2019 Island Cup Enduro Series

The 2019 Island Cup enduro race series has drawn to a close. Starting back on March 31st (my birthday) and running until Sept 29 makes for a long season. 8 race in total, and I managed to compete in 6 of them. Some races went better than others, but overall I feel like I progressed a lot through the season. During yesterdays race I felt like my speed was pretty decent, and my cornering was the best I’ve done all year, and these are two things I’ve worked on a lot through the summer.

I’m still not as fast, nor as fit as the 20 somethings that are also in my category, but I think I hold my own against the other 40+ guys.

Bear Mountain

49/50 (0 points)

This was the one race all year that I trained the most for. Sadly it was all for nothing since I flatted on the second stage (Bearback). That killed my time despite a very quickly tube install. I managed to slice the sidewall of the front tire halfway down the trail, and could only watch as three separate racers passed me while I was fixing it.

Nanaimo

38/50 (0 points)

This race was a doozy. Super hot, lots of climbing, and some killer trails. I was pretty nervous on Meat Draw, having had several people mention how hard it was, and seeing some pretty bad crashes right off the start. I took it super easy since I was riding it blind. I ended up having to stop in front of the last drop, then run back up the trail to get a roll into it.

For the rest of the day, the heat sapped my energy and by the third and fourth stage I was pretty cooked. Fun DH sections, but killer climbs.

Hammerfest

20/39 (240 points)

I had managed to pre-ride this course last year, and a couple weeks before the race. No big changes, but lots of fun.

Tzouhalem

29/36 (150 points)

No pre-ride, but I had ridden the same course the previous year. It is a fast, fast, fast course. I like speed, but even this was too much for me. On some of the straight aways I found myself tapping the brakes when I should have been fully pinned.

Cumberland

33/41 (0 points)

Another big day on the bike. Long climb to the top of stage 1, followed by an hour wait for the first racing stage. It was another race I was doing blind, but my buddy and I had the inside scoop from a local. Deciphing the text message while waiting for our race run was interesting.

Stage 1 was long and technical. Steep, loose sections with rocky bits, and some uphill. I crashed on this stage, but only managed to coat myself in dust.

Stage 2 was another difficult one, but the rest of the stages were really fun and flowy.

Maple Mountain

16/24 (280 points)

I did manage to pre-ride this course (for the most part) the week before, which was a blessing. Knowing that all the rocks and steeps were rollable, there were some big hills, and that the final stage was nasty we’re all good things. Come race day, things went pretty well despite my bike barely holding together (tire kept losing pressure, front brake was acting up, seat post needs to be bled, and my chain guide got mangled and was rubbing my tire. The first stage was a lung buster with a large uphill in the middle. Stage 2 was decent, but stage 3 was a lot of fun. The final stage has a long section I ended up having to run.

Overall

34/127 (670 points)

I’m super happy with this placing in the overall season. I had a couple crashes during the races, but no major injuries and no race ending mechanicals (though the Bear Mountain one could be considered race ending). I managed to get to a lot of the races only missing Mt Washington, and the Pro City race at the dump. I’m not sure what next year will hold either. It’s been fun, but the race series takes up a lot of weekends.

Tzouhalem Stages

On Sunday I was up in Duncan and rode in the first ever Tzouhalem enduro. One thing I learned is that I am terrible with trail names. I’ve ridden at Tzouhalem a number of times before but really only knew a couple trail names. The Island Cup Series team posted the Trail Forks listing of the stages but I couldn’t tell if I had been on the trails before or not.

The event itself was a lot of fun. It turned out I had ridden pretty much all of the trails before, but I still felt like I was racing some of the stages ‘blind’. Some of the trails I had only been on once before so didn’t really know what was around each corner. Other trails I was familiar enough with but didn’t know where the end of the stage was.

Overall I was pretty happy with how the race went. No crashes, one close call with the front starting to wash out. I knew I was pushing on some corners. I think I could have pushed harder through some of the earlier stages, but I was having some wrist issues during the week and wanted to last all five stages.

According to Strava I set quite a few PRs on the trails. I really felt like I was flying down Double D, which is always a fun trail to blast down. Add in a closed course and it is easy to say that Double D was my favourite stage. I think I also did great with the chip sensors this race. I actually got a comment from the volunteers at the end of stage 2 on how well I was able to tap and get the beep.

After the last stage it was back to the parking lot for some recovery food and drink.

