Finale Ligure EWS

And just like that the 2016 season has come to a close. Every year it feels like the lead-in takes quite sometime and then once the season hits, it all flashes by. For the third year in a row I travelled over to Finale Ligure, Italy to attend the final Enduro World Series race for my final race of the year. With school classes not starting until November it was the first time I didn’t have to be doing homework and handing in projects or essays early on race mornings in a cafe – phew!

The day before I attended a fundraiser event for the Okanagan Rail Trail initiative. This group has been created to help speed up the process and help fund the rail trail corridor from Kelowna to Vernon. This is a massive opportunity for showcasing more of the Okanagan’s beauty. Tree Brewing hosted the event and we walked part of the already paved sections in downtown before heading back to enjoy beer, pizza and fundraise!

I met up with Squamish ripper and current mens Eliminator national champ – Rhys Verner – and his buddy Arnau in Finale. The first day we cruised some some ancient olive growing terraces turned bike trails. The pavement mountain roads and views in Finale are incredible. We enjoyed the trails before heading down to the beach for an evening swim.

Day two was the first day of practice where Arnau graciously shuttled Rhys and I up to the top of the ~2 hr start climb so we could save the energy to ride it on race day and get in two laps on each of the stages. Day one practice included two laps of stages 1-3. In the evening we did a bonus ocean front cruise over the sunset. With this not being a focus discipline I’ll do a little extra sightseeing and riding to soak it all in. That said, I’m still there to do the best I can and I had high expectations.

Day three was more practice and another 4 hours on the bike pedalling. This enduro practice is hard and tiring!

Day four was race day 1 that saw us ride 4 hours with three major climbs – the first taking 2 hours. As a kid I grew reading magazines and loving DH racing. Reading about Greg Minnaar and Steve Peat was regular as they are legends of the DH world. This weekend I was seated right near them, Loic Bruni (2015 world champ) and Sam Dale (world cup racer). I can’t explain how amazing it was to ride with them all weekend in-between race stages. They great, genuine lads and made my weekend one to remember. We relied on each other to joke around and help speed up the time while we climbed some tough mountains in the transfers.

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On the racing side it was a poor day. My worst Enduro racing day actually. I have one rule in mountain biking: don’t crash. It’s very simple and it’s very important. In my opinion most crashes stem from yourself. You rode off line, outside of your ability, or misread the terrain or the trail. Sometimes it’s not totally your fault though, but in this racing most of the time it is. I hate crashing, it hurts physically and I find it embarrassing. On stages 1 and 2 I crashed. The first two stages were brutal, steep, loose, dusty, blowout, and tough on the body. I misread a corner on stage 1 and when exciting the berm that used to be there was blown out from so many riders skidding through and also blowing the turn. I then blew the turn, skidded the front wheel out and went over the edge onto my head and hit my neck on a tree while flipping over the bars. Very, very lucky to get back on quick and keep going. One of those situations when it’s happening you think “oh $hit I’m in trouble” but once I stood up it was surprising that nothing hurt and everything moved. Just a stiff neck.

Stage 2 crash was just dumb. Rhys actually texted me some updates throughout the day as he was ahead and said it was very rutted out. I tried to stay inside of a rut through a turn and just slid into with my front wheel and turned my bars, went down in slow motion where my feet were still clipped in and it took a while to unclip while laying on my side. Back up and luckily everything was good again. Pushed on and loved the rest. Felt like the first two stages were great except for the crashes. It left me in 55th for the day. Long out of my worst @ 35th on a day 1.

Day five was race day 2. The body was tired but in a good way. I was pissed from the day before and pulled it back together. All stages were in the top-32. Back to where I belong and feel capable of. I had a big goal of going in for a top-20 at this race. Day two was solid on all stages except for the most pedally stage all weekend where I overcooked a corner and had the bike sliding on the edge of a bank and saved it with one foot but came to a stop in a fast section. Could have been worse but in this racing seconds count and you can’t afford a mess up, especially after all the ones yesterday. Last year I dabbed my foot once all weekend and ended in 25th.

