Cross-Country ski racing is…..

………hard. First off, Happy New Year to all. I hope that everyone enjoyed the holidays and have reflected on their years. I’ve been doing a different start to the winter this year. Over the past few seasons I’ve been talking about ski racing and never actually put my name on a sign up sheet. It’s been a great opportunity to train for something new and learn about another sport that I’ve actually been doing for ten years. In 2007 I entered a 7 km classic race after only a season or two of skiing. It wasn’t pretty and the biggest memory was doing the splits around a corner with one foot stuck in the tracks and yard sailing down an embankment. Skis, poles and myself were everywhere. 

Over 10 years later and I decided it was time for the first “skate” race. Skiing started a lot earlier this year with a one week winter camp at Silver Star resort to ski their trails and Sovereign Lakes. I had some good instructors with past ski racers and Olympians; Brittany Webster and Jenn Jackson were the instructors and pain inducers for the mountain bikers, with myself, Catharine Pendrel and Keith Wilson. We skied a lot and were powered by some tasty food and baking.

On December 2nd Nickel Plate Nordic was hosting their first race of the year and it was one of the earliest for any places around. After the 10 km loppet race I skied with the Telemark club for a couple hours.  As previously assumed, it was confirmed with that cross-country ski racing is hard.. I had one week to “sharpen my sword” until I threw myself completely into the deep end at a combined Canadian Nor Am Series and US Super Tour series race at Sovereign Lakes in Vernon. Without any ranking points it meant I started almost first out of the 130+ person mens field. It was interval starts every 30 seconds from last ranked to first ranked skiers. Luckily with the help of a few people I had the fastest wax job my skis have ever experienced and, not to complain, but they were almost too fast for my skill/balance level! Not a problem that a good skier has.

Thanks to everyone out there cheering and to the waxers. It wasn’t pretty and I wasn’t anywhere near finishing in the the middle of the field, let along the front. The loop was 5 km and we did 3 laps for a 15 km race. On my final lap is when the fastest skiers were taking off; one by one they came whistling by me as my speed slowed. It was a great experience to try out racing at high level in a different sport. Next up: Telemark Loppet race at my home club on Jan 14. 

Happy Holidays!



Race Face Cinch power meter release

It was an honour to work with Race Face over the last year in the development of the newly released Cinch Power Meter. Click the link below to read more about it, learn how I train with it, and what bikes it can be used on.


Video from National Champs

Here’s a great video recap by Patrick Brown from the Canmore cross-country National Championships this past summer:



Off-season Photo Essay

Richard Wooles and his daughter Zoe present a cheque to Cycling Canada for youth development. This was raised over 14 days and during the Evening of Champions Fundraiser. I’ve been fortunate to be involved with this gala for 4 years and am amazed with how many supportive people are out there. 

The athletes at the gala.

This fall I’ve been eating a lot of breakfasts’ out in the bush during my hunts

There was a lot of wood splitting and stacking to keep the home warm this winter
Slowly but surely the yard piles up with wood after the winter gets closer

Sunrise with friends in the peace and quiet is great way to start the day.Helping friends with house reno’s
A night spent at my uncles trapper cabin  with the proper wood stoveThe lazy was to good view points

New video coming soon with Raceface. Photo: Niall Pinder

Fall in the Okanagan is lovely and never gets old

Canmore is a beautiful place and I was happy to get some of last outdoor rides of 2017 there.
Ha Ling peak in Canmore was littered with snow in October already.

Last week my buddies and I set off for a 5 day most hunt. There was 7 people, 4 trucks, 2 quads, 1 tent trailer, and 25 moose spotted, but none that we could harvest.

Basecamp for our 2017 moose hunt

The tent trailer was tight with 4 guys in it and cold as heck. This is a summer trailer and not fully sealed. Luckily we had a propane furnace to keep the temperates from getting below 0. 

Afternoon lunch with Captain Keaton under a rock while we took shelter was the snow and heavy winds.

We had one beautiful day out of five.

