Saturday, 3 March 2018

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

This would be my 5th time racing this event solo. It's always a good break from the Canadian winter to get on some dirt and into the sunshine.

I had a good start to the race and was on track with my pace and Infinit nutrition leading into the night. The temps were still pretty good but I was cautious stopping a few times to put on some more layers.

Photo by Sportograf

Photo by Sportograf

Early Sunday morning I started to get after it a bit on the final climb and some how ended up falling into a bunch of cactus ;-). Thankfully a guy stopped to help me as I was pinned up against the cactus with my bike on top. I was close to the pit so carried on to sort out the mess there. Luckily the bike was still in good shape. I just had a bunch of cactus needles to tend to. The best option was to take everything off and pull whatever cactus out with the comb that was in the race kit bag. That came in handy!

I was back on my way and feeling not too bad for the next lap. The pace started to go downhill after that with a lot of pain and discomfort in my back. I did what I could to keep the pedals turning but it wasn't pretty ;-).

I rolled into the timing tent for my last lap and they announced I would be going out for lap 15. I was disappointed, really hoping for 16 or more this year. I got the last lap done, it was great to hear the cheering and getting high fives along the way. People still like to ask me for id when I pass the Whiskey Tree ;-). Being self supported I was not sure how I placed. I ended up 5th with 240 miles under my belt. It was a really deep field for women, which is great to see!

A huge thanks to Al Lewis for setting us up again this year with a pit! Thanks to my sponsors, coach, family & friends for their support.

Solo Women Podium - Photo by Russ Baker

Al, Andrew & I post race. 

I look forward to the rest of the season. The good news is it's early season and there is lots of time to strengthen my back and get on my "A" game.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

WEMBO World Solo 24 Hour Championships

The last time I did Worlds was in 2015 in Weaverville, California. I was keen to give it another go to see how I would stack up two years later. The training had gone well and I was feeling really strong.

The race was in Finale Ligure, Italy apparently a real hot spot for mountain biking. A great location for a race and good spot to do some travelling and enjoy local wine and cuisine post race. We headed there a week early to check out the course and get on Italy time. Coach, buddy Ryan and wife Madison were pitting for Steve, Andrew & myself. We were in good hands.

The course was shorter than most 24 hours at 10km and 350 meters gain. It would be tight for the first few hours with 400 riders and minimal passing opportunities on the front end of course. The back end had a real power section with some challenging rocky climbs before fun descent into the berms (aka party zone) leading to start/finish area.

Race course recon what a view!

Andrew & I

It was great weather for race day. The Elites started first with a fairly long Le Mans start. I just settled in and tried to be patient for first few laps with all the congestion and set a steady pace. Pacing was on track for first four hours but I was already behind in my nutrition only getting 1/4- 1/2 bottle of Infinit per hour.  From then on I paid the price for my mistake racing dehydrated and on a caloric deficit. I managed to come around a bit and the pit crew told me I had to drink more and go faster. I really tried to up my pace but did not have much gas in the tank. The night was kind of a blur trying to keep it together and figure out how I would fix myself. It wasn't until the last three laps that I was able to push the pace a bit more. I did my best under the circumstances but it was not my best performance. Still managed to get 28 laps in finishing 6th in Elite/Overall for women. A hard lesson but one that will not be forgotten.

Shaun telling us what's up for the run entrance/exit
The berms

The rest of the trip was fun enjoying lots of gelato, pizza, pasta, olives & local wines. Good times and lots of laughs with great friends.


Best dinner at


Thanks to Infinit Canada, Specialized, and Crankbrothers for your support. A huge shout out to Coach, Ryan and Madison for their pit support. The result would not have been the same without you. Congrats to Steve for 9th & Andrew 3rd in categories & fellow Canadian Cory Wallace for taking the win! I am really looking forward to the rest of the season.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

It was a hard winter of training with temps ranging as low as -30C and as high as 6C, with lots of snow. I was really looking forward to getting into some warm temps and on the dirt.

Fellow racer and buddy Andrew Bovard (aka the animal) and I were making the trip to Arizona to race solo at 24 Hours in OP. We arrived a couple of days early and got some good riding in on the course.

Unfortunately the weather turned for race day with high winds, hail and rain.....classic! We were unsupported so things were going to get interesting. Luckily we had a local racer, who we met a few years back secure us a pit and lend us a canopy. This was a huge help, thanks Al and Coach for putting us in touch!

The pit

The weather started to come in pretty much at the start line followed by hail 3 laps in.  Not much you can do about the weather you just have to push on, ride smart and manage the layers. I was feeling pretty good and setting a consistent pace.