I pulled back time and moved up to 39th overall. Decent but not what I know I’m capable of. The season ended on a good note though as the second day was a lot better and the last burly DH called I pulled off a 23rd on it. Best of the weekend on a tough trail.

The weekend was filled with fun, laughs, amazing riding, in one of the best places I’ve ever been for a race. Year after year the EWS puts on an incredible event here. The organization is top-notch. That makes it very easy and enjoyable for us racers.

Riding with Minnaar, Peat, Bruni, and Dale all weekend was unforgettable. Friendships were created and the smack talk flowed. The afterparty in the centre square once again was very fun.

For one of the first times in my life I added two days onto the trip to stay in Nice and explore. Usually we’re in and out so quick that being a tourist never happens. Now that the season was done it meant two bike-free days of being a full tourist. Seeing the old town, eating baguettes and swimming on the mediterranian coast was just the perfect time. The following day I rented a scooter and spent the day driving the coast up to Monaco and Monte Carlo to see all the beauty and ridiculous amounts of money there.

Once again I am writing the last race report of the year while flying across the Atlantic. I’m looking forward to spending the next month at home and catching up on things. November I’ll head down to my pal Mckay Vezina’s in California to start training for 2017.

Thank you to everyone who followed, supported, and helped me this year. It’s been a damn good one and next year is going to be big.

 

North American Enduro Tour – Whistler

On Thursday I made the trip back down to Vancouver to visit a few friends before making my second trip to Whistler for the year – a new record. Whistler was hosting a round of the North American Enduro Tour race; The Whistler Fall Classic.

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I was really looking forward to racing another Enduro event after a sub-par race in Revelstoke last weekend at a Canadian Enduro Championship rounds. My only three crashes of the year happened in that race and I tied for third. If you know me at all you know how much I hate crashing. I feel it’s usually the riders mistake of being off line, going outside the ability or doing something you shouldn’t have. Most of the time a riders reaction time and skills can save. But stupid ones like sprinting at 40 kph through a twisty grass field and hooking a stump with your foot through the grass is just part of the game, though it’s my fault for pushing too much and being too close to the tall grass on the side.

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In Whistler I wanted some redemption and that mainly meant having clean runs with no mistakes and especially no crashes. I was lucky to have friends Yoann Barelli, Mckay Vezina and Spencer Wight to practice with. Yoann and Mckay were heading to Europe for the final two EWS rounds on race day so they practiced with us on Saturday – champs.

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On Saturdays practice day I watched the RBC Granfondo Whistler finish in the village before heading out for practice. Lots of friends racing that were both MTB and road athletes. Even ran into my California buddy Jesse Anthony and we traded bike for a bit. Almost had him convinced to race the Enduro… The best part was walking around the Fondo expo and people saying congratulations while I had a 6″ in trail bike in hard, baggie MTB clothes and a full face.. I just kept saying “Thank you, I worked hard to make it up here..”

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Watching Yoann get wild and nose wheelie rock slabs

I stayed at Bear Back Biking’s lodge for the weekend and that was incredible. They run a great show and treated us well. Having breakfast and dinners cooked was quite the treat. The social atmosphere there was top notch and allowed for a relaxed feeling weekend too. Highly recommend this place.

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It’s not often you get a #1 plate to start a bike race. First time ever for me and it felt pretty cool. 

On race day we started at Top of the World up the peak chair and then raced pretty all bike park trails for all the stages. So there was no pedalling for this day, which was not too enduro but at this time of year I’m keen to just ride and bikes and having it all lift accessed made it nice mellow day. Satisfied with coming away 2nd on the day and winning the last stage. Felt flat pedalling all day which just could have been from going so hard off stage one in the cold and at altitude but chances were it was some tired legs. The winner Chris Johnston is a great rider, hats off to him. We rode all the transitions together yesterday which made for quite the fun day.

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It’s back home for the week and there is chance of racing the Sun Peaks Canadian Championship Enduro round this weekend. I have a cousins wedding on the Saturday so if I race it will be blind and that makes racing even more fun.

Thanks to Whistler for putting on the event. Always love being at the mountain around the MTB atmosphere.

