Crankworx Enduro World Series

After Singletrack 6 I took 4 days of recovery and met up with friends in Galena Bay, BC for some camping. It was the perfect way to recharge, rest up, and getting ready for Crankworx. My arm pump and upper body training for that enduro continued while camping with extreme tubing sessions. You had to hang on for dear life and that was exactly what happens in Whistler when in the bike park!

My Crankworx race was solid with all things considered. I rode my Pivot Firebird race bike 5 times before the race and I didn’t do one specific “enduro” training session. My goals were to stay on the bike and not get any mechanicals, which usually means a good result. I wish I had more speed and balls for the bike park stages so push outside my comfort zone but without much of that riding since this time last year, it was tough to do that. All my stages were consistent within 30-35th place except for the last one. That was a terrible one but not reasoning behind it other than it being all bike park and something I’m not quite comfortable with. That stage was somewhere in 50’s for me which ended the day with a 35th overall. It was good but I wanted a top-30 for sure, which would have been doable if my last stage was consistent with the previous four. Taking into consideration my prep, a 35th was a good way to start my mini enduro season off. 

Next will be the two final Canadian Enduro Series races at Big White in Kelowna, BC and Sun Peaks in Kamloops, BC before the finale Enduro World Series race in Finale Ligure, Italy. 

Every night we did a river dip to cool off.

Practicing on “top of world” off the Whistler peak chair. 

Post-Race day ride up into the alpine with friends. 

This alpine trail loop might be one of my new favourites. 

Looking down on Whistler after a hard 2 hr climb.

Photo: John Gibson

Canada Cup Series overall win in Whistler

Well, it was another weekend of bike racing but on the west coast this weekend. For the second time in my career I was able to clinch the Canada Cup series overall title for Elite men. Over the 6 race series, that covered provinces on either side of the country, it was nice to have consistency and win the series again after first taking it in 2014. 

Seaton Lake, Lillooet BC. 

Picnic with mom and gramma.

This marked the seventh time I’ve finished top-3 overall in the last eight years for the Canada Cup Series and I’m happy to continue the consistency even though I’ve only once completed every race of the series in a year and that was in 2014. 

Evening spin around Lost Lake upon arrival.

This past weekend has always been a special race for me because I get to drive to it, my parents and gramma usually make it out to watch, and , well, Whistler is an incredible place. This year was no different, as I road tripped out with mom and gramma on the Thursday – unfortunately my dad was unable to get the time off work. It’s always a fun event when you get to socialize and spend some quality time with racer friends and their families/supporters after the race. Sitting around and telling tales of the day over snacks is a great way to end a bike race. It’s how I remember the beginning of it all when I was 13 years old and travelling the BC Cup Series. 

Photo: Scott Roberts

It was a more low-key event than most with attendance being lower than a usual Canada Cup because most racers don’t make the travel over.. I understand the poor timing of the race date this year and it’s “only one race” as most say. I don’t count the 2, 3, sometimes 4 trips made out east each season.. Having a national series does mean races will be spread across the country, and I know Canada is quite large. It’s tough for high school kids and I fully disagree with the whole series being held before the summer this year when juniors are still in high school or graduating, and the overlap with World Cup races. I just wish there was more planning and a series that everyone was able to attend. We just need better support and communication between racers, venues, and our governing body so we can continue to grow the sport and give the opportunities to our youth. The younger racers need a platform to build from and I believe these Canada Cups are incredibly important in that development (even though we have some people saying they don’t matter). I hope to see this series live long and prosper for our developing riders. 

My cheering squad Photo: Scott Roberts

We did have some world-class racers with multi-time Olympians Geoff Kabush and Catharine Pendrel leading the way and previous American National Champ Stephen Ettinger.  

BC Provincial XC podium. Photo: Scott Roberts

It was smokin’ warm in the valley of Whistler this year and we raced in 30+ degrees while the sun baked us alive. I don’t think anyone started too hard in efforts to not sizzle ourselves right away. Even though I will say I rode “within myself” those first few laps, it was still damn hard and the heat really played games because it was beyond uncomfortable and sick feeling almost. By the time Geoff made his move with 1.5 laps to go it was too much for my diesel pace on the day. Ettinger tried as well and stayed closer to him than I did , but in the end it was Geoff 1st, Ettinger 2nd, myself 3rd. I was eyeing the overall today, of course, but when I come to these races now I want to win. 

