Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Win G3 gear this winter!

Want to win G3 gear this winter, Here are different ways to do so!

"If you've been daydreaming of some free G3 gear to add to your quiver, this just might be the month to do it. We have all sorts of different promotions on the go right now; yet another way to say thanks and hook some of you lucky shredders up with more free gear. Here's what's currently up for grabs...Next up don't forget about Off-Piste Magazine's subscription drive. Each month, they're hooking up existing and new subscribers with G3 avalanche tools like the Bonesaw, Avitech Shovel, and new quick-deploy probes. And in March we're giving away a pair of Mountain Series skis, so stay tuned for that one.

Record and share your first turns of the season - get hooked up from G3 and Drift Innovation. Drift's First Turns Contest on Facebook is easy to enter, and will send one lucky skier home with a DRIFT HD 1080p camera and a pair of G3's new Highball skis.

Not done yet! BackcountrySkiingCanada.com just launched their Expose Yourself Photo & Video Contest. The final prize for the contest is, you guessed it, skis, bindings, and skins from G3 Genuine Guide Gear. Get in there.

And last but not least, we're entering the final round of this year's SkiGraphiks contest, with a pair of G3 Infidels up for grabs with your design on them. Design your custom topsheet graphic, upload, share it around and cross your fingers. Enter Skigraphiks before December 31.

Who knows, that might not even be the complete list of contests on the go right now. But we'll leave it with you to explore the site and G3's Facebook page for other current or upcoming opportunities. Good luck and happy shredding."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

First Race of the Season Coming Up!

This coming saturday will be the season opener for yet an other really exciting season of Ski Mountaineering Racing. This event will take place in Calgary at COP from 6pm till 9 pm. This is the second year of the event and organizers are expecting a great turnout!
The format is pretty simple, solo, teams of 2 or teams of 4 will have to go around COP as many time as possible during a 180 minutes period.
This year, members of the National Team were asked to team with someone new to skimo to participate in the event in order to hopefully grow the sport in Canada.
Look out for the "Frech Ladies in Tights" as we will be going around in circle on saturday night in Calgary!
For race details & Registration: http://vert180.blogspot.com/
For Details on the Full Canadian Race Circuit: http://www.alpineclubofcanada.ca/ccc/ismc.html

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

G3 Ski Graphiks Contest!

Congrats to my friend Kathryn Whiteside from Revelstoke for her amazing “G3 Saint” Design! Her artistic Graphic Designer skills paid off since she won the last round of the 2011 G3 ski Graphiks contest! In addition to getting a new pair of skis, her design will be the top sheet of Limited Edition of G3 Saints.

I’m super happy for you Kathryn! You Rock!

The contest is still running until December 31st. If you have ski design ideas or want to see what others have been presenting and vote for your favorite design, follow this link:


Good Luck!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gear Testing: Rab MeCo Baselayers

I was very excited when I heard that Rab was working on a new kind of baselayer for this season! Like a lot of people, I have been moving away from poly-pro because it does not only stay wet but it also smells very bad over time.

Wearing merino wool quite a bit, I appreciate the fact that it keeps you warm even when wet and does not smell. The only down sides are that it takes a while to dry, it’s not only pricy but also not very durable.

Now what’s exciting about the new MeCo baselayers is that they have the same great qualities as the merino wool layers but have increased durability and dry 5 times faster.

But how is that possible you will ask?

To be a bit more technical, MeCo is composed of blend of 65% pure merino wool and 35% Cocona. Cocona is a type of polyesther, which is coated with Activated Carbon coming for the combustion of Coconut Shells. The blend allows for not only great breatability but as soon as a drop of sweat hits the fabric, it spreads just like a drop of water on a tissue. So the sweat has more surface area to dry therefore, the fabric dries pretty quickly.

Also, the fabric does not smell. The Cocona is an antibacterial fabric activated my warmth. So the more you sweat, the less your layer smells! MAGIC!!!

So I did a bit of a test because I wanted to see for myself.

Recently, I was invited at the ACMG Annual meeting for a gear presentation so I thought it would be a great time to test the baselayer. On the first day, I put my short sleeve 120 MeCo T-shirt on for a typical 3 hours of activity (mix indoor and outdoor as I get really sweaty working-out inside). Then I used my same layer the following day for a 1600 hill climb under 27 degree blistering sun! No need to say that I was sweating a bunch there! I came back to get changed before a meeting and to my great surprise, my layer was dry and still looked and smelled fresh so I but it back on for the ACMG meeting I was attending on behalf of Rab. The following day, same t-shirt again, after a long trail run under warm weather, I came back to the hotel to shower and went back to the ACMG meeting still wearing the same shirt for my presentation. I was starting to feel a bit self conscious by that point but the T-shirt still looked and smelled fresh. It’s fair to say that after this experiment, I was not only convinced but totally in love with the new baselayers!

They are available in 2 thicknesses 120 and 165. Short sleeves, long sleeves, zip neck, long pants 120 & 165. You can find them online at : http://us.rab.uk.com

Or at you local Valhalla Pure Store.

