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Showing posts from 2011

The Best of BC

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Sometimes you can feel pretty spoiled by BC.  One day I am skate skiing in beautiful snow, the next road riding in the sunshine on dry roads.  One week at ski camp in the interior the next riding the awesomely fun trails in Victoria with my friends.  True it is not always like this.  Typically about 2 months of my winter involve no outdoor biking, but hey I love skiing so no big deal.  It's always a good wake up call on how good life is when my day's dilema is deciding whether to ride from my house in the cold or drive 30 minutes for a ski. My winter steed on the Ferry to Victoria for a training camp My family has now come out for christmas leaving -19 deg celcius in New Brunswick this morning to step off the plane to 2 degrees here in Kamloops... okay not balmy, but it is winter!  We're looking forward to a holiday week with lots of hikes, bikes, skis, snowshoes, good food, family time and some presies!
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Winter training has begun and what a better way to kick off the ski season than with a ski camp.   After years of hacking away relying on my fitness, rather than an efficient stride to get me up the hills, I signed up for one of the Sovereign Lake ski camps. I was pumped to arrive and find out I would be skiing with my buddy Kris Sneddon from the Canadian national mtb team as well as a great group from California, Wisconsin, Quebec and Alberta.   The early season skiing was fantastic as Kris and I took to the trails on Skate skis with our fearless leader “Munny”.   The camp was awesome, catering to all levels of skiers and what we wanted to get out of the camp.   We even got treated to an afternoon at the Biathlon range where I shot my first rifle and became hooked on the sport.    So this week I have skied classic and skate, up and over the mtn a couple times, done a Biathlon relay with my group, eaten some awesome food, done Yoga, been treated to spas and massages and e

Iceman

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Yesterday I got to try racing the infamous Iceman Cometh, although this year it was renamed “niceman”.  Iceman is a 30-mile point-to-point race in Traverse City, Michigan.  North, even by my Canadian Standards being up near Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario. The race has been happening for over 20 years with participation growing to 4700 riders.  Some years have seen racers barging through 1 foot of snow, but this year the weather was fantastic and the course fast. It has been 2 months to the day since my win at World Championships and my first xco race since then.  Friday Waldek and I got out to pre-ride the 50km course.  It was going to be fast, mostly sandy double track with some fast single track mixed in.  The climbs were very short and punchy.  It’ the kind of course that is easy to ride, but can suck your legs in a race if you go out to hard or do too much work at the front. I mistakenly figured that the women’s race might be boring for the first hour with lots of cat and mouse and

Worlds to Iceman: 2 months, 1 post

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A little update of what I've been up to over the last two months.  I wish I was better at actually taking pictures, but here's a quick recap   Home for a week and then off to Vegas for Interbike.  Got sweet posters! Home for a couple days and then back to San Fran for the Epiphany ride with ClifBar and a super fun Clinic with the Bay area Luna Chix.  Teamed up with my hubby for a 4hr enduro and had a great time riding with Kamloops friends at Harper Mtn. Keith threatened that if I let the lead male catch me he wouldn't do his share of the laps! Photo: kevin Bogetti-Smith No plane rides for an entire month!  Wahoo! Visits to Penticton, Revelstoke, Squamish  Went to Whistler and rode a BIG Bike with my bro, his wife and friends at the Bike Park.  I had no idea how confidence inspiring 8 inches and 2.5 tires could be! No picture…sad because I was bringing the early 90's back with my spandex and full face. Tore down a rotting deck and got a new one up, complete with

40 days, 4 big races, 4 big wins and Rainbow stripes

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I couldn't be happier with the way this race season has finished. World Champion. I will have to repeat that to myself many times and keep staring at my jersey and medal to make it feel real. This season I have matured as a racer. Having a competitor as strong and consistent in performance as Julie Bresset forced me to look at what I could change in my racing to come out on top. How do you win against an equal? In the past I have had so many races where I felt I was the stronger rider, but somehow missed out on the podium or lost the battle for position at the end of a race. The continual progression of my training from year to year and some insights into racing more efficiently have left me feeling more confidence in my endurance and power and in my ability to race with diffent tactics. That I don't necessarily have to solo away to win a race. I can be patient and wait for the right moment. That is what happened yesterday at the World Championships in Champery, Switzerl

