Sunday, August 24, 2014

A great reminder...

...of why I love to ride my bike...

Thanks Erik for capturing the day... Missed all the shotguns though...

Update from Breck to come - while off work, if it can't be done easily on my smart phone it will have to wait.....

Gramd Junction next...

Happy Riding!

Monday, August 04, 2014

Singletrack 6 2014 ...

... and look forward to another 6 days in the Okanagan in 2015!

Transrockies is not a new kid on the block when it comes to putting on quality events - but this was a bit of a new concept for them and for me a last minute decision and not part of the 2014 plan (if there is such thing). 6 days of racing in 5 different locations - fairly short travel - great variety of the best trails these areas has to offer. It was such a great experience - I drove my self which I think took one element of possible stress out of the equation. Everyone had their own hotels booked, hence line up for showers was a non issue, there seemed to be little issues with food - dinner went by quick and good servings, massage sessions were great. The weather which of course can make or break the event was just perfect - even though hot for some. I chose to drive in the evening after awards, hence I had time in the morning to get ready for starts. All in all it just felt so relaxed and more like a week of riding with friends - perfect vacation!

A few notes on each stage - and if you ask me which was the favorite I'd have a hard time - all different and all good and all worth a visit.

Stage 1 - Kananaskis

Home course so I was super motivated - it was extremely dry so my choice of hardtail took a bit of a beating on the body at the end. Was unsure if someone was ahead of me for most of the day as a couple of times spectators on the side told me something that sounded like "she is only a few minutes up"... so made me ride extra hard. I love these trails - and so happy I can go out and ride them at anytime. Awesome start to the six days and the race only covered a few of the great trails we have to choose from.

Stage 2 - Nipika

After a quick trip home to pack after stage one I was lucky to catch a spot in Banff (thanks Margie!). A fairly easy drive out to Nipika in the morning, and this was the only drive I did the day of race.
I had only ridden this area once, many years ago, and remembered it being very rough so the fully came out - and with a smile on my face most of the day for that choice! I had so much fun riding those trails - they are classic trails, not perfectly cut, but ridden in. Bumpy, rooty, grasy, wicked views, and some flowy fast stuff. By the end of it you might be ready for a break :)
It was a time trial type of format with 10 riders starting with 1 min intervals - I new Mical would be chasing me down, so there was no looking back... it held to the end.

Stage 3 - Invermere

I have ridden Invermere once before and had lots of fun with Jon and Craig, so I was pretty stoked about this stage. I chose the hardtail based on memory of flowy fast trails. The race took a totally different route for the first half though, and I was second guessing my choice for a bit. Mical took off like a rocket from the start and eventually I tried to just keep her in sight. A few bottle necks early on, but the field quickly spread. I was able to get by Mical on a short climb and tried not to look back. The trails were quiet rough, reminded me of The Ghost area - motorcycle trails - dry dusty steep decent, then straight back up hiking.... a few welcomed double track/gravel road section to drink a little in the dusty heat. Though one road section caused a bit of an issue for a few of us in the front of the race. Some lady decided she didn't like bike racing (me of course thought she was a fan following as she slowly drove behind me down the gravel road) - she decided to steal the turn markers off  the road. I had just been passed by the Danish guy, so I when I couldn't see any markers anymore I looked for the dust on the road and went to the end. He and another guy was at the bottom, now me and the lady. I asked her if she knew where the riders had gone before and she wasn't helpful but I still had no idea she had stolen the markers. Eventually we climbed back up again - by this time Mical group (including our new friends and mixed leaders Anja and Tristan) were coming down. Abut 10 or so of us now were group riding it until we got on track again. From there on the trails where the once I remembered, fun and flowy and dry and dusty :) Left the group again, and crossed first, but the fourth place girl who started 5 min behind us today came in shortly after took the win for the day. Fun day, but could have done without the motorcycle trails.

Stage 4- Golden Mt Seven

Have a read of my blog from when I visited a few weeks ago! These trails are just so much fun - not super long day, starting off with a long road climb to separate the field out, then a long super fun timed decent. Mical had a close up with a tree so I got the fasted decent for the day. After this the trails just went on and on of fun up and down and technical enough to make it very interesting. I also learned that I, quote "stall on the top of the hills".... I will work on that :) Held on to the lead and Mical lost a little extra time today having to ride a lot of the day with only one break after a rotor failure on the rear - Reagan you better have something up your sleeve for when she comes home :) Today was not a good day to only have one break! Again a perfect day for a race - hot, dry and in the trees for most of it, can't get much better. Fully was back and did it's job.

