Monday, September 9, 2013

Another end to a great season of racing

Well, it seems that my race season has come to an end...but much earlier than expected.  I had several more races planned for the end of the season and into the fall, but sadly just a couple days before heading to Fernie, BC for the final BC Cup, I had an accident during a training ride and partially tore my MCL.  I'll be out of commission for at least 6 weeks while the ligament heals, but the good news is, it looks like I won't need surgery!
In good spirits even though there was no racing for me
In hopes of keeping my spirits up and cheering on all my fellow racers, I decided to head to Fernie to help volunteer and be my buddy Lula's support crew.  It was definitely strange to be at a race and not racing, but it was great to be part of the action in some way and to say a seasonal "farewell" to some amazing racing buds.
Fernie Alpine resort...not such a bad view
The BC Cup Finale was also the third and final race in Stephen Exley's "Dunbar Summer Series".  These are probably some of the best races to attend in BC as they are super organized, have an amazing vibe, great prizes and the tracks never disappoint!
Lula coming into the finish for the win!
This particular track I think I really would have liked, as it was steep and loose (very similar to Pemberton riding) and it was all smiles for every rider as they came down the track lap after lap throughout practice and race day.
Pro Men's podium..Chris Kovarik for the win
This injury was certainly a heart breaking way to finish up the season, but it was pretty fun being the "social media link" during race day, posting photos and results updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram - It was another great event by Stephen Exley and I was glad I made the 12 hour long drive to be part of it all.
C4's Jack Almond...fastest for the U17 experts
I would like to say a huge thanks to Santa Cruz Bicycles, Juliana Bicycles, Troy Lee Designs Canada, Summit Sport Whistler, Marzocchi Suspension, Smith Optics, Schwalbe Tires, Cycle Component Network and Revolution Fitness Studio for the support this year.  It means a great deal to me and I look forward to working with everyone again next year!

I'd also like to give a shout-out to E13 and Cycles Lambert for helping me out with some product, in a pinch, to get me all set up for this season.

The season would certainly not have been the same without all the amazing support, and next year is going to be yet another great year of riding, racing AND coaching!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A little bit of calm after the storm

The dust has finally settled after a busy couple weeks of racing and it's been nice to have a bit of calm after the storm.

Crankworx is always such an amazing time of the year for racing and the buzz is in Whistler is so electric during that time.  This year I was determined to race in all three DH races, so that meant rushing home from Quebec after the world cup and getting ready for Garbonzo DH which was just two short days after returning home to Pemberton.

Garbonzo DH is one of the longest and toughest DH races, but the callenge of it is what makes it such a favorite each year.  I felt surprisingly good heading into race day but oddly enough heading in to my last practice lap I underestimated the speed I needed to make one of the last jumps and came up a bit short.  I ended up having a crash and slicing open my elbow/forearm, which landed me in the hospital for 2 hours getting several stiches and a drainage tube.
Luckily there were no other major issues so  Idecided to just race for the fun of it.  I had to be super cautious and mostly just cruise a lot of the course but made it down in one peice.  I managed a 7th place depsite the conservative pace and even made Pink Bike's Garbonzo DH Photo Epic
Pemberton s Jamie Hill starts the pro woman s category.

Next up was the Air DH the very next day - A little worse for wear after my crash the day before, I still raced becuase the Air DH is just pure flow and fun!  I raced my new Juliana Bicycles "Furtado" 650B carbon machine and it felt great to whip the little bike around!  With another race in the books it was time to prepare for the final Cranworx race...the Canadian Open. 

The Canadian Open is probably one of the gnarliest yet most fun tracks out there.  For the past couple years though, this track has been a bit of a nemesis for me.  Last year I had a huge crash the day before the race, displacing 3 ribs and tearing the cartilage in my lower rib cage...and the year before I suffered a concussion in practice on race day.  This year I was determined to make it to race day and down the track in one peice!  I figured, since I already got one crash out of the way earlier in the week I was good to go.
There were a couple extra features this year that I hit, so I was stoked about that but I did have a few mishaps in the wooded sections up top which cost me dearly in time.  I was a bit off pace but was able to clinch 8th place finish.  
The infamous "Heckler's Rock"
With some of the worlds best female riders present this was not such a bad finish espciaily consdiering the mistkaes and the injury suffered a few days before.  Most importantly I think I finally "got the monkey off my back" for this track!

Until next time...

