Sunday, December 21, 2008

Skiing had started!!

We've been waiting for snow to arrive so that we can get our ski's on and hit the hill... well mother nature decided to deliver it all at once... we've had a HUGE amount of snow in the last week and it just keeps on coming!  Usually it's only up on the mountains, but this time it's blanketing the entire island!  wow!  We can even snowshoe from the yard!

Today we travelled up to Mt. Washington for some nordic skiing, our youngest team member, baby Chase joined us too, although due to some serious wind chill he was best kept indoors!  

We hit the hills and had an awesome view of Mt. Albert Edward.
Justin looks way underdressed in this pic - it was frigid!
Jeff's set the pace and was wishing for some extra windbreak over the valuables.
This next shot was actually from Thursday, the boys were testing out the telemark gear!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hiking up Mt. Arrowsmith DEC 14th, 08

The snow started Friday here on the island and it's been coming down pretty heavy all weekend - we're pretty excited about that because we're all dying to get out skiing and snowshoeing (it's only a month until the first Yeti race!).

Today myself, Jeff and Justin decided to head up Mt. Arrowsmith with our friend Jamie. There was tonnes of snow even at home in Parksville so we were certain there would be lots on the mountain too... and we were not disappointed! Our crampons and ice axes helped us up the scrambly route, our Helly Hansen gear kept us warm and dry, and the victorious picture of Jeff is exactly how we all felt when we got up there. It was a pretty beauty day (okay, so admittedly we are easy to please, as long as the day includes snow and a mountain it qualifies as a beauty in our books!).
Playing in the snow with your friends is fun.

Jeff, Justin and I all had different HH outer shells in use today... Jeff in the Volt, Justin in the Verglas and me in the Numa... we were all totally dry and cozy, tells you that HellyTech XP material in any size or shape is an awesome choice for these types of adventures!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cross on the Rock Finals

Nov 22nd wrapped up the 'Cross on the Rock' cyclocross series for 2009.  The conditions were perfect in Nanaimo that day - a bit of mud on the ground but nothing wet from the sky - in fact it was bright and sunny, a classic fall day.  The Beban Park course was unrelenting, there were so many features it seemed like there was no end to the mental run down each lap of 'what's coming up next?'.  The run-up was life-sucking, the mud pits zapped all power from your legs, and the tight sandy turns in the whirly whirl section nearly put each of us on the ground I'm sure.  My lungs were burning and my legs were doing a Winehouse repetition of 'no, no, no'.  In the end I was fourth in the expert women's race, and clinched a second place result for overall series points... by the seat of my pants.   
Big thanks to everyone who turns up at the events to cheer and for all the women who raced the series - they really make it what it is & it's fun to ride with them!
Huge thanks to Norm Thibault and Wendy Simms for organizing the series and for being the fantastic cyclocross ambassadors that they are - truly awesome!!  

Sunday, November 23, 2008

This weekend was the first time this season that Arrowsmith got a significant amount of snow.   was pumped because of my new backcountry skis.  I was bumming around town, making breakfast and walking the dogs.  I was all geared up to go for a bike ride and around 12:30 I was thinking that I could go for a quick trip to the summit and back before dark via the Judges route.  I through on my mountaineering boots, backpack and Katie into the car and headed for the hills.  I started up at 1:30 and made it up in about 1.5 hrs.  IT was amazing up there like a winter wonderland.   I met a guy near the summit who was from Mount Washington Mtn Tek, Noel Sharpe.  He was a nice guy to talk to and it turns out that he is a telemark ski instructor and since I am getting into telemark skiing, he gave me his number at work.  I plan on taking a lesson or two so I am going to look him up at the ski hill.

Last weekend Justin and I made it out to Strathcona Park on a super early mission to climb King's peak.  The weather was total crap, but we made it all the way in some blistering winds.  This area is awesome and definitely warrants a return trip.  King's peak is one of the higher mountains on Vancouver Island at over 2000m.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Double Cross Weekend

The 4th and 5th races in the 'Cross on the Rock' series were held last weekend in Cumberland and Errington (both close to home! yay for local racing!).  
The weekend was wet, wet, wet.  The courses were mud, mud & more mud.  It was fun, tough, messy and rewarding.  :)  It was also a fantastic example of grassroots racing at it's finest, good competition, relaxed and exciting atmosphere, lots of laughs, lots of cheers and lots of support for the series.  Check out the Cross on the Rock website for race reports and full results.
I managed 3rd in both races and am motivated to figure out some way to close the gap between myself and the faster women over the next 12 months.  (This season isn't even over yet and I'm thinking about next... ahh, yes, that's how it works!).  
Jeff raced on Sunday but suffered a flat mid-way on one of the laps & had to run part of a lap and then jump on Chris Birch's Jake to finish the race.