The first time came in to change out layers they had already got wet in my bag. I pulled everything out and laid it out in the vehicle. After sorting out that mess back on the bike and into the night.  I was still feeling pretty good but riding into the high winds had taken a bit of a toll.

More layers and changed out lights during the wee hours of the morning. Good timing as my Diablo basically went dead as soon as I was doing the swap. The S-Works Fate was still running well and my nutrition was on track with Infinit.

The sun started to come up, which is one of my favourite times of the race. I noticed some other girls around me, one who I raced with on and off at the beginning of race. I had no idea my position but could feel the pressure and need to keep moving and get out of the pit quickly. I struggled to get lights and clothes off with cold and wet hands. Left most of my layers on and didn't even bother to lube the chain.

Back and forth for the next few laps and had a sense things were close. Rode as strong as I could completing 14 laps, 224 miles all up grabbing 4th place spot on the podium. Race was close with only 6 minutes between 1st & 2nd and 5th was only 7 mins off me! Overall a good race with some tough conditions and fast women. Andrew also placed 4th in a strong field!

Of course the weather was great the day after and the rest of the trip ;-). Enjoyed some awesome coffee at Savaya, Mexican and beverages before heading home.

Thanks to Infinit Nutrition Canada, Specialized Canada and Crankbrothers for your support. Also to Coach Shaun for your invaluable feedback, encouragement and big TSS weeks (I think ;-). I am really looking forward to the rest of the race season.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

24 Hours of Rocky Hill

The last race of the season in the Texas heat and humidity was a sufferfest!

Steve, Andrew & I headed to Austin, Texas to finish off the season with one more 24 hour. Very grateful to be hosted by Tony Linthicum, another Forward Momentum athlete, who was also racing.  It was nice to catch up with him and his wife Patty not to mention their cute dog.

Headed to the course on Friday for pit set up, package pick up and to get a lap in. The course was similar to when I had raced before. However, the trail conditions were a lot different after the heavy rainfall they received over the last few years. A lot of erosion and loose rock would make for a slower and more challenging course.

Race day was hot and the humidity was forecasted 95-100% ouch! Arrived at the course and finished setting up our pit and getting things organized. Tony, Steve, Andrew & I were all racing solo. After the racer meeting headed to the start line for the Le Mans run. It was a short one so that was a bonus! Lined up near the front of the pack, wanted to get in a good position for the first single track section.

The gun went off and things were moving. Jumped on the bike and in short order was entertained by watching Andrew and Steve make their way to the front of the pack. I got into a pretty good position and had a smooth first lap. Lap #2 was already feeling the heat and humidity and my back was feeling off. I slowed the pace to try to combat the heat and figure out how I could adjust my riding style to ease the back pain.

Eventually the back pain dissipated after a few more laps but the heat and humidity was a constant battle. Stops at the pit after each lap to get in additional fluids and put ice in jersey. I was confident in my Infinit Nutrition but knew with the heat was going to have to really stay on top of it and potentially take on more to combat increased sweat rate.

It was time to mount lights and things were starting to cool down a touch. Felt like I was starting to come around and get into a bit of a groove. Saw Andrew on that lap and he said was feeling it too but improving.

A few good laps then felt like I was having a relapse and could not cool down. Next thing I knew bounced off a log and was on the ground with my light hanging off my helmet, LOL! Just as I was getting myself together Steve came along. He was in the hurt locker as well! I figured I better take a breather after that lap. Stopped to get some more Infinit and water in. Patty checked the results and said I was in the lead with 1 or 2 laps up. I figured I could spare a bit of time to collect myself.

My last night lap was a bit of a gong show. Felt like I was out there for ever! Struggling with the punchy climbs and feeling a bit nauseous. Back to the pits for another break. I was told was 2 or 3 laps up and there was no possibility of 2nd catching me. There was still lots of time to go back out so figured would see how I felt. In the meantime Andrew came in. We told him he was 5 laps up but he was all fired up and said "F!@# this I am going to make them pay". What an animal! When he came back in I was feeling better and he inspired me to go back out. Had a good last lap and was happy I went back out.

It was not my best performance but sometimes you have to adjust your race strategy based on the conditions. I was happy managed to push on with all the challenges and take the win for Solo Women. The entire field suffered from the heat with the lap numbers down from previous years. However, the Canadians managed to pull it off with Steve and Andrew also winning their categories. Tony represented grabbing 3rd in his category.

Open Men - Andrew takes the win

Open Women

Sport 40+ - Steve & Tony 

Had some fun after the race meeting up with some friends and enjoying the Texas food and some beverages.

