Logo-MongoliaBikeChallengeLeaving Canada behind in the peak of summer is never easy to do but there was a flight to catch to Mongolia for round # 5 at the Mongolia Bike Challenge!

The first cuople years the race was 10-12 days long, covered 1200-1400 km and would take us into the depths of Mongolia covering areas such as the Gobi dessert, the Altai mountain range and uninhabited valleys deep in the countries heart.   We were at the mercy of the land  battling dust storms, getting stranded by flooding rivers and riding are bikes over 9500 ft mountains in rainstorms. There is virtually no infrastructure outside the Capital city of Ulaanbaatar in what is the Worlds least densely populated country so when things go sideways out there they go all the way sideways.carterpack

Over the years the race has transformed and has found a winning formula with a more manageable 6 day course covering the popular tourist sites in the rolling and and pristine national park area just east of Ulaanbaatar. Taking advantage of the already built up tourist camps the racers are treated to relaxing in gers and a more hospitable environment to recover from are hard day of racing across the plateau.   Mongolia is already wild enough as it is so a little comfort doesn’t hurt and allows us racers to focus more on the racing part then the adventure side of things as that part seems to be in no shortage over here

Racing in Mongolia is one of my favourites places in the World as the local Mongols are down to earth and some of the hardiest souls you will ever meet. The majority still live a nomadic lifestyle and the peacefulness and beauty of racing across such a wide open and pristine environment is hard to match.   The history over here is some of the deepest in the World, highlighted by Ghengis Khaan as he and his warriors once had the biggest empire in the World. Part culture, part adventure, part racing, the Mongolia Bike Challenge has all the bases covered and is truly worth at least one visit in anyones lifetime as it’s a place like no other!

After triple flatting out of the lead on Stage 7 of my first MBC and having to settle for 2nd, I rallied back to take 3 consecutive titles from 2012-2014.  Last year I opted to switch it up to focus on races in Colorado and Costa Rica but Mongolia wasn’t forgotten.  I’ve been excited ever since at the opportunity of returning to Mongolia and will be looking forward to battling last years champ Nicholas Pettina from Italy and the other top riders from around the globe for the coveted Pink leaders jersey.IMG_1653

The journey over here has been solid in itself starting back in Jasper with some home cooked meals and big training days.   Meanwhile, Derrick and the crew at Freewheel cycle were building up my new Kona Honzo Carbon Hardtail  and Dave Macdowell at Wild Mountain who’s been supporting me for over 20 years was arranging a new light weight TNF jacket. One by one all the pieces were coming together!

After blowing up my first truck on route to Vancouver and getting rescued by my buddy Daniel on the side of the highway near Valmount it was back to my Dads ranch  in Mcbride to pick up the other truck which I had better luck with.  From there it was onwards to Kelowna to dial in the new bike with Luke Way at Balance Point Racing and some tweaks to the body with Shannon Snow at Valeo health clinic.

Next up was a 4 hour drive with the country music blasting in route to Vancouver for a couple comfy nights at Accent Inns near Vancouver airport. This was the perfect basecamp to rest, regroup and run around picking up gear with a stop at Kona Canada headquarters to fix a few things on the bike.  The boys there were great helping pull it all together with a full team effort.  Things still went a bit sideways but Dik and his son Seth made some last minute arrangements and did a drop off of a few key parts at Vancouver airport just hours before my flight out wednesday morning.  Thanks guys, those parts will make all the difference!

It’s weird how things always seem to come down to the line when accent-inns-logoheading out on these big trips.  When your headed to Mongolia and beyond you need to pack like your headed to the Moon so I guess a little running around can be expected!  I can’t thank the teamwork back in
Canada enough for all the support in getting this trip launched!

Off into the Mongolian Abyss.

Race Reports, Pictures and Results can be found starting tomorrow on the race website: and on there Facebook page at .





Canadian Marathon Championships

The Canadian Marathon Champs took place in the boondocks of Quebec this year as racers travelled from around the country to battle it out for the coveted Maple Leaf jersey.  The host village of East Hereford tucked away in the rolling hills of South Eastern Quebec morphed from a sleepy farming community into a buzzing atmosphere as 400 + racers settled in for a weekend of camping and bike racing.  The course was a proper 82 km marathon distance and covered nearly 50 km of twisty, rocky trails with fire roads and quad paths mixed in to make it a complete race.

