Sunday, September 2, 2012

Crankworx A-Line!

Crankworx is always a fun and exciting time of year, and this year the date moved back to August which meant no interference with Canadian Nationals!

I had several races planned, but life outside of racing turned out to be busier than anticipated.  I ended up having a final exam and assignment due for school, which meant I had to cut out a few of my planned races.  In the end I was able to fit two races into the mix...the Air DH and Canadian Open DH.

The Air DH is always a good time!  I got in some great practice laps, and this year on race day, I was able to take 10 seconds off of my last A-Line race attempt.

I had a relatively decent run...with a few mistakes up top due to getting a little over zealous in a few corners.  I ended up coming across the line and taking the hot seat which I was pretty pumped about!  I held the fastest time for several riders, but was bumped out by Canadian legend Katrina Strand.  I ended up 9th which I was satisfied with, but am definitely looking for a top 5 next year!  

The women put down some great runs and great times...Emeline Ragot ended up taking top spot with Canadian's Micayla Gatto and Claire Buchar hot on her heels!  I think Claire would have totally taken the win if it hadn't have been for that spectator running across the race course just after the GLC drop.

Time now to prep for the Canadian Open DH...should be pretty gnarly...and fun!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back to Back Podiums!

As it turns out, I still had some lingering symptoms from my crash at Mont Saint-Anne several weeks ago and so I decided to take a couple weeks off to get healed.  Needless to say I was chomping at the bit, as they say, to get back out there!

First race back was Canada Cup #2 at Panorama resort.  Thanks to Troy Lee Designs, I had a new replacement helmet to keep my brain safe again..."safety first".

The course at Panorama is always good times...dusty, loose and fast...well in most sections.  There is this one annoying awkward up-hill section that I just couldn't dial in, but despite that I was able to put in some good lap times during practice.

My race run went pretty well (only a few mistakes up top) and I was pinned through the whole bottom section of the course!  As I came around to the home stretch it seemed super hard to pedal - believe me the last straight away is a pretty long uneventful pedal.  As I crossed the finish line I realized I had a flat tire...but at least I was still able to come away with a 5th place and somehow still managed to knock 5 seconds off my practice times.
The next weekend was the Western Open at Kicking Horse Mountain in Golden, BC.  Golden is always a favorite on my list of places to's quite steep, rocky and dusty...just like Pemberton riding!

Two years ago I won this race, and was hoping to do it again this year.  There was an amazing women's field this year so I definitely had my work cut out for me!

Practice went really well and there were no major crashes!  I was pretty calm on race day, and felt confident.  things started off great, and I was hitting al my lines.  I even managed to hold it together down one of the steep shoots where my foot blew off my pedal - love those sketchy moments where you somehow pull it together.
Finish line jump
I had an exciting run, and despite clipping a tree coming out of the last wooded section I was pretty pumped on my run.  I hammered on the pedals the whole way down the 30-45 second sprint to the end, but I really didn't think it was going to be enough for a top three finish.  When I came across the finish line I was super surprised to see I was in 2nd place behind Canadian legend Claire Buchar!  I was able to hold on to 2nd as the remaining riders came through.  Didn't take the win, but was pretty pumped on 2nd!
Ladies Podium
It was a pretty exciting race for the men too!  Adriano Digiacinto and Chris Kovarik were pretty much tied...they had to determine down the the 1,000th of a second to see who the winner was, and we all had to wait until awards to find out!
Adriano taking the win for the Men
A couple back to back podiums to put on the list...not a bad way to come back from an injury!

Now it's time to get ready for my Law exam...and Crankworx!

Until next time...happy trails.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

National Champs!

I'm back in BC after a three week journey to the east coast for some awesome racing action!  The last stop before heading back to home was back at Mont Saint-Anne for Canadian National Championships.

Although, riding on a little bit of high coming from Windham, my body and brain were definitely starting to feel the effects of my major crash at the World Cup on this very same track just two weeks ago.

I was actually pretty pumped to get some "retribution" on the course, and during practice I was able to find a few new lines, and hit the big sender under the Gondola!  There was a slight change at the beginning of the course...but we still got to hammer down the wide open ski section!!!  
My seeding run on race day was a little scattered but I was able to stay on the bike and position myself well.  On race day...which was also my birthday...I was feeling a little tired and kind of scattered - It was pretty frustrating but I was able to hold it together relatively well.

