Ride Club BBQ @ Eydt

On June 20th we partnered with The Eydt Wealth Advisory Group to host a special rooftop edition of the monthly Steed Ride Club BBQ.

After a few fun laps of Stanley Park, Cypress lookout or out and back to Horseshoe Bay, we all headed back to Edgemont to enjoy the summer evening on a private patio.

The views, food, beer and friends were incredible! Thank you to Windsor Meats, Beere Brewing and The Eydt Wealth Advisory Group for this event. We look forward to making this a yearly event.

Thank you to everyone who came out to ride with friends. We are already planning another unique event with The Eydt Group and our July/August/September BBQ’s. Stay tuned on our socials for more details.

Thank you to Chris Mallinson for all the great photos. View more of his photos of the event on the Steed Ride Club Facebook Page

Join the Steed Ride Club Today!

2016 Steed Team Season Wrap Up

Natasha Cowie

valley-cross-1

Photo: Matt Lazzarotto / Valley Cross Mill Lake

2016 was a year of remarkable symmetry for me, centered on a mountain bike crash that resulted in a broken collarbone, surgery, and an unusual interlude of hiking. Bounding the crash, my mountain bike season before and my cyclocross season after each had a personal breakthrough race – NIMBY 50 and BC CX Championships. Both were atrocious weather, both were 4th place finishes, and both were a transcendental zone for me (i.e., the sweet spot for questionable life choices). I would like to think that these races went so well because, after almost two decades of racing, I’ve started to figure out what I’m doing. More likely I was just too cold to feel my legs. Either way, success.

Lowlights: The collarbone experience – it was a shame to miss out on the rest of mountain bike season, although I tried to stay in shape by aerobic spectating. At least my cowbell skills are on point now.

Highlights: The collarbone experience – it gave me an opportunity to work on all of the aspects of racing that do not take place on the bike. The two new bikes (Specialized Camber and Crux) that I have welcomed into my life and living room. Helping to put on a Full Belgian, Type II Fun BC CX Championships race in Squamish. A visit home to the North Carolina mountains for the UCI NCCX Grand Prix. And most importantly, my teammates and friends, who are unfailingly awesome.
Nimby 50

Photo: Grant Bruce, High Shot Photography

Many thanks to all of our team sponsors. We are incredibly fortunate to have such great support.
I appreciate (SO MUCH) the efforts of the organizers, volunteers, and bike associations that are behind these fantastic races.
gearjammer

Grant Bruce, High Shot Photography / Gearjammer

And special thanks to my coach Monika Marx for encouragement, advice, and workouts that are always good for me, even though sometimes I whine about them.
XC MTB
Bear Mountain Canada Cup – 18th
GearJammer – 5th
Vedder Mountain Classic – 2nd
NIMBY 50 – 4th
Sumas SmackDown – DNF’d my way right into the ER
CX
Fort Langley Classic – 2nd
Seattle MFG Moor Cross – 6th
Vanier Park – 5th
Valley Cross Cultus Lake – 2nd
Cross Border Clash – 2nd
Pumpkin Cross – 4th
Aldergrove – 2nd
Valley Cross Mill Lake – 2nd
BC Cup CX Championships – 4th
UCI North Carolina Grand Prix – 18th and 16th
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Photo: Ewan MacKenzie / Valley Cross

Dan Gronross

2016 Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix

2016 goes down as one of the oddest years I can remember. I had big plans that I swept under the rug from a cycling perspective until I placed second at BC Provincials Category 3 in May. During that race I mustered up everything I had learned to keep my cool and jump during the race when it looked good. The personal confidence that came with that win put Super Week in sight for 2016. My BHAG has always been Gastown Grand Prix and while I was ultimately only in the game for 12 laps, it was a personal victory to even be there. I entered all the Criteriums during the week and ultimately let the pros fight it out in Whiterock as my chances at that race were slim to none.

British Columbia Cyclo-Cross Provincials is another high/low/waterlogged/frozen experience for 2016. I still don’t know how we pulled it off, but in the end everyone had a great time and some amazing racing took place. My goal in organizing racing is that the racers have a good time. I am still baffled that anyone had any fun during that race.

Thanks for all the support from friends, family, sponsors and Steed Cycles. None of this would happen if I was doing it alone.

See you in 2017.

Corey Grobe

Photo: Jeannine Avelino

Photo: Jackie Dives

The past year will ultimately go down as a year of growth. Plagued with illness, injury, mechanicals & a general lack of preparation (physically & mentally) throughout the year, it made for some lacklustre race day performances. Many lessons on ‘how not to do it’ will be reflected on over the off season, some of which include the following.

1. Perspective – Don’t loose perspective on why you race. Keep it fun & the mood light. Remember, you’re not getting paid to do this!

2. Perseverance – If you loose perspective, stop having fun, and you’re relatively sane, giving up is a pretty easy route to take… but you will always feel much better if you slog it out to the end, regardless of the result!

3. Stretch – It’s not about how easily you can touch your toes (or knees in my case), but allowing the body to absorb impacts so you don’t tear muscles and soft tissue in a crash… who knew!?

4. Core – Despite my disinterest in core strength exercises and reluctance to admit any supposed benefits, it turns out having a strong core actually matters to a cyclist!  It helps avoid back pain and improves both power transfer & bike handling more than I could have ever been anticipated… damn! #plankssuck

The best part of bike racing is that, no matter the outcome, it’s always a blast.  It definitely helps when the cycling community here in BC is an outstanding group of folks!  And to top it off, the Steed Cycles family is such an amazingly supportive & inclusive team.  With the continual presence of contagious smiles and good natured heckling, you can never take anything too seriously!

Natalia Mulekova

Photo: Corey Grobe

Photo: J. Lissimore

This years cycling season was diverse, exceptionally long and, as always, challenging. I ventured into the new territory of mountain bike racing that started in early March, built upon last years experience of road racing throughout the summer, took part in my first time trial, transitioned into long-awaited cyclocross in the fall and topped it off with some new-to-me track. I came to realize towards the end of the season that my biggest achievement was not the race results or kilometres covered by bike, but the notion of feeling as chipper, motivated and excited to ride my bike now in the midst of frosty December as I was back in muddy March. Who says it is a ski season?…I still want to rip bikes in the woods.

Cyclocross was undoubtedly the highlight of the year. Belgian mud, pouring rain and good old race battles will not be forgotten any time soon. The support of the team and friends that became one and the same this year was outstanding.

Some of the race results this year included

3rd – cat.3 – BC Provincial Time Trial Championships

6th – cat.3 – BC Provincial Road Championships

5th – 30-34 Female – Test of Metal XC

5th – 30-39 Masters – Canada Cup XCO

4th – Vanier Park – CX

6th – Queens Park CX

6th – Junkyard Cross CX

5th – Donkey Cross – Castle Park CX

3rd – Valley Cross – Cultus lake CX

5th – Pumpkin Cross CX

6th – Aldergrove CX

6th – BC Provincial Cyclocross Championships

 Kevin Owens

Provincial Road Championships

Provincial Road Championships

The end of another season of cycling with the best team in town and I even managed to build on my crash streak, taking it into a second year.  This year I focused on upgrading from road rash to collar bone break and pretty much nailed it by the middle of the season when, apparently, it was all starting to get a bit too much fun.  Nonetheless, 2016 was a super fun season with a great team that notched some awesome results.

Highlights of the season were the Provincial Road Race Championships on a super fun course and getting back on the bike in time for the end of season RBC GranFondo Whistler.

Lindsay von Bloedau

Lindsey

Photo: Keith Ng

My road season this year can best be described as “brief”. I wasn’t planning to do much road racing beyond the local Tuesday night races; however, in the end I couldn’t resist doing Super Week. My appearance at Gastown Grand Prix lasted approximately 11 minutes, but I managed to (partially) redeem myself by picking up a couple of primes in the Cat 3/4 PoCo Grand Prix later in the week.

