“80% of success is showing up.” ~Woody Allen

This past weekend we travelled to Kicking Horse BC for our fourth and final race this month, the Western Open/BC Provincial Champs. This is one of those tracks that isn’t easy – it’s steep with long smooth rock faces, lots of exposed roots and a massive pedal to the finish line. It usually takes me a few runs to “feel it” but once I get there it turns into a whole lot of fun! We lucked out this year in terms of conditions – 2 days of rain prior to practice meant some tacky dirt that almost held up all the way till race day. And although a bit chilly on Friday and Saturday, the sun showed up for race day and brought the heat.

It's a long gondy ride to the top

It’s a long gondy ride to the top

That can only mean one thing - a long ride back down!

That can only mean one thing – a long ride back down!

So there was something a bit different about this race. I don’t know why, but there was a noticeable shortage of female competitors, not only in the Pro/Elite category, but in every other category as well. Altogether there were four brave women who came out to race the gnar, each in their own category. It wasn’t the first time I’ve been the only competitor in my category at a race, but it was the first time it’s happened at a race of this level of significance. I know there are lots of other female rippers out there, some who race and couldn’t be there and some who don’t race. I understand that racing isn’t for everyone and I wouldn’t ever want to push someone to race if they’re not comfortable with it, but if there are girls out there who have hummed and hawed about it – I say GO FOR IT! Racing will challenge you, push you to be a better rider, give you the opportunity to ride in new places and meet some incredible people. There is nothing more exhilarating than conquering that section you didn’t think you could… except maybe crossing the finish line at the end of it all! And the best part of all is that you don’t have to win the race to accomplish goals and have a blast. I have learned something from every single race I’ve gone to, whether it be about biking or about myself, and in that respect I consider every race a success. Woody Allen is onto something… but I digress.

Enjoying some morning sunshine on race day

Enjoying some morning sunshine on race day

I felt privileged to be running the #1 race plate

I felt privileged to be running the #1 race plate

Bryden riding through the flowers like a dream

Bryden riding through the flowers like a dream

Practice went well and before I knew it it was time for seeding. A flat tire half way down made for a very slow run but gave me a good excuse not to have to sprint the long pedal to the finish line. ;) Thankfully things went much better in my race run and other than some minor mistakes made it down with a decent time. I surprised myself in the start gate before my race run – I didn’t think I’d be nervous but those pre-race jitters still snuck up on me. A race is still a race, and even if you’re not competing against anyone else the clock is still ticking.

Junior Experts lining up for their race run

Junior Experts lining up for their race run

Race run - time to pedal!

Race run – time to pedal!

When all was said and done Stephen Exley, the mastermind behind the Dunbar Summer Series events, did an excellent job of recognizing each of the women who raced and even awarded me with a sweet new Momentum watch for being the fastest female! I still got my champagne podium and a giant cheque and now have the official title of Provincial Champ and the jersey to match. To honour the reason these races began in the first place I donated half of my winnings to Stephen’s daughter Lola – check out his website Love for Lola.

Podium!  Thanks Jason Louden for the photo

Podium! Thanks Jason Louden for the photo

BC Champ!

BC Champ!

Pro Men's Podium

Pro Men’s Podium

Thanks to Danielle Baker for taking so many amazing photos! She also did a great write up on pinkbike covering the race weekend. And as always, big thanks to all my supporters who make all these wonderful things possible: OGC, Intense, TLD, Fox Racing Shox, Suspensionwerx, ODI, MRP, Thomson.

The women of the weekend!

The women of the weekend!

I just finished my first Enduro World Series in Winter Park, Colorado.  What a wild week!  I had no idea what to expect when I hopped on the plane one week ago.  The scope of my expectations basically went like this:  Yeah riding and racing in a new place with fun people!

Me and my best friend.

Me and my best friend. Pic by Daniel Dunn.

No one finishes an Enduro race without a story, or five.  So much can happen in a few minutes of racing, let alone several.  Enduro racing is all about managing chaos.  Straight up though, this was the most chaotic race I have ever done in my life of racing.

Winter Park decided to have us race over 3 days and 7 stages.  The bike park itself is typical bike park style berms and jumps with a couple slightly more technical tracks in the mix . . . nothing wild or big, just cruisy fun.

I gotta say, the days leading up to the race were really fun!   I love riding my bike.  Period.  And riding with a bunch of rad girls and guys makes it even better, of course.  I spent most of my time riding and practicing with fellow CDHG Vaea, Rachel Throop and Kelli Emmett . . . thanks for making it so fun.