My race run was definitely not the best run I was looking for,  but I stayed on the bike and was able to take about 10 seconds off my time from a couple weeks prior at the World Cup so I was stoked about that!  I ended coming away with a 7th place finish, and whole new appreciation of the traveling and racing demands of all those seasoned World Cup riders...I was only on my trip for a little over 3 weeks and was feeling some of the affects of being away from the comforts of home!

As I look back at the whole experience I think overall it was a successful trip!  My Santa Cruz V10 is holding up amazingly and the Marzocchi suspension has been ridiculous!

Unfortunately now it's right back to work and school.  I'll definitely have to make some time over the next couple weeks to fit in a little TLC on the body and get prepared for Canada Cup #2 in Panorama, BC!

Until next time...happy trails!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Windham World Cup #5

Next stop on the three week journey was Windham, NY for World Cup #5....This was my first time racing this course and from watching last year's race I knew there were some big jumps, and I had heard that rain could be a mjor factor here, since the dirt is very clay like and super slippery when wet!  Thankfully this year I was more prepared with a tire selection to fit the bill just in case....
Top of the race course

In the end though, we had nothing but sunny skies and it was dry, dusty and loose!  I was pretty pumped, because a lot of the top section was kind of Pemberton like, with some steep and loose shoots...lots of fun.  
Big gap jump in the top section
Throughout course walk and the first day of practice almost all us girls were wondering how we were going to hit all the huge jumps...apparently they were built even bigger this year!  After a few good warm up laps it was time to session some of them...I hadn't ever hit gap jumps this big before, but I was confident enough to do three of them.  Me and fellow Canadian ripper, Lauren Rosser, teamed up to seesion the first big 35-40 footer (so we were told by the trail buliders)...the plan, no breaks and pedal hard - The plan worked and it felt amazing to conquer a jump that big!  That definitely gave me the confidence to hit the big step down box jump at the end as well...but I just couldn't wrap my head around the big road gap and the massive finish line jump so I opted to do the ride around on them.  Considering my major crash the weekend before, I really coud not afford to risk another big crash:(   
The rock garden...thank god for the sign:)
By qualification day I was feeling good and had most of my lines all dialed.  I felt like I was riding well and was confident heading into the start gate.  My run went fairly good with just a few minor errors up top...but I cased the step down box jump big time and was so close to crashing...I probably had the save of my life riding that one out...entirely on my front tire, I am still not even sure how I saved it but was sure glad I did.  When I came through the finish line, I was sure that the error cost me a spot in finals but when I looked up at the big screen there I was sitting in 15th!!  I was able to hold onto that position and was really stoked on my RESULT!

Now it was time to prepare for finals, and my plan was to just perfect all my lines, and not to bother with stressing over hitting any more of the big jumps that I hadnn't already hit.  On race day I was pumped, and little bit more relaxed than for Quali's...I started my race run off well, and despite getting sucked off course a bit - by a cross rut coming out of the first sandy chute - I felt pretty solid in the top section.  As I made my way through the snaking turns of the middle section though I washed out in one of the corners just before heading into the rock garden!  I was super bumped, but tried to get back on the bike as quickly as possible...probably only loosing about 12-15 seconds.  I had another close call on one of the jumps heading into the finish line, but pulled it out and crossed the line with a 3:29.  Not really the run I was hoping for, but I really did try to leave everything on the race course and despite the crash ended up 19th in Finals!
Heading into the steep sandy chute
It was such a crazy race for the women...Tracey Hanna busting her seat off on the landing of the final finish line jump, Emmeline Ragot having that major crash righ at the finish line as she landed that same jump, and Rachel jumping off course over the road all made for some exciting racing and in the end Rachel came away with another win.  For the men, Aaron Gwin took the win...but it was a great day for Canada with Stevie Smith riding his way into 2nd place close to Gwin!

Overall I was pretty happy with the weekend and to have a world cup finals race under my belt!  Not much time for celebration though as it was time to head back to Mont Sainte-Anne for Canadian National step closer to the end of this journey and getting the much needed work on the injuries from my crash the week before.  My body was definitely feeling the effects of my crash at this point and I really could not wait for some really good physio, massage,  and chiro!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mont Sainte-Anne World Cup #4

I headed out on a three week journey to the eastern side of the continent for some more racing action on June 19th...first stop Mont Sainte-Anne World Cup!  I was super pumped to get to come back here to race becuase the course is just so awesome and the fans are great!

This year I was travelling with one of my Canadian racing buddies from the east cost, Kristen Courtney, and my good friends living just a few short minutes away from the mountain opened their home up to us once again!
Amazing view of the hill
We were greated with quite a different site this year...sunshine and blue skies!  It was kind of nice to see, considering last year it pretty much rained the whole weekend.
The top of the course was different than last was wide open and super fast!  I loved defenitely helped saved some energy for the bottom...which also boasted a new section that ran its way through the old 4-Cross course.

