North West Cup #3

May 13, 2012

After the relatively successful trip to Port Angeles 4 weeks ago I was pumped to head back down for the third North West Cup. This time Andrea was going to join. We had a great trip down on Friday night, and had Aja, Kevin and Taylor stay with us at Super 8 Motel … classy.

 

Once again Pro practice wasn’t until the afternoon, so Andrea and I took the morning to check out the farmers market, walk along the ocean and enjoy some coffee. Quite civilized really for a sort of red neck town. Once again practice went really well. I managed to figure out a good line down the track, which was composed of all my favourite bits from the previous races I’d done here.

 

Come race day I was full of energy after yesterdays runs. My first practice run was great, and I was looking forward to seeding. My plan for seeding was to ride a little harder than usual. I generally cruise my seeding runs, but I figured I’d basically try a race run. Through what is probably the fastest part of the course I somehow lost control of the bike and wound going over the bars into a tree. Once the crashing came to a stop I was winded, but managed to drag myself back up to my bike, remove it from the tree and keep the track clear for Rob behind me. Once I got my breathe back I decided nothing was broken, but left elbow was throbbing. Turns out I managed to puncture my elbow through my elbow pad. It looked like the exit wound from a tiny bullet. I got the first guy to patch me up, got filled with vitamin I and relaxed for my race run.

 

Mentally the crash didn’t bug me much, but physically I felt stiff and sore come race time. I left the start gate feeling stiff, and wooden, and struggled to find my flow. I nailed a couple sections really well and slowed started to loosen up. The further down the course the better I felt, the pain in my elbow subsiding, the logical nagging to avoid further injuring my left arm disappearing. I railed into the largest spectator section and nailed my line perfectly … right up until I jumped clean off the track and wound up outside a crucial left berm. DAMMIT. I bumped into a tree, picked my bike back into the trail and pedalled off. I lost a bunch of time in my costly mistake and wound up mid pack (22nd). I was bummed I didn’t hold my run together knowing how well I was riding in practice, and how much I enjoyed the track, but I was glad I didn’t get more hurt in my crash, and I had a solid time given the magnitude of my mistake.

 

On my race run after my mistake and back on track.

 

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On my race run. Drooped elbows clearly showing I wasn’t having the best day.

 

NW Cup 2012 Round 3 Results

North West Cup #1

April 8, 2012

I travelled down to the first North West Cup of the year in Port Angeles with the Dunbar crew. I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed the races down in Port Angeles. I’d been looking forward to the Port Angeles trip for some time. After lengthy delays in traveling down on the Friday we weren’t able to get in any practice. We did manage a quick course walk though, and thought the course looked awesome.

 

After a good nights rest we got off to a slow start on Saturday. Practice for the Elites at the NW Cups occurs in the afternoon, so we had ample time to get to the course. Once on the bike I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face all day. I loved riding the course, and my bike was working exceptionally well. I had no major incidents in practice and finished the day with a high of adrenaline.

 

My practice run on Sunday morning wasn’t fantastic. I felt wooden on the bike, and after the euphoria of yesterday I was a bit bummed. My seeding run was better, I hit most of my lines, and I rode smooth. I think I qualified 10th, which I was happy with considering the strong field at the North West Cups.

 

This hip was scary. The take off was rutted, the landing had stumps, and lots of folks were crashing.

This hip was scary. The take off was rutted, the landing had stumps, and lots of folks were crashing.

Come race time I felt good, and was excited to ride the track. My race run was generally good with a couple small mistakes and was good enough for the 9th fastest time of the day. For that I got some prize money and a North West Cup. STOKED!

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Finish line jump during my race run.

 

NW Cup 2012 Round 1 Results

Into 2012

January 30, 2012

As per usual I haven’t updated nearly frequently enough. I recently got my wisdom teeth removed, and had a couple days off, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to do a mega update of sorts. I’ve added some posts I thought were needed, so you can scroll down below to check em out. I started 2012 with a bang by doing a trip with Andrea to Mexico. In short it was awesome. We rang in the new year in style with an epic street party, drank lots, beached lots, snorkelled lots, and ate lots. I thought I’d add a couple choice photos.

Other than that the weather hasn’t been the best so riding has been down to a minimum. Once my mouth is healed from this surgery I’ll back on the bike with some new content to upload. Ciao until then.