Next up = Island Champs Cyclocross Nov 22nd in Nanaimo! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cross on the Rock Race #3 - Duncan

Last Sunday was the third of six 'Cross on the Rock' races for 2008.  The race was held in Duncan at Providence Farm - a fantastic venue and an inspiring place!  It was another beauty fall day and but we sure needed our 'HH warm' gear once the post-race chill set in. The course was fast and furious, with only one obstacle I'd have to dismount over, one crazy long climb that was painfully rideable and some nice twisty-ness.  Unique & challenging - exactly what we've come to expect from a 'Cross on the Rock' race.
I was pretty excited for the event, I knew the field was going to be pretty deep in the women's event, and I wanted to see how I'd fare.  I was also sporting brand-spanking-new Arrowsmith Bikes kit - and it's sweet stuff - so I was lookin' fast even if I wasn't going fast!  However, my race didn't pan out as I'd hoped.  Upon my first remount about 2/3rds through the first lap my seat went 'whank!' and tilted way back - not good.  I ended up riding the remainder of that lap and one more full lap like with it buggered like that before an alan key was at the ready in the pits, and the seat was fixed.  The women I was hoping to stay with were out of sight and try as I might I just couldn't pick up enough ground to get near.  Next time gadget, next time.

Jeff had an awesome race!  As the expert group blasted off the start line, I was wondering how many of them were secretly planning to snag the first lap prime prize of a 6-pack of beer.  As it turns out Jeff had fired up all the engines right off the hop and managed to reach the lap point ahead of the others and bring home the beer.  He was passed by only one guy, the very speedy Russell Anderson of Victoria, and held second for the entire race!  Nice one Jeff!  

p.s can you tell which one of us is a little more keen about taking pic's? 

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cross on the Rock Race #2

The only decent picture I got... Thibault on the crazy climb - perhaps you get some sense of how steep it was... and this shows only about 1/4 of it!

The second race in the 'CROSS ON THE ROCK' Cyclocross series was held in Victoria at the Juan de Fuca Rec center yesterday.  The course was awesome and really tough.  It was hilly & boy-oh-boy do the hills stand out for me, and of course the fact that I had a whole lot of nothin' in me to shake Bobbie Taylor off my wheel!!  Throughout the race everytime I looked back Bobbie was still there right behind me... yep still there, gotta go harder... &#@! still there, don't let her pass... *&##$@ still there, go go go!!!  We raced hard together from start to finish and if it wasn't for a small mechanical for Bobbie half-way through the last lap it would have come right down to the wire!   In the end it was speedy Dawn Anderson (nee Berg) in 1st, Jaymie McGowen strong in 2nd and me in 3rd.  As always, getting to watch the other races was super fun - the Expert race was exciting - some notable highlights include the many mechanicals, Beaston bunny hopping the barriers again, and Olympian Geoff Kabush riding the hilly run-up like it was a gentle slope.  Good times!

Kudos to the Multi-Sport Promotions crew and the Victoria host club for another awesome event, wicked prizing (seriously so good!!) and all round fun times.  Huge thanks to everyone who came out to cheer - sure makes a difference - hope to see you on course sometime soon!! I did get my buddy Norm out racing - his first (of many?) cyclocross races!  Looking forward to the next race in Duncan in 2 weeks... hopefully I'll have more HHVI company out riding.  ;)

Monday, September 29, 2008


Team Helly Hansen Vancouver Island conquered the 2008 Cumberland MOMAR as a co-ed team of four... and it rocked!
The course was brand new for 2008, and thanks to course designer Bryan Tasaka, it was an amazing, beautiful & challenging!!  Jeff, myself, Justin & Carey had decided in early August (just shortly after J & C's baby Chase was born) that we'd race this one as a team of 4, and we sure had a good time!
The morning started out with lots of mini reunions with racing friends from all over the Island and Vancouver.  It's always fun to see familiar faces, trash talk our fellow competitors, and laugh at the awesome costumes, especially our friends Wendy & Norm who decked themselves out in hot 80's aerobics style lycra, it was awesome.

The day started out on the water, with a 10km paddle.  We knew this would be a bit of a weak stage for us, but we were out here for fun, so what's a little canoe between friends?  We brought our canoe from home and paddled in true Canadian style under the bright blue sky, the only canoe in a sea of kayaks!  It was a glorious start to the event.

After 1hr & 15 min of paddling we were off the water & into the first orienteering section.  This section was in a fabulously unique area right beside Comox Lake.  There were steep climbs & steep descents,  and poor Justin was among the 50% of racers that found a wasp's nest en route.  The boys handled the navigation beautifully and we had a clean 41 minute run, getting all the check points and gaining enough ground to catch glimpses of some top teams as we headed into transition.  

Next we were off on the bikes for the first of two mtn bike sections - a strong suit for us.  We did our best to pace-line on the paved sections, and hit the climbing hard.  We had to struggle to pass a number of teams in the single track, something that was new to the boys, as they are usually so far ahead by the time they hit single track they never have to worry about the congested trail.  The Cumberland trails were fresh and slippery; 'Classic Cumberland Riding!' - good times.  Time = 1hr 27 min. 
The next transition sent us off on a long trek/navigation.  Again the boys hit the navigation bang on and we had a clean run.  It was tough terrain with plenty of single track and (yay!) not much bushwacking.   Us girls had to work hard to keep up to the boys... and we finished the section in 1hr 36 min.

Transition from Trek to Mtn bike again.  We were all familiar with the trails in this section as it was the second half of a loop we did UROC's awesome '12 hours of Cumberland' 2007 race.  Carey ripped up the trail, and led us into the village (with a ride time of about 20 min) where we had one more short run through town to the finish line.  Sweet success!!  We'd finished.  We were happy... and, as it turns out, we surprised ourselves with our speed.  
Total time = 5hrs 31 min.
We were the second team of 4 across the line, and placed 2nd in our catergory.  

