DAY TO DAY LIFE OF A TEA DRINKING, TRAIL SEEKING DUBLINER LIVING IN VANCOUVER.

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LEARNING TO SWIM IN THE DEEP END

By now we are deep in the Cyclocross season and the move up to Elite has been a learning curve that is for sure. The prep was there but you can’t prepare for the injection of speed. Also the 60mins + race is tough. To make things harder Id opted to do Singlespeed too. Thats two races per day with about 30mins between the first and second race. No time to cool down and warm up.

The double header weekend happened in Vancouver at the start of October so that meant lots of racing in one weekend. First off was Foreshore Park with the unforgiving Sand pit. The Steed Cycles Team helped organize the race so we got there nice and early to mark the course and look after sign on. Once that was out of the way it fun began.

I didn’t have a call up so started at the back. and tried to work my way up. The speed at the front that Craig Richey and Kevin Calhoun produce really puts it to me. I held on as long as I could and then tried to settle into a rhythm. I kept the lap times consistent but with a lap to go tried to relax as I knew I was racing the single speed straight after.

The Singlespeed Race went a bit better for me. I was a bit under geared for the fast bits but held it together in the twisty bits. I took the lead at the start to try control the speed as I was still recovering from the first race.

I worked to stay with the two leaders but they managed to get away in the traffic of the other racers that we were catching.

By the end I managed to hold onto 3rd place and try keep some in the tank for Sunday race at Vanier Park.

Onto Vanier Park…..the day didn’t start well when I got stuck in Traffic following a fire in Stanley Park and missed the first race at 11.30. This meant I had to go all out in the Singlespeed race. This race has always been really fast and a bit like a road crit.

Riding the logs on the first lap.

Chasing down the leaders.

I once again stayed with the guys that got away at the start. We all worked our way thru the backlog. I couldn’t hold the pace with my gearing (this is starting to make me wish I had gears) so dropped back a bit.

With about 4 laps to go I caught back onto the lead riders and started to do battle with Nick Berry. It was a great last few laps as we raced thru the back markers and diced for each line and corner.

As I came onto the last lap I knew where I wanted to attack Nick so tried my luck. He countered at the barriers and we sprinted to the line. I took 5th and the last spot on the podium.

More racing to come. The season is far from over. Thanks to Scott Robarts, Alison Sydor, Amir Shahrestani and Louise for the photos.

WHISTLER CYCLOCROSS – RIDING THE SINGLESPEED WAVE

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This set of pictures give you a good example of how hard my introduction to the Singlespeed life was. Note the grimace of pain on my face in the first picture. The big issue with running Singlespeed so far for me is setting up the bike and gearing. The common notion is to go with the 2:1 ratio. On a course like Whistler that did not work due to the steep climbs not usual associated with Cyclocross Races. I think in any Park style race this would not be an issue.ss whistler

This leads to lots of running and walking with bikes. Not really what I signed up for. My poor knees don’t know what hit them. I went with a 34-17t. So in the village I didn’t have enough gearing and on the hills was too high. All a learned curve I suppose. In the race I managed to get a large gap at the start and lead all the way until the last lap when my chain dropped off and I couldn’t seem to get it back on. I opted to run the lap as the guy behind had caught me. I eventually came over the line in second. Now I am gunning for the top spot in the next few weeks.

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#podiumselfies

Expect a post on my new Giant TCX SSCXWC very soon.

Photos by Andy Euenson and Clint Trahan.

CYCLOCROSS SEASON 2014-2015 IS HERE – SUBARU STARCROSSED

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Its not meant to be like this. I mean its dry, hot and fast. Cyclocross is supposed to be muddy, wet and miserable. I love such a love hate relationship with Cross. By December I’m totally over it and then when June rolls around I can’t wait for it to start. 2014-2015 is my move into the big time and by that I mean moving up to the A Race or Elite. Ive also got this mad idea to try Singlespeed as I thought racing Elite was not hard enough for me. So that means double duties most weekends.

Steed

The season kick off for me was the Starcrossed in Seattle. This is my favourite race because of the big fields in each race and the crowds are huge. Last season I finished 8th and was just off the podium. My plan for this years was to make the podium or win. As an out of towner I got seeded near the back row on the start grid. This was gonna be an issue with such a fast race. I did not panic thou. As the gun went off I pushed passed the row of riders in front of me til I was in about the Top 10. The speed was fast as we started the loop that seen us leave the stadium and into the parking lot. On a tight corner one rider fell and split the pack. I raced to get onto the back of the lead group and corner by corner I picked off the riders. By the end of the first lap I was into 3rd and felt comfortable. At this stage I should add that it was around 25-28 degrees and dusty as hell.