Thanks to Terra Firma for putting on a great race and to all the volunteers. It was sure nice to have equal pay outs for men and women! Also thanks to Coach Shaun, Infinit Nutrition Canada and Specialized Canada for giving me the tools I needed.

I look forward to a great season next year with all the challenges and adventures it brings.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Summer Racing

It was a fun summer of racing. After some recovery following the Golden 24 I dove into the Singletrack 3. A three day stage race with day 1 & 2 in Fernie and 3 in Cranbrook. It's been awhile since I raced a local event so it was fun to know a lot of the racers and have people on course cheering!

It was a three day battle! I won the two Fernie Stages with not much of a lead going into the final day. I didn't have the best day in Cranbrook finishing second and loosing the overall lead. But I was happy with how I raced overall and Alana Heise, overall winner had a great race.

Raven Eye Photography - Cranbrook Stage

Next up was Pierre's Hole 100 miler in Wyoming at Grand Targhee Resort. Steve & I headed down and were meeting up with some friends, Mike and Meagan Piker. I had never been to Wyoming before so it was cool to check out a new place and trails.

The format of the race was three loops with the first slightly different, road climb to start and shorter with less elevation gain. Checked out a few of the trails the day before and they were a lot of fun with some great views.

It was raining the next day when woke but the trails were so dry it was of no concern as long as it stopped ;-). Luckily it did! A short warm up and dropped bags off at the aid stations. Meagan was going to try to be at the aids so that was a bonus. Mike was racing the 100 km. The big news was Peter Sagan was racing the 50 km!

It was part of the NUE series so I knew it would be super competitive.  It was a fast start of course with some women I would never see again and two others I raced with on & off most of race. A double track climb to start which funnelled into the single track that would take us up to the Summit topping out at just over 9,000 ft. From there a fun descent down 38 Special. That's right 38 switchbacks. Some more fun single track before the pavement road climb back to the resort. I quickly grabbed a bottle from Aid #1 and was on my way. The back end of the course had surprisingly more climbing than I was expecting but made it back to the start in good time. Hit the Aid for a bottle of Infinit and the other two women were right on my tail.

It was right into some new single track this time then connecting back into the upper trail after the road climb. Still feeling pretty good on the bike and staying with the other girls. I was starting to feel it a bit coming into Aid #1 but still had a good lap and made good time back to the finish.

Leaving for the final lap the three of us were still wheel to wheel. However, shortly into it I was no longer able to hold on. I was really starting to suffer on the climb up to the Summit. Still turning the pedals but the elevation was starting to take it's toll. Towards the top the sky was getting dark and the thunder was rolling in. I didn't want to get struck by lighting! Made my way down 38 Special with some light rain and more on the road climb. Thankfully it cleared as I was already suffering enough. Back to the Aid where Steve & Meagan were waiting with my bottle. I was kind of gutted to hear Steve was already done. It didn't really make sense but I just carried on to get the job done.

Started to come around a bit on the back end just in time for another wind/rain storm, LOL! Made it back to the finish and I was pretty much done. A lot of people were already in from the other races and 100 miler. Unfortunately it turned out Steve had a mechanical and could not finish the race. Mike had a great race grabbing 2nd in the 100 km for 40+. I was not sure of my placing, the awards had already occurred and people were into the beers & Mexican. It wasn't actually until later the next day that found out I cracked the podium finishing 5th for Open Women. That kind of eased the suffering a bit ;-).

We spent the next few days exploring Jackson Hole with our hosts Mike & Meagan. What a beautiful place.

Teton Pass

Last weekend was my latest adventure. Project 9, a classic local race which I had never done. It is always on Sept. 9th on Project 9 trail with a timed up, down and overall. If you have never had the pleasure it's a 900m climb in just over 2 km on a old jeep road, with four steep pitches. The descent has a bit of everything, rock towards the top, fun corners, roots and some drops if so inclined.

This year was record attendance with 68 riders! It was a total scene with riders in spandex, goggles, jeans, hoodies. I wasn't really sure what the deal was for the start so I asked someone. The guy said "everyone in spandex goes up front". Haha I guess that was me ;-).

The race was on sprinting off the start up to the powerline where the real work began. I was up front for women with some guys ahead. A few guys passed me on the first pitch then I held my position to the top.

Soon into the descent Lesley passed me and I pulled over to let a few fast guys get by. I got into a bit of a groove then pulled over again right near end to let another girl by. In the end finished first uphill and 3rd overall for women. Not bad for spandex and a hard tail ;-). It was a fun race with some beer, pizza, fire and prizes to follow. It was the best $25 I have spent in awhile.