The First Woman, Ever, To Repeat As Xterra World Champion!!!

I have to say my second Worlds win was much better than the first. Aside from the fact I actually don’t remember finishing in 2003 (heat exhaustion and unconsciousness met me at the finish), this time was special because I had an entourage of family including my dad, Ross, his mom and our great friends Murray and Kirsten, a legion of fellow Canadian competitors and an amazing number of supporters congratulating me after the race. To be the first woman to repeat World Championship wins and to have so many people genuinely psyched for me is a feeling I truly cannot describe. It was unbelievable the amount of noise we Canadians made at the awards dinner for athletes on the podium, not just for me, Brent, Peter and Mike, but for all the Canadians who took top spots in their age groups. It was special to win during Xterra’s tenth birthday which meant an extra special party with fireworks and the biggest attendance on record. I had a fantastic race, rode an incredible bike split, and finished not even realizing there was someone coming for me. The race was definitely exciting… Continue reading “The First Woman, Ever, To Repeat As Xterra World Champion!!!”

Crested Butte Colorado – Career Breakthrough At Altitude!

It is hard for me even to believe that this is the FIRST race in my 11 years of racing road, mountain bike and triathlon that I have won a race at altitude. Incredible! Even when I was a favorite on the Canadian National Mountainbike series in the 90s I continued to falter at altitude, until now! What made a difference? Well, obviously three years of training with a Hypoxico altitude tent made a difference, as I have steadily improved at the high altitude races, but I think the fact that this year I MUST win at altitude to finish strong in the National Series has motivated me to push a little past the pain, and to prepare with scientific rigor. This was the reason that I went to my first Xterra Points Series race in Colorado, put on by the dynamic duo of Ashley Burt and Tina Kempin, both of the Crested Butte Bank, which sponsored and hosted the race. I wanted to have a race at a similar altitude to the race in Keystone, and Crested Butte fit the bill, over 9000 feet above sea level with similar race distance. I went to the race at the worst day of acclimation, after a week of pretty much sitting on my butt doing nothing, felt flat as a pancake, and busted ass to get the win. It was very satisfying. There were two very good locals there, Janae Pritchett and Jennifer Smith (known for NORBA racing), who are fully acclimated and ready for battle on their home turf, so I had some serious competition. This was very good for me, and the race was likely more difficult than the course at Keystone, so I feel like I had a good taste of what will be required at our last series stop before the finals. I had a fantastic week at the race, hosted by the awesome Burt family (the killer "B"s), so read on to hear about how cool Gunnison and Crested Butte, Colorado are… Continue reading “Crested Butte Colorado – Career Breakthrough At Altitude!”

Part 2: The Epic Of Keystone

So in our continuing adventure, one hour from crossing the line at mountainbike nationals, Melanie is in a Ford Tahoe cruising at max speed toward Quebec regional airport on her next installment of the weekend’s itinerary ? the US Central Xterra Championships in Keystone, Colorado.

My coach, Houshang, deposited me at Departures with plenty of time to get a boarding pass, be frisked for a fork at Security, and hop on my turboprop jalopy headed for Montreal. Then I would pass Customs and jump on another turboprop jalopy headed for Chicago, this time two hours of legs by my ears. After about an hour layover, I was finally seated on a packed 737 on my way to Denver, my final stop…

Continue reading “Part 2: The Epic Of Keystone”