From our friends Mike and Mary
Hope your summer is going well and you are finding time to get out and enjoy it!
Mike and I just returned home after a month long road trip on the east coast. Living in our little winnebago was a good adventure as we navigated our way around the east coast to race our National Championships in Pennsylvania, the Pro XCT Finals in Vermont and most recently, the World Cup in Mont Ste Anne, Quebec. It was a great way to see a bit more of this awesome continent and we were glad to have some good health and fitness at these home soil races.
If you’d like to read the details of our travels to Nationals and me learning to launch the gaps jumps in Vermont at the Pro XTC, please check out the previous blog entries.
Update from the World Cup in Mont Ste Anne (Aug 10):
We have raced at Ste Anne a dozen times and it is a favorite venue on the schedule for both Mike and I. The technically demanding east coast riding style, short steep climbs, the fan fair and crowds that come out to spectate rival the biggest venues we’ve ever raced at. This year was no exception but the course got shortened, and many features we’ve come to appreciate were sadly omitted – like the first steep climb and tricky forest traverse into the infamous “Beatrice” rock drop. They added more pavement through the venue instead… a little disheartening to find this shortened “de-fanged” course, but after training a few days, we found the new rendition to be worthy of some awesome World Cup racing and still was fun to ride. Mostly we’ve learned it would be better to let go of any expectations when we arrive to a race track and just take it for what it is and enjoy it.
The weather turned out to be perfect. Nice days, cool nights – a little of every flavor – some sun, overcast, rain and a little breezy. It was a pleasure to not have it so hot or extremely muddy as we have seen in years past, especially since our accommodations were in our not so fancy RV in the local and busy campground which we’ve stayed at over a dozen times as well. It was funny to remember all the various rigs we’ve camped out in – and we decided this years rendition rivaled the best…
Race day came and we were ready – The track was perfectly tacky with a bit of slick on the roots and rocks, adding that extra challenge at the top of the gut busting switchback climb. Fields were stacked with all nations and both Mike and I were happy to be there representing our sponsors in our new team kits made by our Polish friends at Quest Sport! (See photo) We were both super glad to have great days racing at this historic venue. I got a solid start in the top 15, held my place and even moved ups few spots by the end to finish12th… I was happy to feel strong throughout the 5 laps and ride smooth on my Seven IMX 29er over the fast track. It seemed that the new course allowed for tighter racing and it was exciting and motivating to race so closely with the other women. We were seconds apart. Huge thanks to our good friend, Tomy, who comes from Montreal and has helped us for the past 6 years in the tech/feed zone. What we would do without our awesome crew of family supporters and friends, i do not know… we are so grateful!
The men’s race was really exciting to watch, even from the new pavement feed zone where we could view at least some of the action. Mike started near the back of the pack but kept it steady, battling with some Brazilians and Canadians. I watched a lot of guys drop out or blow up, counting the positions as Mike kept moving up. It was awesome to watch him ride so strong, eventually moving up to finish 40th! He was very happy to not have any mechanical problems or crashes this time! And, as mechanic, relieved that both our bikes worked perfectly again!
It took us three days to get home from MSA and I suppose I was a little tired from all that running around and the intense racing. A rest week was on the calendar and it has been super sweet to be here, spread out, sleep in a real bed and do what I feel like doing. We’ve been paddle boarding a few times and enjoying our favorite training loops and trails. It has been recuperative and grounding to be back on the island despite the busy summer vacationer vibe that is cranking at this time of year. Nice to know the quiet places and good to feel back on track for what lies ahead in our XC season finale…
If you haven’t heard: Mike and I have been selected to the US National Team for XC World Championships again!! We are headed to South Africa at the end of this week and racing Aug 31! SO we are busy planning all the logistics and very excited for our 4th trip to KwaZulu Natal (Pietermaritzburg). It is always such a great honor to be selected for Worlds and we are excited to bring our A game and give our best effort representing at this huge event.
The world cup finals are 2 weeks later in Norway . . . SO we will be traveling directly to Europe after and will stay there through September.
Unfortunatley we will not be able to attend Interbike this year, but will look forward to catching up somewhere off the beaten path!
We’ll keep you posted as the cycle spins.
Thanks for the continued support!
Mary and Mike
Team KENDA – Stan’s NoTubes