Canadian Mountain Bike Double Header

Catching a boat out of Victoria Friday morning  over to Vancouver kicked off what turned into a solid weekend of Canadian bike racing.  The first goal of the weekend was to build up my new Kona Hei Hei Race DL with Seth Cox at TBG.  We built the bike as much as we could then crossed our fingers as we waited until the rest of the parts showed up that were stuck in customs.  At 3:30pm the parts showed up and Seth put his hard hat on and went to work. He got greasy and worked through beer o’clock but he made it happen and had the Hei Hei ready for a big double header weekend ahead!  Leaving TBG at 6 pm I got kicked in the balls by Vancouver rush hour traffic and would eventually roll into my buddy Ricky Federau’s house in Chilliwack a couple hours later.  After a 45 minute ride in the dusk to get adjusted to the new rig it was back to eat a bowl of cheerios, do some last minute race preps and grab a bit of shut eye.

Vedder Mountain Classic: Saturday morning started bright and early as I took my new Hei Hei (Hulk) out on the trails to dial her in a bit before the maiden voyage.  At 10 am the shotgun went off as 200 + racers tackled an amazing 32 km single track loop on Mount Vedder.  For the first 45 minutes, Canadian CX Champion Michael Van den Ham set the pace before I cranked it up over the final 10-15 minutes of the climb to give Spencer and I some breathing room from the rest of the field.  Claiming the KOM near the summit of Mt Vedder I rolled into the long flowing decent back down to the valley bottom alone.  Spencer new these trails well and caught me half way down the descent as he was ripping.   Riding these trails blind I opted to move over to give him a clear path as this was his backyard and he had the lines all dialled in. From here it was a good race with Spencer as I would claw back time on the climbs but then he’d get it back on the descents, eventually winning by just over a minute to defend his title from last year.  


I was content to roll in 2nd, and then we enjoyed a stellar Canadian summer afternoon on the shores of Cultus lake hanging out for the awards.  It had a Cancun like vibe as a bunch of pasty white Canadians were coming out of hibernation after a long winter indoors and were getting parched by the summer sun.  Normally after a race it’s chill time, but there was another race against the clock to get up to Salmon Arm to prep for BC’s biggest interior race, the Salty Dog 6HR on Sunday.  After the awards, I pulled out of Chilliwack at 5 pm to start the 4 hour drive north to meet my Dad and Eileen for a Cowboy dinner of Steak and potatoes at our campsite nearby the race venue.

Salty Dog 6HR: Sunday morning was busy, waking up a bit groggy, washing Hulk, putting some food together for the 6hr race to come and mixing 10 Litres of homemade electrolyte mix to keep the body hydrated in what was going to be a hot day in the sun. Everything was going smoothly until I mixed in the last ingredient, some Black Himalayan salt which I picked up in Nepal this past winter.  I figured it was just like pink himalayan salt, full of sodium and other minerals but it smelt like rotten eggs which turned on the alarms.  Apparently this stuff is full of sulphur and typically used in ceremonies, not for human ingestion as it’s full of charcoal and some other weird things.  After some research on google we dertermined it wasn’t going to be poisonous so I decided to try it as an experiment.  The race preps continued and soon we were off to join the other 600+ racers at the annual Salty Dog 6 HR Marathon.  



The plan was to go hard from the gun and make it a tough day in the office as the big goal from this weekend was to get in some solid efforts for the 200 mile Dirty Kanza gravel grinder on June 3rd in Kansas.  The legs bounced back nicely after a busy saturday in Chiliwack and Evan Guthrie and I made an early break.  We’d work together to the top of the climb before he showed his World class enduro skills on the descent back to the finish line taking the first lap.  The Salty Dog is an early season classic and gives riders the option to race in pairs, or Solo on the 10.5 km lap course.  I tried to race the teams for the first couple hours which worked out well in opening a big gap to the Solo riders behind me.  Eventually I’d have to knock the pace down a notch and let the teams go so I wouldn’t detonate and be left face down out on course somewhere.  


It was rad to race around for 6 hours on a great course full of fire road climbs and long flowy BC style descents.  A lot of  Albertans show up for this one so it was a bit of a reunion catching up with old friends. My Dad was in the feed zone with our good friend Stephen Hanus. It’s not often I get to race in front of my Dad or have a Cowboy in the feed zone so it was pretty motivating.  7 laps in I would get word I was up 22 minutes on 2nd place so I turned the focus to see if a new course record could be set. Opening the throttle back up a bit on the last few laps I’d roll into the finish with 10 laps, in 6:01:20.  This beat the old course record by just over 5 minutes and provided some feedback that training is on course for the big races ahead.  After the race we BBQ’d up some Alberta Beef and enjoyed a few refreshments back in camp with some good friends as we wrapped up a solid weekend on the Canadian trails.


Huge thanks to the following for making this weekend happen:

Seth Cox at Kona bikes for staying late Friday evening to build up my Kona Hei Hei for the weekend.

Ricky & Melanie Federau for the cave to sleep in in Chilliwack.

Ernie and the team at Vedder MTN Classic for putting on a great event.

 Tom and the team at Skookum Cycles for putting on another great event.

Dad and Stephen for there full days work in the feed zone, Eileen for the great pre and post race dinners, and Linda for the yard to Camp in.


Off to the Balance Racing HQ in Kelowna for some testing and bike fitting as the build up into the season continues in full force!

Leave a Reply