Results

Pinkbike Recap

Revelstoke Canadian Enduro

Full Pinkbike recap:

http://www.pinkbike.com/news/revelstoke-osprey-canadian-national-enduro-nobl-race-recap-2016.html

 

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Crankworx – EWS & Canada Cup Finals

Right after Mint-Sainte-Anne I was flying out of QC City at 5:30 AM on the Monday. Home for 1.5 days before heading over to Whistler to prep for the sixth round of the Enduro World Series. With three big days of practice on the mountain, in the bike park and around the valley, it was go time.

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Sunday morning we set out for an 80 km day with 5,000 meters of descending. Essentially, it was a dream for a mountain biker. The course was tough both physically and technically that had a great mix of everything for all the riders. It was my first Enduro race of the year and definitely not my last!

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A smooth and steady day brought me some top-25 stages and a 32nd overall. Just a little bit slow first and last stage unfortunately. I was satisfied with this result as I had only ridden my trail bike three times before coming to Whistler. Hoping to make some bigger gains before the next races.

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The day after the Canada Cup I came down with a bit of a cold. Pair that with some allergies and it turned into a bit of a savouring week on the fitness and resting side. That Enduro stuff is harder than you think! Come race day for XC I was ready to go but clearly lacked that zip I needed to be in the fight up front.

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This Canada Cup is one I’ve really wanted to win and this year was no different so getting 4th was not in the plans. I made the best of the day because it was not a very good one early on. Being back in 8th didn’t look too promising but I latched on with Geoff Kabush and we slowly picked out way through the field. Eventually with a lap and half to go his pace was too much and his final attack sealed the deal in dropping me. I was being chased by teammate Petey so it was still a fight to the line.

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That locked up third overall in the Canada Cup Series for me and also gave me the overall BC Cup series title! Something I haven’t had since I was a U17. Very cool to go back to those days.

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It was a special week in Whistler staying with the Vezina and Wallace families. Trips are always better when you’re surrounded by great people.

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My mom and gramma also made it out to this race. It’s not often my parents or gramma gets to make it out, so this one was a special one.

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Pinkbike report

Mont-Sainte-Anne: The legend

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Recovery coffee rides with Sandra Walter Catharine Pendrel.

MSA is a legendary course and the most memorable venue on the circuit. It’s the only venue to hold a World Cup and World Championship since the inception of the events. This marked my 7th appearance in 8 years. The only one missed was the World Championships in 2010 when I was out with mono.

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XC laps with our DH teammate Sam Blenkinsop 

This course is my favourite in the world, hands down. It holds some of my most significant race memories and best results I’ve ever achieved. This year was no different; I achieved my best-ever world cup finish in Elite Men. Improving by only 1 position from my previous best, which was also in MSA two years ago.

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Team tent set up with Havy giving our bikes some love.

Leading into this race I had my sights set high. Ten positions better is where I wanted to be. After the first lap I moved from 58th to 27th and fought in the top-30 for 4 laps. Eventually fading and loosing four positions in the final 1/4 lap. Not disappointed because I left it all out there. It was great to finally see what it’s like to fight in 20’s. HUGE motivation with that being that last big XC race of the year.

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One of the “features” on course – a steep rock roll with steps.

The team rode strong. Peter threw down a 14th in the under-23 men while flying the new National Champion kit. Haley battled out there and finished 36th, while Mcneely also battled to a 50th. Lespy had a very unfortunate flat very far from the tech zone while him and I were riding together. It was gutting to hear that hissing behind me while we were moving forward. It’s incredibly motivating to have my buddy racing with me so it could have been even better if him and I stayed together and pushed forward.

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Our team was exceptional over the weekend. The boys make it fun for us and keep up rollin’ along.

It was back home for one and half days before making the trip up to Whistler for two weeks where I am dabbling in all disciplines and racing Enduro, DH and the XC Canada Cup finals. More info to come.

