Monday, May 4, 2015

I do indeed have a blog..

My mind is being shifted to my grade eight english class; being scolded for using too many exclamation marks in my writing. What can I say! I have plenty of enthusiasm and lots to look forwards to coming up! (!!)

I just arrived back from California last week, after a unique winter.  Since last July at mountain bike Nationals I had suffered a bad concussion that lasted me almost eight months. Probably the toughest eight months I've been through, I can't even begin to explain!  Even though I missed out on 3/4 of a year of training and starting this season quite behind, I have learnt a great deal, and I got to enjoy winter and snow for the first time in many years.

I was lucky enough to head down to start riding slow mid-March. No spring races for me, but I was lucky to be riding in the sunshine and cheer on fellow Canadians at the US Cups.

I got to see a few new places this year; Lake Arrowhead, Palm Springs, Santa Rosa, and meet up and train with all my new Teammates on Trek Red Truck Racing.

Big Bear Mountain
We had a few cold days up at Lake Arrowhead (6000ft) so opted to make S'mores
And gooood food!  Our nacho game is on point!
A stellar weekend of riding with a bunch of Canadians
We of course played tourist
A few days in Palm Springs with TRT
Thanks to the Guloein family for hosting us girls!
Sea Otter Classic- Monterey- 17 mile drive

We endured a week long camp together in Santa Rosa with stunning weather, incredible road routes and lots of wine from the local vineyards. 

Top of Kings Ridge Climb
We did some big 6 hour days; coke and candy stops were ideal

Now I am back settled in Ontario!  I raced the first OCup race in Woodnewton this past weekend.  Fairly good feeling legs, one big 'eat the dirt' fall where I slid back a bunch, but genuinely I had fun racing and catching up with friends I hadn't seen since last season.

May-Long will mark the start of the Canada Cup season at Mont-Tremblant and then preparing for following Canada Cups in Barrie, ON. 

See my Instagram for more photos of the last few months as well

and my little face head-shot, bio to come.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Sudbury canada cup 3

I have recently realized my blogging skills highlight the epitome of blogging procrastination at its finest.   A post from me is a long time coming, so instead of recapping the ten races I have done since I last wrote in May from Canada Cup 1 in Tremblant, head over to the Trek Canada website and read through the blog posts recapping results from mine and my teammates last couple months.

This past weekend was Canada Cup #3 in Sudbury, site of one of my favorite courses to ride.  It was great to have the entire Trek Canada crew out together, it had been multiple weeks.   We headed up on Friday and we were able to have a couple days to get some laps in on the course. I love the rocky Canadian Shield terrain, minus the pounding of bumps; it reminds me of being young at the cottage just balming over the same type of topography on old beater cruiser bikes with my family.   

Race day Sunday went alright. Last season I had one of my best races of the year at this course, so I was excited to hit the start line once again, hoping to repeat. At the start it felt almost like a new season it had been a few weeks since I had done a mountain bike race.   Right off the start I was able to get up into 3rd and sit in comfortably. I drifted back a few places, and made a couple mistakes first lap but I was able to find a rhythm and start cleaning up for my errors as the race played on.  The fifth lap was one of the most difficult I have raced.  The course being so physical was challenging to keep smooth by the end.  Overall I ended up 10th place, a mediocre position, but I was happy with the technical and leg sensations that I had.

Check out results here.  Congrats to Soren for finishing 1st in the Junior Women’s race and qualifying herself for Worlds later this summer! Jon Barnes took the top step of the podium as well in his race!

We also had a chance to get some photos at Hardwood last week finally with the whole team included.  Take a look at some below. The rest should be posted on the team site this week. 

Now on to Hardwood Nationals this coming weekend. Events start on Wednesday night at the course, the eliminator race on Thursday evening, XCO championships on Saturday and then the team relay on Sunday!

Stay tuned I’ll try to keep this going next week as well.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tremblant recap

This past weekend was one of my favorite races- the Mont Tremblant Canada Cup. Thursday we headed over to Tremblant, after a great day riding up at Hardwood on Wednesday with the team.

Gorgeous day at Hardwood

 We spent almost as much time sitting in traffic as driving, but it was still a good time with the teammates- except when we had to listen to Jon Barnes complain about not enough leg room over and over again ;).

Tetris packing skills

Good spin with Barnes post arrival Thursday

Friday pre-ride was awesome to say the least. It was a bit wet and rained constantly all day, but there were pretty prime conditions. 

