Monday, June 17, 2013

Kootenay Krusher

I didn't have a great race last year: dropped chains, missed corners, and getting stuck behind slower riders on long singletrack trails. I was determined to rebound and have a better race in 2013.

I bet they got a good deal on that arch!
The course was almost the same beautiful but punishing course as in previous years, but with some added new sections, a new start loop, and  the removal of a short loop at the north end of the course. I think that the changes improved the overall rideability  (less ridiculously steep up and down) and raceability (better selection before the 1st singletrack) of the course. Conditions were very similar to last year with the short, steep descents being nice and loose!

The field wasn't as deep as in previous years, but good battles were still had. The singletrack sections are long, and it was funny to see a guy get heckled after he attacked on the hill leading into the 1st singletrack, but then held up a long train of riders while letting Mike S float off the front.

I was feeling strong on the singletrack sections and could take it easy on the climbs as I rode along with a chase group for the 1st lap of the race until they pulled off and were replaced by their relay partners! I was alone for the 2nd lap, keeping the intensity high with the hopes of catching Mike, while confident that being smooth over the singletrack and hammering the climbs would fend off any chasers. I guess I have to go harder off the start as I ended up in 2nd.

My Xprezo W-29 seemed to take most of the sting out of Nipika's notoriously rough singletrack and allowed me to enjoy the views of the Kootenay and Cross rivers and the Rocky Mountains, and find the flow in the trails. Overall a great event with great support from the community (sponsors, volunteers, venue).

After the race, we headed to Invermere, slayed some grocery store pizza (the BEST road trip food), and checked out Panorama's XC race loop. The trails would be nice if they weren't trying to build houses in the middle of them!

Bill was ogling the dirt chutes!

Sunday, we had an awesome ride in Invermere, slaying the Kloosifier and Johnson trails. Kloos' is a loop of some fast singletrack through a desert landscape while the Johnson is a little more shaded and technical. Both trails served up a great dose of canyon views, excellent berms and great descending considering how easy the climbs were. Highly recommended. Peter is tired!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The end of ski season...? Stoke dump.

I guess it's been a while since I last updated about skiing, other than my Wapta in a day experience. For those following along on Facebook, this is probably old news.

Spring felt fairly casual this year and we were able to ski some cool stuff.

Late March self powered Miner's Lap!

An exploratory ski into my favourite zone in K-country

Chris and Bill came up to Canmore for some Easter fun! It was really warm and it seemed like the skiing days were numbered

Skiing off a summit you can see from the highway and then into a fun glacier run?

Bill showing Chefren how it's done!
Booting up Narao left hand, but not quite topping out.
Then the storm rolled in, we retreated to a classic Kananaskis zone and continued to get some great skiing.
We were able to ski many neat variations. The lines are short so it is possible to ski lots of  them!

High winds, dumping snow, are you sure it is spring?

I was fortunate enough to be able to tag along on a multi-day trip to "check out the snowpack" for the summer nordic ski team training centre. Unfortunately, we didn't have the best visibility or conditions, but we were still able to get into some cool, rarely skied areas.

Playing on the Beatty bump

The next weather window came AFTER we got back and I had 2 really fun days at Chickadee.

Using the bike to pick up the car was way more fun than walking last year
Then I did the Dolomite circuit and Wapta in a day. Next a return to a fun line I skied with MT and Bill a couple of years ago.

Scott, another convert to the light(er) and faster game.

Spine powder 8's! Lots of slough!
Shut down by visibility/wind yet again on the FHR. There's always next year...

Oh, winter isn't done yet.
classic end of season Nakiska powder!

Yet another day at the Nob! 
Some great corn skiing days. I rolled over 100 days of skiing this season.

We really nailed Ptarmigan with great corn conditions. Maybe a little too soft down low.

The approach didn't suck with plowed roads up to where there was a reasonably supportive crust.
And winter is not giving up without a fight!

Getting some great turns on Eiffel
It was a great season. I raced and trained well, and I was able to ski some cool things. We had great conditions at Highwood. I had awesome races when it counted. Stability was good this year.The boards may come out again if rain down low means snow up high. I should have a video on the way if I ever get around to editing some of video I snagged.

The start of MTB race season

I've been enjoying my time on the new bike. It feels faster on the singletrack and the descents, but I do find that I need a bit more strength to get it going.

Coming off a long ski season and not really riding my bike from early November until the beginning of May, I knew the fitness and the base would be there, it would just be a matter of getting the high end power back into the legs. Racing has felt almost casual and pre race, I have felt very relaxed.

River Valley Rumble XC:

A classic Terwillegar course combining elements of the Fat Tire Tuesday courses (when they were still at Terwillegar). The race was almost entirely different than the riding that I had been doing in Canmore up to that point. Fast punchy climbs, basically an all out sprint for maybe only a minute, but lots of them. I found that I was able to put up a good fight here, I held my position through the race after working up from a weak start, and there has to be some training benefit to going hard up those hills!

Slaying singletrack on the new bike!

Canmore Toonie Races:

Canmore has a decent midweek series put on by RMCC with races every two weeks. Unlike the Fat Tire Tuesdays, the format is different each week. Unfortunately, I missed the first race, a drag race up the Spray Lakes climb, which could have played to my strengths. I did the 2nd race, featuring a couple of heats up the shorter Silvertip climb and I was able to put in the fastest time. The third race was based on the world cup eliminator style with a short 2min loop, all out effort. Again I was able to throw down some fast times to continue building the engine.

My hillclimbing machine!

Deadgoat Summer Solstace:

A little unsure of how the weather conditions would factor into the course, I remembered back to the Giver8er race I did 2 years ago and how the course seemed to survive the monsoon fairly well. This race was no different for us. While the roots were slippery, I had fun flowing the smooth dirt and letting the wheels slide a little in the damp corners. The climbs were longer than at Terwillegar, but they were steep, and I was just lacking the power to continually send them.

Revelstoke Toonie Race:

I love riding in Revelstoke, and they were planning on holding a 1.5hr toonie race, how could I not go? I crushed some singletrack in the early afternoon with my brother, then got ready for the race in the evening. I started hard to string things out, but people were hanging in there. Eventually I was out front with Marty Schaffer and Brendan MacIntosh (owner of Flowt). I could not drop these guys on the hills, and they were consistently putting time into me on the descents. I blew up and slowly faded before losing another 3 places on the last lap. There are some ridiculously fast riders from the Stoke! I felt great on my bike all day, and put in some solid efforts in the race.

Riding in Revelstoke always blows my mind. The Tantrum trail  holds some great technical singletrack.
Iron Maiden XC:

Honestly, I was not really looking forward to this race. My thoughts were that this was a good course for the wet weather on race day for the last 2 years, but it doesn't really use the trails and loops at the Nordic Centre that I enjoy and ride on a regular basis. Plus, that rock staircase thing, the "organ donor", or more accurately the "ass puckerer" scares the shit out of me. But I showed up to the start ready to throw down a solid effort. I was feeling awesome on the singletrack sections, and the "ass puckerer" was closed, so I didn't have to feel the shame of taking the 'B' line! The bike felt great on the singletrack and I was able to flow through sections that others weren't, and not have to chase back on the hills! That's a first! One of my best elite races!

I wasn't sure if it would be worth doing the Kootenay Krusher, but now I think I have to!