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

Introducing my new best friend, my Juliana She-10!  Thanks to all my sponsors for making this happen – Juliana BicyclesRaceface apparel and components, Maxxis tires, Fox suspension, Mavic wheels, e13 chainguides, Fox helmets, Shimano, Oakley eyewear, Dissent labs, Cocos Pure

So stoked for a summer of coaching, DH racing and all round general shredding on this beautiful bike!

photo-12 copy 3

The good thing about racing in Tremblant QC is that you always know what to expect: rock gardens, wooden bridges, a slick rock, some pedally sections thrown in to give you a “break”, and a jump to the finish line that is always built on race day. It is by no means an easy course so if you like a good challenge and the possibility of being heckled in Canada’s other official language then Tremblant might just be your new favourite. As usual this race kicked off the years Canada Cup series so Bryden and I made the trip to see where we would stack up and also to see some of our eastern friends and supporters from OGC.

We arrived to hot humid weather which was wonderful in that summery kind of way. After meeting up with our new teammate Sheldon “Shelly” Smith and his friends Jack and Nick we headed up for a course walk. It was much like the last time we raced it… maybe a little bit snowier, but otherwise the same.

Crossing a ski run - apparently people were skiing here only a few weeks ago

Crossing a ski run – apparently people were skiing here only a few weeks ago

Yes it's as slippery as it looks

Yes it’s as slippery as it looks

From another angle… still slippery

From another angle… still slippery

Lots of rocks to navigate

Lots of rocks to navigate

Who's that hunk?

Who’s that hunk?

Finish line stretch with our sweet pit spot at the bottom

Finish line stretch with our sweet pit spot at the bottom

Summer didn’t last long – come Friday it was much cooler and wetter. With a rainfall warning in effect and 60+mm predicted lets just say we were supersaturated. On top of the interesting weather conditions practice had a few more challenges than usual. Practice times were changed from the original online schedule and we didn’t find out about this until we tried to head up the lift for a run so we missed out on a couple of hours of practice. I managed to get two flats in a row which is almost an accomplishment for me and made me even more grateful for the awesome support (and tent!) OGC provided us with – thanks Marty and Etienne for taking such great care of our bikes all weekend! After fixing both flats I had a crash onto a bridge and sprained both thumbs and a pinky, ending Saturday’s practice early. All in all it made for significantly less practice runs than planned and come Saturday evening I had no idea if I was going to be able to grip my bars well enough to actually have a race run!

Bryden and Etienne helping Shelly out with his bike set up

Bryden and Etienne helping Shelly out with his bike set up

Our 951 Evo's still glowing even when covered in mud

Our 951 Evo’s still glowing even when covered in mud

Bryden still glowing even when covered in mud

Bryden still glowing even when covered in mud

Shelly rockin' out

Shelly rockin’ out

Opening 'er up

Opening ‘er up

Monkey see monkey do

Monkey see monkey do

Making my way down the top technical section - thanks Conrad Moir for the sweet photo

Making my way down the top technical section – thanks Conrad Moir for the sweet photo

Sunday morning I took all the Tylenol and ibuprofen that I safely could and headed up to see if my hands could take it. The course had dried out a bit overnight making the mud thicker and slower, but at least the sun was shining! I made it down and although it was painful, I knew I could do it again for my race run. My plan was to play it safe in the techy sections and give ‘er in the flats. I made it through the top section fine, then unfortunately lost my grip on my handlebars before the slick rock and had a rather prolonged attempt to get back on my bike in a super awkward section. Lets just say it would’ve been faster if I had just picked up my bike and walked down that part. In the end I was very happy that I was able to race, and even though it wasn’t a clean run I still got to stand on the podium in 2nd place! Congrats to the other girls who also toughed out the tricky conditions all weekend!

Pro Women's Podium

Pro Women’s Podium

I have to mention how very proud I am of Bryden – he beat some very fast guys and also finished in 2nd place! Big Rig threw it down!

Pro Men's Podium

Pro Men’s Podium

Taking home a couple of silver medals!

Taking home a couple of silver medals!

Thanks again to OGC for not only being so supportive all weekend, but also for being cool people. Being in the right headspace is pretty important when it comes to racing and surrounding yourself with positive people can make a big difference. There was always a good vibe under the Intense tent and it kept us all positive despite the challenges along the way. Go team!

Shelly, myself and Bryden - Team OGC/Intense

Shelly, myself and Bryden – Team OGC/Intense

Great people, great times!

Great people, great times!

Huge thanks to Intense Cycles, Fox Racing Shox, Suspensionwerx, TLD, ODI, MRP, Thomson, and OGC for your support!

Last month was the first race of my season and the first real time spent on my new Specialized Demo 8. Port Angeles is easily the best place to go racing early season and it lived up to my expectations.

Lambchops Photo

Lambchops Photo

Go Canada! Lambchops Photo

Go Canada!
Lambchops Photo

When I got home I decided to race the first round of the Squamish Enduro, The Gryphon. I was new to Enduro racing but keen to try. The whole weekend was a total blast, pre riding the course with friends and then racing along side your buddies. It was tight but I managed to take the win by the end of the day. Enduro is fun, but I will stick with Downhill for now.

Alex Savage Photo

Alex Savage Photo

 

After a couple full on weeks of training, riding, filming and working it was back to Port Angeles. Unfortunately things didn’t go my way and I caught some sort of bug on Friday and was sick for the rest of the weekend. Jill is pinned so it would have been nice to be healthy to see where I’d stack up to her. Too bad but there will be plenty more opportunities through-out the year. Despite not being well, the weekend was still full of the usual laughs and shenanigians that go hand in hand with racing.  Looking forward to resting up and getting some in the Whistler Bike Park before flying to Scotland the beginning of next month.

Heading home with the boys

Heading home with the boys

I was recently asked to write a little MTB Instructional article for Wiggle. Check it out here! I decided to write about my mental and tactical approach to an obstacle on the trail which, in my opinion, is as useful and important as any physical skill set. The photos/action are from Ranch Camp a couple weekends past where I taught this approach with great success. Would highly recommend this Kamloops event, put on by absolute shredder Lorraine Blancher, to dust off the cob webs and get some early season skills coaching. We had a blast there. Thank you Justin Kious for the great shots. Hope you enjoy the article and hope you get some good tips for your riding progression and knowing your limits but challenging your comfort zone!

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