Raining Champagne at World Cup Finals

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Phew, what a world cup season!  This year was a career best season for me with 3 world cup wins, 2 seconds, and a win at the Olympic Test event. Yesterday the World cup season wrapped up with me finishing 2nd overall.  This goes to show how amazing a year 22 year old Julie Bresset has had equalling my 3 wins and 2 seconds, but also never finishing worse than 4th.  I had an incredibly consistent season and for the first time this weekend won World cups back to back, a great mental and physical challenge. After a few days in the Czech republic visiting with Katerina's parents the Luna team drove to Val di sole Italy for World Cup finals. The weather was hot and sunny all week and the organizers had made some nice changes to the course from last year.   Steep climbs were still the dominant feature of the course, but the descending had also been extended so that the course felt more balance between time spent going up and down. After last weeks win I was feeling upbeat.  I knew th

Nove Mesto Na Morave World Cup

The first time to an unknown country and venue you never quite know what you will get.  In Czech we got a fantastic course, a well run race and amazing crowds which rivaled those in Quebec during the World Championships.  With riders like Katerina Nash and Jaroslav Kulhavy hailing from the Czech Republic it's no wonder. After three solid weeks of training at home and in Europe, lots of driving across Europe and having Keith going home, i was feeling pretty tired and worn down.  My legs felt good, but I wasn't sleeping that well and knew that mentally I would have to be extra prepared in case the race didn't go the way I wanted it to.  That if I had a mechanical, a crash, got passed by too many women, that I would have to be able to regroup quickly.  Mental fatigue can cause most of the inconsistency you see in race results.  But I had a great sleep before the race and woke up with good energy. I wanted to win here, not just because I always want to win, but because I

The Olympic Test Event in Essex, England

Under clear and sunny skies the men and women of many nations lined up to race the Olympic course for the first time. Team Canada had arrived on Wednesday for the Sunday event to test out our accommodations, driving routes and log some serious training time in London.  The four of us athletes had a great time chasing each other around the course, trying out the drops and gap jumps and seeing what lines helped us carry the most speed.   I think as a team we did a great job of collecting information for whoever ends up racing at the Olympics, we had a lot of fun and despite some good training load going into the race, we raced well. It was a little surprising how real it did feel.   All the workers, volunteers and fans were so excited and happy to have us there.  There was a ton of media and helicopters hovering over the spectacularly open course.  There was definitely more excitement than at a regular World Cup. The women raced first and were paraded around the start loop before g

Fast and Female

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So I did two other things Fast and Female outside of the women’s Canadian Championship race this weekend. The Fast and Female mtb camp, the brain child of Olympic gold medallist Chandra Crawford.  We had over 40 girls age 9-15 come to learn some mtb skills,  be inspired, dance and just have fun with the women of the number 1 ranked country in women’s mtn biking.  That’s ride Canada. Whoot whoo Super cute Event video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w35G9lfjqE0 I also had the pleasure of meeting Olympic silver medallists in Bob sled Hellen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown and teach them how to mtn bike as we filmed a segment for “How tough are these sports?” for CTV Olympics.  What fantastic women and great sports!  I don’t know if I would have been so gutsy learning to bob sled….but would relish the opportunity!  You have to wait till next August to see the show, but you can follow these ladies on twitter (which they have gotten me onto ) Hellen, myself and Shelley-Ann

Good things come in 3’s

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Photo: Rob Jones canadiancyclist.com Last weekend we had our Canadian National Championships in Canmore, Alberta.  The course was fantastic.  Lots  of great trails, some fast that you could really set your bike into, others requiring you to back off to make a tough step up or uphill switchback.  The course was demanding, but very fun (actually so demanding a section was taken out (but luckily after I overcame my mental demon and rode it smoothly a couple times…a story to come here later). Coming off of 3 sleeps at home and some pretty intense world cups I was having a bit of trouble switching gears back into battle mode.  This worried me as at the last world cup Marie-Helene was less than a minute off of me.  I knew her and her team were hungry for a win and with the different dynamic of not sharing the start line with an additional 60-80 women the race might play itself out differently. MHP took to the front on the start loop and as we headed into the lap I took over.  Emily Batt

Windham World Cup

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Photo: Rob Jones. Check out canadiancyclist.com for all race news Yesterday was one of the best World Cup battles I have had.  After a slow week in the countryside of upstate New York, staying in a farm house without the usual time occupiers of cell reception and internet I was looking forward to some race action and Action is what I got Saturday. After recovering from a mediocre start, I was able to grab the lead and pull away with only Julie Besset coming with me.  It's always neat to have number 1 and 2 duking it out blow for blow for an entire race and there was an amazing Canadian and American crowd cheering the entire time. Even all the team managers were getting into it and every word of encouragement was appreciated! To have a hope at winning the World cup overall, I could really use another win. I was entering world cup #5 140 points behind, but a win would bring it down to 90.  I also had set a goal of achieving back to back victories and winning the end of a race. O