 Our race wasn't scheduled until 2:45 pm Saturday which gave us excessive amounts of time in the morning to be nervous and think about the race.   I didn't have a great call up, in third row, and my legs found it tough to get going at the beginning of the race.   Coming off the first climb into the single track was a huge shock! SO. MUCH. MUD.  It wasn't like pre-riding at all- but thanks to the correct tire choice I was able to sail through a lot of it no problem.   This was my first real time riding in the mud, and minus all the running involved, its probably my new favorite conditions.  I had really great sensations descending and I was able to close a lot of gaps by the bottom. Third lap I made quite a few small mistakes and had a couple crashes, but overall fairly happy with how it went.    Huge thanks to Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team, Trek Toronto and mechanic Zach Hellriech for making our bikes run smooth and for changing about 15 pairs of tires over the course of the weekend.

Fun night out with the team post race- including Peter taking a selfie which he hates

blood-mud combo is always fun

Stay tuned for some team shots from Tremblant- they will be posted on the Trek Canada website within the week.  

Now a few days of incredible riding here in Bromont, then off to Baie Saint Paul and then the Mansfield OCup!


Saturday, May 10, 2014

I feel like a six year old getting a brand new bike every time I get to go out and ride or race

Yes, I am behind a couple weeks on updating this- but it finally got done.

 A few weeks ago I ventured out to Ontario to start the Canadian racing season. It was a long solo 22 hour drive, but I made it; and enjoyed the trip.

 First weekend up in the O I had mountain bike OCup#1 at Woodnewton. It was a great race put on by Superfly racing, and Trek Canada got to debut our new team kits and new bikes. We are racing the Superfly Elite SL hardtail with a beauty custom Trek Canada paint design from project one. Also complete with our Rock Shox SID World Cup fork, new Bontrager XXX wheelset, 1X11 speed SRAM drivechain topped off with ESI Grips. The bikes are light, stiff and fast! Everyone had great races, check out some results, team blog post, Peter's blog post, and Soren's blog post.

Also some very exciting news- Alongside racing for Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team I have signed with Team NCCH p/b DEC Express for the 2014 road season. I am very excited to get in some road racing this year as well, with an awesome, quick bunch of U23 riders.

Press release
Trek Canada article

On that note, today was my first real road race for a while, and first race with Team NCCH p/b DEC Express. I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of riders (first ontario cup road race), course wise and my general fitness- would my climbing legs be there and would I make it through the road race duration. I was really looking forwards to racing with the NCCH p/b DEC Express girls, and flying their colors for the first time this season. We tried to put the hurt on everyone in the first thirty minutes of the race by guttering them in the cross winds, but it didnt scale out how we had hoped. Everyone managed to get themselves in small breaks at the beginning of the race however. Once the race got rolling I found myself feeling great, and in a break/split of three riders from a climb. We were eventually joined by a few others and rode pretty easy towards the finish climb up Scenic Cave Rd. The pace increased as we started to ascend, but I found myself very comfortable climbing- minus not having the correct gearing. I had been cramping throughout the last quarter of the race, so I tried to keep seated and relaxed. I looked back and the pack was shattered and there were only four of us riders left. Emily Batty put the hurt on us, and I made the mistake of missing her move from sitting too far behind the other two women. I tried to get a gap at the top to test the others legs, sat back in until the final corner and then I was able to take the sprint for 2nd. Overall a very happy day on the bike. I am happy with how my form is coming along and looking forwards to racing a lot more for Team NCCH p/b DEC Express.

(Photos to come)

 Also- talking about being excited on the bike- it has been a crazy journey to the point where I am at lately. During the start of this winter, and a few early races- I was really struggling with my back- the injury and the side affects. I had slight thoughts of taking the year off the bike when it was becoming too much to handle. Even someone who asked how my back was doing would bring me to tears. But now, NOW!!! Total 180 degree turn. Each race and week has been a huge progression on how its been. OCup #1- 95% pain free, week of hard training- 100% pain free- and today at the Grey Country Road Race- 100% pain free. I was writing my post-race report and realized it was the first time in four years I had wrote down 100% pain free during and post race. Huge shout out to my coach and teammate Peter Glassford, and Kevin Jardine who I was working with in the fall- I now have a great routine to keep myself injury free and feeling great. Pretty stoked! Anyways- along with that comes pure excitement. I have never had so much fun riding bikes as in the past month. I literally feel like a six year old getting a brand new bike every time I get to go out and ride or race. Im having so much fun, its kind of insane. But I love it, and I am enjoying every second of it.