Look at what the fans: https://vimeo.com/174401050

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Below Photos: Jonathan Duncan

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St Felicien Canada Cup Recap

On Saturday July 23rd the 5th round of Cycling Canada’s national series – The Canada Cup – took place in St Felicien (St Fe), Quebec. St Fe has hosted multiple National Championship events and a World Cup in 2007. This race followed the National Championships last weekend in Baie-St-Paul (BSP), Quebec. The Norco Factory team has been having a great year and Nationals was a major target for the team. Peter Disera came away with the under-23 National Title. The team also took home the Team Relay National Title. Some of us elite guys and Haley struggled a bit and weren’t entirely satisfied with our races.

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St Felicien was our weekend to get redemption and that we did. Something very special happened in the race. Before getting in too far here’s a quick recap of the week: the team stayed in BSP for a few extra days to train in the Charlevoix region. Team caption Kevin Haviland headed west to the 2017 Norco product launch. Us athletes were sad to miss the event. Big congratulations to Ryan Leech who celebrated 20 years with Norco! He’s a huge role model to us all. The team headed north with assistant caption Josh Toohill and arrived in St Fe a few days early to prepare on course and sharpen our swords for the weekend. The great thing about having a mechanic, assistant caption and all around helper extraordinaire who races DH like Josh is that he can come out on pre ride and scope lines with us.

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Here’s short video of the team riding the race course: LINK

 

By race morning everyone was itching to toe the line. Haley put together a strong race and came from 6th after the start loop to finish 2nd. She fought off local Quebec national champions and medallists from the national championships. It’s only her first year in the senior category as well!

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L-R: Catherine Fleury, Haley Smith, Sandra Walter, Cindy Montebault, Rebecca Beaumont Photo: Caroline Gautier

The guys squad started off with our team warm up, which turned into a 4-man pace line and  got our adrenaline going. We could all see that it was going to be a good day. Coming into this race 3 of the 4 guys have each won one of the last three Canada Cups. It’s quite incredible to have depth like this on a team. We kept saying all week that it was Andrews turn to win here. He rose to the occasion and attacked early to get out front. The pace strung out the field and caused some chaos in the chase. Evan Mcneely and I were able to capitalize on this and bridge up to Andrew.

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Photo: Aiden Brown

By lap 2 Andrew, Evan and I were off the front riding as a unit and building the gap. I think I can speak for the other guys when I say that riding in this position created energy, drive and the desire to win. We didn’t need to communicate much, we just took turns pulling in the windy sections and rode smart and efficient. We all knew without saying a word that what was going on was unexplainably special and that we could go 1-2-3. These guys aren’t just my teammates, they’re my friends. One of Canada’s Rio Olympians – Leandre Bouchard – was racing and we all have incredible respect for this guy. He’s been consistently top-20 in all the World Cups this year, so it was an honour to be on the podium spraying Champaign with this Rio-bound athlete.

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Photo: Caroline Gautier

In the end were crossed the line with Andrew taking his first Canada Cup win, myself in second and Mcneely in third. Peter followed up with a strong ride to finish 7th.  Mcneely is still leading the Canada Cup series as we approach the finals on August 19th at Crankworx. Andrew is in second and I moved into third spot overall. Norco also continues to lead the overall team ranking.

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Photo: Caroline Gautier

I may need to research this more but it’s either been an incredibly long time or it’s never happened where a team has finished 1-2-3 at a Canada Cup and won 4 races with 4 different athletes in the same year. We have an incredible team right now and I can’t thank everyone enough for what they bring to the program. Everyone at Norco Bicycles and Live to Play Sports who supports this program, our team sponsors who provide us the best and most reliable equipment, and our team captains Kevin Haviland, Jonathan Duncan and Josh Toohill who drive us around, work on our bikes, and keep us in line.

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L-R: Jeremy Martin, Evan Guthrie, Andrew L’esperance, Evan Mcneely, Leandre Bouchard Photo: Caroline Gautier

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Post-race group ride L-R: Andew, Kevin, Evan G, Evan M, Haley, Josh, and Peter

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The team is now dispersing back to their homes until we gather back up in Mont-Sainte-Anne for the World Cup on August 7th.

National Championships recap

This past Saturday the Canadian National Championships took place in Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec. This race happens once a year and it always a very important race to any Canadian. Having the chance to wear the maple leaf jersey for the year to signify you’re the champion if the country is something special. Our team came into this race with the chance to podium in every category that we have a rider in; the elite mens, elite women, under-23 men and the team relay. I flew into Quebec City early and stayed with my racing pal Jeremy Martin for a couple days of training.

