Singletrack 6

TransRockies-Bike-LogoTransRockies was arguably North Americas premier stage race for a number of years and went over a major overhaul last year as it transformed into SingleTrack 6.  The format is great with 6 days of riding some of the Worlds best trails in a different iconic Canadian town everyday and new region each year.  Last year we tackled 6 days through the Rockies between Canmore and Revelstoke, and this year we got to race trails in Canada’s summer playground of the Okanagan.

After getting smashed around to no mercy in Europe this spring trying to bounce back from injury I was more then keen to do some smashing myself on what I consider the closest thing I have to a hometown race!

Day 0 in Salmon Arm was spent shuttling up the first climb of the course and pre-riding the last 25 km to the finish with my team Kris Sneddon, his girlfriend Kate and my good buddy Anderl Hartmann (Rocky Mountain) from Germany.  My Dad who is a real cowboy drove us up the shuttle portion of the ride and then told us to cowboy up and get our game faces on for the week ahead of us.11046569_10101189315604601_4937995726381328865_o

The pre-ride and pep talk payed off in dividends as we finished 1-3 on the opening stage.  At the start I was feeling rough but had some built up anger from the beat down I received in Euroland and went off the front and stayed there for the race.  It was a close battle but I received some outside help when 3rd place rider Greg Day (Rocky Mountain) crashed into a hornet nest getting stung 12 times and creating a hornet storm which attacked pretty much every rider in the pack that rode by after.

Day 2 we drove up to Silver Start resort sitting at 1700 M above Vernon.  It was a trip down memory lane as we use to race Canada Cups and National Championships up here over a decade ago.  Since then they’ve done a nice job at creating new trails and we had a great 40 km race around the loamy trails.  Leading just over a half hour into the race with my teammate Sneddon, we came around a corner to see a couple riders up ahead.  We figured they were a couple dudes just out for a easy morning spin and were surprised when they didn’t acknowledge us when we told them there was a race on and we wanted to pass.  Eventually they piped back that they were racing too and we better be patient.  WTF?  For the next 20 minutes we passed over 30 riders who had accidentally gone the wrong way but were convinced they were on course and kept asking what we were doing back there.  We did our best to stay focused and eventually got through the traffic and back into the lead.  The race was close this day with Sneddon, Anderl and myself in a slim lead over a chase group of 4 before Sneddon opened up fire and got us a nice gap on some flowing trail.  Near the finish Anderl and I would break away on a firewood climb and would work together for a while before I would gap him for a slim 1 minute W.

location: Silver Star Mountain Resort, Vernon, B.C., Canada

Day 3 we hit some rowdy trails up in Kalamalka lake park.  It was a pure Canadian style course with a technical 1 hour switchback climb through the forest followed with a small traverse through the sub alpine.  The traverse was on fire road but required attention as there were loads of rabbits and chipmunks blindly crossing the course everywhere.   These little guys got to get there heads up and possibly consider using some sort of birth control!   After riding across a rough cut block the trail hit the infamous Big Ed descent.  It was a ass behind the saddle slide down sort of ride at the top before hitting some steep loamy switchbacks down below.  There were also a load of sketchy jumps which the Europeans thought were hilarious and didn’t believe anyone would ever launch themselves off them.    My solid lead over the top of the climb shrunk to 30 seconds by the bottom as BC Bike Race champ Tristan Uhl let it all hang out.  Luckily there was a small climb before the finish in which I could extend the lead back up to 1.5 min and add a bit of padding to the GC lead.  Kris rolled in soon after us to claim the ST3 title for the year and was soon headed off to the states for the Downiville Enduro starting a couple days later.

Cory Wallace leads the race at the first singletrack climb/location: Vernon, B.C., Canada

Stage 4 in Kelowna was the Queens stage of the race and a good chance to do some solid damage.   It was a good battle with Sev from Switzerland.  He’s been living in Kelowna for a couple months and had the rough descents dialled, managing to take advantage of my conservative no risk style to get leads on the descents while I’d regain control on the climbs.  Knowing the course ended on a nice little climb I saved a few matches to overtake Sev for the last time with about 5 km to go and put a nice dent into the other riders in the overall GC.  This day took its toll on the field as a number of riders had nice duke of hazard type crashes on the loose descents.  The courses may have been short this year but the crew at ST6 sure jammed a lot of hard riding into them day in and day out.Gibson.S6.4.1DX.3478_1