Monday, August 12, 2013

World Cup milestone

I was set to get in one more local race before heading to  Mont Sainte-Anne, Quebec for World Cup #4, but I ended up deciding to skip what is one of my favorite BC cup races, The Western Open, in an attempt to ensure my nagging wrist and hand injury was feeling better before making the journey to the other side of the country.  It turned out my hand had a stress fracture, and was the culprit behind the radiating pain into my wrist and forearm, so I think it was a good decision to rest up.
Touch down to Quebec City Airport
I was greeted at the airport by good friends who live in the area and who would play host for me and my traveling buddy, Kristen Courtney, for the week.
That sunshine didn't last for long...
As always the Mont Sainte-Anne track was rough but tons of fun.  We arrived to sunshine and headed out for a course walk following registration.  A new feature was created due to some trail damage that had occurred through the winter, which initially looked pretty straight forward during course walk....but in true Quebec fashion the tide turned just in time for the first day of practice and it poured rain making the track a soggy mess and turning all that fresh dirt into a slip and slide.
New "crooked rock drop"...looks awesome when dry
The fog and rain certainly made for some interesting practice laps and reminded me a lot of my first Mont Sainte-Anne experience...I was definitely glad to have a set of Schwalbe "Dirty Dan" tires for the mud and the "Muddy Mary" tires for when the track started to dry out!  I felt confident with my choices and it meant one less thing to worry about.
Dropping into the clouds
Still on the mend, I had to ride a bit more conservative than I would have liked through some of the rougher sections of the track, but was able to make up some time in the wide open ski-run sections and through the infamous bermed sections snaking along under the gondola.  I felt calm for the entire weekend and really focused on just having fun and not stressing about results.
When all was said and done, I ended up having a decent race run and held it together to come out with a 15th place finish.  This was my best finish so far at a world cup and despite looking to break the top 10, I was happy with this milestone and knowing that I am one step closer to that goal.  This result really fuels the fire to keep pushing and improving.
Now it's time to focus on Crankworx where I'll be racing in three DH races...had to rush back to Whistler for Garbonzo DH practice the very next day and race day is tomorrow!

Until next time...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Finding my happy place

Some pretty key national races took place over the past couple weeks, starting with Canada Cup #2 held at Sun Peaks Bike Park followed by National Champs in Panorama, BC.

Sun Peaks is one of my favorite race courses because it's just "balls to the wall" the whole time.  Some wicked fast, steep sections up top with some more fast, twisting, winding sections to finish off the race. I had some amazing practice laps and really felt I was on pace to podium here...lap after lap things just got better and better!  My Santa Cruz V10 and Marzocchi suspension were just eating up all the chatter bumps and loving the high speeds!
I had an amazing run right up until the last section of the course, on race day, but somehow managed to clip a rock pedaling through the high speed twists and turns just before coming out into the final stretch to the finish line.  I ended up having a pretty epic crash...cartwheeling a few times off the bike and having to run back up to find my bike amongst the dust filled cloud I created behind me.  I really could not believe my luck!
I somehow still managed to come out with a 6th place finish despite the bad luck, but was really looking for a spot on the podium.  No time to dwell on that though, as it was off to Panorama shortly after for National Champs.

Panorama Bike park has hosted either a National Championship or Canada Cup series race for several years in a row, and this year there were some great course changes the trail builders made to challenge racers even more.
There were some nagging injuries bothering me for the past few weeks but I tried to just work through it and come away with a good result for Nationals in hopes of achieving a spot on the Canadian Team for World Champs.

I rode aggressive and confident but it seemed that it was not in the cards for me.  I had three big errors including a near crash across the finish line!  I still came away with 5th place in the country but felt that perhaps I had to go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate some of my pre-race routines to see how I could improve my consistency.
That is racing though, and you just have to take the good with the bad.  At least it's always easy to find the fun in riding bikes no matter how the racing is going and you can always get back to your "happy place" while in search of some better luck for next time!

Until next time!  

Monday, July 8, 2013

"PHAT Wednesdays" are back!

You know summer has officially begun when the  WhistlerBikePark PHAT Wednesday DH race series begins!  Each year is like a family reunion and with over 300 racers for the season opener, it was one of the biggest reunions yet!  Great to see lots of familiar faces and lots of new ones's especially awesome to see so many more women making it out to test their skills agains the clock!
Let the games begin!
As always the season kicks off with a race down #BLine and then the courses get progressively more challenging as the season goes.  This year I started the season off right with two back-to-back 2nd place finishes and tons of fun had!
The winnings...drinks om me!
Despite the series being a more fun, "beer league" style race series, there are no shortage of amazingly talented and fast racers in Whistler to pit oneself against.  These are great training races and the competitive spirit is certainly not lost...the best part is, following your race run, it's off to the #GLC to have a beverage and some laughs with fellow racers and friends.  Always a highlight to the week and something I think everyone should try!

Until next time!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Back to Back podiums!

It's been a pretty great couple weeks, and it started off with a win at the first BC Cup of the season held at the Kamloops Bike Ranch.

This was a training race for me, and the goal was to really find my edge and know when to go there, and when to pull back a bit.  It was great to have some of my regular training buddies from C4 Rider Training there all weekend...running laps with these young lads certainly helped get me on pace and try some lines I might not otherwise have tried.
BC Cup #1
 I had a great race and was able to snag top spot on the podium, building my confidence for some more important races yet to come!

The following weekend, I raced in my first ever Enduro held as part of the North Shore Bike Fest.  I was pumped to get to put my new Juliana "Furtado" 650B race machine to the test!  Needless to say I was thoroughly impressed!  What an amazing machine!  Easy to pedal and no slouch on all that technical North Shore terrain!
Gettin' race ready
Over the 2-day, 4-stage race I was able to take second in each stage, and first overall!  Not too bad for my first crack at an Enduro...I can't wait to try more of this style of racing!

Next I'll be focusing on training for Canada Cup #2...and this week will also mark the first of the Whistler Bike Park "Phat Wednesday" race series.

Until next time...