Friday, June 29, 2007


Since I have been traveling the globe racing these world cup races I have to say that Shimano has been there to help me out at every venue. Robert in europe made sure my Kula Supreme was dialed in Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. And the Shimano Canada boys have been awesome here in Quebec. Ben, Joe, Mark and the rest of the crew have set my feet up and the Hei Hei Supreme is totally fired up and ready to race on a REAL mountain bike course. Thanks to the crew for being so supportive while I have been far from home. You rock!

Je me souviens

Je me souviens is on every Quebec license plate. I am not sure exactly what it means historically but literally it means "I remember". Just sitting here in St Felicien a couple days out from the second Canadian world cup race. I was in Mt St Anne for a week with my parents acting as support crew and then Norm met us for the St Felicien race so its as close to "home" as I have been in awhile.

I have been having an awesome visit with Lizzie & Geo (my parents). Every year they come and support me at Mt St Anne and every year Geo says he wants to try paragliding. He talks to the paragliders about the wind conditions, the weather conditions and everything else aeronautical (he is a pilot). BUT every year he chickens out and says that he doesnt have time or the weather isnt good. So for fathers day I just said "get yourself organized - we are going paragliding".

He didnt have time to object. We got him hooked up and he took off from the backside of Mt St Anne. My mom said it was the first time she had ever seen him give up control to a total stranger. If you know Geo, you know every move he makes is calculated (the risk, the time, the benefit, the cost etc). But he LOVED it!! Noone else was flying that day because the wind was so strong but the tandem wing was big enough to tame the strong winds. It took them ahile to get back down as a result but it meant Geo could log more time in his flight log book.

We also went whale watching after the race. I have always wantde to see a Beluga whale. I was born in Churchill where I always heard stories about polar bears and belugas and narwhales so I had to check them out if they were so close. I guess tons of whales come into the St Lawrence to feed, including the elusive Blue whale. So we signed up for a zodiac trip and went to check it out. We were not disappointed. ~3o whales were feeding out in the St Lawrence near Tadoussac and we saw three different species: Fin whale (bigger than two school buses - second biggest whale in teh world next to teh Blue), Minke whale (bigger than 2 minivans) and some Belugas. The Belugas are protected so we couldnt get very close but the Fin and Minke were feeding close to us so we could really get a sense of just how enormous these critters were. It was a very cool experience.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Day trippin'

Kris and I were based out of Solothurn with the super cool Schneitter family but we managed to get in a few day trips to check out the area. We went to Bern, home of the Bernese Mountain dog (NOT the BurMese mountain dog from BURMA as the owners so often scoff at me - yeah thats you Dave and Erin!). Bern was great for shopping but lots of construction going on. Great chocolate shops so I had to taste test to make sure I could bring home the very best for Norm and the Malaspina Biology was research!

We also did a day trip to Nyon on lake Geneva to visit Myriam Saugy. I had never actually met Myriam but I had heard a lot about her from Norm and Stefan. Myriam is a Swiss marathon MTB racer who just came 2nd at the 8 day Cape Epic in South Africa. She gave us a great tour of the local trails. We had a 4 hour ride up the Jura mountains and then hit a restaurant at the top for a drink. Its pretty cool that you can stop for a drink in the middle of a 4 hr mountain bike ride! Myriam had this local dairy drink that is bright red, tastes like pop and is carbonated - wierd. Her English is great so we actually learned a lot about the area as we rode past black fighting cows, alpine meadows, and looked for a clear view of the Alps in the distance. Afterwards we went into town and checked out the festivals, Lake Geneva and tasted the local ice creams - Chocolate Delire (CRAZY CHOCOLATE!). How could I resist?


We were sad to say goodbye to Prisca and Eddy but it was time to move on to another race. Well rested and well fed we took off for Champery. It is a cool little town nestled in the snow covered mountains in the French part of Switzerland. Not quite at "altitude" but pretty damn close. Lots of roads that lead UP if you should so desire to go higher. We are staying in a chalet with Sandra Walters and Catharine Pendrel with lots of other Canadians close by. The course is great. Lots of singletrack, lots of places to pass and one crazy steep climb. Its pretty rooty which reminds me of BC. I was having some problems with my shifting after Offenburg but Robert and the crew from Shimano and Paul Walton from the Kona downhill team helped me out so I am set. The Kula supreme is dialed, my body is well rested, I love the course and I am ready to rip it up. Its time to start racing....wish me luck.

Biology geek

So even when I am away traveling for bike races I can never seem to lose my biology geek side. This trip was no different. I stopped mid-climb to look at HUGE land snails that are found only on the mountain behind the Scheitters house (Weissenstein). I learned about a local frog that carries its eggs on its back from the neighbors. I poked and prodded a big hedgehog (iegle in german) on the side of the road that had been hit by a car. We chased a chamois (deer-like animal) on our bikes until it bounded away into the woods. I tried to get close to this group of HUGE eagles? hawks? hunting in a local field. I caught a toad one day on the climb up Weissenstein. I heard about the local ticks in Solothurn that carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease and cause tick borne encephalitis (TBE). Good stuff.