Camp Guthrie – Fall edition

This fall a couple of my teammates and friends from the east coast started a conversation about doing a week of training together somewhere. Victoria, Moab, and others came to the table but I suggested the Okanagan and my place for a free place. I didn’t have to try too hard to convince but hoped once they got here that seeing the Okanagan would bring them back.

Everyone is always biased to where they live and train. It’s no exception for me, I love the Okanagan and believe it’s one of the most underrated places in the world to be as an athlete. It provides four incredible seasons and many, many outdoor activities to choose from. A big part of my yearly training is the cross over to different sports. I’m a believer in not only being a good cyclist but a great multi-sport athlete.

 

Haley Smith, Andrew Lesperance and Catherine Fleury came to my place for one of mountain bike adventuring. We met plenty of other riders throughout the week, like Cathrine Pendrel, Sandra Walter, Anthony Evans, Ryan Newsome, and Keith Wilson. Riding with others who also love mountain biking is one of my favourite parts of the cycling world. Sharing a day with others and retelling the days adventures later on it always a riot.

I’ve never a full week of hard mountain biking before and it crushed me. Luckily we were all motivated, smiling and enjoying each day so we could push through. I did my best to ride different trails and networks each day to showcase the area.

I made sure to have other plans for the week to balance it all out. Wine tasting one, quad and dirt bike rides to uncles trapper cabin, pumpkin shooting, dinner out in downtown Kelowna, Bean Scene in Kelowna for proper espresso, the Bliss Bakery for our much desired tasty treats, and seeing some wineries for their amazing properties and views.

One day we’ll make #campguthrie a little more official and consistent! Thanks for coming out friends, it was an incredible week.

 

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Quad and motorbikes were used some afternoons

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Mega group in the Three Blind Mice network of Penticton. Riders: Keith Wilson, Catharine Pendrel, Sandra Walter, Ryan Newsmen, Haley Smith, Andrew Lesperance, and Catherine Fleury.

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The trails that it all started on for me; Smith Creek in Westbank.

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Showing Doctor Fleury one of my favourite places in the world: Rose Valley trails.

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This view point in Rose Valley will never get old.

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Riding the Kettle Valley Railway with the crew and guest Anthony Evans (wheelie man)

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Views on the Myra Canyon Trestles on breathtaking.

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It’s the people around that make the journey.

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Reason 235,746 why I ride bikes.

Victoria Canada Cup Recap

The 2016 racing season has officially begun. This past weekend the first Canada Cup took place at Bear Mountain Resort in Victoria, BC. In the two weeks leading in I was staying at my brothers in town and doing some training rides with the National Team.

It was a special race for me because my parents, brother, and friends were out to watch. Many fellow racers and their families were also out, my Norco family was there as well and it meant that I had a ton of support on this day – something I cherish. Not often do that many of my friends and family make it out to a bike race and even though this is a “home” province race it still takes 7-8 hours to Victoria from Kelowna area.

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Steven, Lucy, Tomas – bro, myself, Kim – mother, Owen – one of best friends, and Erika. Father missing from Picture!

The Norco Factory Team with Evan McneelyAndrew L’esperanceHaley SmithPeter Disera, Jonathan Duncan, Kevin Havilland, and Pete Stace-Smith were out.

Haley rode impressively through the field to a 4th place in her first official year as an elite. Evan and Andrew took two podium spots in 4th and 5th, while Peter and I followed up with an 8th and 10th.

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My bros

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s been 5.5 months since my last race and I had only been “full-time” training on the bike for two weeks leading into this race, which was noticeable in the end results. I finished in 10th; my worst Canada Cup result in 5 years. The field was arguably more stacked than usual but it was still a poor performance, though many positives were taken. Things can definitely only go up and that’s all the motivation I need as of now.

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Photo: Jay Wallace – Island Images 

Racing is something we do a lot and always have the opportunity to do, so leading into the camp and having Canada’s best riders all on the island and doing workouts together is something I take more from. I’m fortunate to call these riders my friends and I’m always looking forward to riding and hanging out with them all. I have unique stories and experiences with each of these riders.

