of fun. Although ST mornings I usually wake up wondering how I will ever manage to go that hard in a couple hours an early morning spin and then a good warm up has me ready to go at race time. The short track race in Windham was the best one yet for the men and women. It was a good course for short track. 2 short popper climbs, a descent and some flat stretches so places to attack, recover, attack. Georgia and Katerina got away early...and I had my best race start ever! I was in a chace group made of largely of Canadains (Wendy, Mical, Emily and Heather Irmiger and Sue Buttler). The race was interesting for me. I had 2 team mates up the road so I either had to sit in or get a clean attack away from the group with out dragging other girls up. Georgia was looking vulnerable ahead so brining the chas

Windham

Thursday I flew into Albany from Kamloops as Keith was driving up from New Brunswick. Eastern US and Canada is beautiful with tons of lush green deciduous trees and rolling hills. The course here is fun. It has a long climb that winds in and out of the woods over lots of slate rock and then descends down a fast twisty trail. The women only had to race 3 laps which was actually kinda nice as it meant a sub 1hr30 race. From the gun Georgia took the lead and I was able to grab 3rd wheel behind Lea Davison. By the top of the climb I had closed on Georgia and grabbed the lead. It was short lived however as she passed me back on the descent when I went wide on a corner. Georgia opened on me and I opened on Katerina. From there on out the race for the podium stayed the same. We were all riding similar to each other, one of us gaining 5 seconds in one section only to loose 5 seconds to that person in another section. We’ve got short track tomorrow, then Monday we are driving to Quebec. Amand

Meet Olly

Image
So I return home from Europe late on the 23. As I set my bags down just inside the front door I notice a picture of a kitten. Me: Keith, why do we have a picture of a kitten? K: Because we’re getting one Friday M: Haha. No we’re not K: Ummm, yeah we are. My coworker had kittens M: Your going to become a crazy cat man (he’s already adopted 2 from the school) K: But I need them. You’re away too much So what can I say to that? Olly is now part of the family, attacking legs and any other moving object and quickly establishing himself in the household with the other cats. He was the runt of his litter but was attacking our huge cat Isaa by day one.

Congrats to Keith and his athletes

Image
Matt, Daniel, Jean ann and Craig Keith and his athletes have just completed a very successful Canada Cup campaign. Jean Ann Mckirdy claimed the win in the women’s series, while Matt Hadley, Craig Ritchey and Daniel Sessford all claimed top 10’s in 4th, 7th and 9th respectively. Look out for these riders to put out strong performances at Canadian Nationals July 19th in Mont Saint Anne, Quebec.

Yeah for hilly short tracks at Altitude!

Wow, was I worked over. Heat, altitude, time changes and tons of travel all caught up to me Saturday night. Not to mention a whole lot of lung butter from the race! There’s a reason teams travel with a massage therapist. With our crazy schedules we’d all be riding like poo otherwise. In the morning we did a coffee spin into park city and Java cow where we bumped into Dallas and Mical for Cappuccinos. We then headed out for team breakfast where we filled up on pancakes and omelettes. Yummy. Man life is rough! The short track was at 1:15 and I was having a little trouble convincing myself I wanted to do it. I was thinking about those people you see yelling to get themselves pumped up and was thinking that I might need to do that today. After a couple warm up efforts though, the legs were feeling better. Today, if I didn’t win the start I owed Waldek a pound of coffee beans. I got wine if I won…but didn’t. True to tradition I fell back to about 10th. I could see Georgia a

Park city Utah

Well after only 56 hours at home I was back at the airport. This time headed for Park city Utah and stop 4 on the NMBS circuit. Immigration issues meant a missed flight and 8hrs at the Vancouver airport before I could get a flight to Utah. Chris was there to pick me up and dropped me and my bike off 8 miles from the venue to get a little spin in before bed. The course in Deer Valley is wicked. It starts with a good climb and then sends you into fast sweeping singletrack. There were tons of sharp corners where I had to learn to perfect my rear wheel slide or give up gobs of time. There were 3 major climbs, 2 of which were switchbacking singletrack and 2 long descents. The venue is at 8000ft and the altitude was noticeable with the amount of time my heart rate was hanging out above 170. Waldek set the goal for me of winning the start – to prep for world cups where I have been sucking off the line. I had a decent start, but didn’t win it so decided I’d make up for it on the firs

Beijing is a go!!!!