Rab Clothing @ the Annual ACMG Meeting

Rab/Integral Design/ Pod Sacs, sponsors of the ACMG

Photo Credit: Ken Belanger

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

G3 2012 Graphik Contest

Another season, another chance to get your RAD graphic on a pair of G3 skis!

Every year, when September comes around, it’s a sign the ski season is getting closer. Even if a lot of us have been thinking about skiing since the last time we had our skis attached to our feet, the fireweed changing color, the day getting shorter and the cooler mornings are obvious signs that winter is on it’s way!

For yet another season, G3 just launched their popular “Ski Graphik Contest.” This is a great opportunity to get creative and design a graphic for your favorite G3 skis. It is pretty simple. Dig for the artist in you, yet your idea on paper, post your sweet design at : http://www.g3skigraphiks.com, and watch how the public respond to your design as the winner is the graphic which receives the most vote.

You can find all the rules and details of the contest at: http://www.g3skigraphiks.com,

Also, take a second to have a look at the new ski selection for 2011/2012: http://www.genuineguidegear.com/gear/skis

I’m thinking the “Infidel” may be a wicked ski for just and other amazing season!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

29er or no 29er?

Thanks to Skookum and to Colby, Giant Rep, I had the chance to demo one of those so called 29er this week. I have to say I was quite excited to have the chance to make up my own mind on a potential new toy of choice? So what better then a test drive to get to the bottom of things? I was trying very hard not to let other people’s opinion change my own before even mounting the large metal horse…My first thought as I rode it home from the shop was, “Wow, this is a lot of bike!”

Ride #1: I decided to go for a mix of trails that I really like and that I know well just to see the difference in the handling. The trails of choice were Richard’s liquor, Logging road to MacPherson Parking Lot, Stimulus there and back, Black forest to TNT, Root Canal & Berm Donor to Tantrum… a bit of everything!

Ride #2: You can’t find out if it races well until you race with it! I rode the Toonie Race with the 29er, which was a perfect course for it with a mix of logging road climbs, none technical but sustain climbs and a fast descent through TNT & Root Canal. It was interesting to see the difference in feeling!

Here’s what I was mainly looking for during both rides:

-How well it would react in mellow none technical climbs and even flat terrain?

-How it felt going up steep longer climbs on more technical terrain?

-How it would react in the many undulating Revy Trails?

-How well we can pump the bike and be playful with it?

-How it reacts in tight switch-backs up and down?

First Impressions

On ride #1, I was like a kid on Christmas day! I could not wait for the end of the workday so I could go out & play!!! I had a lot of fun testing the bike but it certainly not took too long to notice quite the difference. The 29er X2 I tried was a 4” travel bike as well as is the one I currently ride. That being said, it felt to me like there was more suspension to it. Just more play absorption wise and more forgiveness to it that my Giant Anthem X2.

The geometry took a bit to get use too with a shorter head tube and a slightly shorter stem. Also, a few times during the rides, I would bump the bottom bracket, which is lower then on 26” bikes.

Climbing on logging Road: If you like powering through climbs instead then spinning at a faster RMP , this is a bike for you. I felt like once you got the momentum and the leg strength to push in the climbs, the bike was moving quite well. On steeper & longer steady climb, this is definitively more of a workout! With the different geometry of the bike, I found myself quite a bit more forward, nose right over the handle bar in order to finish the steep climbs. Off the saddle, the frame geometry do allow for great energy transfer and great grip and easy to recover from slipping on rocks .

Climbing on technical: I felt that even if coming with a great momentum into a technical climb, it was hard to carry it through. Normally, you would lower the gears and spin your way through. I felt like the wheels of the 29er were getting stopped easier on the obstacles making it harder to carry speed and harder overall.

Flat Logging Road: Oh, you can go fast on those. With the 3 rings in the front and the 10 gears in the back, once you are on your way, there’s nothing to stop you!

Flat Technical: If the front makes it, the rear will follow very well whether it’s slightly up or slightly down. I found it was easy to move the wheels around quickly enough to avoid obstacles & roots. Even if bigger, the bike is easy to swing around.

Descending Logging Road: As for flat logging roads, you can travel at quite impressive speed on this bike. It’s just a matter of knowing the limit of the narrow tires when cornering at high speed on loose gravel.

Descending Technical Trails: I was actually quite surprise how the bike felt while descending. It is more forgiven then my Giant Anthem and almost felt like a 5” travel bike. It is certainly less nervous then a 26” 4” travel bike which is a big positive. One thing, just make sure you stay behind those big wheels because if you happen to go too far forward for whatever reason, it is pretty hard to pull it back. I can’t imagine going over the handle bar with a 29er. It would be a long scary slow motion fall!

Switchback Climbs: I was surprise there too as I thought those tight corners would be hard to negotiate. It was quite easy to swing the bike around and push through curves and even lean into them. That being said, I think unconsciously, I was probably picking a wider line then usual but it worked just fine! I can see that it would be harder to keep a more direct line through tight “switchies”.