Stage 5 in Penticton turned into a gong show as the tight windy course up on Campbell mountain overlapped itself in a few spots and caused some mass confusion behind.  Building a nice lead in the opening climb things got interesting as Tristan Uhl was ripping the sketchy side hill riding.  The gap got really close when I had to slam on the brakes ripping down a 40 km/hr decent, to open a gate.  Being polite I left the gate open for the other riders which allowed them to bomb through it at mock speed and pretty soon the gap was down to 10 seconds before I had a chance to extend it over the next climb. Gibson.S6.5.5D.4329


None of us in the top 10 really new the course so we just followed the flagging which was great, all the way back to the finish line in downtown Penticton.  The confusion happened behind us as riders that knew the route, started to realize that the course had been flagged differently then it was suppose to be and then started asking volunteers what was up which further added to the confusion and pretty soon riders were riding every which way.  Unfortunately this caused the stage to be neutralized.    The post ride swim in Lake Okanagan looking for the Ogopogo monster helped us forget about the day and cool off the engines.

Going into the final stage was nerve racking.  Ever since I flatted 3 times and lost the Mongolia Bike Challenge in 2011 after leading for the first 8 stages I’ve had a ghost in my closet.  Knowing the final stage was short and rough with a lot of sharp rocks the head went into red alert seeing the potential for tire problems.  Thus instead of cruising the last stage and enjoying my 15 minute lead in G
C I opted to attack and get a gap over the climb.  Tristan was riding great this day and kept it together for the first half of the subtle technical climb before I could open up a slim 1 minute lead towards the top.  Here we hit a faded, often overgrown rocky descent back down to Okanagan lake for the finish.   The trail was hard to follow in spots as it snaked around sharp rock outcrops in overgrown grass.

location: Vernon, B.C., Canada

Settling into a conservative mode things started to go sideways as I punctured a slow leak in the back tire.  Not wanting to stop and risk trying to get a tube to work it was a gentle ride down the long last decent.  Tristan would blow by about 1/4 of the way down, grinning in a weird way as he told me how he just nearly escaped killing himself on the top of the dh trying to catch up.  I told him to taker easy as it was now his stage to lose.  It was a weird way to finish the race as once I slowed the dh down I fell out of the zone I had been in all week and started to really struggle, clipping pedals, missing obvious lines and battling little climbs.  It was a good lesson to remember to rip it to the final finish line as its a fine line between kicking ass and getting your ass kicked!  Even with the few blunders on the last stage the overall GC lead stuck around 12 minutes which was plenty fine for me as I captured my first overall North American Stage race victory!  Wendy Simms and her husband Norm continued the Kona dominance of the race finishing third overall in the mixed team category, with Wendy also being the fastest overall girl in the timed descents!

location: Penticton, B.C., Canada

Penticton was a perfect town for post race activities with wine tasting, tubing, lake swimming and a rowdy young crowd.   A couple new friends, Aart,  and his wife Carey had opened there house in Summerland to Anderl and I for the weekend and were a great host.  Also Jess Merrill and her Mom opened there door in Kalamalka lake for a good nights rest.  This meant a lot to us.  Thanks guys!  Also a big thanks to the Bike Barn in Penticton for supporting the ST6 and building up my nice new 2016 Kona King Kahuna DDL race bike :)

After 3 days at the 2016 Kona Launch in Bellingham Washington, a night camping in Tswassan, and a ferry ride back to Victoria I had a nice 30 hour block at home before heading off to Colorado for 10 days.  First up is the Breck Epic followed with the historical Leadville 100 mile race at 10 000 ft +.  It’s gonna be some sort of rad adventure guaranteed!

Over and Out!Bike-Barn-Logo-Header-2


PS  Big Thanks to John Gibson @ for generously donating all these shots for this report!

World Marathon Championships

IMG_4261The 2014 World Marathon MTB Championships in South Africa started slowly with me hovering around the top 50 before I put in a top 10 time in the 2nd half of the race to finish 20th.  This year @ Worlds the goal was to improve my start and the overall result against a stiffer field.  This would be a big challenge on an epic course through the towering Dolomites of Northern Italy. Cory Wallace 2014 UCI XCM Worlds - 1

Having my best race in over two months was encouraging, but it was just enough to stay in the top half of the 140 rider field before dropping back towards the end of the race to finish 78th.