Lindsey

Photo: Robert de Rot

I raced Intermediate for CX this year and was firmly (perhaps validly) categorized as a sandbagger by the end of it. I did almost all of the local races  and managed to scrape together enough points for a win in the Premier Series and second in the VCXC Series. The highlights of the season for me were the two wins at Valley Cross, while the most memorable race was definitely Provincials (I just got the feeling back in my toes!), which was also my first time racing Elite.

Photo: Robert de Rot

Anna Pettersen

Photo: Corey Grobe

I had tons of fun riding with such an amazing group of team mates at Steed this year. Leading the ride club groups at the start of the season was a blast, especially seeing the jump in fitness that the members accomplished by the end of the summer.

Unfortunately my race season was cut short after my second event in Whistler where I suffered some tearing in my calf muscle. I’m especially sad I missed the Provincials in Squamish that our team put so much hard work into hosting this year.

I’ve just started running again and I can’t wait to get back out on my bike in 2017!

Shawn Pettersen

Hunter Lowden

Hunter Lowden

photo: Matt Lazzarotto

2016 was a different year for me as I tried to balance work, a young family, and riding. My focus shifted a bit from weekly crit racing to two specific road race events. Goal number one was to get a Steed Team rider on the podium for the Master’s Provincial champs, and goal two was to perform well at the inaugural Americas Masters Games road race.

After a recon ride of the provincial road race course the team had a rough strategy for how the races would unfold (for our Cat 3, and Masters groups). Steve was on great form all season, so it was amazing to see him execute the strategy to perfection and take the win!

The Americas Masters Games was towards the end of August which helped me get more kilometres in over the summer. I had covered the Camosun St hill section numerous times over the summer to try to get a feel for any nuances as it would likely be a significant section of the race.

On the day of the race, the peloton was greeted by low cloud and mist, and a noticeable Easterly wind. This would make the long section down UBC highway a little more interesting.The masters group had many age groups racing together, which changes the tactics slightly from normal Cat racing, so it was harder to ‘play’ the racing game as it wasn’t just about shop teams! Every time a rider attacked, it was important to analyze how strong they were with respect to the group, how many team members were in the group, what age category they were in, and how many people were interested in bringing him back… Chasing back a break when you don’t have team mates to work for isn’t that gratifying, so I took a page from Dan’s racing repertoire and attacked more than I usually would (‘it’s more fun to be the hammer than the nail’). Coming into the last lap, the group had fragmented and I found myself in a small group at the front of the race. After quickly checking who was who, I realized that I was now the only person left in my age group. I worked hard to stay with the attacks until the finish, but eased off the back coming into the final corner as there was little point of banging bars to the finish when it was not going to positively effect my race. It was a great event to participate in, and I was happy to win my age group.

I’m looking forward to 2017, and have taken some advice from Eric on how he manages to get so many kilometres in with family so I plan on putting that to good use!

Kelly Jones

Kelly Jones

Photo: Jeannine Avelino

The 2016 CX series marks my 16th year of racing cyclocross. It was an amazing season after enduring some health issues last season and into most of this year. I was happy when things turned around just in time for CX training.

The Steed team is absolutely amazing and it is a pleasure to know each team member. Everyone is incredibly supportive and driven to achieve their own goals and goals of the team. The season wouldn’t be the same without them. Big thanks to Steed Cycles for their support and for making the team possible.

I am so excited to see so many new faces joining the sport and especially excited to have so many new women in the elite field. I love to see so many people enjoying the sport that I hold dear.

I am especially proud to finish in the lead of the VCXC series in the Elite women’s field. Finishing as the most consistent rider means a lot when I wasn’t sure I would be able to race. My favorite races this season include the classic Moor Cross in Redmond, Washington. We had an amazing day prior to the race exploring Redmond via bicycle. The weather was beautiful sunshine and this course never disappoints. I also loved the Valley Cross Cultus lake course which is well suited to my skills, flat and twisty. I always love a good sand section! I also enjoyed the challenges of the Aldergrove course this year. Big thanks to everyone that put on a race this year making the season amazing.

 

Race Results:

4th Fort Langley Classic

4th Donkey Cross

1st MFG – Moor Cross

3rd Vanier CX

2nd Queens CX

3rd Junkyard Dog CX

1st Valley Cross – Cultus Lake

3rd Pumpkin CX

3rd Cross Border Clash

3rd Aldergrove CX

3rd Valley Cross – Mill Lake

 

John Ramsden / Blake Ramsden

I started the year riding the Spring Classics in Europe – excellent ride in the Paris Roubaix Sportif to finish 170 k in a respectable time.

John finishes the High Cascades 100 in Bend Oregon again with a respectable time!

Blake went on to race most of the NSMB Fivers usually finishing top 10.

He then did the BC Bike Race finishing 14 overall. Amazing result!

John Ramsden

David Gordon

David Gordon

This year was my first season riding for the #SteedGreenMachine, and what a year it’s been. I came in to the year with some pretty big goals, perhaps a little too big in hindsight. Aim for the stars, right?

MTB Results:

•Bear Mountain Canada Cup – 26th (puncture & mechanical)

•Vedder Classic TechC- Not sure on the result but I’m sure I had more fun that everyone else 🙂

•Nimby50 – 13th overall

•JunkYard Dog XCO – 3rd mens elite

•Test of Metal – Concussion

A winter of slogging through the slush with Greg, Corey and the Natasha’s seemed to pay off pretty well with some good results early on. First race of the season was also my first ever UCI race (Cat 2). I had no idea what to expect going in to the race, and it felt pretty crazy sharing a start line with some past, current (and probably soon to be) Olympic and World Cup riders. Pretty much my only goal for this race was to not get lapped, and I almost made it!

I was really looking forward to the Vedder, I had ridden some of those trails before and knew that the Valley crew would put on a good show. Unfortunately I had a couple of weeks travelling with work before this, so my legs did not put on such a good show!

Onwards to Nimby50 and I had a bit of time to recharge the legs. I snuck in a quick sunny pre-ride with Tasha the week before and immediately understood why everyone raved about this race so much. Proper BC trails, with a brute of a climb in the middle. Apparently the previous year was 30+deg, but this year it was a wet and chilly 4deg! I think this played in my favour a bit, as I tend to overheat on the hot days, and who doesn’t love getting wild on wet rocks? Looking back I’m pretty lucky I managed to get home in one piece, but I ended up crossing the line in 2hrs30min which I was pretty happy with.

Test of Metal was my ‘A’ race for this year. This was the final edition of this iconic BC race, and I wanted a good result. Unfortunately the ToM had other plans; somehow I ended up crashing on probably the easiest section of trail on the course, exploding my helmet and picking up a concussion. But hey, at least the bike was ok!

Photo: Jeannine Avelino

Cross results:

•Aldor Acres – 8th

•Castle Cross – 9th

•JunkYard Cross – 5th

•Pumpkin Cross – 5th

•Cross on the Rock Nanaimo – no idea where I finished but it was a sweet race

•Mill Park Valley Cross – 3rd

•Steed BC CX Provincials – erm….

I love the ‘cross scene here in Vancouver, and we are pretty spoilt to have options to race pretty much every weekend from September through to December. Highlights of the season included riding the ridiculous third run-up at Castle Cross, leading Craig for half a lap at JYD, dressing up as peter pan at Pumpkin cross and getting my highest placing at Valley Cross. Highlights did not include this: https://www.instagram.com/p/BNSpQefgmo1/?taken-by=7meshinc&hl=en but I was having an excellent time up until that point! Shout out to Dan and Paul (and all of the Steed crew) for putting on such an awesome event despite the horrific conditions in Squamish that day!

I have learned a lot this year, and I’m already looking forward to some new events and old classics next year.

Carey Mark

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Have to say, it was my best season yet. I focused mostly on mountain biking and cycle cross, got away from the road bike, just due to time, family and all the in betweens. Sometimes the biggest race is keeping up with it all.

