Last October after the 24 Hour World Solo Championships in California I took a break from racing to fix one chink in the armour
and had my eyes Lazer corrected at King Lasik in Victoria BC. A lengthy recovery, combined with a broken finger built into 6 weeks off the bike. The body took kindly to this down time to recharge from a busy few years and bounced back stronger then ever. The eyes have been fluctuating but tend to still be on the upward trend approaching 20/20. Starting with the Tour of Costa Rica during the last 2 weeks of December its been full steam ahead racing 35 days between then and mid April.
Following Costa Rica it was onwards to Australia to eat some Kangaroo and get the body fired up for an assault on NZL races. All primed it was off to New Zealand to meet my teammates for the 7 day Pioneer stage race across the southern Alps. This was a highlight of the year as we road far into the NZL Alps an enjoyed some classic moments as Team Kona.
Next up was reuniting with my friend Tarrren to take on the 24 hour Solo Worlds Champs in Rotorua on the North Island of NZL. She looked after the pit crew along with Jason, Justin and Dion and we came oh so close to taking down 7 time World Champ Jason English. There’s only 4 more minutes to improve before the World Champs in Italy next June and that title will be in different hands 🙂
The weeks to follow in New Zealand were near perfect as we soaked in the last days of the NZL summer and drove around the North Island visiting friends, hitting races and soaking in the natural beauty of the land.
My buddy Ondrej Slezak joined me to tackle to Kiwi Crusade during this time but that was a rather unforgettable gongshow. We are making plans to re-unite to tackle a real race in the future, maybe somewhere down in South Africa.. Ending the New Zealand journey at the Southern Hemispheres longest running MTB race with the Karipoti Classic was a good sendoff as Tarren hopped a jet back to Australia and I took off to Vietnam to defend a title at the Vietnam Victory Challenge. The defence was a success with possibly the strongest legs I’ve ever had as they seemed to have been brought a new life after the downtime last fall.
With a pile of racing in the bank my buddy Simon and I headed off too Northern Vietnam, Laos and Thailand for 3 weeks of bike touring and soaking in the Asian lifestyle up there. We road a pile of kilometres, ate a lot of fresh fruit and experienced a wild part of the World. Riding around with Apidura bike packing bags sure let us travel fast and hard. Our time in Asia came to an end and Simon took off back to the land of maple syrup and I jetted off to India to tackle a week long race across the Himalayan foothills in the Uttarakhand province boarding Nepal. It was a wild 2.5 weeks across India, full of crazy days but ended in a hiccup as I caught a case of Dehli belly. The body called for a recovery period in a first world country so off to Australia it was.
The last 3 weeks in Australia served its purpose and has left the body semi-recharched and the mind ready for the 2nd half of the race year. Martin and Juliana, Peter and Nancy, Ondrej and Hanna, and Todd all opened there homes and treated there Canadian visitor with some great times and some solid food to fix a broken system.
Its unreal to be on the other side of the World yet to feel right at home which is only possible with great friends such as these. Australia was also full of some good riding which has left the body primed to take on the Canadian portion of the season. A couple races were mixed into the scene as well which will help with the process of getting back into top form. Sometimes you need to put your ego on hold and take races as good opportunities for motivating training rides. These races reminded me a little more R&R is in need which will be taken care of back on home soil:)
Sitting here at Sea Tac airport in Seattle waiting for the the final flight to Victoria tonight the mind is in a peaceful state, ready for some Canadian time to regroup and set off on the next round of adventures. This week the body will be on full recharge mode before heading off to Vancouver to pick up some fresh Kona bikes then onwards to Salmon Arm for some camping and racing at the Salty Dog 6 Hour Enduro 🙂
Huge thanks to everyone who has made this last trip around the World possible as without all the friends and support who have stepped up this journey wouldn’t be half of what it was. I haven’t forgotten the kindness and good times and will be looking forward to the next visit wherever it may be, hopefully you all make it to Canada one day for a feed of Maple Bacon 🙂