It was a proper battle this year with a field of Canada’s best riders including 13 time National Champ (8 XC, 5 CX) Geoff Kabush, Top XCO riders Alexander Vialle and Jeremy Martin, Singletrack 6 winner Mathieu Belanger-Barrette,  Test of Metal and BC Bike Race stage winner Quinn Moberg, endurance specialist Jamie Lamb and a big field of top Quebec riders.  It’s great to see the Marathon side of the sport continue to grow as riders discover how cool it is to race your bike for longer then just 1.5 hours around in xco circles.

After feeling near invincible during the BC Bike Race a couple weeks back, the body came back to reality a bit as the first half of the race was a struggle.    Somedays you have to make it work with whatever you got as I kept my fingers crossed the body would eventually come to life.   The boys kept attacking the small short climbs,  I’d drop back then diesel back on whenever the pace slowed.  After 3 or 4 episodes of this we hit the last climb of the race to the top of East Hereford Hill, a vertical gain of 300 meters.  From there it was a 20 km enduro style descent down to the finish line on a network of twisty trails. This seemed to play into Geoff Kabush’s hands perfectly as he’s been preparing for the Enduro World Series and has long been one of the top XC trail riders on the World Cup circuit.13909132_10153600335011193_7101129945045601789_o copy

The race heated up as Jeremy Martin used his power to breakaway from the lead group 4 km from the summit.  It took a pile of mental energy but thankfully my body finally came to life via forcing it out of its dormancy. Figuring I’d need a gap on Kabush heading into the last 20 km I sent everything to stay with Jeremy as we brokeaway from Kabush, Quinn and Vialle.  Jeremy would pull away a bit and 1 km from the top had a 10 second gap, with Kabush another 10 seconds back from my wheel.    Here it was a tactical gamble diving deep into the redzone sprinting past Jeremy to hit the single track 1st in hopes he might hold Kabush up a bit.  The descent was a fine balance of hauling ass but also not getting to crazy and risking everything with slashing a tire on the sharp rocks.  The speed I was going should’ve been sufficient to hold off anyone but Kabush is a bit of a monster and steadily closed the small 15 second gap and soon we were wheel to wheel.

We road together for a while and eventually with 10 km to go there were two options in my head.  Option A, stick with Kabush and then sprint it out in the end but the odds were heavily stacked in his favour as he was running a double chainring with a 38 T up front vs the 34 T single which I’d be spinning out on the finishing straight.  Therefor it was Option B which meant trying to drop him on the one and only little fireroad climb between trail sections.  Kabush attacked first, I found some energy stores to counter attack and could see he was nearing the end of his string. I likely was too but gambled the body could recover from one more attack and went for it again.  Kabush somehow managed to cover and came around to the hit the single track first.

Counter attacking he used his enduro skills to rail the descending trails a bit faster as I was buggered trying to regain composure from the efforts bouncing around off rocks and trees for a while.  With Kabush out of sight I stherefordarted sending voodoo energy his way in hopes he’d flat on the sharp rocks still to come but unfortunately this was to no avail.  With Kabush and I blowing each other up pretty good, Jeremy Martin came back into contention nearly catching my wheel for 2nd but one last burst would hold him off as I’d scrape in for the Silver medal, 56 seconds down from Kabush and 24  seconds ahead of Jeremy.

At the finish people were asking if I was disappointed with the result of not reclaiming the National Champs Jersey which was the goal.  When you leave it all out there and still finish 2nd in the country how can you be disappointed I thought?  Bike racing is a tough sport as there is only 1 winner and usually 100 + non-winners, nothing like a hockey game in which the odds are 50% as you either win or lose.

In this race I took some gambles, learned some lessons and will come back stronger and better prepared next time around.  Kabush is one of the top, if not the top clean  mountain bike racer this 13723990_10153595867586193_7692980911040517405_o copy
country has ever scene and deserved this one.  I’ll be back to try and make sure the Maple Leaf Jersey isn’t his for long.

Big thanks to my buddy Simon Tremblay for the support and helping bring home the Silver.   Looking forward to a couple more days out here taking in the French culture before heading back to the Rockies for the Alberta XC and Marathon Champs this weekend in Bragg Creek!