This year I felt so fortunate to have the Island Cup XC series in my back yard,  amazing trail, and the best riding friends. I finished 1st overall in the IC Series 2016, even though I missed the final to take my son to his last lacrosse tourney game. (It was a plea from him to win MVP,  or go to my race. He won!)

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Onto the marathon races, starting with the Coal Town Classic, Gear Jammer and the final Test of Metal. I placed second, first and third, respectively, with great competition surrounding me. Really felt like my social rides on the enduro bike, my race to train opportunities, and overall experience, pulled together. I also accumulated a couple black eyes, a broken thumb and a few (8) stitches that toughened me up and gave me some resilience for a long season.

Throughout the spring, I threw in a few more races, like the Bear Mountain (11th)and Whistler Canada Cups (4th) to gather a few UCI points. I had an amazing XC season.

img_8813After a short summer hiatus from racing, I bounced into the Cross on the Rock series for cyclocross. (Biggest CX series in Canada). I placed 1st overall in the series, with a 1st place finish at every race. Perfect score! Naturally, I was super stoked to take part in the last race of my year, BC Provincials in Squamish, where I placed 3rd overall woman!

Now for some R&R, (rest and repeat!!) Ready to come in blazing for 2017!

Steed 2015 Race Report – Eric Hung

A ‘lil of this, a ‘lil of thatall good!

#SteedGreenMachine #SteedCycles #GotItAtSteed

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Photo: Scott Robarts

Intro Yo

“It’s not what you do but how you do it”

2015 is in the books and for me, it’s going to be a tough one to top. 12,000 km’s, 450+ hrs of riding, 250 rides and 155,000+ meters climbed (Yes I admit, I’m a Strava junkie) but those were just the results from enjoying the process. There wasn’t a ride that I didn’t looked forward to (well, besides one or two wet ones), my happy place is on the saddle, whichever one it may be that day and whichever goal I had for that ride. From my indoor

training sessions on Zwift and at TaG Cycling to BC Provincial Championships and the Whistler Granfondo Giro, to sufferfest training rides with fellow racers and social rides with the Steed Ride Club, to ripping the mountain bike trails with buddies and crazy CX cheering squads, they all had several things in common… bikes, lots of suffering and great people.

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Photo: Eric Hung

None of this good stuff would have happened without the truly tremendous support of my wife Tamara. We struck a compromise of 3 rides a week and I had to be the best father/husband the rest of the time. I milked it and she was good with it. 450 hrs of riding and I didn’t get tan lines (during a hot Vancouver Summer), this meant starting rides at 5am and finishing rides at 11pm. Here are some of the highlights…

BC Cat 3 Provincial Championships

So close yet so… well at least I didn’t lose any skin.

The 2015 Road Race Provincials were held at Hatzic Valley out in Mission. It was 4 laps of a 19km loop starting off with 5k of undulating hills, followed by 5k of dead flat road then hitting the 2k climb with a couple more km’s of punchy rollers right after, ending with 5k of downhill to the finish.

The first few laps were uneventful at best, fast forward to the last lap, the pace became painfully slow with everyone obviously conserving energy for the last hill climb. It was to the point where I was at the front and literally coasting and no one was passing me. With the approach to the hill coming up, Jake Cullen graciously rolled up to the front of the peloton and I took his wheel. He set a solid pace up the initial few hundred meters of the climb, which allowed me to settle in and pace myself. Half way up, the usual suspects were there, Jake peeled off and now we were all trying to fight for position without crossing the yellow line, and not taking too much wind. I dialed up the pressure a bit and up’d the pace to try and split the field… it worked, maybe too well, as at the top I had a 15m gap. This was it, either let up and rest, to prepare for a bunch sprint with 30 others or give it all I had and go into the pain cave for the next 7km. I looked back and I could see my buddy Ian Hendry from Glotman Simpson near the front of the chase. Knowing Ian well, I knew he had the legs in him to not only bridge to me but he would be a great partner in this sufferfest.

I made the decision, GO… go with everything I had! Like I’d hoped, Ian bridged the gap 500m later and with a simple nod, it was on. Having trained many hours together, taking turns at the front were seamless. We had a decent gap after the last punchy hill and now it was 5km of slight downhill averaging -2% grade, advantage peloton. Still we hammered, we were keeping the gap but I dare not look too often. With only 2km to go, I was running out of gas. Ian was now doing the heavy lifting, taking pulls twice as long as mine. 1km to go, still a decent gap. Ian was yelling at me like I’ve never heard him, I knew he wanted this as bad as I. We come out of the final bend, 500m to go, still a decent gap and we could see the finish. Dead straight, slight downhill and narrow, only room for 4 bikes wide with sprint elbows flailing. We start sprinting for the finish and with 20m to go the worst possible sight appears in my peripheral, other jersey’s!!! By 10m to go there are 4 or 5 passing us and I hear Ian yell in disappointment while banging his handle bars. No later than a second after that an even worst sight appears, Ian starts to go down, bikes start flying into the air and the sound of carbon and flesh hitting the ground overloads my senses. Since the chase group was going considerably faster than us at the finish line, they had to swerve around us and back in with only meters to go, Ian got cut off and caught up with another bike and went down hard. Luckily nothing more than a broken wheel and few weeks of very uncomfortable road rash.

We were gutted, so close to victory, in my mind it didn’t matter which one of us took the win if our break was successful, it would’ve been a win either way. We took a chance, it almost paid off and I would chalk it up to race experience and pull it out of the hat on a later date.

Valley GranFondo

Bridge the gap to an Olympian, make a deal and hang on for dear life!

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Photo: Steve Savage

The Valley GranFondo is a pretty social fondo since most of the first 100k of 160k is pancake flat. This makes for a massive lead group with experienced racers and weekend warriors mixed together. It’s not the most enjoyable as tensions are high and nerves overworked, touches of wheels are bound to happen with that many riders. Not much happened in the first 100k and since it was damp, the race director called for a neutral decent after the KOM which meant you could give’r and have a rest after. My strategy is always to start mid pack on these KOM’s to get a slight draft at the beginning and have the mental boost of picking off riders one by one. After about 5 minutes of pain, I was able to get 2nd place on this KOM and have time to fill out my water bottles at the top!

The next 15k were restful until the next bunch of 3 punchy climbs over a 10k span, Ohlund, Mt. Lehman and McTavish Roads. I wasn’t sure of my strategy, but going into it I thought the field would dwindle down to 20 or so after the climbs and there would be this select group of 20 that would sprint it out for the finish, just like in previous years. So my goal was to stay near the front and make this group.

After the first hill everyone was still together for the most part. Half way through the second hill, a gap formed and two had taken off, it was Zach Bell (Olympian/Canadian Champ/Pro racer) and Travis Streb (one of the fast local amateurs). With a moment to decide I thought, either I can give it everything I have and bridge the gap to two of the strongest guys in the field, or I can sit in the peloton like I do almost every other race and finish middle of the lead group. With the Provincial Championship race break experience fresh in my mind I made the split second decision to go for it. Out of the saddle, hammering at 450W-500W. Just catching them at the crest of the hill, for the next four or five minutes, I hold on to their draft for dear life, gasping for air. They were gracious enough not to attack me in these crucial minutes, but don’t get me wrong, the pace was still high. Having “recovered” from my bridging the gap, I try to take a few pulls in turn. Both Travis and Zach were taking huge pulls, 60 seconds at a time at what must have been 350-400W (as I was doing 250-300W in the draft at times), I was only able to muster 350W for 15 to 20 seconds until one of them overtake me as I was slowing them down. I looked down at my Garmin and saw that we still had 30km to go, my heart sank. I couldn’t keep this pace for another 45 minutes. Either I keep taking my turn at the front, with a 99% chance I bonk, get dropped and eaten up by the chase group or I break a deal with these guys. The deal is I tag along, help by taking a pull when I can and in return, don’t contest the finish. If I’m true to my word, they have nothing to lose, even if I take one pull out of every 5 of theirs, it still helps the collective stay away. So that’s what happens, we have a quick chat and they agree, I sit in for the most part, trying to save energy to make a 15-30 second pull every 3 or 4 rotations. The kilometers click away, it’s dead flat for the last 10km and i look back every few kilometers and can’t see the chase group. We are averaging close to 45km/h, these two are complete studs, I was impressed. Other than breaking the deal, there wasn’t a word exchanged, just elbow flicks, mostly by me. With about  4k to go it was Travis, me, then Zach. Travis was just about to finish his big pull and Zach jumped on the attack… hard. Travis had nothing left from his time at the front, so I tried desperately to catch Zach but no luck. There was a chance I could’ve kept that momentum going and left Travis behind but I couldn’t, Travis dug deep for the last 25k and I had benefitted from his work, I sat up and waved at him to bridge to me. I put in one last hard pull to try and sling shot him to Zach but to no avail. Zach took the win with Travis second and I rolled in at third, with huge credit going to them. The field sprinted in 20-30 seconds later with Steed green leading the charge as Steve Savage took the field sprint and 4th place.