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We stay in the “farm house” every year for this race and it has become our little oasis. This area of the country is beautiful. Located some 1.5 hours down the St Lawrence river from Quebec City, the bay area is filled with farm fields, mountains and, more importantly, produces great beer and cheese.

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Photo: Antoine Caron

Come race day everything was in place and going smoothly. Our team was reunited for this race after having not all been together for a full month. Spirits were high and the minds were fiery. The memories from this race goes back many years and it’s one course that I love. The natural trails, rocky, rooty and plain old technical riding is just the kind of riding I like – real mountain biking. Over the years the weather has been all over the map and this year all types of weather threatened. Days with high humidity, rains storms, and sunny weather had us wondering which way it would go.

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Photo: Jon Barnes

By the time it was race day the mud had dried up and the humidity had gone down; it was now the perfect day for a bike race. By this time in my racing days there are a few things that I need to do and a wide-range of feelings that I’ve experienced which will produce a “solid” or stellar day. On warm up this day I could feel things weren’t as fresh or spicy feeling as I would have liked, but I’ve got such a large platform of fitness built up that even an “off” feeling days will still be good because I can still push myself and I have that desire.

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Photo: Rob Jones @ www.canadiancyclist.com

This day turned out to be one of those average ones where I had one speed and just didn’t have that extra zip needed to be in the fight up front. In the end a 7th isn’t horrible but it’s the sensations behind the result that make it a little disappointing. Right from the gun the lead group took off and I was fighting tooth and nail while watching them ride off. The race was good where no mistakes were made and I finished absolutely gassed, where turning the pedals over was becoming near impossible. The same feelings I would get no matter what the placing is. That extra fire to be competitive up front lacked. After being top-5 the past two years I wanted a lot more.

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Photo: Rob Jones @ www.canadiancyclist.com

Our team walked away with two National Titles. Peter Disera took the under-23 mens and Lespy, Haley, Petey and his little bro Quinton took the team relay title. It’s just as exciting for me when my teammates and friends have good rides. Haley finished 4th in the elite women’s race, Lespy finished 8th and Mcneely 10th in the elite men’s race. For the team relay I joined one of the three BC teams and also finished 7th.

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Norco Factory Team Relay National Champs!

Baia-Saint-Paul put on an amazing race and, as always, keeps one of the best venues exciting for all racers and spectators.

There were some amazing rides out there. My teammate Peters was amazing and it’s extra special to have been around him while he’s chased that title. BC continues to produce phenomenal abilities with the youth and came away with Emily Hanford winning the junior women’s race and Sean Fincham winning the junior mens race. Congrats to all the other BC racers. Another big one was Derek Zandstra winning the elite mens title. Leandre Bouchard has been on fire this year and those two battled hard but Derek was able to solidify his power and throw down. It’s been a big year with Olympic selection happening and in the mens battle there was essentially 3 riders fighting for 2 spots. Those 3 riders are incredibly deserving and I wish all of them could be going but it came down to the wire and Derek was left off the team for some unfortunate reasons. I’m very happy for the riders who are going but also very sad for one rider who isn’t.

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The U23 women this year are world class and World Cup #1 silver medallist Catherine Fleury took a well deserved win that would have put her in 4th in the elite women! Emily Batty took the elite women’s crown as she heads to Rio in just one months time.

This race was a big goal for the year and it’s already come and gone. Onwards and upwards to next weekends Canada Cup in St Felicien, Quebec before returning home for a week to prep for the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup.

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Video from Geoff Kabush on the course: https://www.instagram.com/p/BH5l58tDWKB/

Pinkbike article by Antoine Caron: http://www.pinkbike.com/news/canadian-xc-national-championship-2016.html

Full results: http://canadiancyclist.com/dailynews.php?id=31454&title=mtb-xc-championships-full-results-all-categories

Photos on CanadianCyclist: http://canadiancyclist.com/photos.php?cc_event_id=581&cc_event_subcategory_id=403443&category=mtb-xco-championships_elite-u23-men-part-1

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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

 

 

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.