Wolsky my travel buddy and  new friend Iago chairlift shenanigans

Wolsky my travel buddy and new friend Iago chairlift shenanigans

The format was different – they would announce the tracks a couple at a time so we would train in the afternoon, race in the morning.  Made for some big days.  They really tried to get us off the beaten path of the bike park by putting in a usually illegal trail – for this one we only got one practice lap in.  You’d think that a lift access Enduro would be easy, ha.  The combo of 10,000 feet elevation and flat tracks made it so physical.

I say, for the most part, the stages were fun, and sure maybe quite characteristic of a bike park, but that is what this area had to offer.  I think they tried a little too hard to create a ‘new’ experience by having us race that illegal trail – which in my opinion was similar to riding in an ashtray but hey, that’s what they decided to do.  I have a much stronger opinion about Stage 6 – which was the most horrific, lame, boring, flat, disappointing, stupid and every other bad word you can think of trail I have ever ridden.  Not alone in these thoughts that’s for sure, as I know some racers tried their best to get it taken out.  Unfortunately, this track (and perhaps a couple other organizational issues . . . ) left a really bad taste in the opinion holders mouths and so I doubt an EWS will come back here again.

Stage 6.  Glasses with a full face?  Yep, just as lame as the stage!  Pic by Daniel Dunn.

Stage 6. Glasses with a full face? Yep, just as lame as the stage! Pic by Daniel Dunn.

Anyways. Back to me :).  I won’t bother with the details of my chaos cause that’s boring and no one really cares anyways.   All I need to say is I had enough mechanicals to last me a long time, one of which could not be fixed.  Bummer, yes.   I remained positive, but it became hard to stay motivated.   It actually became funny at times, and mind boggling to my fellow competitors . . . I’d get the “Really??”.

Our category started with a strong field of 39 competitors that eventually got whittled away to 32.  Every single girl who competed is a phenomenal rider; the level is impressive and inspiring.  I finished 16th.

Interestingly to some, I’m not holding any disappointment whatsoever.  No, things didn’t go picture perfect but really, it doesn’t matter.  If it did, I’d have far bigger issues than some measly mechanicals!  I rode my bike.  With great people.  In a new place.  It’s just mountain biking.  And it’s supposed to be fun :)

I need to give an extra special thanks to Mavic for helping me deal with all my mechanicals . . . Maybe just another weekend for them, but honestly I wouldn’t have made it to the end of the race without their support.

I’d also like to send some speedy healing thoughts to Brittany Clawson, who had a huge crash on the final day.   We can’t wait to race and ride with you again.

 

 

July 13 2014, Canadian National Championships in Sun Peaks BC. Kamloops is a dusty place to begin with and it just so happened that the race there two weeks ago took place smack dab in the middle of a hot spell. Apparently it was over 40 degrees in the city of Kamloops – thankfully it was a cool 33 degrees up on the mountain. The course was unlike most other DH tracks. Instead of technical riding with multiple line choices and it was more of a super steep, point and shoot, let off the brakes if you dare kind of track. It’s always hard to please everyone and some said it needed more of those other things, but really – how often do you get to race your bike down a mountain at average speeds of over 40kph and top speeds nearing 85kph?! So fast, and definitely challenging in it’s own way.

Steep. Dusty.

Steep. Dusty.

Pedal and tuck

Pedal and tuck

As expected the course disintegrated as the weekend progressed and by race day it was full of deep braking bumps, dust, dust and more dust. I’d had a decent timed practice run on Saturday landing me in 5th place so I knew I had to make up some time in my race run if I wanted to make it on the podium. I felt like I pushed harder in my race run and managed to make up a spot, coming away with a 4th place finish. Not a bad result by any means but not quite enough to make it on the podium which is always a bit disappointing. But all in all – a great weekend with the entire Intense team and another weekend of amazing support thanks to our team mechanic Nathan and OGC! Super stoked for fellow Intense rider and CDHG Vaea who rode solid all weekend, took the win and is now the National Champ!!

Race run

Race run

Next up was the first race in the Dunbar Summer Series put on by race organizer extaordinaire Stephen Exley: Silver Star BC/NW Cup. This was the 2nd race this season that combined the US NW Cup series and the BC Cup series in an attempt to encourage cross border racing – what a great idea! The heat wave that was July finally broke and not only did we have some cooler temperatures, we also got rain and extremely high winds to the point that the mountain shut down early and seeding was cancelled on Saturday. Despite that spirits were high all weekend – Brett Tippie was on the mike keeping everyone stoked and handing out tons of free swag, racers were loving the course, the rain settled the dust and provided some much needed traction, and there was an ongoing friendly rivalry between the Americans and Canadians to add just a little bit of spice. Oh, and Troy Brosnan, one of the fastest racers on the World Cup scene, was there racing which was pretty exciting for racers and spectators alike.