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Photo Credit, David Gagnon

The BC Bike Race Story

The BC Bike Race  went into it’s 10th edition this year and has grown into one of the Worlds premier MTB stage races.    Starting on Vancouver Island, racing across Powell River, the Sunshine Coast, North Vancouver, Squamish and finishing in Whistler it is a great tour of the Canadian West Coast.  This year was exceptionally exciting as we tested our new redesigned Kona Hei Hei DL race bikes and prototype Shimano XTDi2 electronic shifting.BCBikeRaceLogo-586x640

For the trip my Kona teammate Spencer Paxson and I teamed up with his buddy and housemate Stephen Ettinger. We travelled together in my old work truck for the course of the week, staying with our Kona teammatess across the coast and trying to tear each other’s legs off.  Both these guys were late additions to the race as they were vying for the USA Olympic team spot but came up short in spots # 2 and 3, as the USA only qualified one rider .  This added a great dynamic to the race as the lead group was already loaded up with defending champ Tristan Uhl, French Marathon Champion Frederic, Squamish hero Quinn Moberg, my Euro buddies Anderl and Manuel, 12 time Tour de France legend Udo Bolts and a few others.  The tension was high going into stage one as we tackled a 30 minute climb in the rain to the top of the singeltrack in Cumberland to kick off the week.13613443_10153558703586193_5877821887883434430_o copy

Having scouted the trails back in June I fought hard to hit them first but came up short clipping a bar, doing a full 180 and losing the hole spot to a couple Euros.   These guys were good sportsmen  and let me by as I came storming back to regain the lead just before the first wet and rooty Furtherburger decent.  It was hard to be smooth, pin balling down the slick roots opening a small gap to the chase group. This lit a fire for the week as I’d stay out front for the rest of the day, eventually claiming a 45 second lead over the chasing trio of Paxson and Ettinger and Moberg.  It’s always nice to win the first stage as it goes along with claiming the Yellow leaders jersey.13603371_1215342528483997_3155851367266654938_o copy

Stage 2: Powell River-  Day 2 the trails are a little tamer with no real selective climbs so the race generally stays together.  We had a solid lead group of 8-10 riders enjoying the relentlessly flowing trails deep in the forests of Powell River. Putting in an effort towards the finish the lead group was dwindled down to 3 riders.  It turned into a rock-paper-scissors battle between Ettinger and Paxson to take the win with my teammate coming out on top and myself content to keep the jersey.

Stage 3: Earls Cove- Sechelt:  This has historically been the big day at BCBR with numerous short punchy fireroad climbs and a hard 15 km section of nice singletrack descending to the finish in Sechelt.  The legs were ok as Stephen, Quinn and Spencer stayed ahead for most of the stage.  I’d catch them on the last climb and put in a pre-race planned attack, gapping the boys by a minute going into the last descent.  Having recon’d the course with teammate Kris Sneddon, who grew up on these trails, I had an Ace in my hand heading down to the finish line.  Unfortunately a flat tire on the first part of the descent dropped me back to 4th.  Chasing back to the lead trio the days efforts were further derailed by a stick knocking my chain off with it ending in a knot around my crank.    It was like fishing line as the more I tried to undo it the the bigger knot it went into.  At the same time the rear tire started leaking sealant all over the place again. Gongshow…13603399_10153552771721193_4173310415300212455_o copy

Eventually the chain was untangled only to realize 6 links were bent.  Removing these and reconnecting it with a quick link the chain would barely fit around the hardest gear in the back and would allow me to single speed out.  1 more link and it would’ve been game over and a long depressing hike-a-bike.    I’m not sure why anyone would ever willingly ride a single speed bike as it’s like trying to race a nascar stuck in 2nd gear.  Thankfully the tire held up with one more blast of C02 and the last 8 km was mostly downhill.  Rolling in 6th, losing 5 minutes in the GC, and also the leaders jersey, but still within striking distance in the days to come.

