Bear Mtn BC Cup Rd.2- A step in the right direction
The skies once again opened up at Bear this year turning the fast roller coaster type track into a sloppy mess… Most riders were well prepared as similar conditions greeted us last year. 2011 was a race run to forget… I was off my bike multiple times and managed to literally run across the finish line into 8th place. I know this track well and was very confident that a clean run would pay off in 2012.
The plan was to open it up on the top part of the track in the more technical terrain, pedal hard everywhere else, and too keep the mistakes under control. The plan was almost ruined when I spun out on the wet wood dropping out of the start gate. Chest to bar, and somehow managed to save myself from crashing. The rest of the run was not much fun, the mud stopped most riders from hitting the big jumps, and turned the track including the flat pedal bits into peanut butter… I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time in the saddle during a race run and felt like I would have needed years of training to pedal down that track for a win. Other then the start, the plan was well executed as I rode well all things considered and emptied the tank pedalling. I ended up in 5th, one step up from the first race and I was relieved to finally be back on the podium! Congrats to Kirk McDowall for the win!
After a very solid April, May, June for training, I had finally gotten my confidence back and it was off to National Champs in Quebec.
MSA National Champs- Hold it wide and hold on…
I’ll keep this brief. We raced the WC track and it was serious business. Be on your game or suffer the consequences.
top speeds> 75km/h; avrg. speeds high; bikes and bike parts destroyed; bodies literred all over the places.
I stuck to the plan, minimize training to save energy for Sunday, keep it upright as to not end my season prematurely. My seeding run went poorly as I lacked the aggression needed and wound up just inside the top 20 out of roughly 70 elite entries.
I opened it up for the finals, rode loose, pedalled hard, and nailed my lines. I was on a killer run that would have landed me inside the top 10, a personal best, and would have given me valuable UCI points to race DH World Cups. As I entered the bottom of the track, I let my guard up and went down hard in one of the last berms with the finish line in sight. I ended up 29th, just two seconds off my seeding time. Congrats to Matt Beer from Newfoundland for taking his first National Championship title- good luck Matt at the rest of the WC’s!!
Injury- Bummed out
Unfortunately I’m typing this blog with one hand. I misjudged a rhythym section at the BMX track Tuesday training for 4x World Champs just 5 weeks away. I scorpioned over the bars straight into the typically rock hard flats of a BMX track suffering a broken collarbone. I’m thankful my helmet did its job preventing a serious concussion and that I did not sustain any more serious injuries. If all goes well I should be back at it in 4 weeks time. This leaves me with a difficult decision, cross the pond at the end of August for 4x World Champs with a serious lack of track time or catch the last two rounds of the BC Cup series too battle for a strong overall standing…. I will have plenty of time on the trainer to think this one through.
Keep the rubber side down and happy trails!
Thanks to those helping me out:
Race Face Performance Products, Loaded Precision Products, Cove Bikes, cSixx chainguides, BikeRac, Lorex Tech. Active HD Camera, Elka Suspension, Five Ten
Every once in a while I come across something that turns on the ‘that’d be sick to ride’ thought process and gets me thinking… Actually, whether I’m ripping along the highway, out for a hike, or plainly driving around town, I’m ALWAYS thinking ‘what if’. It seems that the last couple years I’ve come across a couple really sick spots that have kept my wheels turning for weeks, which eventually materialized into asking buddies to come help me build, and a call to my homie Clayton Racicot. ‘ Hey man, I’ve been working on something sick. I don’t trust anybody else to shoot this, but I think I’m ready to hit it and we gotta shoot it soon, conditions are perfect! Ok, I’m super busy. When were you thinking? Tonight…. *long pause* Ok, give me an hour…’
And above was the outcome of that call… That project came about on a wet Vancouver night. Me and my homies were out on a night ride when one of them goes, that’d be a sick hip… We laughed for a couple minutes then rode on. I spent the night wondering if that infact was a rideable line and drove back up the next day to check it out. Afew months later and it was a done deal.
This time around, I was on a pedal with Clayton (said master photographer) on Burke Mtn. ” Come check this out, someone gapped this waterfall in one of the original freeride videos.. it’s been eroded away quite a bit though.” And the wheels got turning. The gap size was manageable, however, it was the run in that was the cause for concern. It was a basically a long flat gravel road. Would I need to get towed in? Use a small bike to get the speed? build a drop in? Can I get the speed pedaling in? This quickly became my new project….
The build took most of the winter as there was next to no dirt to be found anywhere close to the landing. We returned for build #3 with a bucket to carry buckets full of dirt down the mountain. Painful process to say the least.
