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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.
Ouch!
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...