 This week, Trek Canada crew are headed to Quebec for Canada Cup #1 at Mont Tremblant and then Soren and I are headed to Canada Cup #2 in Baie Saint Paul right after, while the rest of the team is off galavanting at World Cups and USA Stage races.

 A lot more racing to come this year...check out my calendar page at the top if you want to track where I will be.

 I am also making it a goal to try and learn challenging yoga poses to develop my fleixibility, balance and strength. This weeks challege was a handstand from a forearm plank. Need a bit more shoulder flexibility but otherwise the balance was mastered, for now.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Bonelli, Fontana US Cup Re-cap, San Fran, Lizards and adventure dates with my bike

Winter training is officially over, and racing has begun! The past few weeks have been full of travel, racing and lots of learning experiences.  

The first two races of the season; Bonelli US Cup and Fontana US Cup were definitely difficult, but I took away a lot of knowledge and more experience from each race.  I had some injuries, broken chains and crashes, but I am happy with how I am feeling on the bike.  I am noticing the past year on the trails really playing a major factor in my technical skills and having less fear this season descending. Coming into race season last year I had vague expectations of what would occur, and how I would perform in regards to the whole mountain bike scene. This year it felt great to have some familiarity with the courses, competition and race strategy going into the races.  

Bonelli US Cup XCT was a difficult day on the bike to say the least. I had a fabulous start and I was right up in the top ten of an HC field for the first lap and a half plus stat loop- I also reached a new max heart rate which I paid for about five minutes later. It was challenging to have blown and crashed but such is life. I took away a lot from the race and realized again which strategic style of racing suits me best, and created ways to implement that into my race plan for the next weekend.   The short track the next day was really fast and hard with a bummed shoulder, but I felt like I got my race legs underneath me fast.

Molly, Peter and I had a great week staying in Chino Hills. I did quite a bit of exploring on the bike throughout the 909 and East of Los Angeles.

Carbon Canyon Road 

We found an amazing coffee shop by where we were staying that was run by a Romanian cycling family. They were super friendly and the coffee was the best I have had!

The following weekend was Fontana US Cup. Fontana is a really fun, flowy, sandy course to ride, and I honestly had one of the most fun experiences on a course while racing.  The race virtually climbed for 12 minutes and then descended for seven minutes.  I decided to start off this race with more pacing goals in mind- which for those of you who know me well is a very hard thing to do being so competitive!  Knowing I can start with the best- even that I know I’d blow- makes it difficult to hold back and save myself.   It ended up paying off, and I was making up huge ground on the following laps.  Halfway through the second last lap I made a poor shift through the sand and I ended up snapping my chain. I was of course disappointed but I have finally learnt over the past years of injury to take away the best points from the race, and let the others go-or take them as tools to learn with. 

Mitch during Fontana Short Track 

Peter during Fontana XCST

Getting ready before the start

View of the 909 from the top of the climb at Fontana

Rough area of the course- there were shopping karts and scary dogs!

A bit of 909 exploration with Pete

Another shot of the Fontana course

I now have a lot to practice, fitness to gain and more fun riding bikes to be had! 

Molly and I are now up in Menlo Park, California which is just South of San Francisco- right in Sanford Park area. We are staying with wonderful friends/host housing family with two awesome kids! I have been beat at h.o.r.s.e and many other made up basketball games by a six year old all week- basketball was the only sport I could never really do!  I have done some amazing exploring on my bike this past week and I have one more week to see even more.  We are heading down to Monterey for Sea Otter this coming weekend and I am really looking forwards to it- one of my favorite places to be!

I know its a goofy photo- but I held the camera up and burst out laughing- true emotion caught!

I have been exploring on an awesome commuter around Sanford Uni

There has been SOOO much rain here, one day I was soft and rode the rollers

Amazing one lane roads and redwoods on Tunitas Pass- absolutely breathaking

I turned around on the coastal route and was caught by surprise of this view!!

I came across a scary sign...I did learn how to stand up to mountain lions

I found some awesome salamander newts...

Which I learnt a day later they were very poisonous- even to touch as they secrete toxins. They are the most poisonous of newts. (  Scary. 

Page Mill Road climb- An hour up! It was freezing at the top

The kids I am staying with wanted cookies so I whipped up a batch in 10 mins from scratch and were awesome. There mom was probably happy they had no sugar, they're pleasantly wild at all times of the day

I seem to be having more fun on my bike every day, and there is not much more I can want!