Carey was amazing, a true inspiration, she worked HARD and kept up a relentless pace, who would guess this woman had a baby less than 2 months ago!!  Way to go Carey!!

Congrats to overall winner's of this event Gary & Todd of Team Helly Hansen/MOMAR - you guys rocked the course - nice work!!
Huge Thanks to Helly Hansen for sponsoring the MOMAR races and supporting our team, we're all so proud to wear the HH!
The MOMAR events just keep getting better and better.  We had a blast and are talking about next years races already - can't wait!
Thanks to Frontrunners for the awesome prizing!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Team HHVI tackles the Cross on the Rock Series

As usual Norm Thibault, Wendy Simms and their team put together a seamless event that went off like clock-work on a masterfully designed, super varied course.

In the women's race Kristenn was battling for 3rd place and finally clinched it by the 2nd last lap.  As you can see below Bobbie was hot on her heels for a lot of the race:

Here's another shot of the tight racing for 3rd that resulted in Kristenn winning the 'most aggressive' award in the women's catergory:

Carey made her 2008 racing debut only 6 weeks after giving birth to beautiful baby boy Chase, she was out racing hard and pushing herself to improve.  She's hard core.
For a while in the stacked mens race Jeff was stuck racing somewhere in between Thibault and Simms, however a flat in the last lap had him passed by Canadian Champ Wendy and he placed 11th overall in the Expert Mens category.
Another shot of Jeff pushing hard:
Justin had a challenging race facing a complete flat after a 'take-down' battle by the swing set.  He fought hard at the back of the pack and stuck to it, pushing hard right to the finish.  Here's a video of him coming down a sketchy decent, he makes it look a lot easier than it is, trust me!

It was a motivating day, and I think all of us are fired up to add a bit of an extra kick into our training. 

What's next for Team Helly Hansen Vancouver Island?

Sept 27th:
Racing as a team of Four (Jeff, Kristenn, Justin & Carey) at the Cumberland MOMAR
Should be interesting!

Sept 28th:
Organizing (and possibly racing!) "The Ramble" Marathon XC Mtn Bike Race
The most unique grassroots event in BC!

October 5th:
The next Cross on the Rock race, Victoria.
More suffering.  Lots of fun.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

More pic's from BC Bike Race

Lisa & Kristenn; 2nd overall in womens category BC Bike Race 2008

Justin & Jeff, 15th overall open mens catergory BC Bike Race 2008

Kristenn @ the finish line with Erin (we're big fans of each other).  :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

BC Bike Race!

Justin, Marc & Jeff


Well it is almost hard to believe that the BC bike race is over for another year. I did not have any time (or energy) to blog during the event so I am putting together a little summary of the race.

Day 0: Beautiful Shawnigan Lake School

This is a Private Secondary school that has a rich and prestigious history--Blah blah, but it really is very nice. I am a little put off since we were forced to move our tent by a snooty groundskeeper. Day 0 was great, we got to see a lot of people & pick up our great shwag including the new DAKine bags.

Day 1: Shawnigan to Cowichan Lake

- Freshly cut hay field that claimed a number of derailleur hangers (not ours)
- Justin's jacket decided to fall out of his pocket and go into his cogs---twice, and once on the ground.
- Hot-Hot- Really hot climb....
- Heat exhaustion and a wicked fire road decent followed by 15 km of dead flat rail grade.

Day 2: Shawnigan to Port Alberni

- Nice paced roll out, but who ever decided that should know that mountain bikers cannot ride in a peloton!
- 90 km of peloton riding in horrendous dust and heat on the backroads.
- Heat exhaustion at KM 110 or so--Soft pedal to singletrack
- Arrive in Port Alberni and lay on the cobblestone floor of the recreation centre.

Day 3: Port Alberni to Cumberland

-Start with a nice climb up and over to around Horne Lake and the Beauforts.
-Nice deep water crossing to cool off with.
- More fire road until we get to Cumberland single track (or so we think)
- Very tired and put back onto Trent River HOT logging road--Not happy.
- Finally we hit the single track and tear it up making up a bunch of time, passing teams and finsishing up better then before.
- Nice comfy bed at Lisa and Curtis' house in Cumberland.

Day 4: Earls Cove to Sechelt
-4:30 am start to go on a bus ride and take the Powell River Ferry then another bus ride and take the Saltery bay ferry to Earls Cover.
- Race start at 11:00, legs feel like concrete.
- This was the first day where we had a lot of singletrack riding and Justin and I could make up more time.
-I had never ridden on the Sunshine Coast so it was nice to ride some new trails.
- We passed a number of pro teams who forgot the whole team aspect of this race and finished up in the top ten.

Day 5: Sechelt to Langdale Ferry
- Disaster at the start, that mountain biked peloton again! Speed up, slow down, Danger danger! I hear a bit of a tangle up & look back a see a rider rolling down the pavement a 30+ kM/hr and see his helmet pop off! Holy crap. Then Justin rolls by me and his derailleur is torn off--Oh no....
- We stop and replace the hanger and get going again and by this time we are at the very back, behind the vehicles even.
-Time trial mode to try and catch the peloton before the trails. We pass hundreds of people on the road and hit the single/double track where people were giving us some grief for trying to pass and make up time---Geeze....
-Needless to say this was our kind of course and we tore up the trails and battled back to 7th position for the day when we rolled into Langdale, and Justin had got a flat in this Rock garden right before the end, it held enough air to let us roll across the finish line.
- We all piled onto the ferry and headed to Squamish for stage 6.