Someone like Catharine Pendrel who I met riding in 2006 when we were sponsored by the same bike shop; Derek Zandstra who took me under his wing a bit in 2008 at the World Championships and rode me as a 17 yr old; Emily Batty who also hung out with me and I think pushed one of my first cups of espresso on me in Italy at the 2008 World Champs; Raphael Gagne who hung out and rode with my as a junior and was also my teammate in the team relay – along with Catharine and Geoff – World Champs in Australia where we won a silver medal.

That’s just the beginning, each of the riders these past couple weeks brought something to the training, they’ve brought a lot to the racing over the years and I’m looking forward to hanging out with all these fellow Canadian racers in the years to come!

This year it was the first fundraiser gala for Cycling Canada MTB as the “Road to Rio” gala took place the evening after the race at Bear Mountain. Many supporters and racers showed up to celebrate mountain biking and support the National Team’s quest for Olympic glory. It was an honour to sit at the table with Cycling BC – who have been instrumental in my cycling development – along with my family. Thank-you Cycling BC for bring my family and I.

Big thank you to Bear Mountain Resort  and everyone involved for bringing a Canada Cup to the west coast. It’s a start to a bright future for mountain biking in Canada with Victoria to home to Cycling Canada’s National Mountain Bike Team.

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Photo: Jay Wallace – Island Images 

Evan Guthrie

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Fisherman’s Wharf

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Big baby bro and I 

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Post-bike race fun in the boardgames cafe. 3 hrs of Risk has be buying the game now. Photo: Catherine Fleury

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First time seeing a seal..what a weird mammal/animal/creature thing

 

 

Windham World Cup

Windham, New York is a unique place in the Catskill mountains, some two hours north of New York City. After making a couple day stop in East Burke, Vermont to ride Kingdom trails with the team, we arrived in Windham on the Wednesday for some course prep.

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Kingdom Trails, Vermont.

This was a classic style course with one steady, long climb and one descent. Quite fun in my opinion, but that eight minutes of climbing to the top really hurt the body. The 5 minutes of descending was wonderful and played great favours in my hang, though I wasn’t able to capitalize on the climbs as on the body just wasn’t ‘going’ today. There was more suffering and less power, which equalled a poor race in my books. I never gave up fighting and pushed it right to the end. 57th isn’t anywhere near what I was shooting for, especially after a 45th in St Anne following a good cold I had..

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Windham’s famous red dust.

Right from the bat with a few brake checks and scary moments to avoid crashes I was then at the back in the cloud of dust and just praying you wouldn’t be riding and plow into something you couldn’t see.

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St Anne’s ‘La Beatrice’ rock line. 

That said, World Cup racing is as hard as it comes and if you’re not on you’re A games then it’s not going to be a pretty day. Every weakness is exposed and that included my climbing. Luckily, in the descents, I was able to tell people in and leap frog through some groups still but just not enough to be moving forward at a good enough rate for a good result.

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That was by far the weirdest start I’ve encountered with so must dust it was really tough to breath.

Evan Guthrie (Norco Factory)

Starting Lap 2

It was a quick pack up and off to the airport for a 4 am wake up on Monday to fly back west. I managed to be at home for a touch over 24 hours. Just enough to squeak in a ride, do some laundry and pack the vehicle for Crankworx in Whistler. Friday is the final race of the Canada Cup series and I’m looking to end the season with a bang there. Last year was a close battle with Geoff Kabush and I came out in 2nd and locked up the overall series, this year other Evan has come to take on the series overall, though our teammate Peter Disera is a currently leading but he’s not making the trip out for this race.

Yes that is Evan Guthrie (Norco Factory) through all the dust

Yes that is Evan Guthrie (Norco Factory) through all the dust

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Mcneely showing off the dust.

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Spent some of the day battling with Geoff Kabush.

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The crowds were fantastic. I could hear them start to wind up the cheers as I approached the rock garden.