Watching the weather move in on practice

Watching the weather move in on practice

Nathan working his mechanic magic

Nathan working his mechanic magic

Rock drop near the top of the course

Rock drop near the top of the course

Love this race run shot by Danielle Baker

Love this race run shot by Danielle Baker

My 951 Evo felt amazing all weekend, smoothing out the rougher technical sections and maneuvering it’s way through the tight corners like a ninja cougar… or something. I felt calm and focused in my race run, kept it together mentally and nailed my lines without any major mishaps. I ended up finishing second behind my other Intense and CDHG teammate Buck – go Intense go! Fun course, solid race run, champagne podium, rad medal… if that wasn’t enough goodness, I was the fastest female through the speed trap and that hunk Bryden Rigets was the fastest male! Kind of fun to go home with that.

Podium!!

Podium!!

Intense girls

Intense girls

Stephen Exley always gives out the best medals

Stephen Exley always gives out the best medals

This weekend is the Western Open, aka the Provincial Championships. I’m looking forward to riding some steep gnar-gnar…

This month has been one of the busiest months I’ve had in a very long time. Races every single weekend and somehow in the midst of that B and I made time to pack up all our stuff and move to Squamish. Yeah Squamish! We haven’t really settled in yet but I did sneak out for one ride the other night and it was amazing. I think we’re going to like it here…

My Tracer275 Carbon feeling right at home on some new trails

My Tracer275 Carbon feeling right at home on some new trails

It’s hard to write about every little thing but since coming back home to Whistler in May, I’ve been pretty busy doing all sorts of rad things to do with bikes! So here are a few of the things I’ve been up to:

Ranch Camp 2014: 2 days of coaching and shredding up the Kamloops desert landscape with all sorts of different rad people. Other big name coaches/riders included Katrina Strand, Lorraine Blancher, Kirt and Lindsay Voreis and Dylan Sherrard.

Chromag Bikes: Working a couple days a week with this creative and hilarious group of people is pretty fun. I’m definitely a multi-tasker at Chromag: Customer Service, Sales, Marketing, Graphic Design and Rider!

After School Kids Program: Taking 6-12 year old groms out for a shred every tuesday for 6 weeks and watching them progress was highly rewarding. And fun. And birth control. All at the same time. Ha!

Phat Wednesdays: Local Whistler DH Series never fails to disappoint. Different track every week, different challenge every week. Always a huge turn out. Racing against the clock on a weekly basis, how lucky are we? Leading the series with 5 straight wins :)

Whistler Enduro: I’m not entirely sure I like Enduro but I will give it a go any time I can attend. This local one was 3 stages based in the bike park and there were some serious local trail shredders in attendance. Glad to have taken the W.

Intense Distributors Meeting: Chris and I flew down to SoCal for some Intense Family time. Mexican Food, SoCal trails, Big Bear MTB park and riding and hanging out with Intense Distributors from around the globe.

Intensapalooza: A weekend of celebrating the brand and it’s followers up at Mammoth Mountain. Shooting for the 2015 Intense Catalogue made for long days and coaching a skills clinic made for some serious stoke!

Silver Star BC Cup/NW Cup: Last weekend, Chris and I held a Race Development Camp and I managed to race to the top step on Sunday! Smelled like champaign all the way home, which was actually kind of gross :P

Dirt Diaries:  I’m playing rider, writer, actor and director and I have a wicked team of filmers and riders to help tell the story for this full on crazy film project! We will be busy finishing up this edit over the next 2 weeks before it airs outdoors under the stars at Olympic Plaza during Crankworx!

Heres a little gallery to help paint the picture :) Hope you are all enjoying your summer as much as me!

Sometimes you just don’t have time to write about all the fun!  Lots going on in the last little while, yet all I managed to write about was my Chilcotins trip with the ladies . . .

I’m hanging out here in Winter Park, Colorado, for my first ever Enduro World Series!  Pretty excited for a fun week of riding, racing and generally having a good time!  I guess that sums up my Summer so far actually . . . here’s a few pics to fill in the gaps.

Sea to Sky Enduro Series in Whistler.  This pic sums up the technical difficulty of the stages . . . managed a win at this one.

Sea to Sky Enduro Series in Whistler. This pic sums up the technical difficulty of the stages . . . I managed a win at this one :)

POD on Bikemag.com the other week.  Wolsky and I, pic by Robin O'Neill

POD on Bikemag.com the other week. Wolsky and I, pic by Robin O’Neill

Birthday girl!  Getting older in style with a champagne ceremony during my morning ride :)

Birthday girl! Getting older in style with a champagne ceremony during my morning ride :)

Lots of evening rides in the backyard.