After crashing out a year earlier to podium with an Olympian this year, it made all the training and family sacrifices somewhat worth it!

Tour de Victoria

Punchy hills and soigneur thrills

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Photo: Jeanine Avelino

One of my favorite courses on the race calendar, I always look forward to going to Victoria to race but also visit one of my best friends, Kevin, who now calls Victoria home. Kevin is one of those friends that you can see once a year or every couple years and it’s like you never missed a beat. The great thing is not only do we get to visit but he also loves to watch the race. This year was even better as two other long time buddies, Geoff and Brent also made the trip. They were my soigneurs! We looked at the race route and I prepared bottles for them, gave them a quick safety lesson on staying out of the way of the riders and how to best position themselves to hand the bottles off.

  •  Rule #1: Stay out of the way, let me come to you.
  •  Rule #2: Position yourself at the top of a hill so rider speeds are lower and success ?rate goes up.
  •  Rule #3: Have a spotter so I know what side to expect you on.
  •  Rule #4: Don’t stop for brunch and miss a crucial handoff point! ?They were on point with Rule’s 1-3, they broke Rule 4 but made up for it by adding a couple more impromptu feeds.

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Photo: Tamara Hung

In the end, the race split up quite early into a fairly elite group of 25 or so. It may have split up more but the lead group was paced by the police and after every hill on the descent, the cops would not allow us to go over 50km/h. This unfortunately allowed any stragglers to gun it on the downhill and catch up. With 10km to go on Dallas road, Cody Canning (raced for Canada last year at the Tour de Alberta) was up to his usual tactics of breaking off the front, like he did last year for the win. This year there was a bigger field that was able to reel him in. Cody breaks again with 500m to go, he’s gone. Six of us make a late surge in the last few zig zag like corners with no sprint finish as the last 100m is funnelled from 4 lanes to 1 making it sketchy to come around a guy wide for fear of constricting barriers. All in all, a fun day was had. I got to share it with some of my closest friends and they proved to be a huge part in my 5th place finish. I would’ve cramped into a big ball at the 120k mark for sure if it weren’t for them.

Whistler GranFondo – Giro

Big Guns = Big Efforts = Big Suffer

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Photo: Game Face Media

The whole season built up for the Giro race to Whistler. Knowing there was going to be big money involved ($50,000 purse, mainly going to the top 3 males and females) everyone knew a few of the pro teams would have representation which would make it painfully fast. It didn’t disappoint with 6 or 7 pro’s in the field and the top local fast men.

The race started relatively civil until the Furry Creek hill where the fireworks erupted. My plan was to stay in the lead group as long as possible, hope there was a break with only 4 or 5 select guys and cross the line with the chase group in the money (Top 20). I ripped up that game plan on the Furry Creek Hill, as attacks started to happen I was worried a larger break was going to form so I followed the attack. It wasn’t just one attack but one after the other by the fastest guys in the field. I was stoked to be able to hang on to this break of 10 but unfortunately it didn’t last as it all came back together on the next descent. I had spent my matches! For the next 30k I was able to sit in the group but near the top of the Alice Lake hill, in a blink of an eye, I lost contact with the top 15. In slow motion a 1m gap became 2m, became 5m, became 20m all within a few seconds. I ended up gathering with 10-15 others as the chase group. For the most part we work together until the last 5k where there were attack after attack, a couple get away and there is a bunch sprint for the last few spots in the money… I knab 20th place and pay for my race fee!

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Photo: Highshot.org

Cyclocross

#crossiscoming #crossbikeiscominglate #crossisawesome

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Photo: Jeanine Avelino

Having never done cross I was hesitant to get a CX bike, but halfway through the season I bit the bullet and got a new knobby tired whip. It was awesome… 45 minutes of pedal to the metal with the perfect balance between fitness and skill. But meshing the two together would be my challenge, and what a “laugh at yourself” process it was. With a few head over heels crashes, front wheel slide outs, and even a flagging tape/drivetrain incident that took me off the podium, it was all in the name of cross racing.

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Photo: Robert de Rot

Results

Road Racing

BC Championships Road Race Cat 3 – 6th Tour de Victoria – 6th?Penticton GranFondo – 14th?Whistler Giro GranFondo – 20th

Valley GranFondo – 3rd?Cypress Hill Climb Rotary Ride for Rescue – 4th Glotman Simpson Cypress Hill Climb – 9th

CycloCross

BC Championships CX Masters – 5th Junkyard Cross Intermediate – 4th Valley Cross Intermediate – 5th Castle Cross Intermediate – 5th

Steed Cycles Ladies have Breakout Year

In 2015 the Steed Cycles Race Team set out to add some up and coming females to its roster. For the past few seasons Kelly Jones and Carey Mark had flown the flag. The injection of new talent inspired the Team to take race wins, championships and clean up on the Podium at Provincials. Below is some of the highlights of the year from all our riders.

Natasha Cowie:

Lowlights: A path of destruction through all of the course tape that I encountered (apologies to everyone who had to repair tape in my wake) and missed cross races due to a rib injury from coughing too much, or as I prefer to call it, “fighting with a mountain lion”

Highlights: The view from the top of the NIMBY climb, a successful chase in 38 degree heat at XC provincials, a double header in rain and sunshine at the UCI Seattle Cup, and the unflagging energy and enthusiasm of my teammates

Thanks to all of our sponsors and the many people who have supported us in every way. And a special shout out to the race organizers, volunteers, and spectators who make this whole thing possible.

XC MTB

Sunshine Coaster – 7th

Orecrusher – 6th

NIMBY 50 – 12th

Test of Metal – 15th

BC Cup XC Championships – 3rd Elite Women

GearJammer – 3rd

JABR – 4th

CX

VCCX Fort Langley Classic – 3rd

COTR Pro City Grand Prix – 3rd

Pumpkin Cross – 4th

COTR Kona Kup – 5th

COTR My Little Pony Cross – 3rd

UCI Subaru Cyclo Cup – 19th and 18th

JunkYard Cross – 2nd

BC Cup CX Championships – 4th Elite Women

VCCX b Team Superprestige – 3rd

Photo credit:

BC Cup – Matt Lazzarotto

Test of Metal – Grant Bruce, Highshot Photography

Junkyard – Scott Robarts

Test of Metal

I closed my mouth when I saw the photographer

Other times I definitely saw the photographer

I raced in Whistler

Natalia Mulekova:

To say that my cycling results this year exceeded my expectations is to say nothing.  I bought my first cyclocross bike at the end of 2014 and my first mountain bike in the early 2015.  I
owned a road bike for a few years, but rode it leisurely and never expected bike racing to become an item I would commonly put on my calendar.  The only goal I had at the beginning
of 2015 is to try out some of the local bike races that back then seemed mighty intimidating to even consider signing up for.  I had to start from level “0” to develop cycling skills and
techniques that seem so obvious now: starting from proper cornering on a road bike to ‘wheelies’ on a mountain bike.  Looking back at 2015, I recall a few moments which made me
realize that the best part of racing this year were not the results, but the experience of joining an amazing team. A special moment came when nearly entire Steed team came to cheer and
support me in the Gastown Gran Prix race.  Do I have to mention that just to come to the start line of this race was a daring experience for me? The guys must have sensed I needed
support.  A similar moment came at the finale of the cyclocross season when at the start line of provincial championships Steed elite women’s squad ‘outnumbered’ their competitors from
other teams.  I thought to myself this was the moment worth waiting all year for, a chance to have fun on the bike with so many of my friends that I am lucky to call my teammates.

