Thursday, May 23, 2013

Albstadt World Cup #1

It has been an exciting week in Europe and I think it's time for an update! We flew into Frankfurt on Tuesday and drove to our race accomodation in Jungingen (just outside of Albstadt). It was a long day with an overnight flight so we were off to bed early for a solid 11.5hr sleep.
Hotel Post in Jungingen
Our awesome breakfasts
Team chocolate fondue
Our favourite little bakery in Jungingen
Artistic Bottle Holder
Getting onto the course Wednesday was pretty exciting as I had never been to Albstadt before. The course had been wet earlier in the week but a lot of gravel was put down and everything was rideable. The climbing was almost all on steep roads or doubletrack and the descents had some slick corners and rocks, making for lots of all-out climbing and tired, slippery descending.
The forecast was calling for rain for most of the weekend, but we lucked out on Saturday with 20 degrees and sunny skies. My race went fairly smooth, moving up a little each lap and finishing in 20th position. It was a little hard to know what to expect at my first European U23 World Cup, but now I feel even more ready for the race this weekend in Nove Mesto Na Morave, Czech Republic.
The town of Albstadt
Castle (way off in the distance)

Bike got a little muddy this week

Road out of Jungingen


After the elite men's and women's races on Sunday, we headed to Nuremberg for a couple of nights before crossing over into Czech Republic. We got in an easy exploration ride on Tuesday and headed to the old city Tuesday night for a team dinner.
St. Sebaldus Church

We are now in Saar, Czech Republic and looking forward to World Cup #2 this weekend!
Rockgarden on the Czech course


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

An Exciting Couple of Weeks in Ontario!

The first home race is always pretty exciting and nerve-wracking, as no one is really sure what to expect out of their bodies and their competition. My first race back at home was the Ontario Cup at Woodnewton, and this year the Ontario Cycling Association put on a 'U23 Eliminator' race on Saturday, which added to the excitement of the weekend. It was my first eliminator race so I wasn't sure what to expect, but it ended up being really fun and a good way to get activated for Sunday's XC. I finished 2nd in the final and was happy to get a chance to try an eliminator race before racing the World Cup Eliminators in Europe later this month.
I was feeling good going into Sunday's XC race and was keen to defend my win at last year's Woodnewton O-Cup. We got off to a quick start with Cindy Montambault, Laura Bietola and I getting a gap on the rest of the field in the first lap. Laura was strong on the climbs and after 2 laps it was just her and I at the front. On Lap 3 Laura got a gap on me and I couldn't chase back on before the finish. Overall it was a great weekend with two 2nd places and I am feeling confident going into the first 2 World Cups next week.

Trek Canada's U23s
Elite Women's Podium

Last weekend I also got the chance to help out with the 8th annual Ontario Shredders U15 Devo MTB camp at Hardwood Ski and Bike. I have helped out with this camp before, but I can honestly say this was the best group of kids ever! We had over 60 kids attend the camp and over 10 coaches and helpers, by far the biggest camp yet. The future of mountain biking in Ontario is looking bright!

To top it all off, I recieved my brand new Superfly race bike! I've gotten out on it a few times and I can't say enough great things about it. It's light, it's stiff, it's fast! The new 896gram frame, SRAM XX and top of the line Bontrager parts make it by far the lightest mountain bike I've ever had. Thank you to Trek Canada, SRAM and ESI for tricking out our rides!
I am off to Europe Monday with Team Canada to race World Cups 1&2 in Germany and Czech. I can't wait! Check back for some Euro updates. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Back Home to a 2013 Trek Domane!!!

I had an absolutely amazing trip to New Zealand this winter. There isn't a whole lot more to say, the riding was amazing, the weather was amazing and the people were amazing. I can't thank the Peters family enough for welcoming me into their home and making me feel like part of the family. I enjoyed every day and I hope to be back again next winter!
It was sad to have to leave the sun and beautiful weather in NZ, but coming home to this beauty made it a little better. A HUGE thank you to Trek Canada and SRAM for tricking out my new Domane 5.2. I took it out for it's first ride today and it felt amazing. I wanted to test out the IsoSpeed technology that helps give the bike a much more comfortable ride, so I was sitting down through every pothole and bump I could find. Before my ride I was unsure if there would be a big difference between it and the Madone, but the bike soon proved me wrong. The decoupler at the seat mast-top tube junction gave the bike enough give when sitting down over bumps to make the ride much, much smoother. I love it!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Weekend of Riding/ Exploring Lake Taupo Area

This past weekend we decided to take a little trip down towards Taupo to check out some more trails, before the sad day that I have to head home. Saturday we drove to the Waihaha track, a techy hiking/riding/hunting trail, with some steep climbs and some pretty amazing views. 

After a day on the bike, we stopped by the Tokaanu Thermal Pools for a soak before heading to Dirk's Aunt and Uncle's bach in Turangi for the night.
On Sunday we checked out the Tongariro National Trout Centre. The centre has a hatchery that produces a few thousand trout per year that are used to stock the kid's fishing pond, as well as a backup in case of a natural disaster (like an eruption).

For our Sunday ride we drove to the other side of the Pureroa Forst Park to ride the Timber Trail. The whole trail is 85km long and is mostly wide and smooth, but has some amazing suspension bridges, and some really beautiful views. 

I have less than a week until I have to head home to the snow and rain, but I will be enjoying my last few days here in the sun, and keeping my fingers crossed that spring will arrive in Ontario soon!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fishing, Zorbing,Thermal Valley and Wheelie Action!

With a shorter rest/recovery week I had a chance to get out and about (Canadian accent) in Rotorua and explore.
We headed out to Lake Okataina for a fish on Saturday, but the fish gods weren't smiling on us. Dirk hooked a small rainbow trout right away, so we were sure that it would be a good day on the lake. Turned out we were a little over-confident and didn't get another bite all day. It wasn't all bad though as we got to spend the day trolling around and enjoying the views.

Rockslide on the steep hill
Mount Tarawera
I had zorbing on my list of to-dos while in Rotorua, so on Tuesday Dirk and I decided to try it out. We did our first ride down together down the straight run, and then each did another ride down the Zig-zag. We decided to do the "Zydro" where you aren't harnessed in and there is water in the orb, so it's a lot like splashing around in a washing machine while rolling down a hill. (not that I've tried this) When we got to the bottom of the hill, we met up with a German film crew who were making a 3D movie about New Zealand. They needed some footage of people zorbing so we ended up being volunteer movie stars for an hour! 

The zorb hill

Down the zig-zag track

We took some time on Thursday to walk up into the Whakarewarewa forest to get a view of the Pohutu Geyser and the thermal valley. The geyser didn't put a big show while we were watching, but it can erupt up to 30m.  
Some steam coming from the Pohutu geyser.
The thermal valley with Mount Ngongotaha and Rotorua in the background

Pohutu Geyser

Later Thursday we took our bikes across the road and had some fun practicing our wheelies! Mine aren't exactly impressive yet but they're coming along!

More adventures to come!