Come spring it was finally ready to go. We hiked up the mountain to find a truck parked in the run in. Thinking it were the park rangers we hid the tools and cautiously approached. Luckily the truck was unmarked and there was no one in sight. We deemed it safe to continue on finishing the build and getting all the lights set up for the shot hoping the truck owners would arrive to move their truck out of our way.
” The suns in the perfect place, we have to shoot this now!” yells Clayton an hour or so after arrival.
The truck owners had yet to show up and so Master landscaper Bart decided to build me a run in around the truck and we were set.
And so it was now all up to me… Drop in, and lay the power down for about 75 meters, spot the landing, and send it! It was perfect. My first 3 jumps were absolutely perfect, just as I had envisioned it. I started to loose the gas in the legs and on the 4th try I came up about 6 inches short. My bike was not too happy with me but I had made it safely across and that’s all that counted… I hit it a few more times to make sure that we had some banger footage and we called it a day. Bart and I had the pleasure of ripping down the hours of work we had put up for this shot in the hopes that no one would attempt this gap again. I was fortunate enough to put my stamp on this one, as I recently heard that the city is installing a bridge.
Banger footage and photos from www.claytonracicot.com should surface later this summer.
In the meantime check out the teaser we threw together with Go Pro footage:
If there was one trip I was most excited for all winter long, it was the road trip to attend the ‘Race the Ranch’ BC Cup in Kamloops. The ‘Loops’ is magical- I’ve only previously ridden the Loops once, but I vividly remember standing at the top of the Kamloops Bike Ranch (KBR) and being blown away by all the booters, big mountain lines, and single track in every direction I turned too. This time, I would do Kamloops properly; Friday off work, Harper Mountain, scouting, and Rio Escondito all in the cards….. oh yeah, I guess I was there to race as well! Lets back up a few months…
This winter did not go to plan. After returning from 4x World Champs in Switzerland, I took a much needed two months off to attempt to straighten out old injuries. I got back on the bikes in November hungry as ever and the stoked level immediately went through the roof. I was training, actually I was freedriding/ dicking around on my old 20′s, at Joyride150 in Markham, Ontario, and smashed myself pretty bad. A few stitches and a sore wrist were the immediate outcome… A few weeks, a couple days on the slopes, a couple rides, a couple doctors, and a couple xrays later, turns out my wrist was broken and a good recovery was only a hope! Needless to say my season was on hold and I was super bummed/ depressed. I finally found a specialist to help me out and when April rolled around I was given the great news that I should recover. I would need a couple month to get my ‘race finesse’ back, but it was game on and the Loops would be the kick start to my season. I decided I would skip the DH race, but focus on defending my Dual Slalom win on my new ‘Loaded’ Cove Hooker (gold and black= so bling!), and go out and explore Kamloops for all it was worth!
Unfortunately they cancelled the dual slalom the week before and so I was in a predicament. The DH race course requires pedal fitness, something I was definitely lacking at this point in my recovery, and I wanted to check out everything the Loops had to offer. Racing DH would mean keeping focused and conserving energy all weekend. Fuck it, I decided to do both.
We rolled up on Friday and immediately hooked up with Muddy Productions and CBC Photo and headed up to Rio Escondito. Wide open, fast, big booters everywhere= pretty damn unreal! Afterwards we checked out the DH course and followed that up with a session of the KBR jumps with some locals. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many perfect jumps in such a small space. Superfun, and great start to the weekend!
Saturday consisted of some DH laps on the race course and a photo shoot at the KBR jumps. The track was running quite a bit better this year and it remained very straight forward. 5 laps would be enough as my legs started feeling pretty tired from all the freeriding. I suddenly switched to race mode. No more freeriding and lots of rest until the race was over. While I was not as fit as I should have been, I knew that I could do well if I put something together as many of BC’s top riders were down racing in the USA.
Race jitters got the best of me as I had to throw a foot down to save a near crash in the 2nd corner of my race run. With this type of track, it’s one mistake and you are out of contention! I ended the day in 6th, less then a second to 3rd knowing that I would have easily been there without that mistake. I wasn’t too bummed as the #1 goal this weekend was to have fun and to do lots of freeriding, something I definitely accomplished. My first BC Cup DH podium will have to wait until the next round… Congrats to local Chayse Marshall for the win!
I didn’t think it would get much better then riding Rio on Friday, but little did I know what I was in for.. I convinced the boys to stick around for a Harper lap and a late drive back down to the city on Sunday after the race. Actually, it totally wasn’t worth it, the jumps were tiny, the trail was slow and akward, nobody had fun, and we rolled back into Vancity around 2am. The boys were pissed! …….
Next up, a trip down to Port Angeles, USA to ride a real DH track. One of my favourite places to race and a good test of DH skills and fitness.
Until next time, happy trails!