Racing World Cups at home

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You realize how big Canada is when you are talking about growing up pretty close to Mont Sainte Anne, only a 7hr car drive away.  But the trails feel like the trails I learned to ride my bike on as a teenager.  Challenging single track through dense forest, exposed roots and rocks and when it rains, mud and lots of it.  To me the trails in MSA, Quebec are mountain biking.  The course there has always allowed me to excel from Nationals in 2004 until yesterday, my 34th World cup (incl championships) event.  Wow, how have I suddenly become a veteran having only started doing the WC series in 2007? No matter, I am still loving it and the people that surround me at these events.  Over the years the locals have come to embrace me as a favourite alongside local Marie-Helene.  I even had a french woman yell out during my race “we are proud of you Catharine.”  That is why racing in your home country is so special.  To be able to make those that share a connection with you proud.  It’s what mak

My Big Bro got married

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We celebrated the fantastic outdoor wedding of my brother Geoff and his love Liz Johnson in Fredericton, New Brunswick last Friday. Here are a couple pictures from the day. Eric Goss, Me, Kirk MacDonald, Geoff and Dad with the old Sunbeam Alpine It was so nice to spend some time with friends and family in NB.  I really have to get back more. On Tuesday after some nice NB riding Keith and I drove to MSA, Quebec for the world cup.  On our way we totally lucked out with a stop in Edmunston where within 15 minutes we found an amazing and well mapped trail network that totally energized us for the rest of the trip.  The espresso and ice cream may also have helped.  Great work on the trails Edmunston crew.  We’ll be back!

Test of Metal

Once again the Test of Metal was a great event, bringing over 800 riders from the north west together for some good riding, racing and of course a little suffering and good eating. This year I decided to race my dually, the Orbea Oiz and tricked it out with some light carbon wheels.  I had been feeling sharp on it and find it just helps me maintain speed over rough terrain a bit better.  I also decided taking 5 minutes off my last record would be a sweet goal. Time to really race the boys, no getting complacent by leading my category. The Blow by Blow This year was my 7th Test and I could definitely use the experience of years past to  pace or pin it depending on what seems necessary.  On the opening climb I hang in on the tail end of the main group and then try to pin it to maintain a wheel on the rolling fire roads where guys usually swarm around and pass me that I could out-climb. Into the first single track it’s about maintaining a steady tempo.  I had managed to stick with R

June at home

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Wow how have I managed to get 2 consecutive June's mostly at home?   Kamloops is wonderfully green with the rain we've been getting and I have discovered that Dill is a gardening menace! The Art walk is now on and Susan Helly a mountain bike enthusiast created this fantastic piece (sponsor correct no less with Mavic rims and Maxxis tires!) Taking advantage of being at "home" I haven't actually spent a weekend here.  I get in my Kamloops time and miles in the week and find new playgrounds on the weekend hitting up some of my favourite trails in Revelstoke and even doing a twoonie race and then heading to the coast this weekend and doing my first road race in i think 5 years?  It was pretty fun and left me wanting to try one of the bigger North West races. Next up is the Test of Metal, a classic mtb race in BC with a 1000 mass start.  Kamloops is also hosting a 6hr enduro this year and already has 85 participants so I see another classic in the works.

JumpShip Contest. Go watch it!

Anyone with the chance to get to Victoria this weekend has to check out JumpShip contest.  My brother Geoff has organized this dirt jump comp on a floating barge in the inner harbour as part of Victoria's 5 week cycling festival. http://www.jumpshipcontest.com/ Not only do you get to see some of the best dirt jumpers doing their tricks, but doing it while out on the ocean!  There will be 16 Dj's creating a party atmosphere and beer gardens stocked with local brew from Vancouver Islander. Like Hockey?  Checkout game 5 for free on the big screen while enjoying the downtown Victoria vibe and then come back saturday for JumpShip qualifying and Sunday for the finals!  Check out the complete schedule of events here http://www.jumpshipcontest.com/node/3

Offenberg

The Black Forest area of Germany reminds me a lot of the Okanagan Valley. Beautiful hills lined with intricately formed vineyards, orchards and fruit stands selling fresh strawberries and asparagus. Needless to say I love it there. I always look forward to it and feel right at home. Like last year, we chose to stay at Edy's Hotel in Ortenberg and just like last year we were spoiled with gorgeous food at their family run restaurant. On Mondays they close to prepare all the spices that will flavor their week's dishes. Each dish was cook and flavoured perfectly and had us well fueled for the race. Maybe that's why I felt good to do another lap in the race! I had another good start. I always knew how hard you had to go at a start, but now I believe it and make myself do it! It's still a work in progress though and sometimes I forget the start is as long as it takes me to be at the front so sometimes I start well, loose spots and then get it back together. That