Day 6: Squamish (Taco Del Mar)

- This day was brilliant since Justin and I were both very familiar with the trails as it was a combination of the GearJammer and Test of Metal. The course was so great that I seriously think they should use that as a regular race course and call it the Metal Jammer or something...
- We road a very clean race and made it to the start/finish in about 8th spot, Very nice!
- We headed up to Whistler early to stay in a condo that we had rented for a few days.

Day 7: Whistler (Dup's Burritos)

- Whistler was great, however right near the start as we climbed up Creekside, I went across a water bar a a bad angle and my tire burped a bit of air out. This turned out to be a problem on the first decent where it decided to blow off the bead on this little chute so I had to stop and repair it, we lost a couple of minutes.
- This day was great because we got to ride a bunch of fun trails that I had not ridden before and we knew that the end we near so we gave it all we had. I know I got really tired in the end but it was nice when we reeled in a few teams. We caught the team at Cut 'yer bars but I guess that motivated them to ride harder and they were able to maintain their lead to the end that was only about 30 mins away.
-We rolled across the finish line again in the top ten and ended up 14th overall in the open mens category.

The BC Bike Race is a brilliant race that shows what a mountain bike stage race should be: Technical Singletrack, except day 2. I would personally like to acknowledge Helly Hansen for all the support and sweet clothing, the BC Bike race volunteers and organizers and all our friends who provided encouragement along the way and Steed Cycles and Arrowsmith Bikes!


If I had to choose one word to describe the BC Bike Race I'd use 'Epic'.   Epic can be defined as surpassing the usual or ordinary, particularly in scope or size.  So yep, 'Epic' certainly applies to the hours & hours of racing us riders put in completing each of 7 gruelling stages, but 'epic' also applies to the effort the organizers, volunteers, course designers, medical staff, moto guys, catering staff & support crews put in!   A crazy amount of work goes into this event - very impressive!!  

I raced BC Bike Race with my good friend Lisa Ludwig.  I think I mentioned in an earlier post that it's always interesting racing with a new partner, and in a 7-day race you really spend a lot of time together, on and off the bike.  We had a lot of laughs, a few small meltdowns (literally!, it was HOT) and overall an absolutely excellent experience together.   The very best part of it all was that we got to share it with a group of amazing friends & fellow riders.  Those fellow racers really start to feel like teammates when they are cheering you on during the race and sharing words of encouragement with you on the trail; there is a power in that which can't be matched & I love it.  

Day 0 = Check-in @ Shawnigan Lake:
It was super fun to check-in and get our sweet bag-o-shwag (race sponsors spoiled us with gifts!) and some basic instructions for the week.  We quickly realized that the heat was already a factor, sitting sweating through the press conference & pre-race meeting.  Pretty amazing to see the collection of athletes from 23 different countries gathering around!  In the pre-race talk we got reminded by wilderness medic guru Brooks that if your pee doesn't look like water your not hydrated enough... oh how very important that reminder proved to be!  After the meeting it was off to pack/re-org for the week & check our racing kit options from wonderful sponsors Helly Hansen and Floyd Cycles, we looked good all week long thanks to these two awesome companies!

Day 1 = Shawnigan Lake to Cowichan Lake = 89km, ride time = 5:53:02:
The day started out a little crazy with a few laps around the school, part of which was a hay field that was recently swathed... oops... poor fast people up front got tonnes of hay in their cogs/derailleurs... lucky for us we got off pretty good, with a quick de-grassing after the 2nd time through we were off and riding!  The day had some single track, some hike-a-bike and some HOT HOT climbing with some mental toughness challenges on my part and some cramping issues on Lisa's.  I swear that the oranges at aid station 2 saved me and gave me enough kick to ride pace-line style through the last 20km of flat double track, we had second place in sight but they were a little stronger on the flat and pulled just out of sight before the finish, coming 3rd in the women's catergory for Stage 1.

Day 2 = Cowichan Lake to Port Alberni = 125km, ride time = 5:23:01:
The first of many 'controlled roll out' starts... most of these starts found my heart rate climbing to near max and my nerves on edge, with everyone jockeying for position, elbows out!  Like Jeff says; us mountain bikers don't know how to ride in a peloton!   Seeing our friend Tim from Steeds get taken out in a crash didn't help my fear, but relying on Lisa's excellent road racing experience I did my best to stick on her wheel.  We stayed in a big group up to the first Aid station (which was mayham!), and then found ourselves out on our own a bit.... until some fellow islanders (John Lowen & Aaron Amar) came up from behind and we were able to jump onto their wheels, that pace/draft got us into Aid station 2... just in time for the temps to hit record highs for the day and the road to heat right up.  It was HOT HOT HOT.  By the time we hit the last bit of single track I didn't even care it was single track, all I wanted was the finish.  As we crossed the finish line I nearly pushed the finish marshall over trying to get into some shade, by this time hyperventilating and literally feeling 'cooked'.  Lisa led me over to the medic tent and with some quick action by the medics and ice packs laying all over me I was cooled off and calmed down enough to realize that I'd just pushed myself harder than I ever had before.... and this was day 2.  3rd place for the stage, despite my 'meltdown'.

