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?