Escape Velocity Spring Series:
Thunderbird Road Race, C group, 4th
Murchie Road, C group, 7th
Thunderbird Long Road Race, D group, 1st
Escape Velocity Tuesday Night Crits (WTNC):
Glenlyon course, Apr 24, cat 4, 3rd
Glenlyon course, Jun 9, cat 4, 3rd
Glenlyon course, June 24, cat 1/2/3, 3rd
Valley Granfondo, 11th
Whistler Granfondo, Giro race, 14th

Vancouver Cyclocross Coalition race series (VCXC):
Fort Langley Classic, B group, 1st
Foreshore Park, B group, 1st
Cloverdale Rodeo, A group, 3rd
Vanier Park, A group, 6th
Queens Park, A group, 2nd
Atomic Superprestige, A group, 9th
Castle Cross, A group, 2nd

VCXC – Elite women’s group series winner

BC Premier series cx races:
Pumpkin Cross, A group, 7th
Junk Yard Cross, A group, 8th
BC premier series, A group, 6th

Cross on the Rock cx races:
Pro City GP, Topaz Park, Victoria, Expert group, 2nd
My Little Pony Cross, Nanoose, Expert group, 6th
Kona Cup, Nanaimo, Expert group, 8th

Subaru Cyclo Cup, Lakewood US, day 1, Intermediate, 1st
Subaru Cyclo Cup, lakewood US, day 2, UCI/USAC, Elite, 23rd

Trail Running:
Squamish 50 mile race – 5th

6-Nat Mulekova 5-Nat Mulekova 4-Nat_Mulekova

Photo Credits:

Photo 1 by N/A

Photo 2 is by Brett Whitehead (thewholeshot.ca)

Photo 3 is by Matt Lazzarotto

 

Anna Pettersen:

Super fun CX season on the best team in town!

My goal this year was to be able to race for fun, fitness and to be a role model for my two very active kids.

Results:

Sept 20/2015   Burnaby Foreshore, Burnaby          5th intermediate women

Sept 27/2015   Whistler CX, Blackcomb                    DNF

Oct 4/2015       Vanier Park, Vancouver                  3rd master women

Oct 10/2015     Queens Cross, New Westminster   1st intermediate women

Oct 18/2015      Mahon Park, North Vancouver        2nd intermediate women

Oct 25/2015     Castle Cross, Coquitlam                 2nd intermediate women

Nov 22/2015     Junkyard Cross, Surrey                  2nd intermediate women

Nov 1/2015       Pumpkin Cross, Maple Ridge         2nd intermediate women

Nov 29/2015     BC Championships Squamish BC   3rd master women

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Photo Credits:

Photo 1 at the BC Championships was take by Shawn Pettersen,

Photo 2 I’m unsure of (a photographer at the Squamish Championships)

Photo 3, Natalia Mulekova

 

Kelly Jones:

My 2015 season kicked off in May 2015 with Trans Portugal, an epic mountain bike race. It crossed the entire length of Portugal in 8 days from north to south, finishing in Sagres – the southernmost west point of Europe. The race distance was 1023km with a total elevation of 18,309m. The longest day was 171km and the shortest day 95km. Trans Portugal was an incredible race in every aspect. Everyone I interacted with was exceptional from fellow racers to support staff. Without the encouragement and good company of old and new friends, I would not have made it through.
Every day that I made it to the finish line was a victory in itself. I always thought I was tough, but this race was truly epic. It was definitely a worthwhile experience and you would never see a country as we did from behind a bicycle.

Trans Portugal 2015 – 68th out of 90 participants – completing 7 stages, 834km, 15,558m of elevation.

Other 2015 races:

Test of Metal – 45-49 – 4th

*Goal achieved – improved time from 2014

UBC Gran Prix – Corporate challenge – only woman competing in the Elite Category

Cyclocross 2015 – 15th year racing CX!

The 2015 season was unusual after competing in Trans Portugal. I had no idea the toll that a race of that

magnitude would have on my body. It was slow to start, but I managed to pull together a good final race at BC

Provincial Championships in Squamish. I was so proud of the entire Steed team, but especially proud of all of

the Steed women. After 14 years of competitive cyclocross, my greatest joy is seeing how other people get so

much out of a sport I have loved for so many years.

I look forward to 2016.

Elite Results:

Highlight: BC CX Champs – 3rd place and on the podium with my teammates

Vanier Park – 7th

Mahon – 5th

Castle Cross – 3rd

Pumpkin Cross – 6th

Valley Cross – 2nd

Ronde Van Hogwarts – 8th

Junkyard Dog XC – 2nd

BC CX Champs – 3rd

Brodie Team Super Prestige – 4th

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Carey Mark:

2015 was a PB year for me. With many personal highlights including, my continued support from Steed Cycles. I enjoyed participating in some new as well as tried and true events. Mixing my XC Mtb races with some new enduro events and some cross country running for a fun endurance training challenge.
A few highlights included a PB, category win for the Test of Metal and Nimby 50. I held my reign for the Cross on the Rock Cyclocross Series. I placed first overall elite woman win at the Cumberland Marathon, Cumberland 12hour (team of two), and Fletcher’s challenge (15k trail race). I also trained for my first 50km trail race­ placing 1st in category and fourth overall woman at Squamish 50.
Finally, in addition to being a proud Steeds Cycling team member, I joined Juliana Bicycles as an Ambassador.

Mountain Biking 2015:

Member of Steed Cycles Race Team
Member of Juliana Bicycles Ambassador Team

Competed in 4 Island Cup races
Island Cup XC #1 ­ Hartland 3rd overall female

Island Cup XC #2 ­ Hammerfest 2nd overall female

Island Cup XC #3 ­ Cobble Hill 1st overall female

Island Cup XC #4 ­ Cumberland 4th overall female

Competed in 4 Marathon Events Cumberland MTB Marathon ­ 50km­ 1st overall female
Nimby Fifty ­ Pemberton BC 1st masters woman, 7th overall female

Test of Metal ­ Squamish BC 1st female 45-­49, 11th overall female
Cumberland 12hr Marathon ­ Cumberland BC 1st place ­ team of 2

Enduro MTB:

Hammerfest Enduro ­ 1st place female

Maple Mountain Enduro ­ 4th place female

Cyclo Cross:

Cross On The Rock Series winner 2015 1st place elite woman overall series
Cyclocross Provincials 2015 2nd place elite woman

Running 2015:

­ Fletcher’s challenge ­ 15km event ­ 1st place woman 1:21:56

­ Squamish 50 event ­ 1st place masters woman, 4th overall female 6:19:00

Local Achievements:

Nanaimo Sports Achievement Winner for 2014­15 ­ Top Individual Female Athlete of the Year

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Mel Gabana:

Mountain Biking

Dirty Duo – Women Relay – 7th (3rd fastest bike time for women)

Junkyard Dog XC – Elite Women – 4th

Sunshine Coaster – Women 20-29 – 1st

Cumberland Marathon 50k XC – Open Women, 5th

Nimby Fifty – Women 20-29, 7th

BC Bike Race 7-day stage race – Open Women, 6th

Road

GS Cypress Challenge

Women 25-34, 5th

Overall Women, 11th

Cyclo-Cross

BC Premier Series Winner- Intermediate Women

Foreshore Park CX – Intermediate, 3rd

Cyclocross Whistler Day 1 – Intermediate, 2nd

Cyclocross Whistler Day 2 – Intermediate, 1st

Vanier Park CX – Intermediate, 2nd

New West CX Queens Park – Intermediate, 3rd

Pro City Grand Prix  in Vic – Intermediate, 6th

Mahon Park CX – Intermediate, 4th

Castle Cross CX – Intermediate, 1st

Pumpkin Cross CX – Intermediate, 1st

South Surrey Super Prestige CX – Intermediate, 1st

BC CX Provincials Championships – Elite, 5th

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Natasha’s Race Report – BC Cup 2015

BC Cup 3

Even in the calm of early morning, the sunshine dazzled Howe Sound with urgent intensity. Light seared the white peaks along Sea to Sky as I drove to Whistler for the BC Provincial XC Championships, wondering what to expect in a race so different from the technical marathons of the Sunshine Coast and Squamish. The day’s agenda would be multiple laps (6) around a short course (4.4 km) in blazing heat (37+ degrees C) – a very familiar race format and temperature to me from my days racing in the southeastern US. Those days were several years back, though, and until Saturday I hadn’t raced in crazy heat for a long time.