Switchback Descents: This would take some getting use to for me. I was trying to corner the bike as usual and felt a bit hesitant to let it fully go especially where corners were leading to technical terrain. I found myself having to slowdown before the curves way more the usual and taking more time to accelerate while getting out of them.

Pumping and Playing: I was a bit disappointed with the pumping and pushing, as I love to do it in order to generate speed and get over things effortless. I felt the bike was a bit more sluggish and would not respond as well and as fast as the Anthem for example. It’s also harder to play with the bike, as it seems like it wants to go forward and stay upright most of the time.

On saddle versus off saddle: In addition to the previous comment, I personally like to ride off the saddle when wanting to feel light on the pedals while going through flatter to descending technical terrain. On the 29er, I felt like it was a bit of a waste of energy and was on the saddle more then usual. I would not feel efficient being up on the pedals, which carried the feeling of travelling at lesser speed.

Like I said, I usually ride a Giant Anthem X2 which I LOVE. It’s only a 4”travel duel suspension but I find it perfect for the majority of the cross country trails here and around BC. I use to ride a Giant Transe X1 for the longest time and loved it as well. Only when I started racing did I pick the Anthem. So my background and with it my opinion is probably quite different then a freerider or someone who has been loving their 6” travel bike. In my opinion, this is a great option if you are riding a bit of everything and would like a bike that is quite light and agile. For my own liking, I would probably stick with the 26” and consider buying a 29er as a second bike for less technical rides and races. Even if I had a great time on it, I feel like it was quite a bit more work for the reward. But that’s just me. I think with different background, people may have very different opinions. I would be very interested to hear what people think so please feel free to leave your comments!

See you On the Trails!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Single Track Love!

The Gearjammer is another fabulous event part of the Hells of a Series in the Sea to Sky Corridor. This is the event that started it all for me…! Friends have been telling me about mountain bike racing and fun it is and back in 2008, I decided to enter my first ever mountain bike race. I did not start with the easiest one that’s for sure since the Gearjammer is a point-to-point 47 kms race (now 52 kms point-to-point). What makes it event more special is the fact that the milage is mainly covered on single tracks!!! YAAA now that’s what I’m talking about!

Since 2008, religiously it seems, I've been following the tradition and making yet an other trip to the Coast to get a “Gearjammer” fix. Crankworx was also a great reason to go on a road trip and be part of the excitement.

The weather on the Coast has been the same as here in Revelstoke, rainy, cold and wet. Fortunately, to day of the race the sky was blue and the sun was shining. At around 10 am, racers started to show up at the start area near Alice Lake Provincial Park. It seemed like the attendance was lower this year then in previous years. After racing at the Test with 800 fellow mountain bikers, 250 seems slightly quiet… I’m still wondering why is it that the Test is more popular the Gearjammer but that another matter altogether! The race started at a slower pace, which was quite surprising. This race has just the perfect start, from the Highway, racers made their way up the pavement all the way to a double track. From there, there are en

dless opportunities to pass and be pass. The double track goes back to logging road, where, if you are a slow starter, you can start hammering and if you are someone who explode from the start and quickly die, by that point you already fall back. The endless single track goodness start after about 20 minutes of wide road and keeps you going till the end! Some of the trails were Ed’s bypass, Dead End Loop, Bob MacKintosh’s fast descent, Mike’s Loop, Track from Hell, Then back up to Rock & Roll and connecting to Skookum & Power Smart. With all the rain, Skookum and Power Smart were a bit challenging but it was nothing compares to Recycle!!! By that point, the body is starting to feel tired and more then adequate balance was required in order to conserve energy for the remaining of the race! Amazing Pseudo Tsuga was next, wow the work that got put in this trail is just amazing! It’s a nice flowy descent with great burms, a few jumps and technical sections! Wow! Then back on the FSR to climb up to the ever so slippery Plunge. Still alive and on survival mode, we climbed into Crumpet woods for some steady climbing. To our surprise, we took an early right before the powerline climb into a new single-track section that was pretty challenging. By that point, the legs are just about to give in and when looking up, that only thing I could see was more and more climbing… of well. First thing we knew, we were on top of the powerline, and connecting to the last section of the racecourse. A fast rip through the subdivision and down the climbing area brought us to cross the finish line at Rose Park.

Congrats to all the races who completed the event in difficult trail conditions. Thank you to all the volunteers and to my favorite waterboy ever; Michael who gave me an extra bottle full of magic fuel.