Loving life

When 3 day old crab shows up on the campfire, you know the boys are doing it properly.
This just about says it all; foggy, cold, windy, snowy, and no animals.

Nothing went too wrong on the trip other than two quads running out of gas, two guys getting stuck in the ditch and spending the night in the truck, running out of spare fuel, and then the day after we got home two of the hunting party get stuck far out of town and three of us when to rescue them. One trip for the memory books.

The bears are still wondering around behind the house.

GoPro video Finale EWS

Here are a couple highlight videos from practice in Finale Ligure for the Enduro World Series. What do you think!?


Finale Ligure EWS

For the fourth year in a row it was the Finale Ligure Enduro World Series that ended my racing season. As always, Finale delivered. Photos and videos are below. 

Casual clothes cruise on arrival.

I was fortunate to have my brother come along on this trip, which marked the first time we’ve travelled together – crazy. Rhys Verner was rooming with us and we practiced together each day with Marty Schaffer. It was honestly one of the best trips I’ve had this year and many things contributed to that; nice weather, having family around, being a little more relaxed as it’s not my focused discipline, the location, and everyone involved in the event. Plus, this was the final race of 2017 for me. 

Day 2 practice with the boys! Marty Schaffer on the left and Rhys Verner on the right.

The first two days we eased into the trip and tried to beat the jet lag. Lots of coffee, little rides, swims in the ocean, and race planning is what we did. Our two practice days on Thursday and Friday were quite long and we rode the entire day(s) for each race day. Being a privateer is tough at these races, especially when you’re pedalling up the 1 hr climbs for transition while a lot of others are shuttling up them. Being an “XC guy” means just another training day, but they were hard ~4 hr days just to get around.  We took video of each stage and would watch them at night in prep for the weekend. 

Office views.

On day 1 everything went smoothly and I was slotted in with my buddies from last year – Steve Peat, Greg Minnaar, Sam Dale, and new faces of Loris Vergier and Luca Shaw.

Last year I was fortunate to ride the weekend with these guys and it happened again this year! Missing is Greg Minnaar and new was Luca Shaw on the left. Sam Dale next, Steve Peat and then myself. 

Day one was the toughest both physically and technically on all the tracks. They were very “pedally” and quite technical. I had a clean day that felt normal but I was able to pull out my best-ever stage at an EWS with a 9th. That was incredible and gave me a lot more confidence going into day two. It wasn’t the smoothest run into this race the last month with a less than stellar approach, but it was already a successful weekend after that stage result. I came back to the apartment to hear Rhys was leading the U21 mens category – wow, just wow. Him and I were on the same program this year with an XC focus and enduro switch over once hitting mid-August. It was amazing to be rooming with him and share the excitement. 

Day 1 practice video with short highlights of what the stages looked like

Day 2 was again smooth and I just made sure of making no major mistakes. I did take it a little too safe not eh first stage of the day and was quite far back. The stage just had some very rough and rocky sections that I was a little nervous about flat tires and flat spotting the rims. After that we just survived the rest of the day. The Santa Cruz-Syndicate team invited me to their pit set up for our lunch break. Thank you to the team and Kathy for cooking up a mean mid-race meal. I was just going to get some croissants at the cafe but the homemade pasta, sandwiches, fruit, and recovery mixes absolutely toppled my original plan. After making it through the final and most famous stage in Finale, it was home free to the finish. 23rd overall, 9th and 11th place stages, and a huge smile was how things ended. 

Racing down the final stage to safely secure my best-ever Enduro World Series result. 

The famous “DH” stage that takes us to the ocean in Varigotti.

The following two days I spent in Nice with my brother as we toured around and soaked in the city. One day we rented scooters and went up to Monaco for the day but unfortunately couldn’t figure out how to drive around the Formula 1 course!

It’s now the off-season and I will be working hard again for next year. Thank you to everyone who was involved this season. I can’t thank you enough and that doesn’t begin to express my gratitude for the support. It was my best-ever season in the pro ranks and I couldn’t have done it without the support circle. Ready to rumble for 2018 already!