Sudbury Canada Cup Recap

Round 3 of the Canada Cup series took place in Sudbury, ON yesterday. I finished up with my third podium over the three races, this time in 5th.  Ontario has a big cross-country cycling scene, which is one reason I love to race out here. The atmosphere is great, the support is great and you’re likely to have a pretty darn good time.

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Last Monday I flew into Sault St Marie, ON to spend a few days training and be there for my team, Norco Bicycles, annual demo at the Velorution bike shop. I did the same last year and was excited to make the trip once again. Jan Roubal, who runs the shop, is a animal on the bike and joined me for intervals while being my tour guide one of the days.

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A few days prior to the race were spent in Sudbury with the full Norco gang after we’ve spent the better part of 6-weeks without any gatherings.

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Race prep as usual was the recipe leading into the Sunday race. The course was interesting with hardly any climbing and continual bumps and rough riding through the rocky/rooty terrain of the Canadian Shield. The body feels quite beat up this morning, but totally worth it.

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Missing from the mens race were: Max Plaxton, Geoff Kabush, Raphael Gagne and Kris Sneddon. You could say the biggest names of the elite men in Canada. With many prepping for next weekends National Championships at home, this was my tune-up training after not racing for quite some time.

Elite Men podium

Photo: Rob Jones @ Canadiancyclist.com

It was a humid day out under cloudy skies with a chance of showers. Overnight rain helped make for some slick portions throughout the course, which caused some havoc throughout the race. Our field was slowly split up due to some riders mistakes and crashes in the conditions.

First lap teammate Evan Mcneely and myself were riding with the front group which also consisted of: Derek Zandstra, Cam Jette and Leandre Bouchard. I couldn’t quite hang onto this group with the how the body was working on the day.

Faded back and rode with Trek Canadas Mitch Bailey. This guy was fun to ride with! We worked well together, which kept me motivated and help me pull out the best effort I could for quite some time. Huge thanks to him for doing some monster pulls out there. Plus my Honey Stinger gels from Planet Foods were working wonders!

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Continued on and caught Leandre Bouchard with 1.5 laps to go in the 6 lap race. Leandre and I got away from Mitch going into the last lap. Leandre squeaked past a rider into one of the single track sections and a gap opened that was, at the time, unable to be closed back down. Fought tooth and nail, or cross-eyed with jello-like legs to get him.

Crossed the line in 5th, which is a massive improvement from a poor 14th place finish last year. This also marks the most consistent Canada Cup series for me.  Now time to focus on next weekends National Championships, where I will take on the elite mens race for the first time after graduating from the under-23 ranks.

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Norco Factory Team results below.

Elite Men:

Evan Mcneely – 3rd

Peter Disera – 9th

Andrew Watson – 10th

Andrew Lesperance – 18th

Elite Women:

Haley Smith – 6th

Cayley Brooks – 23rd

Report from CanadianCyclist: http://www.canadiancyclist.com/dailynews.php?id=28082

Photo Gallery from Canadiancyclist: http://www.canadiancyclist.com/photos.php?cc_event_id=452&cc_event_subcategory_id=402719

Massive thanks to my sponsors for their support:

Norco Bicycles

Granfondo Axel Merckx

Pro Source Irrigation Supply

Tree Brewing

The Bike Barn

Planet Foods

Dissent Labs

Along with the many others who support in a private way, family and friends. So many generous people help make this cycling lifestyle a reality. Thank you to them and everyone that is apart of this wonderful journey!

Special shout-out to Granfondo Axel Merckx which took place yesterday in Penticton, BC. A wonderful sponsor of mine and an event I was really looking forward to this year, but unfortunately there was a conflict with this Canada Cup. All the reports sounds the event went amazing and weather was hot at ~38 C. I missed the kids Piccolofondo the most though. Seeing a few hundred little ones riding around on run bikes, training wheels and streamers hanging off their bars is something special. I had the privilege of riding with those kids the previous two years and hope to be back out next year!

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‘McNeely the danish monster’

 

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Lori Bailey Photos below:

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