Taxco is our base until the end of the trip.I didn’t really know anything about Taxco before coming here…we have been from place to place to place so I hadn’t even googled it. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised, it is beautiful. Upon arriving we went and did a massive ‘course walk’ with the promoters, policia, government officials, emergency services…basically anyone who is involved…I say ‘course walk’ because it isn’t really a course walk, we just saw the route. The boys have been busy building away…there is so much to do to make it a fun but safe course. I think Witek is going to do a good job on this course. Urban races have a reputation for being notoriously badly built and unsafe…things break, stuff isn’t padded, routes aren’t clear, lips and angles are far from correct…anyway, I think he will bring a lot of insight into this emerging discipline.This is where the Taxco urban race will be and I am so excited for all of my racing friends to roll into town. That is one of the coolest things about bikes…no matter where you go, you have friends…friends from home, friends from abroad and new friends.I love it!
I wasn’t totally recovered but I made the trek up to Stevens Pass for the last stop on the US Grand Prix. Even though I didn’t feel well, there were precious points and a title on the line.
This park is pretty awesome, wish it was here when I was growing up…would have been pretty awesome as it is only 1.5 hours from my moms. Anyway, I wish I could say I rode the park to its potential, but I didn’t, it was more damage control than anything. I was just wiped out. So tired still.
I managed a 4th place, quite a ways back but it was good enough to seal it up and walk away with the title!
I made it to National Champs! Pretty cool venue, first time here. The track was tricky…pretty flat and rock so kinda hard to carry speed but I did what I could. I ended up 5th in DH and 2nd in Slalom.
I was really sick this week and I was really struggling. Basically I would go out and ride and blow absolutely all my energy and then I could not move at all. I was coughing up a storm, I puked after slalom and my body just couldn’t regulate it’s temperature. Not cool.
Highland Bike Park. Never been here before but I will definitely be coming back! I loved this park…soooo fun. I felt really good on this course. It has taken me awhile to really feel good on my bike. Been struggling a lot this season but this week definitely felt like a breakthrough week…I was just having so much fun. I did so many laps in the park!!
I wish I could say my race run reflected how I was feeling but I can’t. I managed a 3rd with a few really big mistakes. Oh and some dude ran right out in front of me in the track. Oh well. You win some, you lose some. :)
Highland has a pretty awesome vibe. Small little park, bikes only. Unlike most every other place we visit, Highland is not a winter resort so the whole place revolves around bikes. Rad trails, one of the most chill lodges ever, a foam pit, an air bag, lots of people camping. Two thumbs up. Do yourself a favor and come here!
All I can say is World Cups are TOUGH. Mentally draining. I think this was one of those races whch was kind of a game changer. Lots of people stepped it up and lots of people got hurt…it’s not so fun to race when your friends are dropping like flies. :(
I crashed in qualis to so that was that. There just so happened to be a Gravity East race the same weekend at Windham…dubbed the citizens race. Anyway, instead of just hanging about, I, and a bunch of others decided to race. It was a super fun, low key race. Fun course, well executed. The times were pretty tight too. Vaea, myself and Jojo were all within one second. Tight racing, thats how I like it. Wish I was on the top and not in the middle but I will take it. :)
I have said it once and I will say it again…World Cups are tough. Mentally, physically, emotionally. Monte Sainte Anne was no exception. Going into a World Cup feeling like you are not riding to your full potential makes it even worse in my opinion.
I think that I let this course get to me at the course walk. It is not like there was anything exceptionally difficult about this course, but the speed, oh the speed. From the the time you drop out of the gate, it is full on. The key being to stay off the brakes and hold on. Much easier said that done. On a technical course it is much easier to break the course into sections and find your flow and rhythm, each section building on the next. Here, you just had to hold on.
I wasn’t riding well from my first practice run onward and as a result my weekend ended with qualifying. Bummer.
(I got to go cheer Lea and the XC girls on for their race which was so fun!)