Day 2 practice video


First day riding in Finale to kick the jet lag. 




Day 1 before the first stage on the highest mountain in the Liguria region of Italy. 

Only half way through day 1 and we were feelin’ it.

Commuting to our final stage on day 1 through the small villages.

The liaisons from stage to stage always amaze me at this event. Year four for me and it just gets better each year. 



Here we rented scooters and cruised up the coast to Monaco.

More liaisons and Marty making the most of this tunnel

More views.

Practice for this race was just as good as the racing.


Pinkbike Rider’s Perspective: Singletrack 6

Link to article below:

Big White CDN National Enduro

Bike Big White sure hit the ball out of the park only two weeks after their grand opening of the new bike park. Ted Morton – Owner/Operator the series – treated us all and once again put organized a stellar course. 

Two trails were new and opened just for this race. One was rake n’ ride and it was just as you would think. Big White is raw with rock and the courses were burly. Many people suffered flats, broken wheels, and sore upper bodies from the ruggedness. I love this type of riding as it’s just natural. I enjoyed some machine built trails but there’s not like flying down a mountain side on a trail a wide as a rake that is changing every run because of how raw the terrain is. 

I had a hard time to get going in the day as we started up the chair lift the first two runs and being  “warm up on the bike guy” from XC it just wasn’t good feeling to go from chair lift to racing down a flow trail. I felt like an amateur but as the day went on it got better. Every stage progressed and I won the last stage, which was maybe the fastest, gnarliest and most blown out trail of the day. It will be next weekend’s BC Cup downhill trail. In the end I finished 3rd being only 6 seconds from the lead after twenty plus minutes of racing. It was tight and that made it exciting. 

The crew I rode with included Anthony Evans (6th), Max Leyen (2nd), and Brendon Edgar (1st). We transitioned between stages together and even got out for two more bike park laps, or party laps as we called it, after we finished the race. These guys are pure gold and that it what makes this enduro racing so intriguing and exciting to me. 

Video by Anthony Evans of the stage 4:

Canadian National Enduro Series/BC Enduro Series report:

Thank you Bike Big White and the whole CNES/BC Enduro crew for an unforgettable weekend!!

Crankworx Enduro World Series

After Singletrack 6 I took 4 days of recovery and met up with friends in Galena Bay, BC for some camping. It was the perfect way to recharge, rest up, and getting ready for Crankworx. My arm pump and upper body training for that enduro continued while camping with extreme tubing sessions. You had to hang on for dear life and that was exactly what happens in Whistler when in the bike park!

My Crankworx race was solid with all things considered. I rode my Pivot Firebird race bike 5 times before the race and I didn’t do one specific “enduro” training session. My goals were to stay on the bike and not get any mechanicals, which usually means a good result. I wish I had more speed and balls for the bike park stages so push outside my comfort zone but without much of that riding since this time last year, it was tough to do that. All my stages were consistent within 30-35th place except for the last one. That was a terrible one but not reasoning behind it other than it being all bike park and something I’m not quite comfortable with. That stage was somewhere in 50’s for me which ended the day with a 35th overall. It was good but I wanted a top-30 for sure, which would have been doable if my last stage was consistent with the previous four. Taking into consideration my prep, a 35th was a good way to start my mini enduro season off. 

Next will be the two final Canadian Enduro Series races at Big White in Kelowna, BC and Sun Peaks in Kamloops, BC before the finale Enduro World Series race in Finale Ligure, Italy. 

Every night we did a river dip to cool off.

Practicing on “top of world” off the Whistler peak chair. 

Post-Race day ride up into the alpine with friends. 

This alpine trail loop might be one of my new favourites. 

Looking down on Whistler after a hard 2 hr climb.

Photo: John Gibson

Singletrack 6 – Stages 5&6

As the final two days closed in the body was still hanging in strong and better than I thought it would. Doing a multi-day race for the first time had a lot of question marks, but I was having so much fun that those questions were never worried about. That week of racing, hanging out, and sharing the experience with others will be remembered forever. It was the other racers the event, and the volunteers that made it a highlight race of my year. 