As for the results, well check out the following links:



Picture credit: Simon Chester Fotographique

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Larch Hill Traverse

This one 38 kms epic has been on the checklist for a while! Each year, Skookum Cycle does an organized a group ride in the fall but for some reason, it never really worked out in the schedule. Last weekend, we decided to go down to Salmon Arm and add a check mark next to the Larch Hill Traverse. We started the traverse from Salmon Arm in the South Canoe trail network. We decided to ride some of the single track on our way up to the Radio tower just to make for an even longer ride. The trails were in amazing shape with just enough moisture to allow for good gripping! Out of the single tracks, we climbed up to the top of the active logging road to meet up with the Larch Cross Country Trails. From there, we biked along double tracks for a while connecting the different Cross-Country trails all the way to the warming shack. From there, we covered a bit more of logging road before getting out on some single tracks again. We broke out of the forest on some twisty trail through cut blocks. We had to stop and take a break since the

views looking down the valley at Shuswap Lake were amazing. A thunderstorm made us accelerate the travel pace… (wow thunderstorm… what a surprise…). We kept on following the undulating single tracks on slightly overgrown forest. Some trails section were definitively more flowy then others. The traverse took us on different bits and pieces of single track. Towards the end, there were great viewpoints looking down on either side of the ridge at Mara Lake and Shuswap Lake. The final descent is really what made the traverse. We dropped down 400m of twisty single track with tricky switchbacks. The dirt was gripping just enough and we giggled our way back down to the highway… we were laughing a bit less when we ended up hitch hiking for about an hour under the rain on the side of the highway before getting picked up. Oh well, it was part of the whole experience! I’d say, the traverse is a really fun way to connect Salmon Arm and Sicamous. The trails are fun but sometimes have a bit of a hard rhythm to follow so you have to keep the head up! There are a lot of little descents with sudden steep short climbs, which breaks a bit the flow of the ride. Also, I’m sure with local knowledge of the cross country trails, there is potential to skip some of the logging road riding to make for an extended ride on double or single tracks. In all, it was a fun day and a great opportunity to explore a new trail really close from home!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Local Action!

Last Sunday was one even of the season we all look forward and apprehend a bit; the Skookum Stoked to Get Spanked. I have to say it is always refreshing not to have to travel for an event and being able to sleep in your own bed the night before is also priceless. Everyone who has done this race before know that this is far from being a piece of cake. Even if the milage is not the most impressive of all, there is no rest on this action pack course. The race course was a bit different this year with a variation at the start, a climb including Stimulus and a descent on Berm Donor. A windstorm on Thursday night called for some last minute chainsaw operation in order to get the trails ready. With a wet few days prior to the event, on Sunday morning, the trails we nice and grassy just enough to allow for some fabulous riding. For once, the temps were not +35 with 110% humidity, which made the race slightly easier. In any case, we were out for a bit of suffering and enjoyed the ride. At 10 am, more then 100 riders from the area lined up racing in the different categories (1 lap=sport, 2 laps= Elite, U15 & Lill spank). The course took us down on a fast 2 km rip on Mike’s Loop, than there was a bit of a traffic jam getting on Stimulus. The freight train zigzagged to the top of the switchbacks and back on the main loop, the pack started to spread. As we climbed up Spaceman, people were passing and getting pass a bit but it was way less congested then in previous years! We went down TNT which is a classic really, then onto Break a leg, then up to Dusty Beaver, down Berm Donor , only SLIPPERY Root Canal, and up TNT to Black Forest and to the finish line at the Macpherson Parking Lot… AND we did it all again for a total of 34 kms.

Congrats to Lyndsay Corrigan who was racing for the first time I believe and won her category! Way to go! Also Carol Prince had a great race doing two laps on that challenging course. Don also did very well in his category. On my side, I had a great race compare to last year, just feeling overall better on the bicycle! Congrats to everyone who competed in the race since it was, to my knowledge one of the most challenging race in the BC grassroots circuit. Thank you to Skookum for organizing yet a great event!

For complete Results, go to : http://www.zone4.ca/results.asp?ID=4015&cat=all

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Rundle's Revenge Report

Last weekend, we traveled to Canmore, Alberta for a girl Road-Trip and a bit of racing as the organizer of the Trans Rockies put together a 2 days event at the Nordic Center; The Rundle’s Revenge. It was the first edition of the race and as expected from the TR group, the event was very well organized. The event was divided in many categories as racers could pick from entering only the “Kick Ass “ Mountain Bike Race (100km, 50km or 25 km). Then on the Sunday, runners could enter the “Mountain Mule” trail run (50 km, 25 km or 12.5 km). For people that wanted to push it a bit more, it was possible to enter the “Full Donkey”: 100 km mountain bike, 50 km trail run, the “Half Donkey” 50 km and 25 km run and the “Lite Donkey” 25 km bike & 12.5 km run. People could also team up in order to race in either or both events.

The course was the same on both days with a great mix of not so technical trails around the Nordic Center. Event if the riding was not technically challenging, it was still quite hard for the lungs and the legs.

