Sea Otter Classic

Quick update from the Sea Otter Classic this past weekend. It’s one of the largest cycling festivals in North America and this year it had very high-end race that fielded the current Olympic champions for men and women, many Olympians, current pro/elite and under-23 world champs, Italians, Australians, New Zealanders, Spanish, Columbian, Mexican, Swiss and the best North American riders.
 
 
This was a very important race on the calendar for sponsors, world ranking points, and personal goals to race against some of the worlds best. On Friday we had a “short track” race that was 30 minutes long and a shorter loop than our usual 4-6 km cross-country lap.
 
 
I found myself in the front group battling all race and after two riders got well out front, it was a race for 3rd. For some reason (very embarrassingly), I wasn’t paying close enough attention to the lap counter and thought we had one lap to go and when everyone started sprinting for the finish I stayed more relaxed thinking there was 5 more minutes.. By the time I realized this everyone I needed to be in front of for the sprint, I was now behind. Rookie mistake and I take full responsibility, but it’s hard to have given up a very likely shot for the podium. Can’t predict what could have been but I felt fantastic and had the fire power. Ended up 8th which is nothing to complain about!
 
 
 
Cross-country was the following day and the main event. We raced in and around the famous Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, California. This is not a usual ‘mountain’ bike race as most is on hard pack dirt and the race track. It’s all fitness and tactics with a bit of luck needed.
 
 
This was a personal best ride against a field of this caliber and class of race. 11th was the finish result with the Olympic and World Champ taking the win. I raced the final lap against my childhood hero and now friend, Geoff Kabush, a 3X Canadian Olympian. We sprinted it out at finish and I was able to beat him (thank you Geoff for towing me around that last lap!) Memorable day and a sign that things are moving along nicely. 
 
 
Next up: Whiskey 50 OFF-Road in Prescott, Arizona this coming weekend before racing in Chilliwack in early May. 
 
 
 
Interviews on Pedal Magazine
 
 
All photos above by Chris Vezina
 
Hanging out with my Canadian Pivot-On The Edge pals in Ventura, CA last week.
Last week I was fortunate to be in Santa Cruz with RaceFace for the launch of their new Next R products. We were treated to commuting in Fox’s Ford Raptor. 
Honoured to be working with Schwalbe Tires this year. Jeff Clarkson (pictured here) is the man who helped me get onboard and we go way back to the mid-2000’s with racing on the BC Team and he was Junior Nat’l MTB Champ in ’07. Thanks Jeff and all of Schwalbe North America for supporting me this year. 

Bonelli US Cup #2 Recap

Saturday marked the first “big” cross-country race of the year at stop two of the US Cup #2. North America’s finest lined up and the field included riders from Spain, Mexico, Columbia, Australia, and New Zealand. This race was much larger, deeper in the talent pool and the first “big” race of 2017 for most people in North/South America. For myself, it was the first real target of the year. 

Before we get too far, I will add that Friday was “officially” my last day of school (ever!). Handed in the final essay Friday before pre-ride after five years of working hard and that was it. I now earned that piece of paper saying I graduated college! 

Race Report: An off start and mediocre first lap didn’t start things off on the page that I had drafted up, but sometime the final isn’t always as planned. I don’t know what happened but kept it going and soon enough was moving forward and picking guys off. One by one until I moved from outside the top-20 to 10th. It was a battle and I was able to take my best-ever finish in a race of this class (HC level). Happy with how it ended after the start seemed like it was headed for an off-day. I’ve learned now that the fitness is so good that an “off-day” can still be a good day by suffering more than others. Luckily I had a ton of supporters out there cheering and helping me keep the gas pedal down. 

There was a great Canuck presence out there with 4 Canadian riders for men and women in top-10. Big ride by previous teammate of mine, Andrew L’esperance, in the mens with a 5th and a Junior win by Gunnar Holmgren. 

Big thank you to everyone helping me out these days. It’s another challenge running a solo program at the races and I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by amazing people who keeping offering help. The Quebec team helped me out for feeds and technical support this weekend (Thank-you, Serge!). 