My first race of my east coast adventure was the US Grand Prix at Sugarbush. Since I was staying with the Davison family and they only live about 40 minutes away from Sugarbush, Jojo and I just stayed at the house and drove over for practice….this was sooooo nice. It was great to practice and then get to go ‘home’ and hang out with my favorite family in Vermont.
This was an interesting race for me, I have been struggling to get up to speed this year and this race gave me flashes of that speed. I wasn’t there, but I saw it…that’s a good start…and inspiring. I was also curious to see how my shoulder would hold up. A few weeks before I left I was training at the gym…just stretching and I dislocated my shoulder. It was the wierdest thing ever, I did nothing crazy, it was just the angle. I have injured my shoulder many times, but that was the first dislocation. It was scary but I tried to strengthen it as much as I could before I left and it seemed to pay off, it felt pretty good! I just had fun riding my bike and trying to find my flow this weekend. On the day I ended up in 3rd with quite a few mistakes…which is frustrating but it is what it is. At least there is a lot of room for improvement right?!?
This was my 3rd year in a row racing at the Pan American Championships. I won in 2010 in Guatemala. Pan Am’s are pretty cool, basically it is the continental championship for North and South America. One thing I have noticed over the past few years is that the tracks are pretty sketchy. It is a hard race to do as your first real race of the year. Tracks are just built really differently. Wild…best word to describe it.
I have met so many great people racing Pan Ams, it is a different crowd than we usually see in North America or Europe. Since Pan Ams is held so early in the year, it is almost always in central or South America.
I met Lorena at anti-doping in 2010. We sat there waiting to pee for UCI and have been friends since. Anyway, Lorena is from Mexico City and Pan Ams were held in Puebla, Mexico this year (2 hours from Mexico City) so I flew down early to hang out. And we picked up Vero (for Chile) so it was the three of us…sooooo fun. Traveling is one of the best parts about riding and racing so you might as well make the most of it right? i think so.
Lorena’s family was seriously incredible. I felt like part of the family from the time I stepped foot in thier house. I ate so much delicious food, saw so many cool things and met a lot of fun people. And my spanish got wayyyy better. Lorena was really the only person that spoke english so just being around spanish 24/7 it all started to come back to me which was really cool. I was stumbling with the basics when I got there and by the end, enough came back that I was able to have real conversations.
I wish that I could report to you that I came away with another title, but I didn’t. :( It did go to Jackie Harmony though so that rad so the USA brought it home. 2nd one for Jackie in a row, she’s on a roll! We will see about 3 in a row…hahaha. :) Seriously though, I had a great time hanging out with Jackie and really got to know her on this trip…she is a great girl with a lot of talent and drive.
I just want to give a massive shout out to Lorena and the Drumondo family…my trip would not have been the same with out this kind family!
Just wrapped up the first national round of the year up in Port Angeles, WA. It was so great to be back in the PNW to smell some fresh air and catch up with my original crew. I grew up in Washington and it is where I started riding so it is my happy place. Familiar faces, trails, dirt, sights, smells… :)
The trails in Port Angeles are sooo fun, been out there quite a few times over the years for racing and coaching. The race track was no different. After my first run down I was like yesssssssss I am home. That is the kind of riding I just love. Fast, flowy, good dirt, a little tech mixed in. I did so many runs over the weekend. First day like 4, second day like 5 or 6, qualifying day 9 (!!) and finals day 2. I just couldn’t stop riding.
Saturday (qualifying day) I did way too many and almost got myself hurt. hahah. Check out the tree video. I was so tired and got off-line in a run and slammed the tree and then had to go up for qualifying when I was beyond tired. Not the smartest move.
I ended up 5th on the day, stoked to make it on the podium. My run had a lot of room for improvement as I had a pretty big mistake which cost me quite a bit of time but I will take it. There were a lot of fast girls out there this weekend so to get on the podium is great. Barely, I should add. By .05 of a second. :) Jill 1st, Miranda 2nd, Holly 3rd (watch out for this girl!!), JoJo and me.