Stage 4: Sechelt-Gibsons:  Heading into another solid day on the Sunshine coast the plan was to conserve energy then attack the last climb and hopefully stretch the lead on the long section of HWY 102 trail heading to the finish line.  This plan changed in the opening kilometres when the emotions got the better of me and I sent a hail mary on the first climb.  Sometimes you gotta go with your gut feeling and use the adrenaline rush’s when they come. Opening a gap the lead extended on the single-track descent along Chapman creek.  There was a long open fireroad up next which was troublesome to stay ahead with a group of 10 guys working together behind.  The lead would shrink down to as little as 20 seconds but a 2nd wind opened the throttle to attack on the last climb and extend the lead to just over 3 minutes by the finish. This closed the gap to within 1 minute of Paxson and Ettinger with 3 stages to go:  Game on!13737481_10153574199351193_8399818248976360055_o copy

Stage 5:  North Shore Vancouver:  This was a short and hard 15 km ripper behind one of our Kona boss’s, Richard Cox’s house.  We wanted to win this one for him so Spencer and I attacked the first climb, dropping everyone. Ettinger caught back on briefly so it was back on the gas a little harder, leading Paxson down the descent, dropping Ettinger and then we’d team up on the small road section to extend the lead.  On the final climb Paxson dropped back and I’d take the win by 35 seconds which really tightened up the overall standings with my teammate holding onto the leader’s jersey by just 22 seconds over myself and Ettinger a further 30 seconds back.

Stage 6: Squamish:  This was a big day in the race with the most climbing and a lot of technical singeltrack through the backwoods of Squamish, one of Canada’s premier riding areas.  Spencer and I came up with a game plan to try and lock up our 1-2 gc positions with him going off the front early with local hero Quinn Moberg, who we figured would be fired up to take his home town stage.  I’d sit back in the chase group and hopefully be able to attack them on the first climb going up 50 shades of green and drop our main competitior, Ettinger, and ride up to Spencer.

This plan worked brilliantly and soon team Kona was crushing it, 30 seconds behind Quinn but surely gaining on any riders behind us.  Things were going perfect until I started having wheel troubles, pulling into the first feed station for repairs.  Telling Spencer to keep riding, the pit stop was around a minute getting things sorted out before chasing back up to him.   From here we decided to keep working team tactics as there was a fair bit of fireroad riding between trail sections and then we could sort it out between the two of us later on in the stage.brohm-lake-1

In full control of our destiny we took the descents a bit slower to avoid any catastrophes.  This plan blew up in my face as the rear tire detonated going over a small rock on Pseudo Pseuga.  Dang, some years I go all year without a flat tire riding way harder, but this race I must’ve crushed a 4 leaf clover somewhere along the trail. Only having one tube and enough C02 to fix it once I stopped to do it right.  Spencer carried on as we could hear the other boys coming behind and needed to protect his yellow jersey.  Dropping down to 8th, losing 4-5 minutes  in the process, I’d eventually get rolling again with just under 20 km to the finish.

From here the only logical choice was full gas and try to limit the losses. It was either that or play it safe and be content with 3rd overall but that wasn’t what I came to the race for.  Crossing my fingers I rode the tubed tire with no remorse and miraculously it held up. The morel was at a tipping point after all the troubles but a girl I couldn’t recognize yelled some motivating words 1km from the line and reminded me to keep the throttle down.  Thanks whoever this was as it lifted the spirits 🙂    In the end it was the best of a worst situation,  coming in 4th &  putting another minute into Ettinger, but definitely losing some time to my teammate Spencer.

Stage 7: Whistler-  Heading into the final stage the race was up for grabs with Spencer up 1:13 on myself, and Ettinger just a further minute back.  It was a short 25 km stage so we had to watch Ettinger carefully as it was right up his alley, being a 1.5 hr sprint type race.  Again we worked together for the first half of the race taking turns leading and extending the gap to secure our 1-2 gc positions.  Hitting the first steep climb of the day our French rival Frederic headed to the front with Quinn while Spencer and I barely hung on.  It was nearly mission accomplished for us as we had a large gap to Ettinger and now it was time to battle it out amongst ourselves for the overall win.  Starting to get dropped with only 15 km to the finish, it was go time if there was any chance at reclaiming the yellow jersey.IMG_4997

It’s crazy how the body can respond as it went from from getting dropped into an adrenaline rush as I overtook the lead heading into the gnarly tunnel vision descent.  Here the gap continued to open, soon after popping out on a small road section. Sitting up a bit to let Quinn regain my wheel, we worked together before we hit the last large climb up Danimal then a rough descent to the finish at Alta lake.   Going over the top of the climb the lead moto gave the heads up that Spencer was 1:15 behind.  With just 5 km of descending to go this was going to be tight!

