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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

National Champs 2014

The Canadian National DH Mountain Bike Championships is the highest level of DH racing in Canada and were held just last weekend at Sun Peaks Resort, BC.  Record high temperatures in the resort last weekend turned the fast course into a dusty, rowdy, hole filled track, making it challenging in its own way.
Photo credit:  CBC Photo
There was a pretty good turnout of racers and a phenomenal vibe throughout the whole weekend!  This was actually my first DH race this season on Canadian soil, so outside of all the regular faces, it was also really great to see so many young BC ladies out there racing!  I think it says a lot about the up and coming generation of women rippers in BC and Canada.
U17 ladies...future rippers!
I had been suffering from a neck and shoulder injury since returning from Europe and I was actually a bit doubtful if I was even going to be able to race.  Thanks to some amazing local practitioners and copious amounts of pain killers however, I was able to get enough relief from my symptoms to ride.

Over the weekend the course broke down considerably, but my whole bike set-up was eating up all the holes pretty well and I ended up seeding 4th during Saturday's seeding runs.  I knew I had some work to do to ensure a podium finish and so Sunday morning practice was really about figuring out where I could find those precious seconds on track.
Photo credit:  Cycling Canada
As I dropped into my race run I tried to put all thoughts of injuries aside and just give it everything I had.  I definitely overrode the course  in several sections, making a bunch of mistakes, but I cranked out those pedal strokes wherever I could to try and make up time.

As I crossed he finish line and the announcer called me into the "hot seat" I was pumped!  I  left everything I had in me out there on the track but I still didn't think I had ridden well enough to secure a top three finish with 3 riders still left to go.  When all was said and done I did hang onto 3rd place, unseated by Casey Brown in 2nd and Vaea Verbeek in 1st, who both put down cracking times.  All the ladies put down some great runs, so I was pretty stoked to take away my first National champs Podium!
Elite women's podium
Photo Credit: Cycling Canada
The men's race was pretty exciting too with Steve Smith, the favorite, narrowly hanging on to his Canadian title for another year.  It was a close race and Kyle Sangers was less than a second behind him, closely followed by Remi Gauvain.
Elite Men's podium
Photo Credit: cycling Canada
It was another great weekend of racing and great preparation for the next two world cups coming up in August.  I had hoped to make my way to a couple BC Cups over the next two weekends, but have decided to get healthy instead to ensure I am in top form and pain free heading in to Mont Sainte-Anne and Windham world cups.

Stay tuned for more...