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I saved as much energy as I could until a stronger rider came up to the front. That rider was local EV Racers Christian Hansen. Ive raced with him before in Vancouver and know him very well. He rode away and I followed him. We got away with another two riders. I tried to hold on as long as I could be trailing in the dust and the heat got the better of me. On the last lap I dropped back and had to settle for 4th just off the podium by 12 seconds. Looks like Ill have to come back next year and battle it out again. There was a great turnout from all the team on the day. Im so proud to be a part of the Steed Cycles Team again this season.

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Having great partners like POC, Smith Optics and Skratch Labs make racing easy.

Heres a video from Christian’s bike mounted camera.

Photos by Ian Hoffman and DBC Photos.

CRANKY WORX AND RIDING NEW BIKES WITH FRIENDS

Where did the Summer go? One minute its May and you are planning all the rides and races you want to do and next thing you are dusting off the cyclocross bike and its September. This has been an amazing Summer for me once it got back to normal. I had friends come visit, Louise and the Dogs were home, I raced a bunch, rode lots of adventures, met cool new friends and saw lots of new bike things. Where do I start?

Road Riding has been huge for me this year. I treated myself to a new Propel Aero Bike (first road bike if bought in over 15 years). The Steed Ride Club was a great success and I had so much fun riding and sharing my knowledge with the group. I even showed them how to get a massive blow out and fix it with a piece of cliff bar wrapper. Im kinda ghetto like that. The guys on the team also got me into the WTNC Road Crits again this year and I had the best fun ever. It really helped with speed and intensity. Hopefully it will pay off for cyclocross.

I just did two trips to Whistler this year with friends but had a blast. Kyle stayed on for the Summer after Natalie and James went home and I had to show him all the trails on the Shore. He had such a blast. He’s a total ripper and once he get on the protein program he will be a force to be reckoned with. He’s still only 15.

While up in Whistler I got the chance to ride the new 2015 Giant Reign Advanced and I have to say it is a killer bike. The Spec, the ride quality and the price points are unbeatable. It could be a replacement for my Nomad in the coming months as I still want a ‘small’ ‘big bike’ to have fun on.

I got to ride with some new and old friends in Whistler over the Crankworx weekend. I rode a few of the EWS stages to see how hard it was. The Enduro guys need to be so fit now and posses amazing bike handling skills. I rode with Lyle from Acre Supply and Drew Paultier. We rode Mirco Climate, Yummy Numby and a few Lake trails.

This is Top of the World in Whistler. You should be able to see the valley and awesome view but it was cloudy.  Myself, Kyle, Jeff and Vince from POC headed up early on Saturday morning to get a lap in.

Kyle dropping in off the top.

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Oh the bicycle stunts competition wasn’t bad either. Some new kid called Brandon won.

Lots more to share in another post. Hang tight.

POSTER CHILD – BEAN AROUND THE WORLD COFFEE PROMO

Ive finally made it as a poster child. Hahaha not really but it felt great being on the wall of Bean Around the World Coffee Shops for the Summer. This awesome photo taken by Sean Travers last year of me was ideal to use for the promo with Cowboy Coffee, Steed Cycles and Giant Bicycles. Little did I know that it would be placed in all the stores and friends would be sending me photos of them with the poster. Great to be working with all these amazing companies here on the North Shore. The promo finished on August 31st so I will be available to sign any of the posters for you guys so you can put them on your wall at home….hahaha.

THE DOGS ARRIVE IN VANCOUVER

Louie and Ruby have landed in Vancouver and the excitement has reached 100. They are settling in and love the North Shore. They have been out on the trails lots too.

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Keep an eye out for their adventures this summer. As its summer here bike riding has become a daily activity with all our friends. Lots of new Irish people have arrived in the latest wave of newcomers.

This lady is back in my life and shredding it on the trails.

The Steed posse is growing and includes a new Irish member Miriam.

Trucks full of bikes every night too. Lots more summer activities to come. Stay tuned.

BC BIKE RACE INDUSTRY DAY – SQUAMISH

I was lucky to get the opportunity to ride the Industry day at the BC Bike Race this year and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun to get the chance to experience the race from the inside. It has really got me pumped to try make the full race next year. Its on my bucket list as something I want to do.

Myself and Branden got the chance thanks to Sugoi Apparel and Shimano. The guys at BCBR do a great job and meake it a lot of fun even thou it hurts a lot. The course was 45kms or there abouts.

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We started in the back wave of riders and slowly worked my way up through the packs. It was day 6 for most of the riders and they were feeling it. I cheered them all on and gave them some of my local knowledge to help them out. I ended up finishing well and took 4th in the race. It was a great day out in the end.

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