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This is a picture that says a 1000 words. I couldn’t be in this without the support of my team, Norco Bicycles, on days like this. They keep me trucking forward and our team is something special. 

The team did a fantastic job these past two weeks and the help, as always, from Kevin Haviland, Jonathan Duncan and Josh Toohill was amazing. Massive shoutout to Haley Smith who scored her first World Cup top 5 with a 5th on the weekend. I don’t know what to say other than holy shit! Raphael Gagne also deserves a round of applause for this 6th place in pro men. That is beyond legit and shows his upward trend to the top. Proud of this guy and wish him the best of luck at the Olympic next year! He spent a lot of time hanging out with me at my first World Championships back in 2008 where he took 7th in the under-23 race there.

After this weeks XC race in Whistler I will be transitioning over to Enduro racing for the rest of the year with some BC Enduro and Enduro World Series races on the calendar.

Pinkbike Photo Epic: http://www.pinkbike.com/news/iron-lung-windham-xc-world-cup-2015.html

Results: http://canadiancyclist.com/dailynews.php?id=29960&title=windham-world-cup-elite-men-xc-results

Photos: http://canadiancyclist.com/photos.php?cc_event_id=529&title=windham-world-cup

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/365386135

Trailforks: http://www.trailforks.com/ridelog/view/192153/

 

Fontana US Cup Recap

Ouch. Fontana was yet another tough race and one I felt quite a lot better in than last weekends Bonelli US Cup, though I only placed one spot better – 25th – it was a much better execution both physically and mentally.

Bike racing never seems to get any easier, it just seems to get funner and the ability to dig deeper into the pain cave becomes more and more each race. These US Cups were big races and I had hoped to be pretty good for them, and it’s hard to be disappointed because nothing bad happened but nothing spectacular happened either. They were what I call “steady-solid” races. They weren’t an aim for the season, though you always aim to be the best you can be on the day.

The first weekend in Bonelli was quite a shock to the body with such a world-class field it became apparent you needed your A-game to have a good result. Not that I would call my results good, I just wanted more. Both weekend 70-75% of the field didn’t even get to finish the race because the leader were so quick and began catching the stragglers.

In Fontana I had a much more enjoyable race. It still hurt, a lot. The course had much more of a mountain bike feel and it seemed to motivate me more than riding on gravel roads and grass. Another slow start had me quite far back in the field and it seems like my motor is just a diesel engine right now, so I just put it in drive and started to pick guys off. A quick glance at the outcome didn’t have me excited, but when I looked at the picture and executed my race plan, stuck to my goals and accomplished it’s hard not be proud. I raced hard and there was just 24 faster guys, some of which are the fastest in the world and some who are peaking right now.

Teammates Haley and Peter rode strong. Haley, yet again, proved to be riding quick with a 18th in the XC and 7th in the STXC. She is off to Columbia for the Pan Am Championships this weekend with the National team. Peter rode to 19th in the mens XC.

It was another great weekend of training and put me closer to my focus on the World Cups in May and the summer racing with our National Champs, World Cups and World Champs.

Another stellar weekend for Canada with multiple podiums in the men’s and women’s pro cross-country and short track races. My training buddy Mckay Vezina threw down and took a second in pro men’s Super D on Saturday and 4th in pro mens DH Sunday after a bobble. The Vezina family was taking great care of me as my support team for the weekend again. Cycling BC took over as my pit crew with feeds and support as well, thank you to all those people who make the racing life easier for me!

Results:

Men – http://www.canadiancyclist.com/dailynews.php?id=29187&title=us-cup-fontana-mens-results

Women – http://www.canadiancyclist.com/dailynews.php?id=29184&title=us-cup-fontana-womens-results

Thanks to Sho-Air for making these races possible!!! http://uscup.net

Race video from the men and women: http://uscup.net/us-cup-tv/

All photos below from Papa Chris Vezina:

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Dusty? nah…

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Live video streaming by the chopper.

 

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Teammate Peter Disera rode strong to 19th.

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Short track cross-country race

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Mckay on the Super D podium

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Post race hose showers are key when getting into the car and driving two hours.