After a long four and a half hour of sleep, we woke up just after 5:30 am in order to make our way to the race start. The weather was great even if a bit cold and the trails were in great shape. A quick warm up lap led me to think that it would be a hard event. About 80 racers lined up at the start/ finish area (20 for the 100km, 40 for the 50 km and 20 for the 25 km). At 8:00 am we were on our way around the 12.5 km loop. The pack spread out nicely half way into the 1st lap. It was a bit hard to tell how hard to race since racers had no clue who to race against so it came down to how the legs felt, keeping in mind the 25 km run the following day… not a good idea to go all out! My friend Audray did not race the mountain bike but she sure was a great support crew! Thx girl! After a relaxing afternoon, lots of hydration and food and a longer sleep, we woke up to a really wet and cold day for the run. Over 100 racers lined up at the star/ finish area. Being on the course the previous day, the expectation of pain was there but again, you just need to put the head down, put one foot in front of the other and go with it.

Congrats to Audray, it was her first trail race event ever and she finished 4th of her category out of 14 racers. I was so proud and happy for her! Sweet little Bee just killing it! Way to go!

As far as things went for me, I completed the 50 km mtb race in second place, being pass by a local rider half way in the last lap. Keeping some leg straight for the following day, I did not want to fight too hard plus Margie was looking very strong when she flew pass me. Great work! Then, I completed the 25km run in 3rd place overall just behind some really fast ladies. There was just a few people competing in the half donkey category unfortunately so I finished 1st & last all at once!… Nevertheless, it was a super fun weekend but pretty demanding.

Thx to all the organizer! The swag was awesome with some great gear from The North Face. Thx to Audray for the company, to Steve, Deb, Anna & Christie for the hospitality.

Next event, the Local Stoke to Get Spanked in Revelstoke!

Full Results of the event: http://rundlesrevenge.com/2011/06/official-results/

Friday, June 24, 2011

Muddy Test of Metal

The “Test” has quickly become over the years one of the classic race in the Sea to Sky corridor. The race usually sales out in 20 minutes on new years day…. That’s how popular the event is. But why is it so in demand? Well the course takes you through a wide range of great single and double tracks, the course is less technical then a lot of other races, the Squamish community really gets involved as there is always a lot of spectators and most of all, it is just a good way to push your limits on a mountain bike.

This last Saturday, 826 riders lined up at the start. It was pretty amazing to see so many people with their bike and the energy is always phenomenal. Even if woken up by the rain in the middle of the night and warming up under light precipitation, I knew we should be looking forward to a fun event. After the Canadian Anthem, it was go time and wow did the race ever start fast!!! The pro Elite males set a pretty nice pace through the subdivisions in Garibaldi Highlands then onto a double tracks, which brought us to Jacks Trails. From there, the pack started to space out a little bit. The fun part about such a big race is that you are never really riding on your own! The nice flowy Jacks trail brought us to Alice lake for a section on pavement, Double Track and then single track again. We had a fast descent through Rock & Roll which is AWESOME and back to a fast descent onto Roller Coaster. We then crossed the subdivision again to climb towards the University and enjoyed a quick rip towards the Nine Mile Hill Climb… The weather was actually perfect for the climb since by that point the rain had stopped but it was still cloudy. I remembered last year climbing the hill under a blistering sun with no shade, so I was really thankful for the cooler temps! It still didn’t make the climb any shorter unfortunately but at that point you just keep the head down and go with it. At the top of the Lava Section (where the race course reaches it’s highest point) it’s always a bit of a relief to start flying through the Rim Creek Rip, which was particularly grassy and slippery. Then came the famous PowerHouse Plunge which is the most technical section of the Test. Funny enough and it’s like that at every race, spectators line up all at the “Crititical Corner” in order to take pictures of the best crashes!!!!

After the plunge, we entered the Crumpit trails and connected to the Smoke Bluffs for a fast rip home! 67 kms of mud and giggles. It really was fun and hard all at once.

Result wise, there were some very amazing performances both in the men and woman categories. Congrats to Catharine Pendrel for her 2:45, she truly is inspiring to see go so hard on her bike!!! And Kris Sneddon 2:32. Congrats also to my friend Michael Robinson for his 15th place and for improving his time from last year! On my side, I started a bit slow and worked my way up to a 5th place overall in the Female Elite Category. I have to say I was a bit intimidated with all the big names at the start line but part of racing pro elite is to be up there at the front and I have to say it’s been one of the best move I made since it’s given me the opportunity to push more, learn and still have an amazing time.

Congratulations to all the racers who passed the test and also all the volunteers and organizers who made the event possible. Thx also the Skookum cycle for letting me use a spare wheel for the race.

Full Results: http://testofmetal.com/media/Results/2011TestOfMetalCategoryResults.pdf

After the test, we rewarded ourselves to some typical Whistler Riding! Thx to Ian & Andrew for a really fun Sunday ride! What an adventure!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nimby 50 Report

Last weekend in Pemberton BC was an event worth driving 6 hours for; the Nimby 50. It has been a while since being on the Coast so it was also a great opportunity to visit friends and enjoy some of the finest Sea to Sky mountain bike trails.