Day 3 = Port Alberni to Cumberland = 80km, ride time = 5:10:58:
We were looking forward to this stage for a few reasons; 1. we knew the Cumberland trails well having ridden them in training, 2. Lisa's house and 'real' beds were waiting for us after the finish, 3. Carey's b-day celebrations were going to include ice cream cake, yum!
The stage was beautiful and varied, with logging road, double track, river crossings, awesome views, short hike-a-bikes and wicked single track.  Everyone kept telling us that the single track would work in our favor and for the first time we sat (although briefly while ripping up 'Momma Bear') in second place.  We finished only 45 seconds behind the second place girls in the end and clinched 3rd for the 3rd day in a row.  This time it was Lisa that was overheated and a series of cool baths got her back to normal and ready to rest.

Day 4 = Cumberland to Sechelt = 60km, ride time = 4:35:06:
The day felt a bit weird, rising at 4:30 a.m. had us flashing back to those good old early rowing mornings.  After 2 ferry's and a famous BC Ferries breakfast (not my ideal pre-race meal but I can't resist a good breakfast sausage) we were at the start at Earls Cove, with no real room to warm up... and a road climb off the start, ouch.  At the start line I noticed my rear wheel brake rotor was loose, not much I could do about it at the moment... but when we hit the logging road and an awful rattle started to ring out I was worried... luckily the rotor was holding fine, but my bottle cage was rattling loose.  I managed to tighten it up at the first aid station and we were good to go.  We moved into second on a technical climb and held it through the single track to the finish.  We stood in 2nd on the podium that night but were still 3rd in the GC... more single track to come, but this was going to be a close race!

Day 5 = Sechelt to Langdale = 65km, ride time = 5:12:44:
Another 'controlled roll out' and a tough climb off the start, it was a great grind and we moved into second early on in this stage.  The riding was absolutely fantastic and we got to share some hoots and hollers with riders we'd become friends with along the way.  The last long (amazingly long) bit of rolling swooping singletrack into Langdale was fantastic, and neither of us could get over the trails that just seemed to sprout off in every direction.  Definitely a place to ride again, so amazing that I almost forgot about the bonk I had at the top of one of the climbs!  Lisa had been a trooper through that and kept me going, helped me regain some perspective until the fresh calories she'd reminded me I was overdue for kicked in.   We finished 2nd again for the day and moved into 2nd overall.

Day 6 = Squamish = 65km, ride time = 4:51:21:
It was nice to feel a bit 'at home' again, having done two other races that involved some of these trails already this year it was nice to be a bit familiar with at least parts of the course.  The start out was very similar to the start of the Test, which was advantageous for us and as Lisa pointed out, I was catching on to how to ride in a pack & actually able to make some moves.  cool.  We rocked the single track... except my nemesis a.k.a 'the plunge'... I will ride that whole darn trail... someday...grrr.  Anyways, we had an awesome day of racing in Squamish & with fellow racers cheering us into the finish we felt great.  2nd place for the stage and 2nd overall in the womens category.

Day 7 = Whistler = 47km, ride time = 4:34:15:
You can't help but look at the distance on this one and think you're getting a bit of relief... but it was evident from the start that the course designers were having no mercy.  With racers tired from the 6 previous days and anxious to get to the final finish line the atmosphere on the trail was nothing but a bit weird.  Everyone seemed a bit more jiggy.  However, Lisa & I knew that with a solid ride and no major mechanicals we'd be on the podium in 2nd overall as we now had about 25 min on our 3rd place competitors.   Then.... early on in the stage Lisa's chain broke and her derailleur was in her spokes.  (shit.)  With a stroke of luck we were right ahead of the boys from Duncan when it happened.  They kindly asked if we needed help with the chain & we replied with a 'yes pleease!'.  The chain was fixed before we knew it but the derailleur was a mess, so rather than fiddle with it too much Lisa decided to ride without shifting... who knew she was a singlespeeder at heart!  She was amazing and it was all I could do to keep up with her for the rest of the stage, which was unrelenting, the climbs were tough and the single track was tougher.  We managed to move fairly quickly through the course and maintained our 2nd overall placing in our category!  yay!    

A HUGE thank you to all of our supporters:
Carey - thanks for signing us up all those months ago and being there with us throughout the race, your a superstar! Marc - many thanks to you and Helly Hansen for supporting us, providing the HH kit & allowing us to be the 'Helly girls' for the week (and special thanks for the 'just ride it' pep talk).  Jeff & Curtis - thanks for accepting that you two have no choice but to be our bike mechanics, perhaps someday we'll learn something & do it ourselves!, it's just that your both so damn good at it!  Floyd Cycles - thanks so much for the kit, we look forward to seeing more of your products.  Arrowsmith Bikes & Arrowsmith Mountain Cycle - where would we be without you?  walking? 
There are so many more people I want to thank for making this experience what it was.  We had a blast.  We got to share the week with a group of wonderful people!  

