Friday, July 31, 2009

Some travel pics...

So we're back in Bromont. Pretty much killing time awaiting this weekend's world cup. This bit sucks, as when there's back to back racing you have to be careful to recover well, so you end up resting a lot, which is not always great.

Anyway, course has changed a bit since Canada Cup. Some great new technical sections. Course was riding fast yesterday...... until the massive thunderstorm that struck whilst I was out running the course last night. I haven't seen rapids running down a track like that since the infamous K-Loop DH of 2001(?!). Sunny again today so it might dry out. Or not. A few selected pics below for your viewing pleasure.

The 'local' Tuesday night crit in Montreal. Pretty cool set up. Stands, big crowds = Awesome.
All was going to plan for Theirry till some clown chopped him at 50km/hr+. Ouch.
Nic demonstrating what happens when an athlete anxious to race gets almost too rested...
....whilst Cabin contemplates methods to help get to the front of a World Cup XC
Seem's the founding fathers of Quebec City had good taste in beer?
Ever wondered what the front of an XC World Cup race looks like? So does Cabin.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Nic 33rd on World Cup debut

Well Nic's debut on the World stage went pretty well. From a pretty average start spot at the rear of the 70 ish rider grid, she quickly worked her way forward, then rode strongly in some pretty experienced elite company for a final spot of 33rd. Pretty good if you ask me.
just 30 sec off of her quiet target of top 30. That can wait to next week at Bromont.
And Cabin? With a literally dead last start position my main goals in a brutal 6 lap mens race were to a) last at least 4 laps before the 80% rule kicked in.....b) and to pass at least as many people as Nic did.
4 laps later I'd managed that. The first lap bottle neck was ridiculous, and after lap 1 I was in about 103rd and 6min down. I eventually moved up to 77th.... and remembered just how much World Cup racing hurts. Looking forward to Bromont next week with longer climbs that seem to suit me more these days.
Right. Time to sleep. Thanks everyone for your support and good wishes.
Nic practicing circles in the starting pen. Katarina nash was doing it so it seemed like a good idea?!
Mid race. Pushing hard
4 laps... ouch
Cabin post race: "I remember why I gave this up now..."
Happy athlete and Coach. Time for ice-cream now

Monday, July 20, 2009

An ode to Zipties...

It's been a week, so time for an update huh? We've had another very productive week on both the training, and relaxation fronts. We've also had a few bike drama's to deal with that make you appreciate the little things. Like being at home in one place for an extended period, and knowing who to contact to help!

5-6 weeks of heavy use and the MTB's are starting to show the stress. The tech support guys at the world cup are about to be inundated. Luckily they know we are coming. In the meantime, inspired by the Caveman, Cabin has been doing his best MacGuyver as he attempts to live up to the NZ #8 wire legend. Only in these modern time's it's a packet of Zipties and a roll of Duct tape being put to use. Examples are shown below.

In the meantime.... We spent three days in Northeast Vermont riding the Kingdom trails at Burke Mtn. Cabin was smashed from XTERRA but did the training anyway. There's two MTB World Cups coming up to get fast for afterall. So 3hrs or so a day of solid MTB riding, with some key intervals thrown in on the awesome network of trails.

The Kingdom Trails are a unique concept, with almost all the trails traversing private land. 100miles worth in fact! Landowners are happy to oblige as it promotes the area and provides business opportunities in the community. All the trail society ask's is $10 a day, or $40 for the season to access the network. With all $ going back into trail creation/maintainance etc.... Pretty cool ifyou ask me. And something NZ maybe should look at as forest/land access issues arise in the future.

Highlight of the riding was our almost too close for comfort encounteers on the trail with two big angry (actually they were just startled) Moose. Impresive, exciting, and just a little scary when they come crashing through the bush toward you. Unlike the Big Bear we passed within 10m of in Vernon and just ignored us. The tree's were much more interesting apparently.

Currently back in Bromont and have had some great training. Caught up with a few of the Aussie women. Man, they have a tough job this year. Despite World sbeing at home, they need a top 15 at a World Cup (or finish within 10% of winner) to qualify for Worlds. How many of our NZ riders are capable of that? Not many.I know there were a few dissapointed people at home at missing selection after good races at the N-Duro's. But this puts things in perspective.

We are talking World Champs, not just sending the best 6 or 7 kiwi's regardless. I actually think the NZ selectors have done a great job of selecting our strongest riders, capable of performing on the World stage. I know I'm riding well at the moment, but also know I'm not capable right now of stepping up to that World Champs level. The World Champs are about performing. Not about attending afterall.

Anyway... enough ranting. One more set of HARD intervals tommorrow then we're off to Mt Ste Anne mid-week. Will keep you posted. Back to the Zip-Ties...

Nic's Lock-out cable crimp got badly damaged it transit. When it consequently bends to 90 degree under load it doesn't work. Without the DT Service tools, careful placement of Zip-Tie, and Cable braced by packing tape works mint in the meantime!
Cabin's reach adjustment bolt fell out of his Magura's. Not the brakes fault, but it happened. As this is also the pivot for the lever... No brakes. Careful use of Zip-Ties again! Works mint. Actually has recently been modified again to provide a better return action. Jude the Magura tech was impressed.
Okay, so not a lot I can do about this one. Above is one of 6 or so cracks in my rim. Thankfully the NoTubes guys are really helpful and I'll be picking up some new Stan's Race29 wheels in Mt Ste Anne
There's a few other things gone haywire too, but thats another story

Monday, July 13, 2009

XTERRA Northeast Champs

Just capped off a great week down in Vermont with a strong 6th place at the XTERRA Northeast Champs. On a pretty brutal course, I was stoked to finish probably closer than ever to the front of an international XTERRA on limited run/swim training which is definately a great confidence boost heading towards Maui. And I guess proves that we must be doing something right down in NZ?

