My “first” gravel ride

Ok, let’s be honest here, this was not my first ride on gravel but it was my first on a newly set up “gravel bike”, which is just my ‘cross bike with some 38c Schwalbe G-One All-Around tires set up tubeless. 

I must say that these bikes are a lot more capable than one would think. Basically I ride my mountain bike when I want to be on dirt, and never even think of exploring the thousands of kilometres of forest service roads (FSR) that start behind my place. For some reason I always felt that why ride gravel when there is sweet single track to be shredded? Well, there is and it adds another element to the already diverse nature of cycling. 

Moo’ving along

Today I had a new excitement rise over me as I rode this rigid bike, over questionable terrain, in the mountains, having only just quickly looked at google maps the day before. A sense of exploration and freedom came over me as I pedalled into the mountaisn and around lakes that I fished at over 20 years ago. 

The route went up Princeton Avenue in Peachland and toward Headwaters Lake. Once reaching the lake the trick was going to be finding the correct and small FSR that led over to Peachland Lake before continuing on to Brenda Mine Rd. After getting onto a questionable “road” that slowly became washed out and turned into a nothing more than a quad trail, I kept exploring on and eventually rounded a corner and was overlooking Peachland lake. 

Mission accomplished. Sometimes I don’t realize  the routine of rides I’ve built until planning a totally different one like this. Within 20 minutes of setting off I almost talked myself out of doing it, but once making that turn and starting this ride, there was no turning back. I foresee more of these happening in the near future to explore the backyard more and keep that sense of freedom alive. This whole ‘gravel bike’ bug might just be worth catching for a while. 

It doesn’t look steep, but was it ever! Need smaller gears.

Brenda Mine Rd

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