The past weekend wasn’t exactly my best weekend on the bike so I’ll get that bit out of the way first. At GP Twenty20 Cycles, Koppenberg, I took the lead, crashed with no help from anyone else, and the pain that followed held me back and I wasn’t able to perform at all. A very sad 8th place finish in my hometown race was a big disappointment but I’ll be back. So it was on to Zonhoven, a sandy classic in the East of Belgium. (more…)
While the overall race lead remains with Atherton’s Greg Saw, today the Crocodile Trophy camp is celebrating its fourth elite stage winner with Cory Wallace. The Canadian National Marathon Champion finishes almost three minutes ahead of Ramses Bekkenk (NED) and Greg Saw after a wild ride, literally, only narrowly escaping the attack of a wild bull. The Austrian Guido Thaler achieves a personal best at the Crocodile Trophy with a fourth place ahead of Milton Ramos (ESP). The Elite Woman Imogen Smith calls today’s stage “the best one yet”.
Today’s stage had been a wild ride, said Cory Wallace, as he crossed the finish after 3h11:10.81, which pushed him up into third overall and only half a minute behind Ramses Bekkenk (NED) who advanced into second place after four stages. “On the first section before the technical feed zone suddenly there was this herd of wild cows and this black bull – it was huge – was chasing us”, Wallace recounted the close encounter with the “locals” that must have motivated him to pedal even harder, because he arrived at said feedzone with a 2-minute gap to a chaser group including Bekkenk, Greg Saw, the Austrian Guido Thaler and Milton Ramos from Spain, who weren’t as lucky as Wallace. They had to duck and dive to get away from the bull. “I’ve raced the Crocodile Trophy three times already, but that was the single scariest moment so far”, admitted Wallace. More at www.crocodile-trophy.com
“2nd in the opening round of the World Cup, I’ll take that. Racing in a World Cup is always different from any other race. Everyone comes motivated, fit and ready to put it all on the line, so your early season races aren’t always a good indicator.
However, when it comes to Katie Compton, class is a good indicator of form. After a lap today she decided to give everyone a head start. I think I was around 40 seconds up on her, but that proved to not be enough.
The group at the front (Me, Cant, Harris and De Boer) didn’t hang around. Lucie Chainel decided it would be a good idea to rip everyone’s legs off at the start of the race, and when it came back together us 4 up front each took our turn to drive the race and take a small advantage. But Katie’s speed is destructive. 22 seconds quicker than me on the 3rd lap shows why she fully deserved the win. I actually thought I had a pretty good lap on lap 3…..guess I need to reconsider the use of the word good.
Anyway, It was a great race, a good crowd and a real confidence boost at this stage of the season. It puts me 2nd in the World Ranking, 2nd in the World Cup and 2nd in the BPost series. I’m going to keep believing “1st the worst, 2nd the best”.
Valkenburg is an amazing town. The atmosphere there all weekend is great and I love spending time there. Obviously Milton Keynes is going to be the best World Cup this year, perhaps even in history, but Valkenburg, keep doing what you do, because its great.
See you next year V’burg.” Helen
Timor Leste is a small country situated on the eastern end of the Indonesian chain of islands, the western half of the island is Indonesian while the eastern half is a young 12 year old country called Timor Leste. It is a country which has been battered around for years, first under Portugues rule, then invaded by Japan during the 2nd World War and most recently invaded by Indonesia in 1975 which brought on 24 years of bloodshed and hardships. After years of turmoil, flattened infrastructure, massacres and referendums the country of East Timor became the first new sovereign state of the 21st century on May 20, 2002. Since then the small country of just over 1 million individuals have been busy as they started nearly from scratch to build up there nation. There is a lot of pride in the people as they are full of hope and aspirations to make there country something special. It is also a long road ahead for this 96% catholic country as they are still working on basics such as nutrition and are ranked as the hungriest nation in Asia, and 4th hungriest in the World. More at corywallace.com
I’m going to be very honest here; when I first went to Cross Vegas, it wasn’t really my cup of tea. A less than inspiring course (sorry), more than hot conditions, more air conditioning units in a single town than there are the whole of Europe, I won’t go any further. But my pit man/coach/go-to guy Stef decided it would be good for me to return five or six years later to face my desert demons and race Cross Vegas again. A few mails to the amazing Brook Watts later and we were all ready to go.