Canada Cup Overall win for me, 2nd overall Elite women was Jayne Rossworn, and 2nd overall in junior men was Holden Jones. Photo: Scott Roberts

Sunday I was able to get out for a couple quick laps on Backcomb with my new Pivot Firebird trail bike. Wow, that thing is fun!

My report written for Canadian Cyclist: http://canadiancyclist.com/dailynews.php?id=32675&title=meeuwisse-guthrie-win-canada-cup-xco-titles

XC Results: http://canadiancyclist.com/dailynews.php?id=32671&title=canada-cup-6-whistler-results

Canada Cup overall ranking: http://www.cyclingcanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Elite-Men-2017-MTB-XCO-RANKINGS-FINAL.pdf

 

 

These two are pretty great.

Nothing like ending the day for a lake swim.

Blackomb laps on Sunday with this new Pivot Firebird

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

Crankworx Canada Cup

Crankworx is an amazing festival and one that always reminds me why I love to ride bikes. This year the Norco Factory XC team was represented by Evan “Mcsneaky” Mcneely and Andrew “Lespy” L’Esperance. After a very full two days of travel after the Windham World Cup, which consisted of flying from New York to Kelowna on Monday and driving to Whistler on Tuesday, myself and the boys settled in for a couple good sleeps and course preparations.

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Chris Vezina Photo

This was the last big xc race of the season, the last chance to race and show the form, and a chance to redeem after a poor World Cup only 4 days before. Norco came in with Peter Disera leading the overall Canada Cup series and Mcneely in second. The pressure was on for us to perform and take that leaders jersey home, again. We also brought 3 guys and knew we could put everyone on the podium.

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Chris Vezina Photo

Lespy blitzed the first lap and it took about 10 minutes for my legs to come around after they were a little slow-going in warm up. From there I knew it was going to be a good day. By midway through lap 2/5 I had a little gap and was pushing forward. I won my first Canada Cup here in 2006 as a U-17 Cadet Expert and I wanted to win this one, badly. I usually pride myself on not flatting or getting mechanicals because, in my opinion, it’s a reflection of how you’re riding that triggers those issues, unless you have a fat nail in your tire or a part fails.

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Chris Vezina Photo

And then it happened, the flat tire. While my back wheel slid out on a corner and a divot in the rock face caught the sidewall of my rim, it flattened so much the tire wasn’t able to stay beaded and the air was lost. Not a tire failure by any means but my fault for charging hard. I raced with a saddle bag and tube, as this was a rocky race. Changed the tube and fell to 9th or 10th. In the next half lap I picked up two spots before pulling into the pits and doing a wheel change. Back to 10th. The fire was fuelled and I took off, pulling all the way back to 3rd at the finish. It truly was a great day on the bike. Shit happens though and you make the best of it. I did get drug tested after and completed one of my life goals of giving a beer-coloured pee sample. Small wins.

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Chris Vezina Photo

It was important to finish the season racing the way I know I should be. The excitement continued with a couple days of riding trail bikes around Whistler, going out on the town and riding the lifts. Monday I did my first Grouse Grind before visiting Norco HQ and Jay Hoots’ bike park in Hope, BC.

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Norco’s Factory Racing DH team and Team Norco International were out in full force and making podium appearances in almost every event at Crankworx. It was a great time time to be part of the Norco family.

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Now, we switch bikes to bigger squishy ones for some Enduro racing this fall. I’m back over to Europe to take on the final two Enduro World Series races in Spain and Italy.

I can’t say thank you enough or show my appreciation for all the support I’ve received this year. The support network in key to success.

Norco News: http://www.norco.com/news/2015/08/team-news-crankworx/

Results: http://pedalmag.com/canada-mtb-cup-xc4-whistler-results-final-standings/

http://canadiancyclist.com/dailynews.php?id=29979&title=canada-cup-xc-5-whistler

Chris Vezina photos: https://cndkids.smugmug.com/Sports/Cycling/2015-Whistler-Canada-Cup/n-Wh2cnh

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Riding the park with Jay Hoots

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Hoots Park

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Top of the World, Whistler peak chair.

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Blackcomb riding with Evan, Andrew, Geoff Kabush, Peter Glassford and Amanda Sin.

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Elite men and women podium.

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Happened to find a girl wit with same shirts as our team(not pictured in them).

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Chris Vezina Photo