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:
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.
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.
We’re already well into training again for 2017 and this past fall was one of the best off-seasons to date. With the season going late, school not starting until November and friends travelling out to Peachland from the east coast, it was a fall to remember. Full recap in a Rider Perspective piece on Pinkbike: http://www.pinkbike.com/news/rider-perspective-off-season-camp-guthrie-2016.html
Flashback to my last race in Finale Ligure, Italy. Enduro is a totally different animal to cross-country and I love them both for being very different.
The fourth round of Cycling “Canada’s Canada Cup Series” took place yesterday at Hardwood Ski and Bike near Barrie, Ontario. This venue was the host of the 2015 Pan American Games MTB race and it’s one of the longest standing Canada Cup venues. Pulse Racing puts on a great event and it shows what hard work and a good course can bring. Fields were filled with National champs, ex-national champs, Olympians and future Olympians.
3 inches thick and that size, let’s just say they were really, really good. Thanks Marc-Antoine!
This was the end of a four week racing trip that covered Germany, France, Horseshoe Valley and then Hardwood Hills. I was aiming high for this race after pulling out one of my better races of the season last weekend. The past two weeks were filled with a ton of training hours to start building for the second half of the season and it just so happened that not only did I end up really needing those hours, it just helped improve the racing. Go figure, when you focus on the training and let off the racing stress a touch the improvement skyrockets.
As always, the Trillium kids event kicked off the racing weekend on Saturday afternoon. Us “old” riders were doing the final race prep before taking the line on Sunday.
We make great babysitters. Our business will be “Laying on bikes by EvanSquared daycare”
Sunday the crew showed up at Hardwood and everyone was in a good place. We did our new team Norco warm up as a group. It seemed to work last week so keeping the fun alive was once again important.
1,2,3, let’s crush it! Team support, mentor and pal Andrew Watson leading the cheer
Our man Kevin took care of us after spending the previous day doing tech support at the Ride to Conquer Cancer in Toronto. His family was out in full cheer mode for the team after his wife Sue raced earlier and crushed it! Haley wasn’t racing this weekend but was also out in full cheering mode for us.
Haley is cheering with Kevin and Sue’s girls: L – Nicole, R – Alexa
From the gun I tried to go for it and hit the front after about 30 seconds of racing. From then on I kept the pace up and established a little gap that held all the way to the finish. Derek Zandstra was breathing down my neck all day but I was comfortable and confident with how the body was rolling. I knew what I needed to do and rode smart. I also had my teammates (reinforcements) just behind.
Mcneely was following Derek for half the way race and Peter was Shake’n and Bake’n through the group after an issue on the first lap. Lespy was rolling just behind them.
Mcneely following Derek for reinforcements.
In the end I was able to take my first Canada Cup win in 5 years. It felt like forever since that last one and this one was even sweeter feeling. I’ve had some tough luck this year (which is part of the process so no excuses) and wasn’t fully satisfied with my form after some sickness and off races but training and everything just clicked these last two weekends. It’s what you chase as an athlete. Derek is a force and a racer I respect. I believe he will be, and should be, going to the Olympics for Canada this summer. I have big respect for him so it was an honour to finish ahead.
Photo: Antoine Caron, Pinkbike
Photo: Antoine Caron, Pinkbike
Photo: Antoine Caron, Pinkbike
Mcneely came in with 3rd, Petey D came charging back to 4th, and our Norco teammate Andrew Watson’s athlete – Davis Ross – finished in 5th. Lespy rolled in with 8th. That marked the third Canada Cup win a row for the Norco men (all separate athletes have taken wins). Mcneely still leads the Men’s overall and we’ve again pushed forward in the Men’s Team ranking.
This Pugsley climb hurt the big boy in me today. Steep climbs are tough on us Clydesdales
Emily Batty, our other Canadian speedster who will be going to Rio for the Olympics this year won the women’s race. BC’s Emily Hanford won the Junior women’s race and our boy Quinton Disera (Pete’s younger brother) won the Junior men ahead of BC’s Sean Finchman. It was great to see such a large group of young BC athletes out with the provincial team. The first 4 times I raced Hardwood starting back in ’09 were all done with the BC Team.
I’m proud to be apart of such an amazing group of riders and staff from Norco Bicycles. More importantly they’re my friends and I wouldn’t be able to be doing this without all of their support. Our team has something special brewing right now and I’m excited to see where it leads.
The Disera bros grew up racing Hardwood and this section is called “Disera Drop”
This upcoming weekend I’m very excited to be back home in Kelowna racing a BC Cup! I haven’t done a BC Cup in a while, and we have not had a BC Cup in the Okanagan since my very first race in 2003 as a 12 year old. I came dead last then, let’s hope for better luck this time.
No words needed.
Our racing pal and now writer/photographer/videographer Antoine Caron is recovering from an injury and covering some of the races now. Pinkbike article here.
Canadian Cyclist results, pictures, and interviews.