Practice day came, and I was pumped to ride!  Maybe a little too pumped though - I was having a great run, but when coming into the last section, the old 4-Cross course, I overjumped a set of doubles and had a major crash.  I scorpioned big time, and hit my head pretty good - I was a little bit out-of-it for about 10 minutes but when I finally made it back into the pits things were coming back was I in a lot of pain though!  I had to take the whole rest of the day off practice and wasn't even sure if I'd be able to race:(
Course, study, study
I drew a pretty detailed course map during my course walk, and since I didn't realy get any practice in before qualifications...I studied my "art work" dilligently the night before to help myself memorize all the twists, turns, jumps and multiple rock gardens.

I was super sore the next day, but considering the crash I had, I felt pretty good.  It was hard to make the decision whether to race or not, but in the end I decided to do a couple warm-up laps and then decide.  I banged off two great top-to-bottom laps with no stopping and decided to race!  
Kristen and I just before heading up for Qualification
I had to take it easy, but it was another great experience...especially since I'll be coming back to MSA in a couple weeks time for Canadian Nationals!  My race run was smooth, and I was happy with myself for pulling it together.  I ended up 26th; not too far off of a qualifying time...pretty amazing all things considered!
The finish line!
On the day of finals, I was hoping to see Emeline come through with the win (short girls have to stick together)...Rachel ended up taking the win with Myriam Nicole in second, and Emmeline in third.
Emmeline Ragot ripping into the first rock section
Rachel Atherton flying through the second rock section
I was pumped for Canadians, Casey Brown and Micayla Gatto for doing amazing in finals!  Micayla ended up with a podium finish in 5th place, with Casey close behind in 6th. Claire and Miranda both had some mishaps on course, but ended up 12th and 19th respectively.  There were a total of 6 Canadian women racing at this world cup all living in BC (and 9 Canadian women in total), which I think says a lot about the sport in our province!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

NW Cup Round 3 wrap up

Another race finished and on the books...Round 3 of the North West Cup this past weekend was definitely a success! 

The track this round was a little bit more my style...dry, fast and loose; much more Pemberton like for sure. 

Practices went great, and I got out my crashes early on:)  On day one we got in about 7 laps, and then another 4 or 5 on day two.  It was hard not to have a big smile on your face after each lap the course was so fun!  On day two I was able to get in a non-stop lap with the GoPro, and clocked a time of 3:10 cruising; I was pumped heading into race day!

NW Cup - Round 3 - Dry Hill, Port Angeles from Jaime Hill on Vimeo.
Practice day 2 - Pro course

At the end of practice on Saturday there was a long jump competition over the finish line jump, and all us Canadians present were stoked to see Dean Tennant take the win....there were some big distances covered for sure!

Dean for the long jump win!
I was pumped to get to rock some of my new Troy Lee Designs kits this race...big thanks to TLD and Summit Bike shop for getting everything organized.

On race day I felt confident and ready to rock, and I ended up seeding 4th, with fellow CCN teammate Danice Uyesugi in 3rd!  Bryden Rigeets, representing CCN in the pro men's cateogry, had a pretty decent run too and seeded 15th.

My race run, despite clipping a tree, went well and I was able to shave a few seconds off my seeding time and improved my standing to 3rd palce!  Unfortuantely Danice had a crash, but she was still able to ride her way to a 5th place podium finish.  Bryden improved his postion as well, coming in at 13th in the men's category.
Women's podium

Men's podium
It was a pretty amazing day overall for the Canadian contingent!  Holly Feniak won it for the women, with Miranda Miller on her heals in 2nd...all four Canadian women made podium!  In the Pro men Luke Stobel, not Canadian unfortunately, took top spot with Kirk McDowall in 2nd. Remi Gauvin ended up 3rd just behind Kirk and Dean Tennant rode his way to 4th.  Seven out of the top 10 spots went to Canadians in the Pro men's category...How awesome is that! 
Women's results

Men's results...go CANADA!
Congrats to all the racers on some fantastic racing!

Friday, May 11, 2012

N-Dub Cup round 3

So it's back to Port Angeles for round 3 of the North West Cup....super stoked to race here again as the track last time was just amazing. 

The drive out was pretty picturesque with the sun setting as we finished up the last leg of our trip after making it across the ferry.
Awesome sunset!