Soon after after a piece of mud flung up in my eye so I took a hand off the bar to try and remove my foggy glasses to see a bit better.  The front wheel hit something and next thing I was flying over the handlebars into a total yard sale.  Laying there in a pile beside the trail all I could think was “you gotta be f”””ng   kidding me”.     Knowing Spencer was close behind it was time to remount before he got a glimpse of what was happening.  My glasses were somewhere long gone in the bush but the real problem was the stem had knocked around 45 degrees making the bike unrideable.   Banging it against a tree and twisting it between my knees it was somewhat fixed . Hopping on I banged my upside down brake lever back into place then noticed the stem was still off 10-15 degrees but it would have to stay that way as it was all or nothing at this point.4966556-Cycling-crash-Stock-Vector-cartoon

The last part to the race was wild as the mind went into a 5th dimension, letting go of the brakes and forgetting anything I’d ever learned about risk management.  Quickly catching back up to Quinn, he showed great sporstmanship by giving up his chance of a stage win, pulling over to let me by as I continued to hone in on to the finish line.  It was the roughest and ugliest I’d probably ever ridden a bike but it was getting the job done.

Drifting out on the last gravel corner before the pavement I nearly lost it again but dragged a leg to regain composure and was soon sprinting full gas towards the finish line.  Starting to see stars I looked at the lead moto asking how far it was to go but he had no clue.  Oh dang, I thought as the body started to get dizzy and was in an unknown state.  Thankfully the finish line was just another 2 minutes up the road.  The countdown then started as 73 seconds needed to pass to gain the overall victory.  Quinn came in 20 seconds later and then time seemed to stand still as the seconds lingered by ticking over one at at time.  Eventually Spencer would roll in 2 minutes later.. Hell yeah!!!! Mission accomplished by 58 seconds!!  This victory  was especially rad after being on the brink of elimination a few times throughout the week and having put so much focus into the race over the months leading up to it.

Spencer has now been 2nd, 4 years in a row, but  we both deserved this Win. Working well together all week and getting the job done taking the top two steps on the podium for Kona.  He’ll get his time I’m sure.13692901_10153567984281193_665310781101697049_o copy

This race and the weeks and months leading up to it were a huge team effort.  Big thanks to the Sneddons, Dik & Cory, the Verners, Max Palxton and Petra for opening their homes to us over the week and to my teammates for the pre-rides on their hometown trails.  As always a huge thanks to my sponsors as without them these opportunities wouldn’t exist:  The Kona Bicycle group, Shimano, Jakroo, Wilderness Trail Bikes, Maxxis Tires, MRP Forks, GIRO, Smith Optics, Accent InnsFreewheel CycleStraight Up CyclesRuss Hayes bike shopBeet-It, Clif Bar, Balance Point Racing.

Off to my hometown trails in Jasper with my Euro buddies Anderl and Manuel for a week of training before Marathon National Championships in Quebec in a couple of weeks.

Over and out.

PS Thanks Erik Peterson for the finish line pictures and Mike Lowell from Shimano for the Trophy and wine shot.

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BC Bike Race

BC Bike Race has been one heck of a week thus far for  The Kona Bicycle Co...  The past 6 days have blown by as my teammate Spencer Paxson and his buddy Stephen Ettinger have journeyed together in my old pickup truck to  join the other 600 racers at the constantly moving carnival called the BC Bike Race.  Cumberland-Powell River-Sunshine Coast, North Van, Squamish and Whistler tomorrow.    13603399_10153552771721193_4173310415300212455_o copy

Stage 6 in Squamish today was an exciting one as Spencer Paxson and I worked some team tactics nicely together for the first part of the stage to help solidify our 1-2 gc lead over Ettinger. My day would go sideways from there having to stop at aid one to fix a wheel and then a slashed tire later on dropping way back.

From there it was a fight to get back up to Ettinger and the other boys. The body has been on fire this week although I must of squished a 4 leaf clover somewhere along the line as there have been a pile of mishaps putting a harness on nice fitness I’m currently riding.