Image
At last year's test event in Beijing So it is now official. I'm going to the Olympics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you to everyone that has helped me get here. Keith, you deserve a lot of the credit. My coach Dan who has helped me get faster every year since we started working together in 2003. My mom, Dad, Bro and friends who were always supportive. Sues, Grainger and Geoff who were not only great fans, but kept Keith company through my many travels. The amazing Luna team, the girls on the CC crcuit that pushed me to get faster and the awesome communities of Kamloops, Fredericton and Harvey.

Worlds

After over a week in Val di Sole I was ready to get on with the racing. You can only taper so long before you're gong nutzo...especially when you're surrounded with crazzy mountain passes you shouldn't be riding...even in your granny gear;-) I had kinda weird energy Worlds morning. Nervous definitely, but unsure of my legs and fire. The whistle went off and I was off from my second row call up into the fast flat start loop. Pretty immediately I started loosing gobs on positions and found myself back in the 30's and 40's. Even when the race started heading up I was being passed and was let's say a little concerned about the outcome of the race. The climbs started to kick steeper and I found my groove. By mid lap 1 I was top 15 and 8th going into lap 2 with a group. It was a tough hot race. I was worried I went out too hard, but was able to dial it back a little thrid lap so I could pin it the last two. The best part of the race was chasing down Gunn rita last la

Team Relay

Image
Raphael, Derek, me and Evan after the relay On Tuesday I raced the Team Relay for Canada. We started with Raphael Gagne our U23 man followed by me, Derek Zandstra was our senior man and Evan Guthrie our junior. It’s funny, but I think I was more nervous for this race than for most races I’ve done in my life. Racing as a team is different, different pressure and different excitement. There were 20 teams registered and all of our team except Raphael were new to the relay. It poured on and off all morning, but Chris had Medussas ready on my wheels. They were perfect for the sloppy conditions. Raph got us off to a good start finish lap 1 in 11th position and tagged off to me. I was out of the gate with an Ukranian guy and was doing a good job of sticking with him. About 3minutes in I caught and passed New Zealand rider Rosara Joseph and was passed by an Australian guy. I dug deep on the climbs and was making very few mistakes on the tricky descents so was feeling pretty good about my ride.

The Drive to Italy

We just drove the craziest roads I’ve ever been on. After a relaxed morning walking around Bern shopping including the necessary annual visit to the Merkur (chocolatrie) Sandra and I packed up our rental Ford Fiesta and headed towards Italy. We drove through familiar territory in the Grabunden, where we spent a weekend riding last year and then headed from Davos up the Fluejla pass and into the snow and glaciers. The Fluejela was the first of many mountain passes on that trip. We took the fiesta through more switchbacks than I can keep track of and coined the fiesta slide and Fiesta Exclamation. :-0 If you want to do an epic training camp base out of this area of Italy or Switzerland and you can be doing a new pass every day and hours of climbing. We finally strolled into Dimaro Italy, just down the road from the Worlds site at 9pm, ate some dinner and crawled into bed. Sandra Raced the Italian cup on Saturday and finished a close 4th in a very strong International field. Ital