New Commuter Bike

December 15, 2011

This time last year I took a new job that was further from home. I had got used to commuting by bicycle to my old job a few times a week. It was a nice ride, it took me about 30 minutes each way, was good exercise, and allowed Andrea and I to get away with only one car. Once the weather got nicer this summer I started commuting to my new work by bicycle. The distance is 24 km each way, and takes about 50 minutes in each direction. It’s longer time wise than driving but not having to deal with the frustrations of other drivers made my ride much more enjoyable. It helped me keep in shape, and saved us a bunch of cash.

I was riding a bike that was kindly donated to me, which I think was a 2003 Kona Jake cyclocross bike. I had added slick tires and fenders, and the bike proved to be reliable and efficient. Over the course of the year I owned the Kona I covered over 4000 km. What I didn’t like however was the ageing drive train and the fact that the brakes didn’t work. Slowly I started thinking I should purchase a new commuter bike. I was thinking I’d make the effort to ride as much through the winter as possible and for that to happened I’d need some half decent brakes. As far as I’m concerned rim brakes don’t work, so I was convinced I needed disc brakes. A large portion of my commute is through the flats of Richmond, which is notoriously windy. As such I wanted drop bars so when it was windy I’d be able to hunker down and get out of the wind as much as possible. After some research online I was tossed between the following two bikes:

  1. 2012 Specialized Crux Comp Disc
  2. 2012 Norco CCX 2

The irrational side of me really wanted the Crux. It was a carbon frame, and had nicer bits. It was also near double the price of the CCX. Since I was just using this bike as a tool to get to work and back I thought I’d get the sensible choice and purchase the CCX. So far I’ve put in 500 happy kilometres on the CCX and thoroughly enjoying it. The brakes are a vast improvement over rim brakes, the drive is new and crisp, and the frame is much more comfortable than the old Kona.

My 2012 Norco CCX 2 commuter bike

Funnily enough this now means that I started 2011 with a Trek Session 88, Santa Cruz Nomad and Kona Jake, and end 2011 with a straight flush of Norcos; an Aurum, a Range and a CCX 2. To that I couldn’t be happier.

I recently wrote a review article on the new line of Specialized DH tires. This was published on NSMB.com and I was quite happy with the results. See the link below:

Specialized DH Tire Review on NSMB.com

Kamloops BC Cup 2011

 

 

My 2011 Norco Range

August 21, 2011

I’ve been bombing around on a little Norco Range for a couple months now. I’ve slowly made some changes to it to push it closer to my tastes. I altered the geometry by making up a set of eccentric shock pins that drop the bike lower into it’s travel, resulting in a 65.5 degree head angle and a bottom bracket drop of 3/8″. I added a chain guide, a Reverb dropper post and the 55 fork up front. The result is essentially a short travel DH bike that can be easily pedalled to the top of the hill … I think I may be in love.

 

My slightly customized Norco Range 1

I didn’t have the best racing season in 2011. While I felt quick on the bike I wasn’t able to put good race runs together. In Kamloops I finished 15th, 5 seconds off the win, after what I felt was an excellent ride. Then at Bear Mountain I rode very well throughout a very muddy practice only to get a flat tire in my race run. At Panorama I felt quick again, but had my only crash of the week-end on my race run. Then at the Western Open I had a big off in practice and rode scared for the remainder of the week-end. Come Mt. Washington, the BC Cup finals and provincials, I was looking for some sort of redemption. I really like the Mt. Washington track and knew I was capable of a good result. Once the dust settled I wound up 8th in Elite with an uncharacteristically messy run. Race results are below:

Mt Washington 2011 Provincials Results

A nice movie was put together of the race and can be seen here (I make an appearance at 4:04): http://www.pinkbike.com/video/213111/

Bear Mountain has been kind to me in the past. My best result as an Elite racer came at Bear Mountain back in 2008 when I finished 2nd overall. I’ve been riding well lately, feeling fit, and was looking forward to a positive result at Bear this week-end.

 

Mother Nature didn’t really want to co-operate, and even though only a few millimeters of precip. were forecast, it rained all week-end. On the Saturday I used a set of Specialized Clutch tires and was having a ton of fun sliding down the track, but as the day wore on, and the rain kept falling, the track got steadily muddier. I left the mud spikes at home as I thought there’d be no way I’d ever need to use mud tires at Bear. Wrong. Very wrong.

 

I mounted the mud spikes on the bike on Sunday morning, and got to the race site early so I could get a good number of practice runs. Lots of racers were complaining about the conditions, but with the cut mud spikes on, I was having loads of fun. Some sections were getting really slippery, but I was still riding at good speed and  hitting all the jumps right through till the end of practice.