“Warming up” before my race felt like one of the more redundant things I’ve ever done, seeing as how the temperature in my car was 46 degrees when I unpeeled myself from the seat to go spin around. Nevertheless I made my way over to the top of Peaches en Regalia to watch the Juniors come flying past headed for their final lap. Great to see such a huge Junior field, and they can all shred like mad.

Soon enough I found myself in the start corral looking down a dusty gravel path. The heat rolled off the ground in waves. One minute from start, I was not in a cheery mood. My mouth was so dry my lips kept sticking to my teeth. Fifteen seconds from start I was considering bailing straight down the hill into the creek.

Then we were off. In an instant, everything clicked. I stopped being mad at the heat. It ceased to be the personal vendetta of a hateful sun. Instead, it was a force to respect, to work with. My entire race was a contest of temperature, a dialogue between my body and the heat. If I pushed to the line, I gained ground and closed gaps. If I pushed slightly over the line, my legs broke out in goosebumps and chills skittered down my spine. Back off, recover, push again. Skratch mix in my bottles kept me hydrated and electrolyted.

For much of the race I was close to a couple of very strong and talented Whistler racers, Chloe Cross and Cathy Zeglinski. I fought to stay on Cathy’s wheel for the first half of the race but lost touch when she bridged up to Chloe. I spent a lonely couple of kilometers wallowing in despair before cheering spectators gave me the mental push I needed. I got down to business, gave an all-or-nothing effort, caught up, and closed the race in third. Congratulations to Chloe and Katie Button for their respective second and first place finishes – it was an honor to be on the podium alongside these two excellent riders.

Met up with Owen, Andrea, and Cody Scott at the finish and we caught up on the day’s events. Owen had a strong race, we were on the course at the same time so I couldn’t see him but it was awesome to know we had two Green Machine racers representing. Great job Cody on powering through the field in the U15 race despite a flat on the last lap.

I closed the evening with a swim in Howe Sound and a Bridge Brewing Hopilano on the beach. Lovely finish to an exciting day.

BC Cup 4

Stagecoach 400 – Bike, Gear, and other items

Having never bike pack raced before; I was at a bit of a loss as to where to start. So back to the Internet and voila, lots of information. There is even a website dedicated to bikepacking. Further, the organizers of this race/ride are Brendon Collier and Mary Metcalf-Collier, she of the documentary “The Tour Divide”. The Tour Divide is the grandfather of these races. It is a race from Banff to the Mexican border down the Great Divide. Search “Tour Divide” on Netflix and have a watch; it’s pretty intense stuff. Brendan and Mary run a bike shop (Hub Cyclery – www.hubcyclery.com) in Idyllwild, California which is our start location for the race. Their website has a plethora of information on bike packing and the equipment needed.

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I started with my Santa Cruz Blur TR and fitted with a seat post bag from Revelate designs. The bag holds all of my sleeping gear as well as extra clothes, toiletries, and spare parts. It’s kinda cool as it sticks out about a half a metre behind the seat without impacting wheel motion, and surprisingly doesn’t swing around very much. I also am also using a cylindrical handlebar bag from the same company that holds pretty much everything else. I added an extra-large bottle cage below my down tube to carry an extra 2 litres of water. I have two feed bags attached to either side of my head tube and my front shock for easy access to nutrition. I am carrying two Garmin GPS’s (one as a backup) for guidance, and of course a good old map should everything fail.

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The weather forecast suggests quite a heat wave in the desert so I think there is a good chance that I will be doing some riding in the dark to avoid heat prostration. I added a Lezyne rechargeable light that I can attach to either my helmet or handlebar. Brendan suggests a good quality air pump with a pressure gauge because tire air pressures in the desert sand need to be in single digits if you intend to ride, and that clearly won’t work when you hit pavement.

Desert Dirt Road

All this adds weight to the bike and requires adjustment to both rear and front shock pressures. I was pleasantly pleased that most of the weight added still remains in the food and fluids, and not in the equipment and /or clothes themselves. My test ride down Espresso on Mt Fromme suggests I probably won’t be setting any new descending records.

Bottle

Watch my progress at www.trackleaders.com under Stagecoach 400. I’ll try to update my progress by Instagram also at @jramsden59.

Stagecoach 400 – Something New – Something Different – John Ramsden

It’s amazing what you can find cruising the Internet these days. I’m always looking for something new to try and last year while R and R ing in Palm Springs I happened onto a link for the Stagecoach 400. Old school adventure racers like Dave Norona and Bob Faulkner had only word of mouth by which to discover another crazy adventure. Life is so much easier now… until you sign up.

Stagecach poster

The Stagecoach 400 is a 400 mile self-supported bike packing race from Idyllwild, California to San Diego, and back in a big circle. It drops down from the Santa Rosa – San Jacinto Mountains into the Anza Borrego desert. Once through the desert, it climbs through the Viejas Mountains and the Cleveland National forest before descending into San Diego. Once in San Diego, the route heads out onto Coronado Island before a ferry ride back to San Diego’s waterfront. It’s then a cruise up the California coast though La Jolla before heading back into the mountains returning to Idyllwild. The time limit is 5 days… 0600 March 27, 2015 to 0600 March 31, 2015.

Route

What is self-supported? In plain terms… Start with “Pedal the entire route, under your own power, using no outside assistance or prearranged support.” Add to that, the vibe of “Do nothing that not everyone else can do.” Sounds simple? Right.

Well, we shall see. Follow me on Trackleaders.com http://trackleaders.com/stagecoach15 and see how it goes.

trackleaders

Further information coming later this week about bikes, gear and setup!

Monika Marx takes on the Singletrack 6 Challenge

Late last year a client and and I made a decision to take a stab at a stage race as a team, and see if we had what it takes to ride our bikes every day, much longer than what was a normal ride for us, for six consecutive days. Singletrack 6 intrigued us, as it guaranteed fresh terrain for us seasoned Sea to Sky and Fraser Valley riders, beginning with trails in Alberta and moving west, finishing in Revelstoke.

Race check-in at the Calgary Airport was intimidating enough. We stood behind a solid crew of Belgian riders (12-15 in total), checking-in decked out in head to toe lycra. And this was for check-in. We imagined they raced World Cup XC, and prepared ourselves for the inevitable slaughter fest. Shortly after we headed for lunch, where we spotted Barry Wicks eating exactly what he suggested stage racers should consume – onion rings, burgers, beer, and maybe even pickle juice.

And then before we new it, it was GO time.

Day One started out with a brief double track climb, but soon after dropped into singletrack. The Singletrack 6 certainly lived up to its name having us ride almost exclusively trail for the remainder of the day. So much so that we found it a challenge to eat and stay hydrated. Good, first world problems as they say.

