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.

IMG_5573

DCIM101GOPROG0034593.

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..

JDuncanMSAWindham15 186

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.

i-2H5fX5s-XL

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.

JDuncanMSAWindham15 176

 

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

JDuncanMSAWindham15 191

Mcneely showing off the dust.

JDuncanMSAWindham15 188

Spent some of the day battling with Geoff Kabush.

JDuncanMSAWindham15 180

 

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

JDuncanMSAWindham15 189

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:

i-HHn2jzX-L

 

Dusty? nah…

i-RPr8K7D-L

 

Live video streaming by the chopper.

 

i-nz44C8w-XL

Teammate Peter Disera rode strong to 19th.

i-8LHmjTv-XL

i-Ntm8ZMC-L

i-cNzXDp2-XL

Short track cross-country race

i-63pQCpt-XL

Mckay on the Super D podium

i-CdX7dBs-XL

i-ph7L6R9-XL

i-3MLZSnv-XL

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