Click here to read Justin's BC Bike Race report.

Friday, June 27, 2008

BC Bike Race here we come!!!

Starting Saturday June 28th and finishing July 4th we'll be racing the BC Bike Race.  


Should be fun!

Monday, June 16, 2008


 Saturday June 14th: TEST OF METAL

Riding bikes is fun!  Especially when you get to do it with a bunch of your friends & hundreds of other inspirational people.  The Test of Metal course was in stellar condition this past weekend and many PB's were made,  records were broken (go Wendy!).. so were a few bikes (see Todd Nowack's story), and a few bones (ouch Gary!).   

Team HHVI had an awesome weekend at the Test of Metal, coming home with two age- category medals (Jeff was 1st in Male 20-29, Kristenn was 2nd in Female 30-34) and a 'guess I'm not retiring' statement from Justin who had a great race, but came a minute shy of his goal of a sub-3hr finish.  

It was awesome to see so many people from the 'Rock' do so well and have so much fun out there!   There were many familiar faces from the Island Cup racing circuit &  Arrowsmith Mountain Bike Club doing so well in the elite category & others having podium finishes in the age category classes, including Justin's Mom Mary, who (you can tell by the photo below) was a bit surprised by her awesome finishing time.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Campbell River 50km Trail Challege 2008

Yesterday we rode the Campbell River 50km of Single Track. It’s not a huge event, but the course is absolutely epic. I think the Campbell River guys who organize it put it together just because they can, which is an amazing feat really, linking together 25km of singletrack trail through the beautiful Snowden Demonstration Forest Trail System and having us ride two laps. It’s in a remote location, the pre-race discussion included warnings about a number of bears that frequent the area and how important it was not to get hurt… unless you were willing to wait 3-4hrs suffering with your injury while someone came to rescue you!

From Team Helly Hensen Vancouver Island Jeff, Justin and I completed the race. We’ve each got a race report to share, I can tell you that the highlight of my day was learning from the mid-course feed-zone people that Jeff was doing exactly what I expected he’d do and was ‘flying’ through the course in first place. Go Jeff Go! Justin completed the Rat Race on the Sunshine Coast less than 24hrs prior to the start of the 50km, I think the guy is a machine!


I’m not going to get into many of the gory details of my race other than to say “that course kicked my ass”. I don’t know how many of you reading this can relate to what that really means, but I can’t think of a better way to word it. The race was two laps of the same 25km course, there were some beauty sections of flowing fun single track but the majority of the trail was an unrelenting battle to initiate and maintain momentum to get over roots, rocks, logs and lumpy terrain. With only 30 or 40 riders in the event the majority of us were riding in complete solitude. I think the loneliness lets your mind do even funnier things… I went from moments of singing on my bike, loving the trail to near fury wanting to toss my bike in the woods, and let’s not even get into the debate that went on in my head about quitting or continuing that second lap! I’m so glad that super-support-crew Carey just smiled and supported me for the 5 minutes I was at the lap point stuffing food in my mouth and bitching about my crappy riding! I finished the race in approximately 5.5 hrs, which was what I had predicted for the course, but I think my biggest disappointment was in myself and my lack of will to attempt some of the sketchy downhill sections. When I look at a sketchy downhill I should be computing lines to ride… all I really see are how many awful ways I could crash!! …so I get off and run, and there’s the end to the momentum that is so critical on these types of trails. Grrrr.

This morning my body is feeling fine, a bit battered, but really not bad at all, which is good, it tells me that training has produced the strength and fitness I need… now I’ve just got to pick up my bruised confidence & convince myself to stay on my freakin’ bike and ride. Dammit.

over & out
K 'all-fear' Mag


Hmmm I thought this was my favorite race, but man it is a tough course. 50 KM of the most technical single track we have on the Island. The venue was excellent at the Nursery near Snowden demonstration forest. These marathon XC races usually have a smaller turnout than the shorter XC races as few beginners usually are willing to brave the single track. I would say there was about 30 racers.
After the start line I hammered up the road and tried to set a quick pace through the first single track section. I noticed right away the exact spot last year where I lost my water bottle in the rough stuff ( I have changed my bottle cage since). Fred (Hodgson) would become familiar with this spot as he lost his water bottle here each lap. I was feeling great going into the race and stumbled a bit on some short rock up hills sections and lost a couple spots. Fred, a younger kid from Quadra Island and Drew Mackenzie went by me. I regained my position a while later as Drew stopped to fish something from his jersey pocket, Fred fumbled on a rocky section and the younger kid seemed to blow-up a bit not anticipating the length of this race. This race is tough in that you have only a few precious sections to drink or take a shot of energy gels from. This being the third year that I have done this race, I always find the second half of the first lap the hardest since you are tired (the race took 3:51) and have a whole other lap to look forward to. I consider my strengths to be brute force, strong climbing and flat section power but this race had very little of it. Drew Mackenzie caught up to me near about km 19 and I kept him in sight where he stopped to let some air out of his front tire. I kept going, passing him and only stopping to grab another water bottle so I put on the gas and pushed hard thinking I would be getting chased. The feeling of getting caught by someone always makes me go faster so I pressed on only to find out at the end that Drew had called her quits at lap 1 and second place was 15 mins back. My favorite section of the race is this false flat down old road grade that snakes through the forest. It feels like you are going light-speed whizzing by the re-grown trees and working through the single track for a few km. At the end I saw Jay there already changed so I gave him a hard time for calling her quits being a wimp with a sore back until I tried to sit down and my lower back was so sore too. I guess it was from all of the aggressive bike handling to negotiate obstacles on the course. Now I was hungry--real hungry and luckily they have the a TACO DEL MAR in Campbell River so once Kristenn finished, we headed over there and I order two mondo burritos. I think it was the Moab trip that Justin and I took that fuelled my burrito addiction and coined the "I'll get a burrito with a side burrito please" phrase.

