Have you heard? Cross is here.

Welcome to the 2015/2016 Cyclocross season, it has arrived!

I've been kind of purposely not blogging.  I haven't figured out a good topic, no, how about a GREAT topic.  Cyclocross is always a GREAT topic, so lets talk CX.  

This summer was a crazy blur of work, training, and putting together my sponsors and program for the year.  I was extremely late to the "get your sponsor" game, due to topics I don't need to discuss on the World Wide Web, but I am extremely excited to be working with the same sponsors from last year, plus a couple of new ones.  I love having a one on one relationship with my sponsors, I love talking directly to them and thanking them for everything they do.  I love that I trust my sponsors and their product, that when I'm making a sales pitch to someone, I truly and honestly believe they should use x, y, z of my sponsors.  

But Courtenay, who ARE your sponsors?  Lets review, plus one comment on why I LOVE each product:

Rock Lobster (aka Paul Sadoff):  hands down, my favorite bike (next to my Transition Scout) to ride.  Why I love Paul's bikes, they fit me.  #1, I'm 5'3 (maybe 5'3.5), I'm short, stock bikes, they aren't made for short people, and they come with a lot of toe overlap with the front wheel (in my experience) or a top tube that is just too long for me.  Plus, my bike is hand made in the USA, Santa Cruz, CA to be exact.  I love repping my Rock Lobster frames across the Nation and Globe. In a sea of carbon, my aluminum handmade bike, gets the job done, and it gets the job done FAST.  Plus, Paul's bikes are beautiful and sometimes when I'm racing people sing "Rock Lobster" to me.  

American Classic Wheels:  Why I love these wheels?  Aside from the company being wonderful and incredibly good people, their light and durable wheels, that spin up really fast.  They handle anything form rough to smooth terrain and take it like a champ!

Lizard Skins:  Bar tape, crusher!  I LOVE this bar tape, why?  For starts I use the DSP 2.5 mm bar tape, it has lots of cushion when going over any bumpy terrain, but my absolutely favorite part about this bar tape, when it rains, it's grippy and it's self cleaning!  The bar tape ACTUALLY gets cleaner in the rain.  Stop by your local bike shop and buy a roll to see how awesome it is for yourself.  If you live in Bellingham, Bikesport carries it.  

KASK: My favorite helmet supplier.  Why I love their helmets?  They're the most comfortable helmet I have ever worn, and I've worn quite a few helmets.  The retention system is really amazing, you can adjust the back system to place it wherever on your head is the most comfortable and then tighten it from there.  The chin strap?  It's leather, only the best for this fine Italian company.  The helmets also come in a large variety of colors, which makes it a lot of fun when trying to find the right helmet to match your team kit!  I would say one of the best features about the KASK helmets, they don't dent my head like other helmets I have worn!  Big thumbs up from me!

WD40 Bike:  Only the best in bike cleaning products (and once again, people).  This is a small company run down in Southern California.  I know most of you know about WD40 Bike, because they spend their time cleaning your bikes at the biggest and most fun events on the UCI CX Calendar (plus other events around the US during the other times of the year).  They don't mess around with their water based products, follow instructions and your bikes will be sparkly clean and your chains lubed well!  My favorite part?  Smell their chain lube, it's something out of an Axe commercial.  

Borah Teamwear:  If you're looking for a new clothing company for your local team, may I suggest Borah Teamwear?  But Courtenay, you HAVE to say that.  Remember how I said I use product I trust and believe in?  This company has awed me in SO many ways.  A (once again) hand made product in the USA (Wisconsin to be exact) with the best customer service.  I can't even put into words how amazing of an experience I had producing my kit with Borah.  Their turn around was also incredibly fast, maybe 3 weeks, 4 at most.  The quality of their clothing is nothing but top notch, seriously.  I'm in love with their bib shorts, which I'm REALLY picky about, they fit well, are flattering, and their powerband actually stays down on my leg!  If you want to check out some of their clothing pieces, find me at a race and I would be glad to show it off.  Did I mention how much I love the way my kit turned out?  They nailed it!  

Fizik:  Bars, stems, seat posts, and saddles have never felt so good before.  I'm super excited to running with Fizik, and their saddles keep my backside happy.  

TRP:  Have you seen the new TRP thru axle forks?  Next time you see my bikes, look at the fork, holy smokes they are beautiful!  Not only is TRP supplying me with some top notch forks, but also I will be running the Sprye SLC for all my braking needs.  I'm digging the braking predictability with the disc breaks, so far, so good!

Bikesport:  Just your friendly local Bellingham bike shop which will provide me with some awesome overhaul and bike needs throughout the season.  Stop into Bikesport for any and all of your biking needs, they have a lovely collection of items and great customer service.  

Dave Pearson:  Just your not so average friend who has raced cross forever and wants me to do well, so he has adapted the task of tire gluer, product grabber, and the make sure you bike is built guy.  He's all around pretty awesome.  

Other supporters include (not in any particular order):

Clement cycling, Stages Cycling, Smith OpticsGE Capital, Alliant, United Healthcare, Zones, Xelleration, Digipen, Meltzer Group, The Moore Hotel, Kibble and Prentice, and Motofish.  

