Slogging Through The Sea Otter Mudfest

 

My first race this season was the Sea Otter Classic, mountain bike racing’s annual pilgrimage to Monterey, California. This race is a big festival with downhill, bmx, dirt jumping, road racing and cross country mountain bike racing mixed in with some fun rides and a big consumer trade show. It is a gigantic circus at the Laguna Seca Race Track where one of the toughest challenges is to find the start and get there on time while riding through thousands of spectators. Mayhem is always on the menu.

I was racing the stage race which was done in Omnium format so each stage carried points rather than time to determine the overall GC. However, the biggest race was the cross country on the final day since it carried UCI points which eventually will determine who goes to the Olympics for their country so most athletes were focused on this final day. There was a star-studded female field with reigning Olympic and world champion Gunn Rita Dahle, cyclo-cross world champion Sabine Spitz, Commonwealth Games Bronze medalist Kiara Bisaro, three-time world champion Alison Sydor, and two-time Olympian Jimena Florit (who has left us to go back to mountain bike with Luna Chix!). I was super excited to test my fitness against the best to see where I am at in this early stage of the season.

 

Although not every race was a great one, I did have at least one trip to the podium and I got some excellent training out of the super marathon of a cross country. I have to send out a big thank you to my bicycling sponsors because this weekend was very hard on my equipment. Thank you to Shimano for the overhaul and to Orbea, Maxxis, Fox Racing Shox and even Saris for your help this weekend (that pump was handy). I am really fortunate to have you guys to help me as well as my coach Houshang Amiri, who was there to see the good, the bad, and the very ugly….Thanks and a shout out go to all this year’s partners (who are all in the Sponsor 2006 section!) but especially Saucony, Nature’s Path, Orbea, Sundog, Shimano, Maxxis, Fox, Aquaman, Gu, Profile, Titec, Fizik, Powertap, Powercranks, Computrainer, Kinesys and Rider’s Cycles for building a top notch machine for this weekend!

 

 

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The Tucson Triathlon Training Camp

The past week I have been training with the Canadian national triathlon team down in Tucson, Arizona. This is my first trip to Tucson and I have to say this place kicks ass for training. This camp has a great vibe and I am so appreciating Triathlon Canada for setting this program up for us because I couldn’t be benefiting more from this experience. Of course, I am getting my butt kicked daily in the pool, am working super hard on the bike and I am running on hilly, sandy trails so I am almost too tired to laugh at the goofy SNL dvds we are watching all the time. It is so great to get away from home to focus 100% on training because in this kind of environment it is so much easier to recover from hard training. My program for these three weeks has been very ambitious and I am happy with how things are going but it hasn’t all been easy sailing. This week is completely different from my cycling training camp I did three weeks ago at home so a lot of new stimuli have been challenging to adapt to.

I spend the winter doing weeks of big cycling mileage to push my base up and prepare myself for harder and more intense work as the season approaches. The point of this camp was to push to a higher load than I have ever done but keep it more balanced and triathlon-focused rather than mostly cycling. It is great to increase my swim volume because more time in the water will inevitably lead to better swimming. However, I wanted to keep the volume and intensity of my riding high to help me prepare for riding hard at Sea Otter in three weeks and at all the Xterra races this year. I will give you a weekly breakdown of exactly what I did this week and why I did it…

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First Victory For a New Season!!

This past weekend was the first race in the US Xterra Championships Series in Temecula, California, a venue about half way between Palm Springs and San Diego. The course reminded me of a cross between the Desert Nova Classic in Arizona and Sea Otter in Monterey. A mix of sand traps and high speed hardpack, with 7km of the 11km run comprised of energy sapping sand to run in. I was super conservative with my expectations for this first race of the season. I had no idea where everyone else was coming into 2005, and anyone who has read my last few articles knows that I have been down for the count struggling to get racing form. I wasn’t sure where I was going to measure up but I ended up on top and yes, it felt damn good! It is motivating to have success after hard work to get back on form, especially after such a frustrating spring. I now am home training for some mountain bike races in Eastern Canada before I head over for the European Xterra Tour and I am happy to have some confidence to travel with…. Continue reading “First Victory For a New Season!!”

I Thought I Would Be Faster ???

Okay, the mystery of a fast bike split has just been solved by me? train specific!!! Well, knowing that sounds really lame, the solution really is that simple. Just because you consider yourself a strong cyclist does not mean you will blaze the bike split at any triathlon. How many incredible roadies never quite made it in mountain bike? How many rock star triathletes have not lived up to potential at Xterra? These aren’t indications of lack of talent, just lack of specificity. So for all of you mountain bikers in the audience wanting to time trial better, I have learned some things which may help you?.. Continue reading “I Thought I Would Be Faster ???”

Problems At The Season Opener

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H.L. Mencken

I’m flying back from the Sea Otter Classic reflecting on one of the worst races of my career, trying to evaluate objectively without being overly emotional about this experience. I didn’t really want to go and do this race, knowing that I was sick, on antibiotics, and generally not feeling great. My decision was to go anyway and see if it came around. It didn’t, and now that the race is over I have to try and take something away from this experience that is positive. When you don’t go well it is tough to pull the good stuff out of your races, but I think it is important to always learn something from bad performances. I made some decisions over the past few weeks that were likely wrong, but now that they have been made, how to move forward and go on to the next challenge….

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