Thursday, December 31, 2009

Whistler Olympic Park

Took a Christmas driving venture through Seattle and Vancouver stopping in to check out the new x-c ski area at the Whistler Olympic Park.The trails were remarkably fun with about 1000 feet elevation gain in a 12 km loop. I wasn't used to the moist snow conditions hovering around freezing so my grip for classic skiing wasn't the best. I switched over to skate skiing for another loop and was wowed by the speed on the descents with the wicked corners!! The grooming was excellent on these trails that came with a $20 pricetag. Cool to bump into my Transalp teammate Nikki.

visitors in Kelowna

Thursday, December 03, 2009

With Blinding Speed and NO FEAR!!

I was fortunate to be invited to see Viviane Forest speak at a WFG engagement Monday evening (thanks Deb!).
Guide Lindsay Debou & Amazing Ski Racer Viviane Forest
Viviane has 4% vision and will be on the 2010 Canadian Paralympic team for downhill ski racing. Not to be only wowed by this dynamic woman skiing at blazing speeds of 120 km/hour but by her competitive drive to be the best she can be.
It was heartfelt to hear Viviane speak how she did not see her vision as an impairment and really thought it was normal as she was born like that. She spoke more of her drive and determination to be involved with something competitive. She loves to "go hard" and "fast"! Hmmm... sounds familar!

Viviane, like most high-level athletes these days, lack the funding to fuel their commitment to race for Canada. I got to hear her speak for free. It was definitely a super motivational talk for all guests there and worthy of any Company to take her on as a motivational partner. Check out Viviane's website and watch her skiing video.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Provincial Cross - Brian Kullman Memorial - Calgary

Speed Theory Club put on Provincial cross champs in Calgary. The course was designed by Keith Bayley who sets trademark courses for good technical fun. (awesome photos courtesy R. Haskell)
Location was in the McKay schoolyard tucked underneath the colourful children's hospital with great views of the Edworthy Park hillside. Small but hearty turn-out for a spectacular warm autumn day. The winds made sure to pick up just in time for the Women's start.
Two dismounts for most riders that couldn't power up a hugely steep incline and the other was a long staircase. I was able to attack the stairs 2-steps/1-step. The height-advantaged men racers went 2x2 impressively fast. After a few swooping sections, the sandpit was all of 5 feet in length at the base of an off-camber steep descent. Easy to plough thru.
It was impressive to watch the men power up the steep incline cleanly, or battle each other when they toppled over each other!
Off the start (I am still shocked at how fast we go) I attempted to hang onto cross specialist Pepper's wheel for all of 400m(?). Fortunately, all the corners were wide and swooping so passing wasn't a concern.
I was breathing so hard thinking it must be due to my two past sleepless nights spending time with my cat recovering from surgery (kept bumping into the walls with the conehead!). I could see Shantel and Bridget very close behind and realized we all had similar positions from races past.

After two breathless loops, I chilled at a pace I could breathe and work the technical sections well. Once thru the long grassy straight sections, it was a fun fun course with full-on action!

nice legs shot! photo - R. Haskell

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Beans 'n' Barley Cross - Calgary

First race was the Sport/Citizen race with alot of first time riders including -Dilbert-. The course had nice swoopy sections, with little technical spots, one set of barriers, a couple dismounts and some open fast spots.
stolen photo from United Cycle blogsite - thanks!
Dilbert raced in flat pedals with work shoes i.e. not clipped in! Dogbert barked commands the whole time. It wasn't easy with Dilbert's big head all mushed into the cute flower helmet and his pants falling down. Dilbert looked pretty unravelled by the end. His pocket protector and 4 coloured pens stayed intact! The inserted Sportiva spikes in the shoes helped for the hike-a-bike uphills... with even more hills to climb than normal with loss of power of not being clipped in. It was awesome he didn't get lapped! and wasn't last. It helped to have a few downhill bikers in the race.

Proof that Dilbert raced!
Officially Dilbert has no last name. Entered him with his cartoon creator's last name Adams.
Unknowingly, Darcy got into the role of cyclocross racer support as I had 20 minutes to switch pedals on my bike, unzip-tie Dogbert from my cables --carefully--, and get into my race gear. Darcy had previous experience being my support for a Sea2summit adventure race so was used to my short chirpy commands. Thanks bud!
With the adrenaline rush of adventure racing transitions, I was super pumped for my race. Off the start I was glued to Mical's wheel. It was quite fun to hang and tuck behind from the wind.
Mical's Shadow
photo - Darcy Reynard
Shantel descending into singletrack with the blinding sun
photo - Darcy Reynard
Witch Alana powering with the hat in the wind
photo - Darcy Reynard
Skeleton Mical
photo - Darcy Reynard
Marg just hanging on
photo - Darcy Reynard
Into my 3rd lap, I was overly aggressive on the fast mountainbike-like descent cornering hard on grass and leaves and almost had a nice washout. Saved it... then almost washed out on the other side... saved it... caught up to Mical and laughed. Moments later, I had a huge energy depletion... that was too close of a call... and got gapped. Chilled, rested up then put another effort into catching back up to Mical. All in all, lots of fun!
Annie, Marg, Mical, Shantel
photo - United Cycle blogsite

Roving Race Announcer

Dilbert blending in with the fans enjoying the chili and hanging out at the firepit

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Fun

the boys
awesome costumes

Dilbert being cool with Elvis

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pedalhead Super "Sunny" Prestige Race

Sunday, the sun was out and it was a nice warm afternoon to watch the Expert and Elite Men's races after my race. The course was held at Goldbar park on the cross-country ski trails. It was a "fitness" course with sheer fast distance to cover. There were no demanding corners though lots of climbing and fast descents. Only one set of barriers I swear came up over my knees which was a good section to watch and get a few laughs at my style.