Lots of evening rides in the backyard.

Been doing a couple of the Phat Wednesdays . . . got second here, and a first another time.  But more importantly, my name is officially Strandimal!

Been doing a couple of the Phat Wednesdays . . . got second here, and a first another time.  But more importantly, my name is officially Strandimal!

It's been HOT!  So an ambitious crew biked our way in 38 degree heat into the Alpine to Tenquille lake.  Worth it.

It’s been HOT! So an ambitious crew biked our way in 38 degree heat into the alpine to Tenquille lake. Worth it.

Another way to beat the heat.  Paddleboarding.

Another way to beat the heat. Paddleboarding.

Couldn't resist, went back up to the Chilcotins!  Great crew, great day.

Couldn’t resist, went back up to the Chilcotins! Great crew, great day.

Hanging with this guy is always a highlight.  13 and killing it.

Hanging with this guy is always a highlight. 13 and killing it.

Look at this bike!!  Been on a few adventures with this guy.  Can't wait for the rest!

Look at this bike!!  New bike :).  Been on a few adventures, can’t wait for the rest!

Holeeeeee has it ever been one epic Summer so far.  Not even half way through . . . YES!

 

Best ‘office’ to date!

I spent last weekend coaching/guiding a group of ladies through the Chilcotins Backcountry in conjunction with Tyax Adventures.  It was such an epic adventure!

Our trip started by taking a float plane out to Lorna Lake.  Truly in the middle of nowhere.

Lorna Lake, the start of our adventure

Nothing quite like coming around the corner and BOOM!  Lorna Lake.

Our first day brought us up and over Lorna Pass, through some somewhat treacherous river crossings but most importantly, along some of the most flowy, fun single track EVER.

Lorna descent, Meesh and Alison

Lorna descent, Meesh and Alison

flowers

Not sure what was going off more  . . . Alison’s smile or the wildflowers!

We ended up at Spruce Lake, our camp for the night.  Tyax Adventures has a sweet little cowboy camp right at the lake, it was somewhat luxurious to show up to snacks on the table and all our gear flown in :).  Our camp host, Theresa, is a true cowgirl, who lives out there all summer long, hanging with her horses and generally being awesome.

The next day we headed up Windy Pass.

Little people, big place . . . on our way up to Windy Pass.

Little people, big place . . . on our way up to Windy Pass.

Windy Pass lived up to it’s name, maybe Stormy Pass would have been better??  It was insane!  A huge storm rolled in just as we were heading over the pass, I think I could see like 5 feet in front of me.  Full on.

Into the storm, Windy Pass

Into the storm, Windy Pass

What a group of troopers though . . . and as soon as we started to descend, we were treated to the epitome of hero dirt.  We hero dirted our way around to El Dorado cabin, where we promply fired up the sauna :)

Our final day we had a short climb/hike up to ride down on of my all time fave descents, Lick Creek.  All the rain made for more hero dirt, that brought us all the way back to Tyax Lodge, where we finished the adventure in luxury.

The Crew!

The Crew!

Amazing weekend with these ladies, already looking forward to next years version!

Last weekend was the second in the Canada Cup series held in good ol’ Panorama BC. It was the exact opposite of Canada Cup #1 (Tremblant) in terms of weather – dry, dusty, and hot. Aaaaaahhh I love the sun. I’m one of those people that would rather be too hot than too cold so it was a nice change. It was a fast and loose course that got more and more fun and more and more blown out as the weekend progressed. One of the things that I like about Pano is that they do a good job of changing things up every year – not necessarily a brand new course every year, but at least a new variation of existing tracks. This year they created a whole new bottom section which I enjoyed quite a bit. It threw in a few more jumps and a completely different finish line which was both fun to ride and exciting to watch. This also happened to be our first race with our new team mechanic Nathan and he had his work cut out for him! We all rode hard and pushed our bikes to their limits. Nathan was able to maintain all of our team bikes as well as offer support for other Intense and Fox athletes, smiling all the while. Lucky us to have such an amazing set up – thanks to OGC for making that happen!!

Sheldon and B hanging out while Nathan smiles… and works

Sheldon and B hanging out while Nathan smiles… and works

A course walk with a view

A course walk with a view

Steep with some tight corners

Steep with some tight corners

…and very loose dirt

…and very loose dirt

My race run was decent. I had some close calls but kept it together in the top half of the course and then, right at the start of the uphill pedal I snagged a tree with my handle bar and got knocked off my bike. I guess I’m not as good at that uphill stuff. ;) I pinned it to the bottom and managed to come away with a win and even take home the leader’s jersey! My 951 Evo is having a great season so far, and I also have to say I’m loving my new Troy Lee Design’s kit! Super lightweight and comfortable – good job on that TLD!