Lining up with my Pivot Cycles crew before the final stage. Photo: Russ Baker

I will 100% be back for more stage races and to ST6 in the future. This event brought me back to my roots of racing and I think the most special part was the types of people who came together because of their passion for riding. It was contagious and I caught the bug!

Day 5 start in Kaslo. Photo: John Gibson

Day 5 we visited the Kaslo for what was, in my opinion, the best course of the week. We left with a Police escort and headed for the mountains. After a long firewood climb to split the field up we began the real climb on an exposed sidehill. It was so steep that if you fell down it, well, you would probably would never be heard of again. The uphill switchbacks were so tight that we had to run around then. Then came my favourite pat: the descent. It was exceptional and crafted in a such a way that the speed was kept up but the flow of trail maintained that speed to the absolute perfect amount. The trail weaved all types of terrain from the peak down to the valley bottom. It was the one unfortunate day I took a wrong turn and had to backtrack. I was pushing it on the descent and trying to get a gap and once I did I pretty much tossed it away. 

Bridging back up to Justin after he attacked the final days climb in Kaslo. Photo: John Gibson

Justin caught back up to be me and we rode the rest of the stage together and I took the win but wasn’t able to get anyway GC time on him. After we snacked on Party Mix, drank water and coke, it was time for a swim in Kootenay Lake. We then cruised back to basecamp in Nelson before the sixth and final stage. 

Day 6 Started in downtown Nelson with a police escort and we were led out with our Captain who was honouring Pilsner and Kokanee. Photo: John Gibson

Day 6 began and ended in downtown Nelson. The town welcomed us with open arms and shut down the main streets. We rolled out behind our “Beer Captain” and a Police escort. This start was the most mellow of them all and you could see riders feeling the previous five days. Eventually the fireworks went off. I went into the timed descent leading the GC for it and needed to be smart and not risk too much, but also not slack because Alex is quick! I also tailed 3 riders after the 1 hour climb to the top. I pushed hard in the descent and ended up catching all the riders and getting a gap on Justin. I had 3.5 minutes to make up if I wanted any chance for the overall. It was now or never. I climbed with everything I had and he closed it down after the next 45 min climb on the flat/downhill fire road. I burnt all the matches beforehand. Hats off to Justine. It was a pleasure to race against him all week and it sure was exciting. We each won 3 stages, and I was able to take 4 descent stages and the overall. So its not a bad week with 7 first places finishes and 5 second place finishes. I’ll take it. 

As much as Justine and I battled for the overall, we also raced like gentleman. Here he let me pass just before the timed descent so I could go for the seconds, and in return I waited for him at the bottom before we got back to racing. Photo: John Gibson

For my first stage race I was very satisfied. I kept wondering if a bad day or meltdown day would happen, as it’s a part of stage races I hear about. There was never a bad just day, just a little off day 4 but Justine I think was just that much stronger. Big thank you to Transrockies and the ST6 crew for having me and putting on a top-notch event. 

ST6 was a major accomplishment for every rider, volunteer and staff. It was a big week on all levels. Congrats to everyone who took part. Photo: John Gibson 

Spent the week going back and forth for the timed descent with Alex “Krunk Shox” McGuinnes. Photo: John Gibson

First stage race is now in the books. Photo: John Gibson

Day 6 in Nelson before the fireworks began. Photo: John Gibson

Fellow Pivot Cycles rider Taylor Lideen finished 3rd overall. Photo: John Gibson

On The Edge-Pivot rider Mathieu Belanger-Barrette finished in 5th overall and was the defending ST6 champion. Photo: John Gibson


Photo: John Gibson

Photos from here down by Russ Baker


Stage 2 podium at Red Mountain in Rossland. 

Stage 6’s final berm in the timed descent.

Opted for the “cooler” jersey in Stage 5’s 30 C heat.