Stage 5 - Golden Moonrakers

Of course this day did not disappoint either - woke up to blue sky and having ridden these trails (well sort of, though being lost for most of the time) a few weekends ago I looking forward to this day as well. Today they did start us off with a mass start which surprised me a little bit knowing the trail quickly goes into a single track climb off the road. Hence a bit of a bottle neck to start and a bit of bickering in the back - but I stayed clear of it all - and only Pat gave Mical and I a bit of a bush travel :) After the first climb the trails just flow and twist and turn - so much fun - again on my fully which is a great bike for this area. It eats up the roots like it's gummy bears. Mical was riding strong and left me dry on the trail just before the big climb up to the canyon. I didn't see her again until we got close to the timed decent after getting a bit of a second wind and a self reminder this is a race. Rode with Devon for a lot of the time - and sometimes I get in the frame of mind I'd rather ride with someone than take off and ride alone. The last section I road with Mical - fun single track along the river - rode it in to the finish together. Great day on the bike.

Stage 6 - Revelstoke

Hardtail all the way - insider information thank you....  After neutral road section we went right up the power line in scorching heat (late start today).  Again had a bit of a struggle to hang on, but stuck with it the best I could. When we got in on the single track I got to go, eventually got by Catherine W. who is a climbing machine. and from there I just left it all out. The trails were awesome - smiles all the way - the section on the lower side of highway was a little tough but made it through. Totally messed up on the drink and distance planning today with a mindset it was 37 km - last feed at 29, so yeah, I don't need no drink in my bottle! but it was 47 so yes drink it the bottle would have been a good idea. Climbed up from the last feed like it was the last climb of the day though (and oh yeas, with an empty bottle), but when I saw TNT as a decent I knew this was not the last decent and remembered that 37 was single track, plus the 10 of road.... the heat must have got to me finally. It was some fun climbing though, kept your mind off how hard it was, then down, even more fun - so fun I had to stop put my gloves on so I could really enjoy it. Had a few "oh shit" moments, but pulled it together and safely got to the road - put the head down and pedaled to the end. Great selection of trails - well made and definitely a place to go visit with your bike. Mical had a great day, coming in right behind me, kicking my butt on the descents and taking the overall win in the timed sections and second overall. Stage races are not over until they are over, I got the win overall but it was a tight go.

Next year the race will move further west - after such a success this year the expectations will be high - I'm signed up and ready to go!

I have a week to recover and decide on trip to Breckenridge - another 6 days of racing, it was in the plan.... right now I'm just loving the downtime and my back yard.

Happy Riding!
One of the transfers - wicked views, short and just a nice downtime....

Lots of time for this - its nice when racing there is room for some downtime

Good races know how to feed us!
Great venues both outside and inside
No shortage of cold rivers to cool off in!!

Mechanics area available when needed!

Of course there its not a true "vacation" without a massage or two....

A few shots taken by Raven Eye Photography showcasing some of the best trails you can imagine through the 6 days of racing.

Great last day in Revelstoke!

Think it was right about here I started the decision making process - Breck or no breck???
Lots of familiar faces from around the world - thanks Sayako for many good photos - here with Yuki.
Great fun racing - over 40 women in the open category - Mical and Jodi (Australia) on the final podium
Fast table - and the wine collection kept growing...
Wine anyone?


Sunday, July 13, 2014

First full Week...

...of summer!! Stampeded week couldn't have timed it better! Here is a summary in mostly pictures...
Got in a couple of good commutes in addition to the regular half hour ride in. One morning explored Glenmore-Little Elbow-Stampede route, and one afternoon explored a new commute route for when office move south.
I'm not a true stampede but I must say I do enjoy the relaxed happy atmosphere in the downtown area during this week - people seem to take some time off in their busy schedule to actually look around and socialize with strangers in the coffee lineup. I did my duty and attended a work event Friday.
The awesome hot weather continued through the weekend and had a great ride Saturday with Alana, Trish and Andrea. Rode the first day of ST6 - starting in West Bragg. Great fun - think folks will enjoy. Today a little bigger (mostly in elevation) solo ride equally hot, and TR might wanna look at this as a future stage, hard but fun! Both day I rode the FS, still pondering about bike choice for the ST6 and after this weekend really enjoying the comfort of my Superfly100 (with a new shifter it would even be better).
Have two weeks to prepare and figure bike and gear out. Mostly resting, but a bit of a  riding trip next weekend; time dependent maybe get in Revelstoke or Golden and race the Gear Jammer in Squamish. A quick work trip to Van this week might allow me to get an evening sneak peak during the week - will see how keen I'll be on the bike packing thing tomorrow night.
Happy summer riding!