Race run

Race run

Podium!

Podium!

Now for another hot dusty weekend – National Championships in Sun Peaks!

This was the second time I have been injured from ignoring my gut. There was that ‘off’ feeling that looms over you but is too easy to ignore. The fear of under performing, the fear of not trying hard enough pushed me both times to overrule the urge to stop. I didn’t realize I was hurt right away because I didn’t think it was possible. Then I got angry. At first I wasn’t aware that I was yelling, “I’m an idiot” over and over again. Numbing the pain was the scariest feeling of them all; defeat. I felt like it was all over. One of my first thoughts was that I didn’t want to stop racing, but at the time it seemed like it was my only option. I felt like I had ran out of time and I was never going to get the chance to try again. But it was just an exhaustion from the last year of physically getting knocked down and mentally feeling I had to try harder and harder to catch up. It made me feel inadequate, stupid, a failure and total jack ass. There is always a focus on your physical injuries but they are in fact the easiest to overcome.

This is life, and life is about learning, growing and adapting. So what have I learned this time around? I have learned that others do genuinely care about me. I’ve learned that currently the reward is greater than the risk. I’ve learned that I’m not ready for real life, there is much more that I want from racing. I’ve learned that I do have time, but not if I keep ignoring my gut.

Squamish

I will try and enjoy this summer and experience the new and different even though it’s not what I wanted. I’m surrounded by an overwhelming amount of rad and beautiful people I can get to know more. Thank you to everyone who has helped me out, called me, messaged me, brought me food, cut my food, washed my hair, opened doors, brushed my teeth, given me rides, taken me out, and for one reason or another cared.

 I owe you.

Pro Women!

Just got back from the first stop of the North American Enduro Tour in Hood River.

What a great vibe at this event! Stacked fields, but the competition is friendly and fun – my style. It was so great to spend the entire weekend with my homie (and now Teamie) Kathy Pruitt who I just don’t get to see enough! Lots of other reunions too that made the weekend even more special. And of course my travelling buddy Sarah Leishman and Whis kids/practice friends Bowen (aka DJ Greasy B) and Jordan who are always awesome.

The race was broken up into 2 days, 8 stages total.  Fast and flowy single track for the most part.  There was the notorious ‘rock garden’ and signature huck of course.  I think the gnarliest part was the climb on the first stage to be honest!  I went to this race last year and it was a monsoon leading up to the event. Conditions couldn’t have been more opposite this year, so dry and dusty and marbly – conditions us Pacific Northwest’ers aren’t so familiar with.

The huck.  I think the funny face is in anticipation of almost getting blown off course by a huge gust of wind!

The huck. I think the funny face is in anticipation of almost getting blown off course by a huge gust of wind!  Close call.  Pic by Trent Hightower.

The first day of racing went ok.  No huge disasters, but I was fumbling!  No surprise that the stage I liked the least (stage 3), I did the worst on.  Pretty views, but janky, moto rutted, dusty corners the entire way down.  I love mountain biking, but I have to say I wouldn’t be disappointed if I never ride that trail again!  I’m pretty sure I could have run down it faster.  I posted some decent times on the other 3 stages, but I was just feeling awkward in general.  I was sitting in 5th overall at the end of the day.

Day 2 was chaotic!  Stage 5 I had a huge crash, flying over my bars and luckily landing in a big pile of dust.  Sixth stage I punched a tree.  That hurt and brought me to a complete stop.  Seventh stage there was a dog on the course (Note:  dog lady hunted me down later and profusly apologized.  That was nice.)  No story for the eighth stage :).

Happy face!  Must be having fun on stage 8.  Pic by Robin O'Neill.

Happy face! Must be having fun on stage 8. Pic by Robin O’Neill.

In and amongst all the chaos, I felt good, fast and soooo much better than the first day.  I managed to pick off a lof of time on Day 2 and moved my way up to 3rd place overall to complete a 1, 2, 3 Juliana Bicycles podium!  Must be the bikes :)

The podium!

The podium!  Heather, Abby, Pruitt, me and Margaret.

 

Last month I got to film a couple of days in Squamish with local, Alex Savage of Savage Films. He is working on a new project with EpicTV featuring a few fellow riders and racers that all get to ride the best trails in the world and call them home. It was a couple mellow days of filming and he managed to produce a pretty banger edit! Check it out on the link below.

 EpicTV: In The Dirt w/ Miranda Miller

Alex Savage Photo

Alex Savage Photo

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