Riding in the mid pack at a World Championships is nothing to be ashamed of but it’s a far cry from what i’m capable of.    I will excuse myself for this one as getting injured in North Africa at the end of April took its toll on my bodies energy stores as I attempted to train through the recovery process.  Sometimes being stubborn isn’t the smartest move but you live and learn.CIMG0975


It was a blast to be part of this World class event with every rider dressed in there Nation’s colours as they came from all over the planet.      The course was built for mountain goats as we went up four major fire road climbs, often with 15-20% gradients which caused nearly everyone to walk at least parts of the climbs.   These were followed with some fast single track which for the first time in a couple months I had the strength and confidence in my shoulder to descend like a Canadian and leave everyone in the dust.  IMG_4256

2016 will be another year as the World Marathon Championships  move to a more all rounded course in southern France.   I’ll look forward to having another shot to represent my sponsors and Country at this event as it’s always an honour to be racing on the World stage.  There’s some unfinished business to take care of after this outing!


My buddy Yuki Ikeda from Japan and I were lucky to have great support from his wife Saya and our friend Tamy for this race.  Thanks girls!

Off to Munich, Germany this afternoon to catch a flight back to Canada and freshen up for the 2nd half of the race year :)11126437_10153459034106151_170024554_n

Lead up to World Marathon Champs

IMG_4112Heading into a hanging Austrian side valley at 1700 Meters was the perfect location to rest up from 4 days of climbing at the Alpen Tour.  It was also ideal to start acclimatizing to the medium altitude (1500M-2200M) which the World Marathon Championships will take place at.  There’s nothing like the power of nature to heal the body and after 3 days of relaxing it was back on the bike for 4 days of solid climbing practice in  the surrounding alpine.

The riding in the Otzal Alps was great as long fire roads  lead up to alpine huts where a guy could stop for a warm drink before searching out some single track for the return.    The weather was iffy with rain and temperatures hovering between +2 to +10 but when you grow up in the Rocky Mountains surrounding Jasper this feels fine and the crisp cool air sure brings one alive!IMG_4121

Heading into Italy the weather turned for the better at the border and with 5 days till race day we are busy checking out the 87 km course with 4700 Meters of climbing.  It’s a real monster and one of  the hardest sub 100 km race courses I’ve ever experienced.  It’s 80 % fireroad and snakes its way around the alpine under the towering Dolomite peaks with some nice single track descending mixed in.


Last year I raced here in the UCI Marathon World Series with over 4000 other cyclists  and finished 15th in what is a pure climbers course.  This year will be even harder against the Worlds best but with 4 days left to pre-ride the course, the right bike in my Kona King Kahuna, and huge motivation to finish this Euro campaign on a high note I have a feeling it will  be a good one!

Previews of the race can be found at: &



Bavarian Alps- Alpen Tour

4912917-Funny-snail-trying-alternative-transport-on-a-bike-Stock-PhotoThis trip over to Europe hasn’t gone to plan racing wise so I’ve put that on the back burner for now and have been trying to soak in the great European culture and landscapes. There’s been a lot of good times with friends and everyday is a learning curve over here in the European racing scene.    Times like these require some patience as the body will come around eventually but sometimes it takes longer then you wish!

The German World Cup was followed by a great 9 days staying with Manuel Weissenbacher and his family in there Austrian home just south of Salzburg. It felt like home and was a perfect place to enjoy some good company, eat fresh garden salads and relax.  We also had a solid training week in the surrounding IMG_3871Bavarian Alps with Anderl and Manuel giving a great tour of there training grounds.  These guys know how to enjoy there rides and can rip up the single track.  I’ll be looking forward to the next time our self proclaimed “Maple leaf crew” meets up for some rides, hopefully on the other side of the pond.

This past weekend was spent in the rugged Schladming-Dachstein region for the 4 day Alpen Tour Trophy.  It’s one of the toughest races I’ve ever done as it’s Marathons version of a World Cup  and is a pure climbers race.  The scenery is awesome as every day we race high up into the Alpine below towering mountains and clear mountain lakes. CRO_9520-19 It sounds nice but if you don’t have your A game it’s a fight just to stay in the top 60.

My mind and body are still uncoordinated as I battle through a rough patch so I had to take in the scenery this time and use it as a solid 4 day building block as I still have my fingers crossed for a turnaround before Marathon Worlds  in a couple weeks.