For the boys, Stevie Smith brought it home for Canada, so stoked for him. The boys field was stacked, could be a World Cup podium anywhere. Stevie 1st, Gwiny 2nd, Mick 3rd, Brycland 4th, Neko 5th.
We had like 4+ hours between our AM training run and finals on Sunday and I was really bored and I made a sweet video…should be done with it this weekend, you’re gonna love it :)
Sea Otter has come and gone once again. I feel like it totally sneaks up on me every year. You are doing your thing all winter and then all of the sudden it is the middle of April and bike season has officially begun. I kinda like it like that. Anyway, it was a great festival once again. Busy as. I raced slalom and downhill, spent a bunch of time at the SRAM Ladies Lounge, did a signing at Camelbak, went to the Strength in Numbers premiere and caught up with all my friends and sponsors. Fun times. Busy times. I felt like I just left Vegas at the end of it all.
I wish there were more slalom races, it is seriously so fun. Everyone loves it…racers and fans alike. I had a mechanical in qualifying and ended up qualifying right near the back which meant I was going to have my work cut out for me from round one. In slalom you are put into a bracket according to you qualifying position so first races last, all the way down and it goes out from there. Anyway, I raced Jojo (Joanna Petterson) in round one. Last year I crashed in qualifying and she took me out in the first round, this year we battled it out and I beat her. :) Good fun. Anyway, I made it to the round of 8 and got knocked out by Junior World Champ Manon Carpenter who went on to get 3rd. Jill slayed it all night long. Jill 1st, Buhly 2nd, Manon 3rd. On the boys side, Kyle Strait did America proud and won it…sooooo awesome.
I got my butt kicked in the downhill. I have so much fun riding the track and doing massive trains but racing it is another story. I have been working on my pedaling a lot this off-season and I am feeling pretty strong but to be honest I was just beat and the girls totally out rode me. Not a whole lot in the tank come Sunday after a big week.
I am so excited to add Camelbak to the sponsor lineup for 2012. They make some really great products, they are based in the Bay Area and they people are rad.
Just before Sea Otter we went out and shot some photos which you should be seeing in the near future on the website, ads and/or a tradeshow booth near you. Keep yer eye out.
Camelbak treated me very well at Sea Otter. In addition to keeping me running in heat with delicious Elixir’s, they rented a totally bad ass house right on the beach. it was a very nice place to unwind after the crazyness of Sea Otter. Pretty cool for all the boys too, after working the booth all day they got to blow off some steam with a sunset surf session.
The Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival is growing fast. More people, more sponsors, more legit. Pretty cool to see here in the SC…or Aptos I should say. This is the 3rd year going for the festival and in addition to the Pumptrack, Dirt Jump and Short Track races/contests, they added a Super Enduro. Overall the festival has a great vibe, really laid back, lots of vendors, lots of food, beer, the Camp of Champions air bag. Fun times.
I have never done a Super Enduro but I decided I ought to have a go at it as it was the first legally sanctioned race in Demonstration Forest and Nisene Marks. The race was capped at 50 because it was the first event of its kind in the area…stackedddd field. Huge step for mountain biking here in Santa Cruz County. Basically the format of the race was three climbing stages, three downhill stages. The climbing stages were not timed per say but you had to finish them in an alloted amount of time. The downhill stages were timed and a combo of those three stages gave you the winner. I was sooo nervous for this race, I mean there was nothing scary on any of the courses but it was more the unknown. Wasn’t sure how to pace myself, didn’t really know where I was going. I seriously had so much fun, it was like a giant group ride with a few timed bits mixed in. When all was said and done it was like 25+ miles and 5000+ feet of climbing. Can’t say I did too well, I really had no idea where I was going and I found it hard to keep speed, get in the right gears or anticipate much but I just went with it. At least I got the first one out of the way and I know what to expect for next time. I think this is something we are going to see a lot more of in the near future. :)