My friend Amy and I left on Friday in order to check out the course a bit before the race. We rode a bit of the first part of the race but we certainly wanted to check out “Overnight Sensation” a typical Pemberton trail with steep, loose and technical sections. It was good see the best lines down before actually racing! We then fueled up with at one of the restaurant you can’t avoid when in Whistler… Sushi Village! It may have not been the best pre-race food but it certainly was “golden” for the soul! And it was also a great opportunity to catch up great friends (Thx Karine & Carl!).

Race morning, we took our time driving to Beautiful Pemberton. Te weather was ideal for a race… sometimes Pemberton can get smoking HOT but the day was overcast and actually a bit on the cold side early morning! The excitement was rising as the cars were pilling up near the industrial park. Racers were doing last adjustments to their bike then riding back and forth on the highway to North Arm Farm in order to warm up! Again, seeing familiar faces and catching up with friends almost took away the stomach butterflies we always have before an event! We lined up in the field at the farm for an 11 am start. The fire department conducted the riders for the first 2 kms of the race on the highway, then onto Pemberton Farm Rd. That section was pretty cool…. No need to rush, just keep on following the peloton…all we could hear was the music of the tires on the pavement and the sound of the wind made by almost 300 riders. As soon as we got to the logging road, things changed pretty quickly. The long and at times steep climb up to “Radio Tower” was enough to spread out the pack. A quick section of single track brought us back down on a loose gravel road and then started the ever so long CLIMB...! We took the Happy trail up which is not technical but has many switchbacks. Then we kept going on the Waco Connector, a nice flowy trail a little more flat. It was the only down time really before the climb up the Nimby… nothing less then 101 switchbacks up and up… I did not remember the climb being SO long! When we had the feeling we were getting close, we just had to look up to see the racers lining up going back and forth in the forest to realize that we still had a long way to go. Finally at the paragliding launch, we started to go down on a logging road section to gain Overnight Sensation, a great downhill trail. I would say that the trail is AWESOME on a 5” travel bike and bigger, but on a 4” you really had to watch it! It was challenging and a great experience. Also while racing you don’t really have the chance to stop and look at the line so it was more a “Oh I hope this is the right way? Here we go!” kinda dialog in my head! After the descent, the

racers were brought over to the Mosquito lake trail network for some steep climbing. By that point, the legs were starting to be a bit punched but the riding was amazing, specially on No ERR, great trail of endless slippery rock slab, roots & mud in thick west coast forest! Another trail where if it’s your first time riding it, you just hope it goes, hang on to your handle bar and let the bike rip down! We finally lapped back up one more steep climb before getting into other challenging descents Ramble Down, Moby Dick & Dark Forest. A fast rip on the gravel road, back to the highway and back at the farm for an amazing after party! Western Promises provided us with amazing after food and the ambiance was amazing with Mt Currie just above us.

As far as results, congrats to Neal Kindree, who finished 1st, Kevin Calhoun 2nd & Greg Day 3rd. Also big massive congrats to my friend Michael Robinson who has been training like a mad men and finished with a really great 5th place in the Pro Elite Category! Amy also did very well with a 10th place in her age group! Good work girl!!! On my side, it was my first time racing pro elite and I would lie if I said that I was not having a bit more stress then usual at the start of the

race. Things went very well as I finished 2nd in the pro elite cat and 3rd over all! Big congrats to Ann Yew who got to the top of The nimby 1st. Congrats to Jennifer Shulz for her 1st place and Megan Rose for 3rd place. Cathy Zeglinski also had a great race finishing 1st of her category and 2nd overall.

We enjoyed a great night of catching up with friends (Happy B-day again Rose) after the race and went back for more in Squamish the following day. My pedal broke halfway in the ride… fortunately, it did not happen the day of the race! Next will be the Famous Test of Metal on June 18th! Also, this week, the 2nd toonie race in Revelstoke!

Full Results at: http://www.nimbyfifty.com/race-details/results/

Friday, May 20, 2011

Salty Dog Race Report

After spending 2 weeks ski traversing, nothing better then a 6 hours enduro bike race to put you back in summer mode. Last Sunday was the 10th edition of the Salty Dog, a popular enduro race in Salmon Arm BC. Since I registered back in January, I was kinda committed to it plus I was looking forward to getting the first long ride of the season under my belt.

More then 400 racers showed up for the event with a growing number of female attendances! The race course was the same as usual with a mix of dirt road and single tracks covering just over 10 kms.

Just after 10 am, the race started with a Leman start in a park near the South Canoe trail network. We ran around on grass for a while before retrieving our bikes and off we went! The weather was ideal for the event…I’d say better then last year since it was not too warm. There was a lot of spectator on the course particularly near the finish/start area, which is always great especially in the last hour of riding.

With that long of a race, you just hope your bike will stay intact with a minimum of mechanical. Thx to the guys at Skookum, my blue machine was working just fine!

Result wise, Correy Wallace had an amazing performance completing 10 laps in 6:15 minutes!

There was also a fair amount of people from Revelstoke doing the race solo and in team and everyone did amazing and most importantly had a great time! On my side, I was going for a consistent race hoping to have a better overall time then last year… and it worked! Despite double leg cramps after the 5th lap, I kept on fueling and tried to think about something else while completing 3 extra laps. You can find the full results here:


As well, here’s a video showing what the race course is like!


