Monday, March 31, 2014

Bonelli, Fontana US Cup Re-cap, San Fran, Lizards and adventure dates with my bike

Winter training is officially over, and racing has begun! The past few weeks have been full of travel, racing and lots of learning experiences.  

The first two races of the season; Bonelli US Cup and Fontana US Cup were definitely difficult, but I took away a lot of knowledge and more experience from each race.  I had some injuries, broken chains and crashes, but I am happy with how I am feeling on the bike.  I am noticing the past year on the trails really playing a major factor in my technical skills and having less fear this season descending. Coming into race season last year I had vague expectations of what would occur, and how I would perform in regards to the whole mountain bike scene. This year it felt great to have some familiarity with the courses, competition and race strategy going into the races.  

Bonelli US Cup XCT was a difficult day on the bike to say the least. I had a fabulous start and I was right up in the top ten of an HC field for the first lap and a half plus stat loop- I also reached a new max heart rate which I paid for about five minutes later. It was challenging to have blown and crashed but such is life. I took away a lot from the race and realized again which strategic style of racing suits me best, and created ways to implement that into my race plan for the next weekend.   The short track the next day was really fast and hard with a bummed shoulder, but I felt like I got my race legs underneath me fast.

Molly, Peter and I had a great week staying in Chino Hills. I did quite a bit of exploring on the bike throughout the 909 and East of Los Angeles.

Carbon Canyon Road 

We found an amazing coffee shop by where we were staying that was run by a Romanian cycling family. They were super friendly and the coffee was the best I have had!

The following weekend was Fontana US Cup. Fontana is a really fun, flowy, sandy course to ride, and I honestly had one of the most fun experiences on a course while racing.  The race virtually climbed for 12 minutes and then descended for seven minutes.  I decided to start off this race with more pacing goals in mind- which for those of you who know me well is a very hard thing to do being so competitive!  Knowing I can start with the best- even that I know I’d blow- makes it difficult to hold back and save myself.   It ended up paying off, and I was making up huge ground on the following laps.  Halfway through the second last lap I made a poor shift through the sand and I ended up snapping my chain. I was of course disappointed but I have finally learnt over the past years of injury to take away the best points from the race, and let the others go-or take them as tools to learn with. 

Mitch during Fontana Short Track 

Peter during Fontana XCST

Getting ready before the start

View of the 909 from the top of the climb at Fontana

Rough area of the course- there were shopping karts and scary dogs!

A bit of 909 exploration with Pete

Another shot of the Fontana course

I now have a lot to practice, fitness to gain and more fun riding bikes to be had! 

Molly and I are now up in Menlo Park, California which is just South of San Francisco- right in Sanford Park area. We are staying with wonderful friends/host housing family with two awesome kids! I have been beat at h.o.r.s.e and many other made up basketball games by a six year old all week- basketball was the only sport I could never really do!  I have done some amazing exploring on my bike this past week and I have one more week to see even more.  We are heading down to Monterey for Sea Otter this coming weekend and I am really looking forwards to it- one of my favorite places to be!

I know its a goofy photo- but I held the camera up and burst out laughing- true emotion caught!

I have been exploring on an awesome commuter around Sanford Uni

There has been SOOO much rain here, one day I was soft and rode the rollers

Amazing one lane roads and redwoods on Tunitas Pass- absolutely breathaking

I turned around on the coastal route and was caught by surprise of this view!!

I came across a scary sign...I did learn how to stand up to mountain lions

I found some awesome salamander newts...

Which I learnt a day later they were very poisonous- even to touch as they secrete toxins. They are the most poisonous of newts. (  Scary. 

Page Mill Road climb- An hour up! It was freezing at the top

The kids I am staying with wanted cookies so I whipped up a batch in 10 mins from scratch and were awesome. There mom was probably happy they had no sugar, they're pleasantly wild at all times of the day

I seem to be having more fun on my bike every day, and there is not much more I can want!


Monday, February 24, 2014

More from the 'nard

A lot of things are coming to an end for me at the beginning of this week, but a lot of new adventures ahead.  I have put in a few really solid days and weeks on the bike in the last while in California with some awesome people. I have been able to explore new areas on the bike, and over-come some pretty big days that I never thought I would get through.  I baked up a batch of awesome ride cookies which also saved my legs, and stomach on the long days. Think coconut flour, dates, vanilla, coconut flakes, cocoa-coffee grinds, pecans and a small amount of dark chocolate. 

 I am happy that I now have some rest for a few days, and I am more excited than I was a couple weeks ago when I glanced at my calendar of racing I have coming ahead of me.  With a long off season this past fall, filled with not as much activity to try and heal my back, then off the bike activity, full time work and full time online school, I started to become worried where I would be come winter and come the first set of races. I still, no doubt, have that anxious feeling to see how I preform in just a few short weeks at Bonelli US Cup- but I am feeling a bit more grounded and confident after a good block.  I can never be fully satisfied with where I am at- but I guess that makes me the type of athlete I am- always with lots of fight.    

Good news too- I was the only one this past weekend on the long rides not to complain of a sore back...CRAZY I know!  I am so excited. I know it may not be perfect yet, but a year, two years, three years and four years ago I would never have even got through a weekend of 12 hard hours on the bike and no pain. I could even wake up this morning and touch my knees- yes, that in the past has not be common.  

A couple of my favorite ride loops that I have done this past weekend are here and here

I took a good sun-nap while waiting for a re-group at the top of Gibraltar. I luckily had sun screen as those rays were hot!

I have also left the little yellow house on Silver Strand for now as well, but I am sure I will be back there. It was a cozy spot to stay for sure- being only a block from the beach and a Mexican burrito hut was definitely an added bonus!