Jeff 'where does he put those burrito's' Riemer signing out.


The alarm sounded at 5:00 AM. An hour into the drive up to Campbell River Carey and I drove through a torrential downpour, I was very close to turning the car around and heading home. Having raced the day before in Sechelt, I was exhausted. Fortunately the weather improved as we rolled into Campbell River and I kept reassuring myself that I would benefit from the back to back races during the week of the BC BIKE RACE. Campbell River boasts one of the most challenging and gruelling courses I have ridden. The two 25km loops are almost entirely singletrack and they test not only your legs but your upper body and your concentration. Sections of the course are quite threatening as crash on the sharp rocks would most likely result in a trip to the local hospital. With tired legs I started the race as fast as I could. Trying to keep pace with Riemer, Hodgson and Latiff. 3 minutes into the race, I heard my tire deflate on a section of sharp rocks. 1st flat all race season, and it showed as I botched the first inflate and had to start over. 10 minutes later I set out again, this time in last place. In many ways this was a good thing, as it allowed me to refocus my goals for the race. I told myself that I wanted to work my way up to girls and then try to catch buddy Bill McMillan who's a strong veteran rider. I figured this would put me in the top 10. With tired legs I tried to ride consistently. Slowly, I worked my way up through the pack. As I rode through the feed zone and lap point, I spotted a couple racers who had withdrawn, "Two less to catch up to" I thought to myself. I was told that I was in 6th place as I started my 2nd lap, it took 30 minutes of riding to catch up to Bill, who was having a stellar race. Content with 3rd place I eased back, and dropped a few notches on the suffer meter. I cruised into the finish a shocking 30 minutes behind Riemer, a little embarrassed by gap the, but happy to be doneI kicked back and enjoyed being finished for the weekend. With 2 weeks to go before the TEST I can only hope that I'll be fit enough to put together a sub 3hr performance. Many thanks to the organizers and volunteers of this great race, one of Vancouver's best kept secrets.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Island Cup XC Race Report: Cobble Hill and Wakeboarding

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I'm not a huge fan of racing sick. I picked up a nasty bug this week, terrible sore throat and headache that just wouldn't quit. Wednesday and Thursday were spent on the couch and in bed. I never imagined that I could sleep so much. Friday, stir crazy I decided to ride with Jeff for a couple hours. Nothing like feeling like crap and having to keep pace with a greyhound. Saturday we checked out some new trails at Sproat Lake in the Port Alberni area and rode for a solid 3hrs. The trails were great, but my head felt like a football. After sleeping an epic 11hrs Saturday night I awoke feeling better than I had all week, but still suffering from a foggy head. Despite having very little desire to race, Care, Jeff and I made our way down to Cobble Hill. A little community just south of Duncan. The organizers were trying out a new venue. In previous years the race had been held on Maple Mountain. The start of the race was rather unique, as just under 50 racers lined up behind a rock barricade with a 2 foot gap. The course organizer warned us that a group of 8 equestrians had refused to heed warnings are were somewhere out on course. Gotta love island cup racing. The race started in a civilized fashion and there were no crashes as racers yielded to each other through the 2 foot gap in the barrier. Jeff Riemer, wisely deciding to start in the bushes on the other side of the rock barricade and was off like a shot. Not feeling super spry I decided for a back of the pack start. As we started on the climb I was feeling surprisingly strong and started working my way to the front. Passing 2nd place Matt Hewitt at the top of the climb, I decided to try to wheel Jeff back in. It did not go well. 30 seconds into the downhill I missed a turn and took 3 other racers off course. A minute later we reunited with the trail, a little confused where we had gone wrong. Hewitt passed and I had the pleasure of following him for the rest of the lap. It was getting a lesson on how to be smooth. Starting the 2nd lap Matt pulled over with a mechanical and I was almost disappointed as I knew I was faster on his wheel than on my own. Feeling relatively strong I rode on my own for most of the 2nd lap, catching up to Jeff briefly only when his pedal fell off during the climb. I knew this would provide some good ammunition for some ribbing about his mechanical ability, he is after all a mechanical engineer, and quite meticulous about his bike repair. I faded a bit on the 3rd and got caught by Island Cup all star Andrew Kent. Finishing the lap on my own I cruised in for a 3rd place finish. I was knackered, much too tired than I should have been for an hour and a half race. The organizers provided generous draw prizes and I didn't see a single horse the entire race. The course was fantastic, great hard climb and fast flowy singletrack. Bill Macmillan a strong veteran rider who participated in the race, made our day by inviting us to his place on Long Lake for some swimming and wakeboarding. I've never wakeboarded before, but I'm hooked. With my sorethroat and headache receding I'm looking forward to a solid week of training and next weekend's marathon race in Campbell River.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Kristenn's race report; Squamish MOMAR May 10, 2008

What a race!  Many racers, including our fearless Team HHVI leader Justin Mark, are saying it was the toughest MOMAR yet!  With Jeff and I having just one MOMAR under our belts we can only agree that it was tough, real tough!  