Caught a photo of Robin Baillie thru the very cool sandpit section that was rideable with speed and bodywork.

Labyrinth at the Devon Dairy Queen Double Dipper

The Labyrinth Snail
The Labyrinth cyclocross maze
photo - Mike Dickinson

United Cycle designed a unique course which included going into a Labyrinth for a few complete circles, turning and then exiting with another couple circles. It was dizzying the first time going thru. Each time it was more and more fun to see how much speed I could keep before the complete 180 turn. Check out video footage from Darcy Reynard.

Weather was cool at 5C, windy and spots of drizzling rain - not so bad when we were racing. The course was frozen in the morning and the muddy sections softened up by the time the women's race was on.

With my poor starts at last weekends race due to actually believing the starting commands.... "15 seconds... go" and meanwhile only 5 physical seconds go by... I was adamant to be ready this time.

Now, I was all ears and bursting to go after that first command... "15 seconds"... "10 seconds"... I'm really ready... "5 seconds"... Now, I'm chomping at the bit... "you can go when you're ready"... what the heck does that last statement mean, I was ready 10 seconds ago - whatever, I took off! Within two pedal strokes I could tell no-one else had taken off when I did. We expected a "go" or a "horn". It didn't feel good to have escaped early though I did what the command said... I was darn ready to go!

photo - Mike Dickinson

After the first chicane, I was leading only due to accidently blocking Pepper from passing me on the right. I then veered to the left as we both laughed at the collision. Ha, I laugh whenever I see these barrier shots as I can barely hoist my bike over!

Darcy impressively climbing the slick muddy hill in the Sport Men's race. The hill got even slicker for my race and I chose to run up every time. Good thing as no mud glued onto my tire for the immediate slimey descent.

Darcy descending the screaming slimey descent which was much like creamy peanut butter

with p o w e r the sandpit was rideable...
photo - Mike Dickinson

the gals - Bridget, Loni, Pepper, Marg, Katy

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fall-time running fun in Edmonton

Just ran the last fall x-c race tonight. This run series is one of the highlights of living in Edmonton. Seven x-c races in different locations each Wednesday night in the fall-time. It draws over 200 people, young and old, fast and slow. I think the first one I ever ran was when I was 16 years old and racing with the Edmonton Columbian Track Club. It's great to see old-time runners come out of the woodwork, and friends from all sorts of places.

Rain, Snow or Shine - the race goes on!

Marg wearing Kahtoolas!
Photos - Allan Santos

Monday, October 19, 2009

Remington Cross for Kids - Calgary

The weather seemed cooler for Sunday. After pre-riding the course, I felt warmer with the higher humidity. The course was confined to a small corner at Canada Olympic Park due to COP already laying snow down. It was strategically designed with an awesome road climb then twisting all over with a few blind corners. It was nice to have a stair climb and a sandpit instead of barriers to hike over. Each loop, I tried to maintain more speed in the swooping corners. Definitely fun climbing sections for a climber! My hands got cold probably due to higher humidity. Glad it was only a 40-minute race!
Deadgoat Craig racing while the snowboarders descend in the background

Contemplative faces at the women's start by the bobsled track

The course started with a pavement climb descending into twisty corners on the grass. I had a slow start on the climb (?!) and was working my way to catch up to Mical and Caeli.

focused - I only went thru the yellow tape once. The tape was abit mesmorizing!

Darcy running thru the long sandpit section
photo - Finn Pedersen

I hate putting my arms up!
photo - Finn Pedersen

Awesome riding my Ridley X-Fire!! Fit was perfect. I could reach the brake levers with added spacers
photo - Finn Pedersen

Blow Street Super Cross - Calgary

The Deadgoats set this fun race up in a small residential park. The course took great advantage of the whole area and had us ripping back and forth on the flats with some nice twisty spots around the trees. I played Superwoman before the race changing my race attire umpteen times. The snow melted during the Sport and Expert races before me and the temperature was increasing. Good group of women starters. Being my first cyclocross race since 2005, all I knew was to look for Mical's wheel (super-pro mtnbiker).

Squeezing into 2nd spot behind Mical just before the first corner
photo - Darcy Reynard (fisheye specialist)

Mical riding thru the evaporating snow
photo - Darcy Reynard
Marg swooping thru the corner before the hurdle-height barriers!
photo - Darcy Reynard
Julie cheering with bells... I believe she cheered "go away marg" when I passed by!
photo - Darcy Reynard, bells - Mical's mom
Smiling muddy faces - Marg & Shantel
photo - Darcy Reynard