2012 Olympic Course

From Dalby we traveled to London on way to little sleep. My typical post race midnight wakefulness combined with a 5am wake up call meant I was pretty much a wreck. But the organizers of the Olympics were giving us the opportunity to ride the Olympic course and training started at 11. Getting to ride the. Olympic course did help to energiize me though! Driving there I was thankful to live in a town Kamloops's size. I hate traffic! It took almost 6hrs to get to Hadleigh farms, but we got there thanks to Zak and Waldek and enjoyed some beautiful sunshine on a great course. Just as it had been ridiculously windy at Dalby, Hadleigh farms, located on the south shore of England was equally windy and on certain sections of the course we were blown up or felt like we had hands pushing us backwards or over. The loop is fast, hard packed dirt with some loose rock sections to challenge climbing skills. lots of rocks were brought in from northern England (where the rocks are harde

Is it June already?

After Arizona, I was treated to some home time. With all the rain that always seems to come while I'm away Kamloops is a lovely green (for Kamloops), little veggies and flowers are starting to poke out of the garden and I am toying with my yearly Reno ideas. Before I can get up to too much destruction however I am off to England and the 2nd world cup race in Dalby Forest. I really like the course in Dalby. It's a fast course with some fun technical challenges. Last year the start proved to be critical and the course hard to move up on if you had any challenges. Team luna would be returning to our comfy self catered cottage, a renovated stable with an inner courtyard and about 10 mother and foal couplings in the back paddock. Zak saved the day when after hearing a large crash he found a foal tangled up in a fence with both hind legs in the air. Grabbing his wire cutters he freed the foal with the owner's help and the foal was back to his blitzing around. Diner aga

Arizona

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From South Africa I went solo to Arizona.  I stayed in Tempe for 2 nights until Luna mechanic Chris joined up with me.  In Tempe the friendly guys at Cactus cycle pointed me to some super fun trails on South Mountain and I did my best to not go too hard on the punchy trails as i recovered from jet lag and adapted to the really warm weather.  I tried out my Camelbak racebak with ice in it and it was awesome to help keep me cool out in the desert. On Thursday Chris and I headed up to Prescott to pre-ride the 25mile loop of the Whiskey off Road race that I would be doing that weekend.  Chris doesn’t get to mountain bike with us all that much, typically taking care of our bikes, but that boy has skills and showed me how to rail on the loose San Luis Obisbo type descents. The view from the top (somewhere around 2000m is Prieta overlook) After leaving cool scenery in Tempe and going through some uninspiring areas of Arizona for riding I was relieved when we arrived in Prescott (pronoun

South Africa

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Despite logging over 60-80hrs of travel in the last week+, I seem to have found very little time to tell you about any of my travels. The first World Cup of the Season was in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.   The course was fantastic.  The organizers had obviously put a lot of time into it and the weather conditions, unlike the previous weekend where they got 100mm of rain, were fantastic. The Luna crew flew into Johannesburg and then did the 5+hr drive south.   The  scenery was much like Colorado and Utah until we were almost to our destination about 100km from the south east coast and it became more lush and rolling. We were caught out by the season change to fall (having changed hemispheres) and got to the course ready to ride at 4:30 only to have it be really dark and start thundering by 5:30.  Bummer. We did get to see some vervet monkeys though. South Africa, doesn’t look too different from North America, however the obvious racial distinctions in economics and life left

Classically Sea Otter

Classically Sea Otter 26km/hr, thanks to our new sponsor Garmin I have the details to back up how hard and fast Emily Batty and I rode this weekend in the cross country portion of the 2nd Us Cup of the season. That also tells you a little something about the terrain, fast, smooth, some pavement, some smooth dirt roads and some bumpy grassy sections and unfortunately for me only 600m of climbing in 45 Km. Both the short track and the cross country were very tactical races, favoring not only fitness, but a rider with good jump. In the short track my team mate Georgia got off the front pretty much from the gun and never looked back before sailing into victory after 26 minutes of full out racing. Lea Davison was trailing her in 2nd for a couple laps, but between myself, Emily, Katerina and Katie we were able to bring her in. She went down in a corner losing critical seconds reducing the field to four chasers. Near the end, lapped traffic started to get intermingled with us while I