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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Life is like riding a bicycle...

Albert Einstein once said "Life is like riding a bicycle - In order to keep your balance you must keep moving".  This little gem really seems to resonate with me right now since I've had tons of competing priorities in general everyday life.  Some days it feels like if I stop moving life will just catch up to me....so after returning home from Sea Otter, I had to keep things moving.

I headed back to work for a few days then set back out on the road to head to the first Pro-GRT of the year in Port Angeles!  I had only been on my big rig one day before making the trip back over the boarder, so I was a bit nervous how the weekend of racing a proper DH course was going to fare.  The Port Angeles courses though are always such a blast, so my focus was on having fun and becoming one with the big bike again.
America! | Photo: Paris Gore
As per usual the course set the pro-racers down "White Knuckle" right out of the start gate...the trail name really says it all - It's mind over matter, how long can you go without touching your breaks!  A fairly "one-line" course, but tons of fun and great to feel the wind whipping past once again.

Some big names were present in both the lady's and men's fields, and this year, thanks to a lot of hard work from Jill Kintner, the Pro-GRT series is now a fully sanctioned UCI series.  Racers can now earn valuable UCI points in their hunt to achieve World Cup Racing access.
Me ripping through the trees | Photo: Paris Gore
Saturday saw the pros race for a spot in Sunday's final...having a qualifying round was another first for the series and really helps prepare you for what it's like to race a World Cup DH.  The course was running fast and Claire Buchar of Whistler surprised everyone by taking the qualifications win.  Jill Kintner and Miranda Miller were close behind and hungry for some redemption for Sunday's finals.  I ended up snagging 6th place behind long time World Cup racers Vaea Verbeek and Emilie Siegenthaler and was hoping to find some precious seconds to narrow the gap on Sunday.
Ladies pro Podium | Photo: Eric Ashley
The weather held up for everyone and Sunday's race was one of the best organised events yet.  In an effort to take some time off I found myself riding a bit tight right out of the gate and made some big mistakes early on in the race and completely blew a crucial corner into the infamous "huck to flat" section of the course and would have to settle for hanging on to 6th place.

Jill ended up coming out on top followed by Miranda and Claire.  It was awesome to see Miranda have such a great result this weekend as she had suffered some nasty injuries at the beginning of last season that took her out for the entire year.  Kudos to her for persevering through such a long road to recovery and for smashing the course!!

Now it's time to shift my focus a bit...it's time to head back to California, where I'll make my MTB coaching debut!  I'm super excited to have the opportunity to coach for the Dirt Series program this year and can't wait to put all my gymnastics coaching experience to work in a completely different setting!

Time to just keep on moving forward!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Back to the Otter

After, what was one of the best biking winters ever, it was time to kick-off the MTB race season with some Otter action.

This year I wasn't going to make the same mistake of holding back to conserve energy as I did last year...with lots more confidence in my fitness program and the knowledge that I had worked my ass off during off-season training I knew I was fit and strong and had had lots of time on the bike heading into the race.
Photo: Gary Perkin
The Sea Otter DH saw many of the top female Pro-Downhill and Enduro racers in attendance, so I knew it was going to be a tough race.  My goal was a top 5...and I fell just shy of this goal by less than 1 second.  I had one pretty major mistake but was happy with how hard I pushed the pedals and that I still felt good at the end of the race knowing that I put everything into it...just gotta clean some stuff up for next year.  My Juliana Bicycles Roubion felt great all weekend and was definitely the right tool for the job.

I also decided to try my hand at the infamous Sea Otter Dual Slalom....what a blast!  As we practiced and then headed into the elimination rounds I found myself wondering what the hell was wrong with me...why hadn't I done this sooner!  Such a great vibe and really casual and fun race format...I see more of this in my future.  I surprised myself with a 5th place finish and am now pretty stoked to try my hand at the Crankworx Dual Slalom later this summer.

My Juliana Bicycles "Roubion" felt great all weekend and was the right tool for the job for both courses.

Bring on 2015 and more adventures!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Playin'in the woods

Thanks to a terrible snow season in the Sea to Sky Corridor it meant that off-season for bikes was all-time!

With the ability to ride bikes through the entire winter, it meant that training had a whole lot more fun times and included much more time on the bike.

My Juliana Bicycles Roubion got a big workout this winter and I also ventured into the world of BMX, heading 3 hours south from Pemberton to the Abbotsford Indoor BMX track, to hone in on some new skills and stay dry on some of the winter's less favorable days.
Photo: Carolyn Kavanagh
A week before heading off to Sea Otter for the start of the DH season, I figured it was time to get in some time on the big rig to get reacquainted with her. Fellow mountain biker and Women's Free-ride Movement photographer extraordinaire was able to find a bit of extra time and join me on trail to snap a bit of video footage and get some great photos too!  Thanks Carolyn!!!

Can't wait for more biking to come.