A fairly standard 1500m swim started things off. Apparently it was raelly fast at the front... not that I ever saw it. In an added novelty, it was non-wetsuit for the pros, and wetsuit for the amatuers who started only 1min behind us. I was pretty stoked to make it past the first bouy before they started passing me.

A brutal 17km point to point MTB that took about 1hr20 climbing to Sugarbush Ski resort followed, then a 'gentle' 10km trail run/come hike/come grovel... Richard Ussher would have been in heaven. Anyway, rode up to 6th, and hung onto that for the run. So a positive end to the week.

We've been lucky enough to be hanging out at the Catamount family centre/mtb Academy. Basically Summer Camp for bikes. Kinda entertaining to observe the goings on from our prime position at Camp headquarters. Nice and relaxing plus great trails on the doorstep (literally).

Also a highlight... Ben and Jerry's. Possibly the best ice cream ever (apologies tip-top) whose factory is nearby. We skipped the tour, and just consumed the free pint containers we lucked into (okay, so Nic sampled them.... Cabin tried to get fat). It's been mint.

Waiting for the delayed start... The Caveman doesn't seem to like his pink cap as much as Cabin?
Possibly the flattest part of the bike course. 1000m vertical to follow....
... which was fine because the run only had 500m+ vert in 10km. Ouch.
Pretty stoked to be done with that one
Look familiar? American Pie summer camp perhaps?
Mmmm. Ice-Cream
Anyone know how this guy get's away with racing Masters?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bromont pics

A few more pics, thanks to Thierry our awesome host/feeder/official photographer...

Mens start, and it looks like I was wrong. I wasn't last, I reckon I can see 3 guys just behind me?!
Nic finishing with a "comfy" gap back to 3rd
Not quite sure why we used white as the base color for our shirts... not looking forward to the washing after this

On the podium at Canada Cup final

More success today for team N-Duro, proving the training is working, and last weekends BC Champs were no fluke as Nic took an awesome 2nd place at the Canada Cup final in Bromont Quebec. Showing good moto skills to elbow past Caroline Villaneuve just 100m before the finish.
Meanwhile Cabin backed it up with a strong 9th in a 60 strong elite mens field. Ironically better than he ever achieved in years gone by when he was actually "serious" about all this stuff.
Heavy rain all week had made an already physically and technically challenging track even harder. Super muddy, the sun came out right before the start. Just in time to moderately dry the mud, making it thicker and stickier. Nice?! So plenty of leg strength required, more than a little running, and some very challenging technical sections.
With a mess up with UCI points, Nic ended up at the back at the start. Was promptly run off the track into tape, and forced to follow through the early part of the lap. Later commenting "Why the hell do they go so bloody slowly in the muddy bits. Whats with that?" Nic forgets her formative MTB'ing at K-Loop was a special "privilage" the impact of which is now showing.
There was also 3 aussie women in the race, and she beat them all soundly, which makes it even better.
Speaking of K-Loop, was great to see another member of the Palmy Massive, one Mr James Rennie representing in the DH with a solid top 20 (in a 100 strong field). His fine spectating skills "get off the brakes Cabin" was inspirational. Maybe.
Cabin did indeed let off the brakes, and promptly made up for a crap start. Near the rear of the grid, he lost plenty on the first lap but moved up from 60th at the start, 30th after lap 1, up to an eventual 9th place, steadily gaining still on the top 5. Seems racing Masters at home in NZ is the secret to preparation he's been missing all these years.
We both got some handy cheques which will help the travel expenses. Or at least pay for some trips to the water park tommorrow, and Canada's Wonderland themepark too.
Nic is starting to get used to this podium thing
First very short dh section on the start loop.... looking more like an MX track
Another bike prep "secret".... Canola oil spray all over the bike for mud. Works mint, and goes well with salads too.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Bonjour' from Bromont...

We landed in Montreal early Thurs & travelled down to the ski village of Bromont. We are now settled in with super freindly & hospitable locals Thierry & Melissa, along with frequent showers of rain. Apparently it has rained alot lately, sure enough we headed up to the trailhead today to find a very muddy track...yayaa! It is the final Canada Cup for 2009 so we expect to be amongst a strong field such as at Canmore. But lets not talk about Canmore too much.

Sure, "its a shame because it would be wicked in the dry" with some fun rock sections and a good hard fast double track switch climb, but its not - it is going to be a mudfest! I like getting covered in muck, we can run too. This is good as Cabin has not done too much run training this week. The mud is thick, deep and hides rocks underneath for a little surprise now an then.

So, the Kenda Nevegals have been put on and we are contemplating not pre-riding on the course tomorrow (weather dependent) as we could do without more clean up & bike servicing. I will crank out some race pace efforts & sharpen up somewhere suitable.

Cabin on the other hand is an idiot, and doesn't have any grippy tyres. So will race on semi-slicks and probably spend tommorrow at Tim Hortons loading up on donuts hoping the extra weight will aid traction on Sunday... Will keep you posted.