Great morning commute - got detoured around and ended with a great view of the city and stampeded grounds.


After work commute - went south one day, riding to Quarry park checking access to the paths. A few sections like this still, but able to get around most of them with no issues.

After Quarry Park I continued south, and learned that the southern bridge is yet to be fixed. Ended up way south and found a way into Fish Creek - and it is always a good ride - a few flood damage signs still as well.
Used to be a path connecting the other side...

Rodeo time!
And a few visits to our water hole!

Hot Saturday ride - Alana getting cooled off in the creek.

To of RoS decent!
Henry waiting for his group at the start of RoS as well -
 think we saw all of Calgary out today!

3 weeks in Europe and a little sick - still hung on good
Alana on the final decent of the day - Strange Brew
That's how hot it was!!!
Cool feature by the new awesome bike shop 22x and Creekers Bistro -
bike shop and good food/coffee goes hand in hand!
too hot for Toby ride - but great for river walks!

Sunday solo ride - forgot socks! first sockless ride -
it worked out great in the heat!
This is how hot it was today - in the shade on top of Sulphur trying to cool off

Best part of todays ride!

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Last minute Golden...

... riding, and no regrets!

Saturday CBT/Moonrakers/Canyon Creek

Wake-up early, drop dogs at friends cabin (little bit of trouble with landlady ops), quick stop at Tim's, off to ride:

The goal was to ride Stage 5 of the Single Track 6 coming up later this month. Prepared I thought, with a gps file of the route, studied the map to make sure I went in the right direction, but quickly realize my GPS file only goes for 19 of the 53 km...ops number 2. Something must have happened during download - oh well, now I got to practice my artistic side (non-existent but oh well). The map only had the trail lines for the race, so while having no idea of names, intersection etc, I made an attempt of "paining" the same pattern on my screen as my paper map.
A bit of being lost, but CBT, Moonrakers, Canyon Creek and Arrowhead, where this day is at, is just super fun regardless of what trail you end up on.  Fast, flowy and some wicked exposure that with my scare of height definitely got some additional adrenaline flowing!

Why I have not ridden here before is a mystery - so much fun!
Ops, should have checked this at home...
2 GPS's, a map and a whole lot of trail markers - still a very difficult area to navigate - but in the end, just pick one you will be smiling!
Canyon Creek trail view
It was exposed!
Canyon creek is a downhill - the way up was nice and gradual, with some fun trails included
The river is way down there - don't wanna make a mistake right turn on this trail!
Then just chill for the night at the cabin - I chilled, the rest was still full of energy...
Sequoia right at home, spot right next to the woolfs center - and maybe too close to the landlord lady...
ok, so I lost....but at least I'm sitting down playing it...
Some dinner - and dinner table Yoga??
Some awesome "healthy" chees cake!
And some marshmallows getting ready to be squished in crackers and chocolate...

Sunday Mtn. Shadows trail network

Wake-up sort of early, left dogs at cabin, head to McD for breakfast, get riding in before Sarah and Mer wanna ride and dogs are on me:

Stage 4 was on the agenda today. Mtn. Shadows trail network. GPS file was checked and looked like it should be an easy day of navigation! Not!! but again, only good trails, so no such thing as being lost.  The day started with a fairly long road climb up to the first decent of the day - all smiles! Super fun, fast, technical, views and all you need to have fun. Too fun to stop for a shot - but trust me there will be happy people (and if not careful some hurting people) coming down this one! From there it was a little bit of everything, great trails again, but at one point I wasn't sure if I had got turned around and riding the trails in the wrong direction - hate to admit it - I walked a bit! Had a little bit of a fight with the GPS so got to ride one section of trails three times - and one day this will have to be redone going the other way! With so many trails close to each other, when poor signal you might be off track....
Awesome morning for a ride!
oh yes ! look forward to this one!

Lots of good views - this climb was fun and kept you on the watch every minute, techy and at times I was wondering if we should have came down it - think the race comes up, but definitely on the list for coming down one day.
Well, since I got to ride this section 3 times, I thought I had to take a trail tucked along the mountain side.
Well used maps, both days.....

Bring bug spray if you plan to stop! This little guy didn't make it, but he died happy with some sweet Norwegian blood!

So all in all a great weekend - the 2 1/2 hr drive out is not bad, definitely will make this a destination for future rides.

Happy Riding!