If you see me at the races please be sure to say hello!  I am a little bit of a gypsy bike racer, so my home base does change for every race, but don't be shy, find me, say hello!  If you have any product questions feel free to drop me a message on my contact me page, I love answering peoples questions, or even just a friendly hello works too!

Thank you for always supporting me, following a long, and cheering from the side.  

The most magical place on earth

Panorama of the bay when the tide is in. 

Panorama of the bay when the tide is in. 

I believe Walt Disney had it wrong when he called “The Magic Kingdom" the most magical place on earth.  Yes, that castle is quite beautiful, the images, the fireworks behind it at night when Disney puts on their show, the way the castle can look huge on camera, but yet in real person, it’s quite small.  That’s pretty magical.  It’s quite clear that Walt Disney never visited Vancouver Island, or better yet, The Comox Valley.  The main portion of the valley is comprised of Comox, Courtenay (my town), and Cumberland.  Each place holds an extremely special place in my heart.  My families beach house sits across the beach in the city limits of Comox (only on technicality, because the city is only one road, and not the ones above it), I was named after the town of Courtenay, and Cumberland has some of the most fun mountain biking with the most incredible views of the valley below, the Straight of Georgia, and the mountains of the Sunshine Coast. 

If you look closely, you can see a little place called "tree island".  Growing up we LOVED going to tree island.  

If you look closely, you can see a little place called "tree island".  Growing up we LOVED going to tree island.  

Why is this place so magical?  It might have something to do with the fact that I’ve practically grown up here in the summer time, and it might have something to do with how it truly is magical.  Growing up we were so lucky to have a beautiful place to roam, free of danger, and nothing to do but get sand in our pants.  When I’m at the beach I have a beautiful back drop of the mountainous Sunshine Coast.  I can watch the views of the Bald Eagles flying in the wind, perched on top of the trees looking for lunch.  They’re some of the most majestic and beautiful birds I have ever seen.  When I’m sick of swimming in salt water, and I want a little more of a thrill, I can hop in the car and find a swimming hole at one of the local rivers.  Want to swim in some rushing water and a place that will keep you guessing when walking down the river?  No problem.  Want a big rock to jump off of into a calm pool of water?  The valley has that covered too.  Want to float the river for an all day excursion?  Lets make it happen.  Did I mention the mountain biking?  It never gets old.  The first time I rode in Cumberland, it stole my heart for my most favorite place to ride, from the flowy, bridge filled trails, to the most amazing views of the scenes below.  My most favorite thing to do in the summer post a hot sweaty mountain bike ride, is head to the river to wash the sweat off and cool down.  Once you’ve cooled down from the cold river, we head back to the beach, sit in our floaty with our beverage of choice and let the tide bring us back to shore.  It truly doesn’t get any better than that.  Hawaii is paradise, but the Comox Valley is magical. 

Now pair all of this up with the friendly Canadians and you couldn’t ask for a more magical place on earth. 

Which brings me to this.  Chris and I have travelled to Cumberland to do a couple of races.  It started last year when we went up for the 12 hours of Cumberland, support a small local race, race some new trails, challenge ourselves on a team of two, and stay at the beach.  The friendly faces and personalities of the locals brought us back for more this year.  We came up in April for the Cumberland XC race, and boy did they show us what a XC race should be like, nearly 100% single track and nothing but smiles.  We followed up the XC race with the 2015 edition of 12 Hours of Cumberland this past weekend, and boy it did not disappoint! 

Chris and I once again teamed up for the event.  This year they changed the course up a bit, added a single track climb at the beginning before hitting the logging road to the main single track parts of the course.  Once off the logging road we got the chance to flow on some single track, which included lots and lots of pedaling before hitting the fast and rocky Crafty Butcher descent.  From there, we had more climbing before hitting a wide open descent to a very pedally flat’ish trail that requires ALMOST as much focus as Hush Hush on Chuckanut Mountain.  This trail was called “josh’s trail”.  I don’t know who Josh is, but I was cursing him right around lap 8 or 9.  The trail was super tight with trees all around you, and soft dirt because I think it was freshly cut this spring. 

Done and dusted.  That was hard!

Done and dusted.  That was hard!

The entire day went off without a hitch, for the most part.  I did happen to make a wrong turn on my first lap, went down the wrong trail, back up it, and then down it again when someone told me that was right way (it wasn’t).  Chris also did flat 3 times, but that’s not surprising to us at all, now is it?  Chris and I ended up finishing 24 laps, 12 each, with a total of 12,000 feet of climbing between the two of us, and nearly 180 kilometers.  We had time for one more, but neither of us had the energy or the legs to go out for one more lap.  Compared to last year, this course was far more physically demanding than it was last year.  The inclusion of more single track, the single track climb, and that darn Josh, adding his trail in, really increased the amount of physical and mental energy needed to get through a lap. 

Friends near and far, I urge you to take a trip to this magical place on Vancouver Island.  Visit the coastal town of Comox, the city of Courtenay, and the Village of Cumberland.  Bring your mountain bike, your road bike, your paddleboard, your swim suit.  Bring your free spirit, your best friend, you will not be disappointed. 

Dusty and exhausted!  

Dusty and exhausted!  

Winners in the Co-Ed 2 person category.  We love those Beardsley Mugs!!!

Winners in the Co-Ed 2 person category.  We love those Beardsley Mugs!!!