 

Pinning it into the showboat jumps during practice. Photo by: Dave Mackie

 

I was really looking forward to my race run all day. I lined up in the start gate and got ready to drop in. Everything felt right. I’d ridden really well all week-end and was certain I was capable of throwing down a strong run. I left the start gate pinned. I railed all my lines through the top section, and held great speed through the upper techy sections. As I traversed across the first flat the bike felt like it was rolling really slowly. I figured it was the mud, dug deep and pedalled hard. While the mud was thick, and slow, my progress was being thwarted by a tire that was swiftly going flat. Balls. I barely put a wheel wrong all week-end, have no flats, and I flat in my race run, in 3 inches of mud … how? Naturally I was gutted. Now I’m more motivated than ever!

Sean Verret was stoked to form a John Henry bikes team for Wades Excellent Adventure. Megan RoseRob Stead and Ian Kennedy all expressed interest. Wades Excellent Adventure is a team event ride on Mt. Fromme that is organized by the NSMBA.

 

The best looking team at Wades Excellent Adventure by a margin

 

So the Polartec Team John Henry Bikes powered by ethical bean team was formed for Wades Excellent Adventure. We all had matching fancy new jerseys (except Megan because we didn’t have a jersey that fit her even close) and looked mostly professional and stuff. We even had a support team, possibly the best support team ever, in Katie and Spencer. Bike wise we were on a mixed bag. Representing the shorter travel was Megan was on a Norco Phaser, Ian was on a Stump Jumper 29er and Sean was on a Specialized Epic. Representing for the long travel bikes was Rob was on his Turner RFX and myself on a lowered and slackened Norco Range.

 

Ultimately 10:30 … or 10:45 came around and the race was off. The filthy downhillers; Rob and I lead the charge. Our first lap was to be down Executioner into Dream Weaver. Most of us a crash or two … and then there was Sean who seemed unusually attracted to the ground. As a team we were making good time, and having a great time together. We finished lap 1 and headed back up Mt. Highway for lap 2.

 

Pedalling up for the first lap at Wades Excellent Adventure. It appears as though I'm enjoying myself while pedalling uphill ... weird.

 

Lap 2 was to be Seventh Secret into Leopard into Crinkum. None of us bothered to read the fine print that said exit at the 3rd switchback. Unfortunately Megan had a crash that taco’d her rear wheel. We tried to fix it as best we could, but couldn’t get her tubeless tire to re-inflate. She walked out to the transition area in the hopes that she could fix it and we’d meet her for the next lap. Ian went ahead while Rob, Sean and I helped Megan out. Rob, Sean and I went charging off after Ian. The turn out to the third switch back wasn’t marked terribly well (which we weren’t expecting as we didn’t read the card properly), we were having loads of fun riding, and as a result rode all of Crinkum down to the first switchback. We soon found some more trails markings, so thought we were totally on the right track. We did some XC loop that dumped us back on Mt. Highway and pedalled back up to Ladies Only. At the third switch back was Ian, who informed us that we’d just done an extra half lap. Dammit. And that XC loop we did … we did backwards adding even more vertical to our ride. Double dammit.

 

We soon got back up to Ladies Only. Had a good descent down. Picked up Megan in the transition area (who was now riding her boys larger Rocky Mountain XC bike), and pedaled up to Bobsled for our final lap down. We all had a laugh riding down Bobsled as a group. We finished after 3 and a half hours of gruelling riding with large grins on all our faces. We were greeted at the finish by Katie and Spencer who had cold Red Racers waiting for us. Legend.

 

I recorded the entire ride on my iPhone GPS and uploaded it, which can be found here.

 

Cheers to the team for an awesome day out. I’m looking forward to next year already.

 

 

NSMB’in

June 1, 2011

I’ve been a busy guy lately. I helped out at the NSMB Trail Day on Dales Trail this past week-end and managed to get a photo of me being silly included in the write-up. I actually did some real work … promise. You can read all about it here.

 

Going back a few weeks I had an opportunity to review the new Turner DHR. You can check out the review here.

 

Other than that I got up to Whistler Bike Park this past week-end for the first time this year. The whole gong show was in attendance with some epic trains including the Hoff, Emo, Angry Dad, Dodsy and Bryson. The trails were mostly in great shape and everyone was ripping. Cheers for an awesome day boys.