Enjoyed a fine weekend staying with Stephen Ettinger and Payson Mcelveen

XC Results

STXC Results

Photo gallery by Chris Vezina from the Saturday XC race: https://cndkids.smugmug.com/Sports/Cycling/2017-April-Bonelli-Park-XC-Race/n-JCdQBS/

Fontana US Cup article on Pinkbike HERE

All Photos below by Chris Vezina:

Fontana US Cup #1 Recap

The Fontana US Cup marked my fourth visit to the venue with the first time being seven years ago. It also started a four-race stretch through April in the US. The race started well and I lead a group of 5 riders off and we distanced ourselves from the rest of the field (video HERE). After coming into this season with the best shape in years and a big few weeks of training, I raced under a lot of load and was happy with the performance. After being solidly in 2nd place going into the final 5 minutes, I heard that hissing from the rear tire that you never want to hear – a flat. Glass was the culprit that put two holes in the rear tire. This course I think holds a world record for most glass per capita (I swear!). Luckily I race with tire plugs now and put one in and stopped three times to C02 the tire and make it across the line to salvage the day with third. 
 
Unfortunate to have issues the first two races but both were totally out of my control. Getting my first US Cup podium was a great confirmation of all the changes made this year and support I’ve received. Hoping all that “bad luck” has been topped up and the rest of season is smooth sailing! Thanks for those supporting me and helping shape this season into a good one so far. 
 
 
Very grateful for the amazing people who always offer help at these races. Now that I’m on my own at these races it can be challenging to find someone for feeding, support, and so as I don’t have a hired support person for all the races. For example, in warm up I was offered feed zone support by Serge the QC team coach, Grant and Drew of the Giant Factory Team for taking my spare wheels to and from the tech zone, Gareth Feldstein for feeding me, Maghalie Rochette offering help, and Kenny Wehn of Stan’s NoTubes. The bike community is filled with wonderful people. 
 

What do you think of my new Race Face kits to match the Giro helmet and SMITH glasses!??

The name Team Solo Evan is catching on!

Here’s what a tire plug looks like. These are something I would recommend riding/racing with for everyone running a tubeless system.

All the spray from the tire sealant after the glass “incident”. 

Canada Cup #1 Recap

It has been months since the last cross-country race report in 2016 ( 7 months to be exact) This winter brought a lot of change and the fire is burning.
 
On Saturday the first race of the year kicked off with a Canada Cup in Victoria, BC. Every top rider in Canada and some of USA’s Olympic long-list riders as well. I’m working with a new coach (Richard Wooles) and we trained harder than I’ve ever experienced this winter, with a plan to be strong, not peaked, at this first event. After 1 lap I was out chasing Canadian Olympian Raphael Gagne by myself. For 5.5/6 laps I was chasing him solidly in second place and everything was seeming and feeling good to finish there, but mountain biking has the side where it’s hard on the bike and mechanicals can happen. Unfortunately, a mechanical had me running downhill for a few minutes in that last lap to the tech zone (no, I won’t be switching to running anytime soon). Falling from 2nd-7th before our National Team mechanic quickly got me rolling. In the end I made one more pass and it was a 6th place finish, outside the the podium, less world-ranking points, and a result that doesn’t tell the story, but the hard work is paying dividends thanks to a winter of the hardest work I’ve ever done with my new coach.

 

HUGE heartfelt and sincere thank you to everyone helping me this year to get this program off the ground. It’s a been a heavy winter and I couldn’t be more excited with how things turned out and it’s because I’m surrounded by so many wonderful and selfless people. I wanted to get that podium finish for everyone supporting me as a thank you, but I might have to wait for the next one now.

Pre-race media:

http://www.timescolonist.com/sports/olympians-ready-to-hit-the-trails-again-at-bear-mountain-1.10933456

Post-race report:

http://canadiancyclist.com/dailynews.php?id=32216&title=pendrel-gagne-win-opening-round-of-canada-cup

 

Photo: http://www.canadiancyclist.com

Thanks to Mike Garrigan – Canada MTB team technical coach. He helped every rider over this two week camp refine and improve skills.