 I have got some great tan lines going on. 

Bought an awesome mug in Santa Barbara.

Now time in these off days to have some fun with cooking and baking.

Onto more exciting things so stay tuned, and check back for racing updates March 13th!


Monday, February 3, 2014

It's been three weeks already

Almost three weeks have past here in sunny California, and they have been really good.  I have had some really great rides on some fabulous routes and have put some good elevation into my legs; but I need and want a lot more.  Glad I have a full winter of training and racing ahead to let me get to where I need to be!

I've made a couple of good soups.
Chicken and rice

curried-turkey meatball squash soup

We had a great chili-nacho Super Bowl party yesterday after a great mountain bike ride in Ojai.   Its simply breath taking every time I get to the top of an hour long climb and look down.  I didn't actually pay attention to the football last night, but friends and food are better.

Lots of exciting things coming up in the next few weeks. New places, new training buddies and a lot of learning to be done.
                                                            Lake Casitas View 

Sycamore Canyon forest fire remains 

Broke a buckle on my shoe on a crazy descent; so a hair elastic held it together 

View from the top of Stunt climb

For other posts from here in the 'nard check out Peters, Evans and Genevieves blogs.

All for now


Friday, January 17, 2014

The start to 2014

Another year is among us, and another season of Mountain Biking has begun.  I am super excited to be racing for Trek Canada once again, and I am looking forwards to all the races and training with my team.

With this past off season full of many amazing adventures, like running my first half marathon, working with Lululemon and meeting a lot of new friends, I have left Toronto for a few months to head south to California right now.  I am super excited for what this winter will bring me in terms of fitness, development and learning, and I am looking to push myself every day on and off the bike to become a better rider and athlete!

Flying into California was great.  I flew over Colorado and saw snow capped mountains, and only minutes later I was right over top the Grand Canyon (which I have never seen, and let me tell you, from an airplane is quite amazing!) I couldn't get the best photo as the airline lady was on me about using my phone.

Yesterday was my first ride in Oxnard, and there was so much to take in. Hot weather of plus 30 (!!!!), riding through sand with picturesque backgrounds of mountains and I am able to walk out of my doorstep a few meters right onto the beach!  Lots of Canadian athletes down here this year which is fantastic too.

Now between riding and training, cooking, doing yoga, reading and drawing, I will have lots of time to update my blog, so please, keep checking back if you want to know what I am up to!


Trek Canada announces the 2014 roster!

Check out the link below to find the Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team Roster for 2014.
I am super excited and grateful to be representing Trek Canada for what will be another fantastic season filled with great races, continued learning and fun with new and old teammates.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Genuine Health

I am happy to announce a new partnership with myself and Genuine Health!  I am very excited about this, as sports nutrition is so important to me!  I am going to be an ambassador for the Genuine Health Company!

Stay tuned for updated posts and events with Genuine Health!

Check out their website here!


Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront (STWM) Half Marathon

I am FINALLY recovered from the Soctiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon. It was an amazing experience and here it is all summed up for your pleasure or interest;

On Saturday Oct. 20th I ran my first ever half marathon- STWM. I was really excited but nervous as I was sick the weeks prior, so I didn't get the best chance to prepare. I had enough runs in me though to know that I need to listen to music to stay focused, I need to wear thin socks and have short toenails, and that my cycling/transitioning speed skater thighs don't mix with short shorts and sweaty conditions. Chaffing=OUCH.

On the morning of the race it was pretty chilly. Thank You to Lululemon for promo-ing a Run Swiftly LS shirt for me, it worked great and it was the perfect shirt to run in. It was great to run with some other LULU's as well:):)

 I started in the Red corral, the first one, so a lot of people whizzed past me right off the start.  I found it difficult not to get lost in the pace of others. I knew what time I would be happy with at the end of the day, so I tried to stick to my own pace times for each kilometer.

It didn't start off good, with collarbone cramps, sore hipflexors, but I eventually forgot about them.  I was absolutely blown away with the amount of people that not only raced (25,000) but the amount of people cheering and supporting! There were over 60 countries represented, and at about kilometer 8 I got to see them going the other way, past the turn around! PS Canada did amazing in both Men and Women, and lots of records were set.

Around km 11-16 I had THE worst sharp stabbing pains in my stomach. I tried to push through, then stopped, ran, stopped again, and got mad at myself because I am too competitive to just run for fun- I have to beat certain people's times!  I stopped a bunch, a total of 4 minutes, but it allowed me to run very hard in the last 4-5km. I tried to catch as many people as I could.  I ended up running to a 1:51:24- I wanted a 1:45 but hey, good enough for the first one- well maybe the 'last one ever' as I loudly said in my mind when I crossed the finish.

I barely made it home after that- Walk 50m, sit on a bench, walk 25m sit on a bench. I think I sat on every rock, stone, piece of concrete and bench there was all the way to the subway station. Once off the subway the 100m walk home was so difficult I didn't think I would make it.  I couldn't make it up the stairs walking, so I crawled.

The next day getting up basically wasn't an option. I tried to get myself out of the bed, stood on two legs and then crashed to the floor.  At about 2pm, just in time to do a 8hr shift at work, I finally learned to stand, and walk a bit again, dragging my feet like a sloth.

It took a few days before I could lift my leg an inch off the ground or make it up stairs, but I am finally good, and back training on my bike! Wahhhhooo.

Went to Barrie Baseball Cross race today and watched Taylor suffer in the cold weather and sleet.

On a really exciting note as well- The draft schedule for Canadian Races in 2014 was posted today. SO great to see Winnipeg on the calendar for cross nats in November 2014!!

Busy with school work and training, so until next time,