Thx to all the volunteers and organizers who were out there on race day!

Also, I’d like to share a link to a new bike movie produce and directed by two of Andrews great friend! Kevin Landry is an amazing upcoming rider and so his movie (and Tyler Loughran’s ) deserve to be watched!



Rockies Ski Traverse Report

From pretty much the first day of the ski season, my friend Justin & I had in mind to plan a long spring traverse. As it is good to set yourself goals, this was definitively one of mine. As the months went by, the plans became clearer. After hours of preparation, cooking, baking, packing, the trip finally came together. We left Revelstoke on a nice sunny spring day direction “ Columbia Icefield” with big smiles and promises to have a great time no matter what.

Following is my travel journal from our 2 weeks spent in the mountains!

April 23rd

We left town mid-day to meet with Troy and Tina as West Louise, we left a car behind and drove to meet the 5th team player Mark and Bow summit. We drove to Welcocks Campground and set up camp in the parking lot. The nigh was fresh and besides from a bit of attitude for showing up later then expected, everyone was laughing and pretty excited for the days to come. We had some great food and wine just to start the trip well and thenwent to bed at 2am…just like kids on Christmas Eve!

April 24th

Up at 7am sharp, the sky was clear and the views of Columbia Icefield were breathtaking! We took quite some time packing and making sure we had everything. By 9:30 we drove back a way to the Big Ben to leave a car behind and start our long walk towards the Saskatchewan glacier. We walked the valley, then jumped on the glacier and found a beautiful camping spot where we built a sun pit and enjoyed an early dinner. After food, we decided to go for a ski without the heavy packs just because. We climb toward Mt Castleguard each one to our pace. I sat on the top part for a while looking down the valley where we would be skiing the following day and having a first look at the Lyells in the background. I skied down to meet Troy half way and we skied back down to camp under the sunset.

April 25th

We had a later start this morning just because things always take a bit more time the few first mornings. The cloud cover moved over our head during breakfast but we could still have good definition. A small climb brought us to Castleguard Meadows from where we had a bit of whiteout navigation to do. We gained back treeline pretty quickly where we descended to valley bottom. The day was not over then… oh no, we had a 20kms valley bottom slug to do in order to gain the Alexandra river. Fortunately, the clouds moved away unveiling a really hot sun, which made the walk more bearable. We got to camp around 8 that night at the junction on Castleguard River and Alexandra River. It was our first look at the Alexandra glacier, definitively the crux of our trip!

April 26th

We woke up at 5pm of the side of the Alexandra river wondering if today was the day to attempt the long climb up the Alexandra! The sky was a mix bag but with more blue then gray, we decided to go for it! We gained the lake and then geared up for the walk up the really open and impressive toe of the glacier. Getting on the ice was a bit of a challenge with open seracks and icefalls. We navigated to the top of the first park of the glacier to where we could actually see the high col leading to the Lyells and the second part of the crux. The col being at 3000m often attracts the clouds and this is what happened as we had lunch. Unfortunately the weather moved in and the hot temps were now making us worry about working on a slope where consistent cornices were rolling down creating thunderstorm like noises. We camped on the Alexandra crossing our fingers for great weather the following day.

April 27th

It snowed all night and it was still falling down pretty hard when we woke up. We waited for a while for things to clear up but no luck. We were running low in food and gas since we were originally thinking it would’ve take us less time to get to where we needed to be and we sill had still 2 days of traveling requiring perfect weather in order to get to our

1st cache. Considering the hard climb up the Alexandra, the navigation on the Lyell glacier and the rappel onto Mons Glacier, we had a serious group meeting about options. After waiting all morning and with no signs of the weather getting better, 3 out of 5 voted to ski down the Alexandra. Get out, refuel and go back in was the plan. With a big amount of disappointment weighting on our shoulders in addition to the weight of our backpacks, we skied down the Alexandra, walked on the tip of our toes off the glacier and skied partway out of the valley. We found a nice campsite on the side of the river and had a nice fire looking at the sunset going down on the Alexandra glacier who seemed to say: “ Maybe an other time! Oh and happy birthday by the way Mel!”

April 28th

We woke up really early to take advantage of the frozen river to skate our way out to the highway. After 15 km of flat river bed and multiple creek crossing under cooking weather, we gained the highway completely soaked. We put all of our stuff out to dry on the side of the road and hitch hiked for a while until a nice Albertan stopped and gave me a ride back to West Louise to retrieve my car. After a back and forth on the parkway, we went shopping in preparation for our plan B. We crashed in Banff in a dirt-cheap hotel and fueled up with Mexican food thinking about the days to come… and the snow storm…

April 29th

We got on the road early. With 20 cm of fresh snow in Banff, things did not look so promising. We drove to the icefield and the sky miraculously opened to the beautiful sunny pe

aks. We got to the Peyto turnoff with light mood even if we had to drive in and out of the road leading to the parking lot about 15 times (the road was not plowed…) which made for an interesting start to our trip! We walked the Peyto Lake and broke trail through the Canyon executing some extreme skinning moved… let’s say it was not the easiest way in! We finally got out of the terrain trap and gained the glacier. Once up high, we decided to go up the Baker/Trapper col (2700m) and enjoyed a sweet ski down with sunset to Mistaya lodge. Wow, we got it really good that night. We had a fabulous dinner on the deck of the lodge overlooking the great alpine. As I was taking care of dinner, the boys prepared the sauna. Thanks to Don the owner) we were able to use the facility and sleep in the warm sauna building.