 

Behind the scenes

Here’s a great look from a different perspective as Kevin Light, 2008 Olympic Gold Medallist in Rowing, came out to shoot some amazing pictures of two training sessions at the recent National Team Camp in Victoria, BC. Link below:

Canadian Mountain Bike Training Camp

Canadian Mountain Bike Training Camp

Cycling Canada MTB Camp update

On Sunday Feb 19th I travelled down to Victoria to kick off the MTB race season. Firstly, I caught up with the brother for a day before arriving at Bear Mountain Resort for the Cycling Canada National MTB team camp on the 20th. This group is like a second family and I have many good friends here, so that makes this trip special. 

Training with a group of motivated, inspiring and like-minded riders is special. We’re fortunate to be staying at Bear Moutain and having accommodation and food supplied while we put in work on the bike and “classroom-style” learning and work each day. We were greeted with the snow the last three mornings and today it was actually quite fun to be sliding around in it. 

Saturday is when the season kicks off with a Canada Cup. I’m excited to see how well I did my homework this winter. Until then, we’ll keep on keepin’ on, and make snowmen of course. Photos below from the trip so far:

Love new bike day. New Pivot Mach 429SL showed up the other day and it felt fitting that its friends, NEXT crank and Turbine dropper by Race Face, kept it company. 

Bear Mountain Resort is embracing cycling quite heavily and making us feel at home

Those Schwalbe Tires are loving the Victoria trails, I mean mud, I mean hero dirt.

Photo: Kevin Light 

Photo: Kevin Light

Surprise snowstorm on Day 6 couldn’t keep us inside.

We’ve been given the “Player’s Lounge”

Our team room is in good company with Gretzky jersey on the wall.

Front door view at Bear Mountain

Team rock climbing evening. Booked in for 2 hours and all the weak upper bodied cyclists were tired in about 15 minutes. We pushed on and made the most of it watching the chameleon Evan Mcneely in the picture above. 

 

Northwave Shoes

Proud to be supported by Northwave this season. Over the past two years I was indirectly supported by Northwave (Cycling Lambert – Canadian Distributor) and was fortunate to wear their stylish and comfortable, slipper-like shoes. It’s an honour to officially be with Northwave from the Italian headquarters.  For this season I will be wearing the Extreme XC, Enduro Mid, and Extreme RR models for cross-country, enduro and road. Thank you for the support, Northwave. 

 

Race Face

It’s with great pleasure to announce that RACE FACE and I will be teaming up for 2017. 

 

XC bikes will have RF:

-Next SL bars

-Turbine dropper post

-Turbine stem

-Love handle grips

-Aeffect SL wheels

-NEXT SL G4 cranks and chain rings

 

Trail/Enduro bike with have RF:

-SIXC cranks and rings

-SIXC bar

-Turbine stem

-Turbine Rally wheelset

-Half Nelson grips

 

Clothing and Protection:

-Podium jersey for XC

-Indy shorts for XC

-Ruxton shorts and jersey for Enduro

-Stash Bibs and vest for XC and Enduro

-Chute jacket for all weather conditions

-All types of gloves

-Charge and Indy knee/elbow pads for Enduro racing

Stark Onesie for sitting in front of my wood stove at home and eating cookies

Check out the Race Face website HERE.

I will be aboard the Aeffect SL wheels

Honoured to be running the worlds most versatile cranks on my XC bikes: Next SL G4

I will running the NEXT xc bar and Turbine stem, love handle grips, and Turbine dropper post on my xc bikes.

Schwalbe Tires

It’s with great pleasure that I announce a relationship with Schwalbe Tires for 2017. A huge part of the bike, and the only part of the bike touching the ground, is tires. I’m confident in Schwalbe and excited to be part of their team for this season. Reliability and performance are key when racing a mountain bike and Schwalbe will have me covered. 

Thank you to everyone involved at Schwalbe for the support. 

 

Frame Sponsor – Pivot Cycles

It is with great pleasure to announce I will be riding Pivot bicycles in 2017 for my race program. Through On the Edge Canada and Pivot, I will be aboard the Mach 429 SL xc full suspension, LES xc hardtail and Firebird trail bike. The interest and enthusiasm with On the Edge was incredible from the first two minutes we began to talk and now we’ll be working together for the next two years. 

There’s a lot of changes happening from my previous years’ programs and, as they say, change is good. I’m excited for these changes and can’t say thank-you enough to everyone who will be supporting me this year. 

More announcements to come soon!

 

chris vezina_2017_01_19_4185

Photo: Chris Vezina