L to R: Peter Disera, Derek Zandstra, myself, Evan Mcneely, and Davis Ross.
Cooling down and laughing with our boss man Kevin last weekend.
After a successful Sea Otter trip it was time to head down under. Cairns, Australia was host to the first World Cup of 2016. I travelled down with my Norco teammates Evan M and Andrew. Haley also came but was with the national team for this race.
Air New Zealand – fantastic airline and I highly recommend to anyone travelling down this way.
The temperatur in Cairns, well more the humidity, was the craziest I’ve ever experienced. I used to think the east coast was bad but this took it to a whole new level. I think I was sweaty the entire 9 days. No complaints of nice weather though. We experienced wind and rain storms that hardly seems like storms because it just felt like you were standing under a warm shower stream.
The course was unbelievably amazing. I love riding mountain bikes and I can hardly contain myself when the trails get that good, especially for a bike race. Not often do we race really fun trails. This one was hard with one main, long climb and one long descent with a flat loop at the bottom. The start would prove to be crucial in the race with the long single track climb.
In the days leading up we enjoyed riding the course, relaxing by our pool and sharing the excitement of being in this tropical paradise. We were full privateers at this face; supporting ourselves in everyday but also enjoying having just our races to focus on.
Come race day the teams spirit was high and on a personal level I was ready to rumble, in the jungle of course! My world ranking still isn’t quite where I want it to be and that means starting 71st of 90 riders – not great. I wasn’t worried about that as I felt good and the course was going to be a good one for me. Unfortunately after 250 meters of sprinting from the start a crash happened and after cruising through the dust I rode right into my teammate Evan who was on the ground and I went down too. Not the way anyone wants to start the fastest races in the world. After getting up, dead last with Evan, I got on the bike and was back at it. My bar was twisted sideways from the impact, so I stopped quick and forced it back into place. Once rolling again I caught the pack in the first bottleneck section and start the “let’s see how many people I can pass” game.
The adrenaline is pumping hard at that point and you’re just seeing the tunnel vision. IN the beginning you pass a lot of riders but as you get in to the field the riders are faster and faster, which means less passing and then finally you reach a point where you’re in with the pack. I didn’t know how far I could push back through, so to finish 57th is decent, but knowing that I did that after a crash and being way off the back and the field out-of-sight in the beginning is frustrating. I don’t know how the race would have played out otherwise but I do know the placing would have been a lot higher.
The race, once I got into my rhythm, was good. I was happy with how I rode, happy how the body felt and happy with my technical ability out there. That is what I take home for the next two weeks of training before heading to Europe for the next two World Cup races in Germany and France. To get some redemption.
Post race I decided to stay an extra 3 days for a mini vacation. Something we don’t usually do or even think about but after flying half way around the world for 5 days I felt like an extra 3 was necessary. On day 1 I did a Cairns exploration ride then went to a crocodile zoo in the afternoon with other friends who stayed. We watched crocs, pet koalas and wallabies, and learned about all the dangerous Australian animals and insects that don’t actually kill many people..
Day 2 was a 13 hour jungle tour and waterfall exploration with a friend. We rode the bus out into the old volcanic lands, swam in volcano lakes and waterfalls, saw the world largest fig tree and saw hundreds of kilometres of beautiful rainforests and jungles. Day 3 we took a boat out to a little island that backs on to the Great Barrier Reef and we snorkelled around. It was an action-packed few days and I am spent now. Playing tourist is hard! I did my last ride up the coast to Port Douglas. I’m not in the airport and heading home.
Thanks to everyone who made this trip happen and supported me along the way. It’s a big year and I’m looking forward to the races ahead. Here’s a few links to race reports, photos and results:
Pedal Magazine interviews: http://pedalmag.com/uci-mtb-world-cup-xc-cairns-elite-mens-results/
Canadian Cyclist photo gallery: http://canadiancyclist.com/photos.php?cc_event_id=563&title=cairns-mtb-world-cup
Mid race. Photo: Antoine Caron
Photo story from the trip
With the first race of the season approaching this Saturday March 5th, its been crunch time on the bike in Victoria this past week. I’ve been down training while at my brothers place and joining the national team on some rides. After an amazing winter at home it feels good to be back on the bike. Its been rewarding feeling the benefits of all the winter cross-training on the bike so soon.
With only 3 days on the MTB this year, before last week, it was great to sharpen the skills and get used to going hard again(race pace) – something I haven’t done since last October at the final Enduro World Series. Not saying I haven’t been training hard, because I’ve been training really hard since November, but not having done that race-specific high end work yet.
The whole Norco Factory Team is in town and we’re on our new Revolvers and looking to shake things up at this Canada Cup. We’re excited to be showcasing our new bikes, new sponsors and long-standing sponsors to start off this 2016 Olympic season.
Here’s a few photos below from the past weeks training:
Legs are out of winter hibernation. Leg hair replaces leg warmers here.