April 30th
We slept in big time this morning probably because we were so comfy! We skied down the Wildcat Creek and gained our lowest point along the Blaeberry River. Once we gained the campground at the junction of the Lambe river 7 kms up the river, we left our big heavy bags behind and walked up at extra 2.5km to retrieve our 2nd cache. I’d say it was a big highlight to find our wood box in a middle of a big opening, still intact and full of goodies! We skied back down to camp and enjoyed a night beside the river.

May 1st

We woke up at 6 for an early start. We fought our way up the forest along the Lambe creek to gain the lake and the alpine. The day was clear and the temperature was getting warm as we gained the toe of the glacier. We climbed a total of 900m before taking a well deserved break and refueled. At that point, the group decided to take some time to go skiing without the big packs. We made camp and climbed up to Mt de Margeri (2950m) and had a closer look at the route to take to get up to Lambe Col the following day. We could see a bit of the Freshfield from where we stud. We skied back down with sunset. Freshfield here we come!

May 2nd

We woke up in the middle of the Lambe glacier to a cold morning. The sun was first shining but a skinny haze slowly covered it. We started to

negotiate our way through the open part of the glacier to gain the first col to the right of the peak where we actually needed to ski down and around and up again. From the col, we got our first glimpse at the Freshfield… so close but yet so far!!! We took a bit of a break at the top to analyze the slope beneath us but the weather started to move in. We dropped a little lower onto the slope in order to have a better look at it in order to find the safest route down but the whiteout slowly creped-in making us wait for the next window. We waited for a little while getting hammered by the wind … waited and waited … the weather never allowed us to move so we set camp at the col hoping that the morning would be excellent conditions to negotiate the major slope leading to our goal!

May 3rd

The winds were strong all night and all day today. With very little openings and mostly whiteout conditions, we all did agree that negotiating the Lambe slope would require better then average condition so we played the waiting game and tried to entertained ourselves hoping that we can move on the following day!

May 4th

We got hammered by the wind and snow overnight and woke up to broken skies in a super frosted tent! We waited a bit for the wind to calm down before packing everything. It was then time to have an other one of those unpleasant team meeting deciding on what next we would like to do…! We went back and forth with the decision-making knowing that the slope to ski was very touchy, steep, and shallow and now got hammered by wind…. Slopes around with similar aspects had seen avy activities, which did not give us much confidence. We had very little information on the slope to ski to get to the freshfield, we could judge the snow stability but we had very limited weather information for the next few days.The group did not all agree about the hard decision of going back the way we came from without even attempting. This is part of traveling in the backcountry I guess where heart-breaking decisions need to be made due to circumstances. We radioed park trying to get weather updates but not much luck there! The only thing we knew is that a system was moving in which could potentially trap us down on the icefield for a few days. So with broken hearts, we decided to go down the Lambe col, Lambe glacier, Lambe creek, Blaeberry river, up the Wildcat Creek and back to Mistaya Lodge. To mood of the group got better with every steps we took but needless to say that none of us were flying very high at first. I’m the first one not to want to give up and go on but sometimes the mountains decide otherwise and you have to leave your pride and drive behind in order to make the right decisions. Back at Mistaya, we had a sauna, shower, warm food and some “French Rabbit” wine to drown our sorrows. A night in the warmth of the lodge would help to deal with emotions and also with the stiff legs.

Freshfield Icefield, I will sure see you again!

May 5th

Whiteout out all day, we took an off day to rest and dry our gear. We played card all day enjoying what will be our last day off for a long time!

May 6th

First thing in the morning, we got back on our skis for some whiteout navigation up the Baker Glacier. As we gained the col, the cloud lifted to allow us to have a great descent to Peyto Glacier. We came out the moraine way avoiding to deal with the Canyon this time around. As we got to the lake, we started to sink quite a bit in the slush…it was actually scary and just like moving with concrete shoes. We climbed back up to gain the parking lot where a bus full of Korean was awaiting for us taking pictures as we overcame the last leg of our trip… I kinda felt like we were in a petting zoo… of well we probably made their trip, which is what matters! First thing we knew, we were on our way back to Revelstoke, coffee in hand speaking about what we could’ve done different and what we have done… could’ve. Should’ve, would’ve… the only thing we can do is learn from experiences, share with others so they don’t make the same mistakes and do it all over again in order to face different challenges and hopefully overcome them!