A race report from last years Alpen Tour in which I raced properly and finished 16th overall can be found here IMG_0976

Racing in Europe is tough at the best of times.  It’s a different style over here as most the races are purely built around fitness, while bike riding skills aren’t generally that important.  The fields are insanely deep as well with often 30+ guys legitimacy fighting for a podium pot.  In North America our racing is generally a bit more relaxed with loads of single track and shorter races.  I figure if a guy can gather some European fitness and combine it with North American trail riding skills it should make for a pretty deadly combo.IMG_3935

Off to the high Austrian Alps to hideout in a small valley and soak in some thin alpine air before heading off to the Italian Dolomites for some final preps before Marathon Worlds!



German World Cup

uci_wordcup_logoLimping into a World Cup XC wasn’t an easy call to make after a rough month on the bike but sometimes races like this can light a fire under ones ass.  Watching KONA teammate Spencer Paxson the week before work his way up from 115th to 65th in Czech inspired me so I threw my name into the hat.    I got worked over royally but at the same time came away with an interesting experience.    Getting to ride an European World Cup with over 150 of the Worlds fastest racers in front of thousands of screaming fans was pretty cool.  sheep-jam

During the start loop the elbows were high as riders from the back took big risks bulldozing there way up into the field.  Two minutes into the race we hit the base of the first single track climb which created a situation in which 100+ of the Worlds best bikers stood around in the German forest like a bunch of anxious sheep.  Anyone outside the top 30 was left stuck and soon it turned into a pushy line like an Old Dehli train station.

Having a chance to catch my breath at this point I looked back to see the damage, and realized there were just 5 riders behind me.  With a coughing diesel engine and a flimsy shoulder on my mind I had really failed the start loop portion of this game.   As a result it was a long wait in line, enough time to start conversations with the surrounding riders, then when it was our turn to go we’d sprint all out to the next traffic jam and continue the conversation.  We had enough time to discuss all the Worlds problems and come up with solutions as well.

The leaders did the first lap in around 11 minutes and I rolled through nearly 5 minutes down.  The 2nd lap was a bit bett11336901_943163011645_5660616829512079134_oer but the combination of sprinting all out and then standing and waiting is not something I have practiced enough in training this year.  With the 80% rule in effect, there was just over 1 more minute to lose before the officials pulled me from the race after lap 3.   Lap 3 we could actually ride without too many jams but by this point it was nearly game over as the guys at the front end of this race were rocketing around the course!

The last week in Belgium was great as I moved over to my friend Christof Marien’s place in eastern Belgium.  Over here there were a few more patches of trees, some nice fishing holes, and some quieter riding if you went east into the Netherlands.   Belgium was a nice place to visit for 3 weeks but the flatness and lack of any wilderness started to crack me good.

It was an exciting day to pack up Christof’s, parents RV and head south down the German Autobahn to Albstadat Germany for a weekend at the World Cup XC races.  Driving the Autobahn is something else with cars ripping by at 160 km/hr +.  I learned quickly if your a big motorhome driven at 110 km/hr you better be in the far right lane or else you’ll have a pile of pissed off Germans behind you.  In Albstadt we found a quiet corner of a Grocery store parkinglot and set up camp for the weekend, just a stone throw away from the start finish area.

Pre-riding the slick 4 km course on Saturday was scary as the stoney surface was like ice.  Knowing one fall on the2015 Albstadt World Cup - Elite Men shoulder could end my season I chose to stay off the slicker top half of the course and focused riding the second half of the course.  It’s surprising how poor your single track skills get after not riding any real trail in 1.5 months.   Lap by lap the skills slowly came back, following the lines of Nino Shurter and Absalon certainly helped speed up the process.IMG_3812

It was a relief waking up on Sunday morning to sunny skies as the course is real simple to ride in the dry, but one of the scariest danm things in the World if its slick!  My head was more in survival mode for the day which is no way to enter a World Cup.  In hindsight it was ridiculous to line up at this race with my mind and body so uncoordinated at the moment but some opportunities are just too cool to pass up..

After an overnight with my friend Aaron Schooler and a ride to the Ritter Sport Chocolate factory, it was off on the German trainline to my friends Manuel and Anderl in the Bavarian Alps just south of Salzburg.   We’ve had a stellar training week up to now which has been a great way to rebound the spirit and body as the build up to the Marathon Worlds continues..IMG_3850

Off to soak in some more Austrian Alpine air :)     (Thanks Robert Jones & Canadian Cyclist for the nice action shots)