For the guys race report see Justin's blog at

For the girls race report... read on...

It's always fun to enter a race with a new teammate, you never know just what to expect.  I knew that Bobbie and I would have fun, there was no doubt about that.  The great thing about Bobbie is that not only is she a super strong fit chick with a huge hurt locker, but she's bloody hilarious!  So there we were getting geared up to race together, her first AR ever and my first in about 4yrs.  I'd never been in charge of navigation before.  I knew I had some map reading skills, but just wasn't sure about implementing them.  Bobbie's comment when I asked her about her nav skills was "I know my role in navigation, it's to follow you".  Nice.  We decided that our #1 goal was to a) cross the finish line smiling and b) have fun along the way!

After we sorted out our gear, borrowed a pack from superstar '07 Squamish MOMAR female champ Carey Sather, and had a little "this is a compass" refresher from Jeff we were all set to head to the start for 8am.  With a sold-out event the start area was a busy place, everyone pouring over maps and trying to time their last bathroom break just right.  Lining up at the start with speedy people and some familiar faces it was nice to feel a part of it all!

The first half hour of the race saw us transition quickly from run to bike and back to run again.  We were into the navigation section before we knew it and wow!  How the heck does everyone figure out where to go so fast??!  We headed off up the service road as I though we'd be better off on some easy terrain to start.  We soon ran into Frontrunners Norm Thibault and Jason Sandquist, which surprised the heck out of us.  We threw some jokes at them and managed to hang on behind them long enough to get lost... and then found... and then to all the checkpoints... so it worked out nicely for us, just added a few extra 'off the map' kms!

Near the end of the navigation I was running along behind Bobbie and noticed only one cycling shoe strapped to the outside of her pack.  "Hey Bobbie?  your other cycling shoe is inside your pack right?".  A startled "NO" came back at me.  Shit.  It was lost on the trail.  Shit.  Backtracking to find it was NOT an option, so onward we ran, wondering silently what the cycling stage would be like for her with only one proper shoe.  BUT, as I've witnessed many times in adventure racing, wonderful people do nice things even when racing... when we got back to the transition area Bobbie's shoe was waiting for us!! Another racer had found it and carried it into transition!  Whoever it was:  THANK-YOU!!!

We jumped onto the bikes and I felt happy again, we were passing teams and making up for lost time (no pun intended!).  The single track was more technically challenging than expected.   I took a header when trying to attempt to ride a drop I didn't time well.  That shook my confidence a little, and everything a bit challenging became ominous and potentially deadly.  I've become very good at getting off and on my bike quickly, I think it's a 'west coast wimp' skill I've picked up, so I put that skill to use and sprinted on foot the sections I didn't want to ride.  Bobbie was a rock-star on the technical descents and we blew past a number of teams.  About 2/3rd's of the way through that long cycling section we got a greeting at one of the check points that went something like "hey cool you are the first team of two women!".  We were honestly totally surprised!  We had just managed to pass experienced adventure racers Ina Ervin and Amiee Dunn on the 'furtherside trail', so I knew we were doin' alright, but I had no idea we were anywhere close to first!  OK game on!  #1 goal still was to cross the finish line smiling, but hey, first place is cool too!

We got to the next transition and back into our running shoes.  It was a challenging run through the Smoke Bluffs area, Bobbie & her power legs set and excellent pace on the climbs and I managed to keep the clip up on the flatter rolling stuff (surprise surprise prairie girl).  We made it through the rappel smiling and safe, and powered out the last bit of the run back to the bikes.  I've never looked so forward to getting back on my bike in an AR before!

The final stage of cycling back to the start/finish at the Quest University was a gift, mostly double track and service road.  We set a strong pace and felt like we were really going to do this!  One last transition to run up the final hill to the finish line!  With Jeff, Justin & Carey (& super dog Umbro) waiting for us it felt great to be done!  And great to be first in our category!  And great to hear the news that Jeff & Justin had finished first overall!!!  They devoured that course, and came in just 1 minute & 42 seconds ahead of 2007 MOMAR series champs Gary Robbins & Todd Nowack of Team Helly Hansen MOMAR !!  They had a super tight race, such an impressive battle between these two teams!  What a day!

A HUGE thank-you to our key sponsor Helly Hansen, who also sponsored the event and sent winning teams home with awesome new duffle bags.  Thank-you HH!!!   With the unpredictable weather conditions it's nice to have the warmth and wicking of Lifa on our side!   Another HUGE thanks to cycling sponsors Arrowsmith Bikes Nanaimo &  Arrowsmith Mountain Cycle Parksville for helping us out!  

The Mind Over Mountain Adventure Racing event organizers & course designers put together a killer event from start to finish, AMAZING job!  Next MOMAR July 26th!  Looking forward to it!  

For now it's back on the bike as we pile on the miles for Test of Metal and BC Bike Race with a few Island Cup races in between 

Over & Out.