It has been an interesting season, to say the least. Nagging injury, challenging race conditions, coaching successes and some remarkable riding rounded out the summer. With a couple months left to ride before the snow falls in the Kootenays, I’m looking forward to enjoying the finest “brown pow” of the season.
The sun did finally come out at MSA, but not till days after the race.
Following my Rubberhead Enduro Race in Rossland, I travelled to Quebec to compete in the second Canadian National Enduro Championship (CNEC) series race at Mont Sainte Anne. Amid enjoying the Quebec culture, Montreal, Quebec City and the quaint and historic communities along the St. Lawrence River, I managed a couple training days on the rough and slippery stages at MSA. The riding is enjoyable in a different, rattle-your-teeth-out-of-you-head sort of way. Despite a crash and one of the stages being thrown out due to a timing error (of course my best stage), I managed 2nd in the Masters category - my best this year. The shoulder was sore, but I was pleased with my performance on the rooty and rocky course.
Bodhi enjoying the "finer side" of the Montreal Museum of Fine arts.
A highlight of the MSA visit was being able to meet up with Marjorie and Simon, owners of Trees Mountain Apparel, whom I’ve been working with the past couple seasons. They are clearly passionate about the sport and their products, and have a very positive perspective on life. Their homemade maple syrup shots between stages may have been the winning ticket! If you haven’t checked out Trees clothing – based out of Quebec – I highly encourage it. Extremely comfortable, durable and with fashionable designs that are a far cry from moto pajamas, Trees is rapidly growing in reputation and distribution.
Trees is a title sponsor of the GAAP Enduro in Mont Sainte Anne, the 2nd stop of the CNEC.
Two weeks later, we headed back west and were off to Silverstar bike park in Vernon, BC, for a few days of getting our jump on. Silverstar continues to improve their big, fast and crazy fun jump lines. I put together a short helmet cam video of my son, Bodhi, and I hitting some of the finest they offer. It was a great time away from racing…and really got me back to the roots of why I love mountain biking.
Dropping in behind Bodhi on Walk the Line at Silverstar Bike Resort.
The following weekend I was off to Revelstoke for the third stop of the CNEC. I was feeling positive and excited for this event as I had raced the BC Enduro finale there two years prior, loved the course and captured 2nd overall for the series. This year proved no different with many challenging, fun stages. However, the weather turned horrendous the day before practice (my campground flooded) and the trails took a beating. The first day was rivers of mud, the second turned to foot-deep mud. As a trail builder, it was heartbreaking to see some of the finest trails in Revi getting destroyed. I began to lack confidence, my body was hurting, and I simply wasn’t having fun. I did some serious soul-searching and made the difficult decision to abandon my overall series ambitions and leave before race day. I returned to Rossland to participate in the Seven Summits Poker Ride instead – a decision I won’t regret as it was perfect conditions on one of my favourite trails with good friends, fine food and Rossland Brewery refreshments.
Feeling a little plaid during the Seven Summits Poker ride.
The soul searching continued. I finally admitted to myself that I haven’t been straight in the head since my major injury last fall and simply was struggling to get up to speed. The shoulder injury this spring was another setback. Combined with the challenging, wet conditions and wear and tear on trails I’ve witnessed at recent Enduro races (that’s another post), I decided I’d rather focus the remainder of the year on riding, coaching, filming, designing next year's Singletrack 6 race course in Rossland and fulfilling my duties as President of the Kootenay Columbia Trails Society.
A few of the junior racers in the Cycleye program visualizing their runs before race practice.
I’ve started coaching the fall sessions with our junior race teams this week and it’s been amazing to see their progress. Most surpassed their goals for this season with several taking top spot in their category overall...and all seem excited to step it up for next season. I also plan to step up the coaching program next season, with more weekend camps and attending the DH races to provide on- and off-hill support while racing a few select events myself. I’m really excited for this next phase in my career and have every intention of staying true to my passion - having fun on my bike and sharing the love with others.