Results were posted later and I placed 29/61 in Intermediate Male. Tzouhalem Race Placement

This has left me in 18/72 for the series. Series Placement (4 races)

One of the things I really liked about this race was that the intermediates raced the exact same course as the experts. I’ve always been curious about how well I stack up against the experts but have never been able to really compare times. Well, my total time was 14:58.0. The last placed expert had a time of 14:41 😂 I would have been DFL in expert. Maybe I am in the corret category after all.

Gnarnaimo Blind

A couple weekends ago I rode in the Gnarnaimo Enduro. It was part of an all mountain championship where racers did the enduro on a Saturday, then an XC race the following day using the exact same equipment. Logistics only really allowed me to do the enduro race, so I signed up for that. All the other enduro races I’ve done this year I’ve had the opportunity to preride the course. This was not the case with this race though; I rode it completely blind, never having ridden in the area.

The race went pretty well. The trails were very dry and loose. During the pre-race briefing we were warned about how loose they were. The first stage was a blast. Long downhill, very flowy, good jumps. I wish I could get a second run down those trails they were so fun. I skipped a couple jumps not knowing what was behind them.

I headed up for stage 2 and got set. Dropping in was pretty steep and I started in on the switchbacks pretty quickly. They were pretty loose. Coming up to one right hander I could see the trail dropped away pretty steeply. That was when disaster struck. My front tire washed out, the bike dropped away and I was launched down the trail. It felt like I flew quite a distance and all I could see were all the rocks in the dust. Amazingly I managed to land on my hands and slide, absorbing the worst of the impact. I had to run back up the hill to retrieve my bike. A quick lookover to ensure there was no damage, a quick check up the hill for the next rider, then I was off again. A couple turns down the trail I went to slow down and the lever for my rear brake went to the bar. I almost panicked thinking I was in big trouble. A couple pumps though and the brake came back. At the end of the stage I tapped the receiver and took a seat to recover a bit.

I headed up for stage three. I could feel some scrapes and some possible bruises forming. I was covered in dust too.

Stage three felt like it was a long way up the hill. I was starting to feel tire so I walked more and rode slowly. At the top I took my time recovering and drinking some water. I got myself settled, went to the start tent and got set. I headed off for my final stage. I sure got beat up on this one. It was really long and very bumpy. Lots of roots, dips, and a few drops. I had no idea where the finish was so I had to keep pushing. My arms were getting fatigued though and I couldn’t hold on to the bars very well. I had to either slow down, or death grip the bars (death grip being all fingers on the bar and none on brakes). I tried a little of each until I couldn’t take it any longer. I grabbed the brakes and slowed down. Crossing the line I was grateful I had completed the race.

Gnarnaimo Enduro

I’m happy to say that I placed 27th out of 46 racers. Pretty decent. This also leaves me in 16th overall having done 3 of the 4 races so far.

I am still not sure how many races I am going to be able to do this year, but these three have been a blast.

Monster Snacks

Saturday I took Elliot to Western Speedway. This was his first time being exposed to this, and I chose a good night for it. Hit to pass racing, and Monster Trucks!

We got there pretty early, got some good seats (I’m pretty sure they have expanded their family section – very cool), and settled in to wait. Elliot was giddy with excitement. They had one monster truck outfitted with seats to take people for rides on. Every time he saw it he pointed it out.

He also asked me every few minutes when the racing would start. The waiting was tough, but he pulled through it. With some snacks of course.

It was a gorgeous night though, so that made it a little nicer. Soon it was time to line up for the national anthems.

First up was the demo truck trophy dash. As the trucks started their warm up lap, suddenly a car burst onto the track. The announcer was pleading with the driver to get off the track and calling for security. Then the car sideswiped one of the trucks, so the truck spun the car around. They kept doing this all the way around the track until they got to the front straightaway. The driver parked it and somebody hauled him out of the car. The demo trucks got out of the way, then the monster trucks fired up! Yes, the car was part of the show. The monster trucks demolished the car in a very spectacular way.

The racing was fun, and Elliot and I really enjoyed the action. But the monster trucks really stole the show. California Kid and Rockstar put on quite a show. I was sad when California Kid blew out the right front shocks. His night was done. But, they got a backup truck pulled out of their trailer and put Bucked Up into action. Unfortunately Bucked Up also broke. Spectacularly.

Here is a clip of the monster truck action before California Kid broke.

After the racing was done for the night, the set up for the Crazy Canuck. His plan was to jump three school buses and a firetruck.

He actually made it! Crazy, amazing, fun. Elliot was pretty tired by the time we got home but he enjoyed it. Maybe next summer Amy can come with us too.