From looking at a preview of some helmet cam footage of this week's race track, it looks like I'll get a chance at redemption on the lower section of the track, as the course will end up linking back up with this section of trail.

Practice day one is today, and we're all pumped to get rad! 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pro GRT #1

The first race of the year finally came and I was pumped to kick off the season with such a stacked field of riders!  The Pro GRT this past weekend was the first of 6 races in the USA National series and was held in Port angeles, WA.  This race attracted some of the world's fastest downhill riders including Steve Smith, Aaron Gwin, Greg Minaar, Jill Kintner and many, many more...what a treat!
CCN Chariot...riding in style!
The journey started out on Wednesday afternoon, when me and fellow CCN'ers Danice Uyegugi and Bryden Rigets left CCN Headquarters with captain Phil Mowatt at the helm of our chariot.  It was smooth sailing and we finally made it to where we'd be calling home for the next four days at about midnight...I was amped to get in lots of riding over the next few days!

As day one got under way it was great to be back in race atmosphere again...P.A has one of the best atmospheres I've encountered; great fans, great course and great organizers!

CCN pits for the weekend

The course was super-fast in the top section and got tight and twisty as it headed into the trees.  The track changed over the course of the weekend and the rain on-and-off through the weekend definitely made for a few rowdy sections...good times!  It felt great to be back racing!

Course walk Day 1
We got in tonnes of practice time and on day two I was able to get some GoPro footage from one of our warm up's a little rough, but so was the course!

The Pros had seeding on Saturday; Steve Smith came out on top for the men and it was Jill Kintner who took the lead for the women.  I ended up seeding 11th, which was middle of the pack despite a few major mistakes...I was pumped for no off the bike crashes:)

For race day I was aiming for top 7...I had laid down a few fast practice laps and was sure I could find the much needed seconds somewhere on the track on race day...alas I guess it wasn't quite in the cards this time but I did improve over Saturday's seeding run and was pretty stoked about that.  Several mistakes and some gearing issues during my run definitely cost me some time but I was stoked to find that I had lots left in the tank at the end and that fitness was not the issue.  I was glad to have stayed on the bike....I know I can "let it hang out there" just a little bit more next time!

Race Day Results for the women
First race jitters are hopefully all out and I can't wait to head back to P.A for round 3 of the NW Cup on May 11th!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hero dirt!

Pemberton is quite a gem when it comes to mountain biking trails and at this time of the year it's just hero dirt here!  I'd been trying to get my friend Karla out here for some riding for over a year now, but somehow it never quite worked out...until now.  Her and Brian made the 3 hour trek from Mission to Pemberton for an "all-mountain" day of riding.  Good buddy Matt Mallory and of course my hubby Sean joined in for some awesomeness too!

Me, Sean and Karla stoked for the ride
There's been another new trail built here in town recently so what better time to test 'er out than to show it off to a few friends...the lap is great bang for your buck as you pretty much descend for almost as long as you climb and lets just say that everyone was grinning ear to ear the whole way down!  I have to say a big thanks to whoever built this trail because it's so freaking awesome!!!!  My new pedal machine of choice this year, the Santa Cruz Heckler, has been a dream on trail so far and this weekend was no different!
Karla gettin' rad
Me gettin' rad
After finishing up our amazing XC adventure we had some lunch a couple beers and then decided to finish off the day with a few quick DH shuttle laps.

We tried to get up to one of Pemby's most amazing DH trails, "Resurrectum", but it was just a bit too early still and we ran into some deep snow that even the F-150 wasn't going to make it through.  We decided to hit up a coupld "Jim-Jam" laps instead...definitely not a bad trail to have to "settle for":)
Still too much snow on the shuttle road to Resurrectum...boooo:(
Sean and Brian hit the gap jumps on Jim Jam...good job boys!  One of these days I'll work up the kahunas to hit the three pack I swear...stupid ladder bridge entrance;)

Brain on the three pack
Big, awkward river gap jump...Sean made it look easy!
Super amazing day...stoked that biking season is finally here to stay!  Thanks Matt Mallory for snapping some shots of the day.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Finally some sunshine!

With all the snow that's been hitting us lately it's nice to finally see some sunshine and warmer weather!  In Pemberton, the grass is actually starting made me really start to get pumped for spring and of course summer.... right about now I am totally missing the fun times had in the Whistler Bike Park!  With all that in mind, I remembered some filming a buddy and I did towards the end of the summer, and it got me stoked on the fun times to come on the bike...Check it out!

Jaime Hill 2011 from Florent Carreyron on Vimeo.