Going into tomorrows stage it’s looking good for Kona as Spencer has the yellow Jersey, I’m 1 minute 13 seconds back in 2nd and Stephen Ettinger is a further minute back in 3rd.   Looking forward to one last kick at the can during Stage 7 in Whistler tomorrow to cap what has been one hell of a roller coast ride.. Big Thanks to my sponsors: Kona Bicycle CO Shimano MTB Accent Inns Beet-it Sports Canada  Freewheel Cycle Jasper, Balance Point Racing, Straight up Cycles and Russ Hayes.

Race Reports and Results can be found here:



Nimby 50- A Canadian Classic

logoThe Nimby 50 in the mountains surrounding Pemberton BC claims to be a “technical marathon mountain bike race.”  At only 37 km it is rather short but it’s the toughest most epic 37 km I’ve ever raced as the course is dominated by tough single track lacing down steep mountainsides and over rocky outcroppings. The climbs are full of pristine switchbacks while the descents are gnarly and full of edge of your seat moments.  It’s the most savage XC MTB course I’ve scene in North America and is a must do for anyone into real backcountry mountain biking.  To make things more interesting for the race’s 7th year it was 6 degrees and raining throughout the day which added another element to a memorable day.IMG_5035

Friday was a good pre-ride of the course with the Sellwood Cycle Kona crew from Oregon. For the night we headed  into the forests surrounding Mosquito lake for a night of bonfires, country music and camping.  Generally after a night of camping I’ve had some of my best races as the natural setting seems to re-balance the system, a big part of it I figure is being away from all the electrical currents which have taken over the airspace’s in our modern lives.

Race day started out with a 10 minute fireroad climb with a $100 prime at the top before a descent back down to the valley floor before starting the long 100 switchback climb up to the paraglide launch.  Quinn Moberg (Rocky Mountain) was climbing strong, 2015 race winner and former XC National Champion Ricky Federau took chase in his baggy shorts while I settled into a nice groove with my Kona teammate Kris Sneddon chasing behind.


At the start of the climb a bunch of riders blew by me as they seemed pretty keen to get up the mountain.  My climbing legs weren’t in action at the start of the day so I settled into a sustainable pace knowing some energy would be needed late in the race as that is where things get interesting with a bunch of short punchy climbs.

The Nimby is a tough ride as after the 50 minute climb up Nimby trail there is a sketchy descent down Overnight Sensation before traversing into the mosquito lake part of the course which includes about 45 minutes of steep climbing and technical trails to the finish.    Kris and I worked well together with him leading the rough descents while I took over on the climbs, limiting our losses to the leading duo who we finally caught glimpses of heading into the Mosquito lake part of the course.  IMG_5039

We upped the tempo and latched onto the leading duo with 10 km to the finish on a small fire road climb.  It was tactical battle as after the fire road followed 5 km of technical single track before 2 km flat gravel road to the finish.  Ricky was decending faster then us, Quinn had been stronger on the climbs but we were out descending him.

Doing some quick math I figured I better put in a good dig and get into the singeltrack first which should eliminate Quinn but I would need at least a 15 second gap to hold off Ricky.  A good power surge gained the position I was looking for and with my new Kona Hei Hei DL race bike I’ve gained some descending skills which helped hold off a charging Ricky with a 5 second gap heading into the 2 km home stretch of fireroad.  It was game over for Ricky at this point as I set it on cruise control to take my first Nimby 50 title 🙂hero

Somedays you can power away in races while other days you need to sit back and treat it like a chess match.  The Nimby was a chess match this year and it was a bonus to sneak out a win as the fitness will only be going up from here.


Heading down to my friends Dave and Thea Mcnaught in Coquitlam after the race was a good way to end the day and set up for the BC Road Provincials in Aldergrove in the morning.  Going from one of the rowdiest MTB races in North America to riding around in circles on the roads of the lower mainland was a yawner but it did provide a great training day over the 132 km course.  The legs took a couple hours to come around but felt good towards the end as the 50 rider field sprinted up a 1 minute climb to the finish.  My positioning was out to lunch heading into the finish but the legs had some juice to power up to take around a top 10 spot which put a cap on a solid weekend and will surely put some fitness in the bank for later on in the summer.IMG_5050