Mini golf and Soccer in Bern

Image
After a very long travel day 6:30am till midnight Sandra and I were back with her aunt and uncle in Switzerland. Monday was relaxed with a great ride around the Bern countryside. Road riding in Switzerland is great. Tuesday we got in a good workout and then joined her family for 18 holes of minigolf and ice cream. I didn’t win…I tied for 2nd last. It would have been hard not to notice that Switzerland is one of the host nations for the Euro championships of soccer. There are fans everywhere and all the bakeries had soccer ball shaped cookies and chocolates. Although no "Swiss" games were being played in Bern there were huge jumbo tvs set up downtown and almost every restaurant had the games playing. Sepp and Sonya gave Sandra and I each a Swiss shirt and we hopped the bus for down town. We strolled around checking out the craziness and settled on a pizza restaurant with a TV for dinner and people watching. Afterwards we headed to the Jumbo TV in time to see Switzerland score

Fort William

Image
Some nice Scottish scenery My dad at the swim hole near our place. The day before the race Waldek threw me in...but was nice enough to give me the choice of weather I wanted to take my jacket off first! Mum took a wipe out on the course! Ouch Chris, Georgia and Katka The cool valley near our place. The parallel lines on the hills arefrom glaciers pushing a lake back over years. After finishing 6th at the Worlds in Fort William Last year I was hoping this was going to be another podium weekend for me. We got to Scotland Tuesday afternoon and did a road ride up this amazingly beautiful valley that had perfectly even lines running along it from glaciers of old. We stayed in a house so were able to avoid too many overcooked vegetables and heavy Scottish dishes that just don’t leave the gut feeling that great. My parents arrived on Thursday and joined us for dinner at the house. The next day they walked the course and my mom managed a good face plant on the trail, bruising her forehead an

First WC Podium!

Image
Getting a top 5 has been a goal of mine since Worlds last year. Today it happened. After 2 days of great sunshine in the Pyrenees ending one of their rainiest springs, the skies again opened up this morning. Even though I just arrived Wednesday (and had to buy a new plane ticket in Paris after learning that I was supposed to fly to Toulouse from another airport) I have been feeling great. The time change and travel didn’t seem to be wearing me down, I loved the course and I was in a new and beautiful country with sunshine and snow. This morning, after a less than stellar sleep (I know I got at least 3hrs), I was still feeling good and pumped for the race. During warm up I knew it could be a good day. The course was getting greasy and rutted, but I liked it. Off the start I moved from front row to about 30th with a colossal pedal miss. Loosing a couple seconds when everyone else is sprinting is pretty significant. From there it was time to regain positions. In the woods I was able to pa

Kamloops crew rips it up

Congrats to all you secret racers in Kamloops! Last weekend at the Cow trail BC cup in Merrit Kim and Martin B both won their categories, Martin D was 2nd in his and Pete 6th. Jamie I saw that top 5 girl! Yehaa. Aaron showed he's still a ripper finishing 8th in Elite men and my athlete Joele finished 4th Elite women after recovering from a crash off the start. A guy blocked traffic for her so she could get up and I was picturing it being someone from Kamloops! Watch out for Ellen and Nick at test of Metal! Also on the Canada Cup scene Keith's athlete's are showing their cards. JeanAnn has claimed a 3rd and 4th, Matt H got 3rd last weekend (yes sir!) and Daniel and craig are riding consistently top 12-15 for their best canada cups to date. Keep it up guys!

The view from my Office

Image
Now that you’re all cursing me I’ll dig deeper! This place is gorgeous. We’re staying in the Pyrenees. We arrived last night climbing the twisty mountain roads, passing one village after another until arriving at Hotel Magic (how can you go wrong with a name like that) 3hrs after leaving Toulouse. We headed out on the bikes before dark and climbed for an hour before descending back down only 20minutes to the hotel. The snowflakes put the agic in Magic! The next morning was bright and sunny. We took the Gondola from our hotel to the top of the mountain (Vallnord) where the race site is located. Things just kept getting better. Not only was it a beautiful venue surrounded with white capped mountains shining in the sun, but the course was super fun, lots of roots and rocks and time in the woods. The 1800m elevation had me breathing harder than normal and the legs aren’t quite ready to race, but that could just as easily have been the travel. From the Gondola