It was never going to be that smooth now was it! A cancelled flight, delays, queues longer and slower than ever previously recorded in history meant a 2am arrival in Vegas the night before the race. On my East Coast USA body clock, that was 5am. Anyone who knows me, knows I love sleep. I’m all about the sleep. So that kind of killed me. Fortunately I just left Stef at the airport to pick up the car, and carry my bags and got a cab to the Monte Carlo, our home for the next 2 days. More at www.helenwyman.com
Every year the Mongolia Bike Challenge continues to grow and expand into one of the Worlds longest and hardest mountain bike stage races. This was my fourth trip over here and was by far the best organized and most racey event of them all. In the first couple editions the MBC took place down in the Gobi desert and around the the Khangai Mountains. The scenery and adventures of these editions was unreal, but the race was at the mercy of mother nature with floods, dust storms, snow and other unrully weather, often making it more of a survival challenge then a bike race. Last year the organizers changed the route to the central eastern part of the country, through some great national parks and the enormous steppe lands. Here the weather is a more stable, the logistics easier with tourist camps surrounding the area and the scenery still spectacular golden grasslands, spectacular rock outcroppings and a wide open feeling of freedom that only a few places in the world can offer. Again last year some troubles were run into with flooding rivers and cold weather but changes were made and for the 5th edition the organization had a well layed out plan with backup plans in case of sever weather.
From day one things rolled pretty smoothly and the 75 racers of the 5th edition of the MBC were treated to 900 km of great racing through one of the Worlds great nomadic landscapes with the Mongolian culture evident and inspiring around every corner. Crystal clear rivers, roaming camels, rolling grassy hills, zippy antelope, countless herds of sheep & goats, wild stampeding horses, snakes, local Mongols living there Nomadic lives, every day was a slow moving national geographic movie which kept us entertained every step of the way. More at corywallace.com
The night before the race I opted for a solo camping mission along one of Squamish’s fireroads. Hiking 2 minutes into the woods finding a stellar campsite pitched on a 20 ft cliff overlooking a small river down below. With a mossy forest flooring, the sound of rushing water and some fresh air this made for a great nights rest. The next morning I woke up and hiked down to the river for a chilly dip. This was is better than any cup of caffeine and immediately shook all the cob webs out of the system. When I got out of the water I looked up to see a race official on the other side of the river setting up the start finish arch. This was great to find out camp was just 300 ft from the startline and made for easy preps. It was just a short wade across the river to the race start and I could easily return to camp for last minute preps. more at www.corywallace.com
They call it a bucket list race, one of the epics, a must do. Whatever you want to say about it, BC Bike race holds a special place in the hearts of us at Team Kona. Since its inception we have embraced the race, essentially making it our own parade of single track excellence.
From the first year they did it, winning the race 28 hours, to the more toned down, single-track focused race it has become, Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks have owned the event. No one can ride those trails faster than Kris. Many have tried, but no one has even come close. Wendy Simms came along not too long after, and her reign of dominance extended many years, finally coming to an end this season, but not without a fight. Spencer was a little later to the party, but drank the kool-aid quickly, and has become part of the tribe of single track shred. (more…)
For the first time ever I was lucky enough to take part in the pinnacle of Marathon racing at the UCI Marathon World Champs in South Africa. South Africa is an interesting country with beautiful landscapes, huge game reserves, and one of the Worlds largest gaps between rich and poor. Its the economic backbone of Africa and supplies over 2/3rds of the continents electricity. It also has one of the biggest Mountain bike Marathon scenes in the World highlighted with the Cape Epic, The Munga (million dollar bike race), and this year the World Champs.
Racing in Europe beforehand was the ideal place to prep and get adapted to the high level of fitness which would be on display. Even with that, I was nervous as heck when I saw the start list and realized the top 50 or 60 riders were all World class and use to winning all the races on there side of the globes including 6 past Olympic and World Champions. More at corywallace.com