Given this is our first experience with a stage race, (and being slightly terrified by the check-in scenario), we seeded ourselves in the “fun zone” (also known as DFL) at the start line. We were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves solid mid-packers in this mix and spent the day passing.

Highlights were definitely the Belgian’s, who traveled, rode and even performed trail side maintenance together. There’s not much out there as fun as riding a berm lined with a dozen large Belgian men cheering you on while they wait for their buddy to fix his flat. When said Belgians are moving, they call for each other constantly in the forest. This becomes the backdrop for every day after.

The timed enduro descent was fun and challenging with steeper sections that were loose and sandy. These turned into hard packed, smooth, fast berms making for a really great trail. Keeping speed up, while avoiding the “technical trail features” (multiple gap jumps), proved a good challenge. The berms make for good, albeit aggressive, passing opportunities. And yes, by the end of this day we had both taken opportunities to make inside passes – something that rarely, if ever, happens during a normal ride. Seems that racing XC can be an excuse to bust-out some fun, elbows out maneuvers.

Climb number 2 found us on a lovely berm trail (it should be noted that appearances led us to believe it may have been more fun in the reverse direction) to a very fast, last five kilometers.

After Day One was complete, the event moved on to Canmore, AB for the night. Canmore is a gorgeous town with a stunning mountain view and great restaurants. Definitely worth a visit if you haven’t yet and definitely grab a meal at Crazyweed while you’re at it.

Day Two found us at Nipika Lodge, a stunning eco-resort nestled next to Kootenay National Park, close to Radium, BC in the Canadian Rockies. We were able to enjoy the lodge’s epic scenery and take a welcome dip in the lake.

The views were many and worth chancing getting passed for a quick stop to look around. Full stopping was mandatory as the trails required your full attention and not giving them their due heed could cost you. Early on in the race we witnessed a gruesome uphill crash that required some serious medic attention and facial stitches.

After reviewing the Day One results, we decided to push on Day Two, and ended up on the podium. Although there wasn’t a lot of elevation, it was a pedal fest! Riding the steep, sandy chutes were a highlight adding the challenge of avoiding those who were walking. Unfortunately, a spunky girl from Kelowna followed me into one, and wasn’t as lucky dodging the Belgian rider at the bottom, clipping him with her handlebar as she got a little squirrely. “My line didn’t go as well as yours” she says. The challenges of racing with 350 other people.

End of Day Two featured a bbq with the charming owners Lyle Wilson, Marni Kretzer, and Steve Wilson of Nipika resort slinging and serving burgers. Lyle was even kind enough to open my beer with a quarter. Good trick I need to learn.

Day Three promised to be hot, and exposed. We were straight into singletrack early on, and the terrain was fast and pedally. The ability to push hard on the flats was definitely an advantage. The views of Horsethief Canyon were truly stunning.

The last 5 km may have been the slowest all day. Was it the 34 degree heat with no cover? The climbs that lasted all the way until the bitter end? Whatever it was, we were grateful for the finish line today and Lake Lillian that was a mere 400m down the road.

After the much deserved dip in Lake Lillian it was off to Radium Hot Springs for the night. The entire town of Radium were fantastic hosts! From the initial welcome sign when entering Radium telling our legs to shut up; to every business in town having a welcome sign in their window; to our very own hotel creating an area full of snacks, lounge chairs and a bike wash – Radium was amazing, thank you!

Day Four found us in the much anticipated first stage of Golden. We had the opportunity to make it out a month prior to check out some of Golden’s trail offerings and were very excited to make it back during the event. Today promised an initial steady 10km climb, but then a spicy timed decent down a trail that many of you may remember from back in the day of racing Psychosis. We knew there would be some carnage from those who dared to ride and we were witness to many slow speed, over the bar, clipped in crashes. Ouch. Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.

At this point Day Four is our favourite day yet. After being re-energized by Mount 7, we head over to the Mountain Shadows trail network. Lots of sustained descending and rolling singletrack = really fun. Definitely our kind of ride.

Played leap frog again with Belgians. They are always happy, encouraging, and smiling. Letting you pass, cheering you on, and always having a good time.

Day Five is our longest day yet, and of the race at 60km. We leave town and ride towards Kicking Horse Lodge, then head onto the CBT trail, which is an easy grade, rolling, climbing trail leading to the Moonraker trail system. Moonraker boasts a 150 km trail network, one which you could take any level of rider too and they would enjoy.

Descents are crazy fast, but our Specialized Cambers are amazingly stable. This was not the day for brakes. We push hard on this day, and are rewarded with another podium visit.

Golden is very lucky to have two separate XC riding areas that are both excellent. Trail maps are free and readily available from the local bike shop. The trail systems are impeccably marked and anyone could come here and find the goods. Well worth the effort.

Day Six was another amazing day, with the kind of technicality and scenery we’re used to. The first place women’s team flats THREE times, and still comes back to beat us all. Machines. Crossing the finish line for the last time is bittersweet, but the taco truck and free flowing Red Racer beer alleviates the sadness. One of the Belgians finishes his race, grabs his beer and lights up a cigarette. We don’t judge, but find the sight mind blowing.

The last day of the race – where did the first five go? We’ve gotten into a rhythm of eating, riding, eating, eating again, eating some more, sleeping, repeating. We’ve started to adapt to the heat, and have figured out how to eat and hydrate. But six days on a bike is still challenging, and we know this stage will reward us with lots of technical and punchy climbs, and an incredibly long descent down (and up) Flowdown. We’ve learned the in and outs of passing etiquette, the skill of uphill track standing, and all the other good things that come from challenging yourself for six days in a row, in the company of 350 other riders, with a variety of fitness and skill levels. We’ve learned how to ride day after day in 30+ degree heat, stay hydrated, and finish with a smile. We’ve witnessed entire communities overtaken by mountain bikes with race plates. The knowing smiles you exchange with other riders in the grocery store, knowing they suffered just like you did that day. Remember what it was like when you were a kid, and went to the playground? And you walked up to other kids and asked if they wanted to play, before you even knew their name? Mountain bike stage racing is kind of like that. A bunch of like minded people, playing, racing, laughing, swearing in the forest. Was it challenging? Yes. Will we do it again? Absolutely. And you should too.

Check out what the Single Track 6 has in store for 2015 here.

Photo’s by Gibson Pictures and Raven Photography

UBC GP during BC Superweek

The Steed Cycles Team had a great week during BC Superweek getting stuck into the thick of the action  in the Cat 3 Races. Here are a few photos of the action thanks to Masa Higuchi.

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Chasing a dream…

I had some pretty defined goals this year and obviously I had wanted to make sure that I worked hard enough to attain them.  This journey has thrown its fair share of curve balls (baseball analogy in a cycling blog?  Well I guess they are linked by doping so why not!) over the course of the year many of them seem to have worked themselves out.

Arguably my best performance of the year.  I had it on my mind that I was going to do well on this course.  Galen's attack in the 2nd lap was my chance, and when no one else bothered, we agreed together that we would go for it.  Photo Credit: Doug Brons

Arguably my best performance of the year. I had it on my mind that I was going to do well on this course. Galen’s attack in the 2nd lap was my chance, and when no one else bothered, we agreed together that we would go for it. Photo Credit: Doug Brons

Where have I been, what have I done and what have I learned over this last 6 months you might ask?  I could honestly go on for hours, at length (and in some cases have) of the knowledge that I have accumulated in that time, but for the sake of your reading I will break it down into the ten most important points. 

For a little context I will list the goals I had for the 2013 season.

  • Upgrade from Cat 4 to Cat 3 in the spring – Accomplished
  • Podium at one event in BC Super Week – Accomplished
  • Upgrade from Cat 3 to Cat 2 – Explanation to follow below as to why there is no rush for this.

