When 2013 happened it looked like it would go down as my biggest year ever with 79 days of racing. 2016 eclipsed it by two days. 81 is the new personal record which will likely stand till the end of my career… but who really knows.
It all started road racing down in the jungles at the Tour of Costa Rica, a race full of brawls, crashes and insanely fast Latinos riding like Tour de France champions. Post-race a couple weeks were spent staying with my friends Ronald & Angela and training in the Latin mountains before hopping a flight over to Australia and New Zealand. Racing the inaugural Pioneer through NZL’s Southern Alps with my Kona teammates was a trip to remember. This was topped off with a week with some buddies in Queenstown before heading North.
Following this was a road trip with my friend Tarren through NZL to the North Island to take on the 24 HR Solo World Champs. Riding 450 km of singletrack, finishing 2nd, 4 minutes off the title was one of the rides of my life as Jason English set a new record, winning the title for a 7th year in a row. There were hot springs, beaches and a couple more races in NZL before launching to Vietnam to defend the title at the Vietnam Victory Challenge.
Next up was a bike tour across northern Vietnam-Laos and Thailand with my buddy Simon. We ate loads of fresh fruit, got sunburnt and had some good times enjoying the Asian gong shows. After 3 weeks Simon went back to work in Canada and I caught a jet to India for a crazy adventure in the foothills of the Himalayas. Eating some sketchy curry from a kitchen built in a chicken coop turned the stomach inside out for a while. After three weeks of recovery with my friends Martin and Julian in Australia it was back home to cap off this solid 4.5 month road trip to start the season.
Back in Canada things came back on track with a win at a wet and gnarly Nimby 50. This was followed with 4 stage wins and the overall title at BC Bike Race as my teammate Spencer Paxson and I worked well together to finish 1-2. Up next was a tough battle with Geoff Kabush at Marathon Nationals in Eastern Canada in which he nipped the title from my grasp by under a minute. Back to Back wins at the Alberta XC and Marathon Championships closed out the Canadian portion of the season before heading off to Asia for round 2!
Asia round 2 started off racing across the land of Ghengis Khan in Mongolia. After 5 times to Mongolia it feels like I’m just starting to know that pristine nomadic country. Up next were 4 days of missing flights and losing my bike tying to get to Bhutan from Mongolia. This is harder than it sounds. The next 10 days in Bhutan were out of this world, winning the 250 km Tour of the Dragon, visiting the Prime Minister at his residence, hanging out with the Prince, and hiking to monasteries in the mountains with my buddies/guide DJ and Jigme.
Next on deck were 5 scorching days at the Tour of Timor in which my skin started to melt. Timor is a great place to ride a bike but you need to be up in the mountains or else it’s too damn hot! At this point the trip was suppose to end but I missed my flight back to Canada and headed to Singapore to stay with my friends Ken and Laura. They helped reload supplies, gave myself a place to rest a few days and helped fix the bike before hopping a jet to India for another round in the Himalayas.
India round 2 was another solid adventure with a great crew. 1 day in India is like 1 month in North America in regards to sensory overload as the action is insanely intense 24/7. After racing 8 days across Northern India the adventure was topped off with shaking hands with the Dalai Lama in his home at Mcleod Ganj.
The next 2 weeks were spent beaming from this encounter and acclimatizing in the mountains surrounding the hippie village of Dharamkot as the Worlds Highest MTB race was on deck in Nepal. These 2 weeks were eventful with lots of hiking with my friends Zina, Ashish and Gurman a bit of riding and a fall off a mountain, dislocating my shoulder. This seemed like a trip ender but visiting some hippie doctors fixed things up and the trip continued…
Nepal will go down as one of the all time greats, kicking off with 10 days of training up in the mountains with my buddy Peter. Next up was the Yak Attack with 11 days racing through the largest mountains in the world and into the forbidden Kingdom of the Upper Mustang bordering Tibet. Capturing the title to become the first foreigner to do so in the race’s 10 years history capped a memorable season. With time to relax my friend Usha and I headed out trekking in the mountains for 10 days before it was time to call it a trip and head back to home soil.
Work was calling in Alberta so it was off slashing down hazard trees in the frozen north for a while. As of now I’m still up there refreshing the mind and filling the bank, waiting until a little bird flies by and chirps that its time to re-mount the bike for 2017.
Here are some numbers from the past season.
14 Countries Visited: Canada, Nepal, Australia x2, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Singapore, India x2, Mongolia, Bhutan, East Timor, China.
81 Days Racing:
70 Mountain Bike Race Days
JetBlack 6×6, Australia: (2nd)
The Pioneer, New Zealand: (2nd)
World 24 HR Solo Champs, New Zealand (2nd)
Kiwi Crusade, New Zealand (DNS)
Karapoti Classi, New Zealand (3rd)
Vietnam Victory Challenge (1st)
Uttarakhand MTB, India: (5th)
Convict 100, Australia: (4th)
Rocky Trail Grand Prix, Australia: (DNF)
Salty Dog 6hr, Canada: (3rd)
Nimby 50, Canada: (1st)
Cumberland Marathon, Canada: (2nd)
Test of Metal, Canada: (4th
BC Bike Race, Canada: (1st)
Canadian Marathon Championships: (2nd)
Alberta XC and Marathon Champs: (1st x 2)
Mongolia Bike Challenge, Mongolia: (3rd)
Tour of the Dragon, Bhutan: (1st)
Tour of Timor, East Timor: (7th)
MTB Himalaya, India: (2nd)
Yak Attack, Nepal: (1st)
11 Road Race Days:
Tour of Costa Rica (32nd)
Falling off a Mountain in Northern India – dislocated shoulder
Training Numbers: FTP: Huh? Power to Weight: Who cares… Vo2Max: Boring….
*9 stage races
* 3 stage race GC wins
*2 stage races runner up
*4 minutes off my first World 24 Hour Solo Title
*52 seconds off my 3rd Canadian XCM Championship Title
* 5416 meters, the highest altitude riding a bike.
*445 km, longest singletrack MTB ride of the year
*26 international flights
* 2.5 months at home in Victoria
* 11 days at the Spirit River hotel in Northern Alberta while Working was the longest time spent consecutively in one spot
*12 months raced in
*15 working days as a danger tree faller
Big thanks to my sponsors for making this all possible: KONA, Accent Inns, Freewheel Cycle, Nourish, Squirt Lube, Beet-It, Balance Point Racing and my bosses Lindsay and Greg Wadsworth at Integrity Reclamation Services for giving me work whenever I’m around.
2017 is on deck!