Without further ado, the following are the top ten lessons that I learned while attempting to check off realizing my dream:

1.  This is going to take time… and plenty of it.  Patience is essential! I have the attention span of a puppy dog.  In fact there are several times in my life that I have been called a puppy dog as I have always wrestled with the ability to focus on one thing at a time. I jumped into this with both feet and set the lofty goal of Cat 2 by 2014.  Has that changed?  Absolutely!  Setting goals is good, but over the past 6 months I have come to understand that the journey is part of the process.  Yeah I can get out there and smash it all the time and sacrifice other aspects of my life, but getting there is half the fun.  You may have a coach, or you don’t but you probably have a routine that you do and that means that at 5 am you are out of bed and on the road long before most can pull their eye lids open.  Even my family don’t understand, but you do it because you know that getting out there will mean a better result in the next race.  I love it because of the way that it makes me feel and I relish the challenge it presents.  Racing is the hardest thing that I have ever done, and I have this incredible drive to do better, and right now there is nothing that will stop me from doing that.  This understanding has given me huge respect for the World Tour riders and the time that they put into it.  I could not imagine being “on” for that amount that time.  Yeah they are paid for it, but their job sure isn’t easy.  One more item relating to “time” is recovery.  No one can hammer for days straight without some form of recovery.  I have a life and a job that requires my attention, so there needs to be time when I sit with my legs up. 

2.  Expect to change things.  Change is inevitable.  When you are out there on the bike (usually solo) doing your training, there is a lot of time to let things get the better of your mind.  But this time can also be very rewarding.  You learn a lot about yourself and what you really need/want when turning the cranks over for 10-15 hours a week.  For me the breakthrough came when I realized that for the longest time I had been very unhappy with myself.  My time in the mountain bike world was more of a reflection of complacency than actually happiness.  There are a few people that know the extent of the unhappiness, but the simple fact remains that I did it to be cool.  Lame?  Yes, but I did it so that people would like me or worse like the image that my life was.  A paradigm shift is usually centered on an event of some kind.  For me, it was breaking my leg.  I was angry when I did it, and I was angry that my actions led to it.  But it forced me to pick up the road bike and in a long twisty route has landed me where I am today.  I used to tell people that I wasted my time doing something that was actually getting me nowhere.  Those feelings are now gone, and it is an amazing feeling when you can let the anger go.

UBC Grad Students needs some people to do a test involving Beet Juice.  I signed up and for four sessions I was hooked up to various pipes and tubes to prove or disprove their theories.

UBC Grad Students needs some people to do a test involving Beet Juice. I signed up and for four sessions I was hooked up to various pipes and tubes to prove or disprove their theories.

3.      3.  Friends will change.  The simple fact remains that to perform at a high certain level takes time out of everything else.  A good friend Kristi once told me, in her most Zen like yoga master talk that to be good at something you have to sacrifice other things.  That you can’t be good at everything!   When you focus your time on the bike, things drop like going out for a beer.  Or heading to a friend’s house and staying up all night.   People don’t like this and in my case, some actually got super negative, ultimately telling me that they liked the old me instead.  I didn’t share my thoughts on it at the time so they had no idea what was going on in my life but look back at Lesson number 2 for why I will never go back there. 

4.      4.  You will stop caring what other people think.  Mountain biking was caring about what everyone else thought.  I look back at time now and it astounds me that I cared so much.  Heck my time in the sport turned sour as I put on events for what other people wanted, instead of doing it for me.  It is really hard to please everyone and at the time it “really” mattered to me what other people thought.  Standing in line at the bike park listening to the smack talk, and the stares from people who had better bikes or gear got really tiring.  I think that this is due in large part to the age demographic the sport caters to, 15 year old boys.  When you start doing stuff for you, the other people don’t matter as much.

5.      5.  This is going to hurt.  Racing on the road is insanely pain full, even when you factor out never winning.  You are pushing your body further and further with each lap and you are fighting fellow racers and most importantly your mind.   If I compare mountain bike racing to road racing the difference is that racing on the road is all about suffering verses racing mountain biking being all about letting go.  Racing on the road takes strength and the ability to shut your brain off when the red lights are flashing and the easy button is screaming your name.  Downhill mountain biking is all about having the kajones to let go of the brakes and go faster.  Does that make one better than the other?  No, certain people gravitate toward certain things.  I never made it past the safe point and as a result downhill mountain biking stagnated for me.  

Galen Keller and I attempting to lap the field at the UBC Grand Prix 2013.  Photo Credit: Doug Brons

Galen Keller and I attempting to lap the field at the UBC Grand Prix 2013. Photo Credit: Doug Brons

2.      6.  Good energy in means good energy out.  The kind of food/drink that you put into your body will directly affect the performance that you can expect.  Regular gas in a Subaru WRX and it will run rough, similarly head out the night before a race and binge drink and you cannot expect anything.  Let’s not get into how alcohol destroys the body’s ability to repair damaged muscle tissue.  Changing what you eat and how you eat will make huge gains in the pursuit of speed.  For me this was a sticking point and caused me to shelve many races during the month of April.  My stomach shut down and I couldn’t eat anything, I basically stopped riding.  Working through this was one of the blackest moments of the year, but my coach helped me as best he could and reassured me that I would get through and that it was only a month and in the end I would work it out.

3.      7.  There are going to be bad days, and setbacks are a part of the journey.  Even though you have planned everything out to a T, and it all seems foul proof, there are going to be times that things just don’t work out.  Whether it is a stomach issue that sidelines you for a month, or you get blocked in the last corner of a race, it is important to know that these are minor detours and you will get past them.  Some days your legs just won’t work, they feel like tree trunks and you can’t get anything out of them.  You can’t plan for everything and as time goes on, these nuances will become smaller and smaller in the grand scheme of things.  Also if you race because you plan on winning all the time, you will realize fairly soon on that you don’t win that much.  Maybe, and this is a firm maybe you will probably win two percent of the time.  Focusing more on these events as benchmarks, working at not letting it bother you will benefit you in the long run instead of dwelling on them.

4.      8.  Take chances!  You will never win if you don’t take chances.  Sitting in the peloton will get you to the end of the race, but it won’t get you anywhere near the top of the podium.  Make mistakes, make bold attacks, and tax yourself to the limit!  I have recently learned that I seem to look like I am taking my bike out for a stroll during a race and that I should attack or take a chance.  It paid off in spades with the 2nd place finish at the UBC Grand Prix and while I finished 8th in the Whiterock Crit , I (with the help of Brett Wakefield) drove the pace of the entire race. 

Racing in the Delta Crit as part of BC Super Week 2013.  Had a great ride finishing 8th.

Racing in the Delta Crit as part of BC Super Week 2013. Had a great ride finishing 8th.

5.      9.  Give back to the sport.  There is nothing better than giving up some free time to the sport that will eventually give you so much in return.  I ride lead for Steed Cycles, volunteer at the Tuesday Night race series, am volunteering at some cyclo-cross races this fall (mainland and Island) and drove Comm 2 car for the Men’s UCI race in Delta as part of BC Super Week.  You will learn the ins and outs of the events and organizations both big and small can always use the help.  Plus it also builds community.

6.      10.  You will find yourself!  Trust me when I say that these last six months have been the most trans-formative in my life.  From years of disliking who I was, and being riddled with a mind crushing lack of self-confidence, my journey into racing has changed my perception of who I am and what I can accomplish.  Will some people dislike that?  Absolutely, but at the end of the day, it is your life and you have to be happy with yourself. What they think is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.  Plus there are plenty of really cool people in the sport, with the majority of them wanting to help and more than willing to give advice to a “fresh” rider, all you have to do is ask.

I look back at where I was 3 short years ago and what I valued in my life. Looking back now, some of my actions used to embarrass me.  Outside of the leg break it hit home when my Grandma looked at me and asked when I was going to grow up.  I love my time in the mountain bike world and while there are events that I am not happy with, in the end it all lead to where I am today.  Do I hate the sport?  No, I still get out for the occasional ride with friends (this weekend in fact) but as I noted in Lesson 3, I need to focus on something if I ever want to be good at anything.   Road/CX, while different somewhat the same and that is where my time is going. 

See you on the track!