NW Cup, Round 1: Port Angeles

The first race of the season is already here and gone! Training has flown by and the riders are ready for a summer full of riding and racing. Only five C4 riders were attending this race, but everybody will be out in full swing for the Pro GRT in a few weeks at the same location!

Port Angeles is an early season race favorite, with conditions similar to what the riders have been training on in Squamish and the North Shore.

Day 1: Practice

IMG_9178

Mostly all of the track was in the trees, which was a good shield against the light rain that fell in the evenings.

The race weekend started on Friday with all Cat 1 Practice in the morning. Three and a half hours was more than enough to get a good feel for the track and test out the lines. The course wasn’t that technical or steep compared to many BC Cups, but the riders still enjoyed riding in near perfect conditions on Friday. Once practice finished at 1:30, it was time to make some adjustments to the bikes, and go for a track walk to discuss and look at developing lines.

Sliding down the course on a track walk after Friday practice in the rain. Nobody had ridden it in the wet yet, so the riders were anxious to see what it would be like the next day.

Sliding down the course on a track walk after Friday practice in the rain. Nobody had ridden it in the wet yet, so the riders were anxious to see what it would be like the next day.

Light rain started to fall after practice on Friday and the clay made the track very slippery and everybody was wondering what the weather would hold for the rest of the weekend.

Day 2: Practice and Seeding

IMG_6560

With the on and off drizzle all night, the track was a little slippery in the morning during the Cat 1 19-29 Practice, but by the afternoon practice for Cat 1 0-18 and Pros, the course was almost as it was during day 1. With the course getting busier and the practice times being two hours, riders had to finalize everything before seeding runs in the evening.

Scrubbing the last jump before the finish line.

Scrubbing the last jump before the finish line.

There was a straight nside line on this corner, but it was much faster to pump the berm to gain some speed before the final jump.

There was a straight nside line on this corner, but it was much faster to pump the berm to gain some speed before the final jump.

The rain began to fall again right as seeding runs were happening, causing two out of four riders to crash in their seeding runs, meaning they would drop in earlier on the next day. With everybody walking away without any injury, it was time for some more much work on the bikes in preparation for race day.

Day 3, Race Day

Race day started at 8:00 AM with Cat 1 19-29 practice as well as all Cat 2 and 3 Practice with racing immediately after. The course was still a bit wet from the rain the previous day, but it didn’t hinder times all too much. Adam Woodhouse put together a good run in the Cat 1 19-29 Category and ended up 2nd, only .96 off of first place. What a great way to start the season!

Blake Bunting, Caleb and Levi Harapnuik, and Jacob Stefiuk started practice at 1:30, so the course was drying out considerably and was not all that different from practice the previous day, once again. Two quick practice runs and it was time to get to the top to start warming up for race runs!

Jake had an unfortunate mechanical on his last practice run and had to ride chainless due to the short amount of time he had before having to be at the top of the hill, but that didn’t stop him from giving it his all…

The Cat 1 0-18 riders started racing, followed by the Pros, and the sun decided to grace everybody with its presents and it was a great day for racing!

C4 Rider results:

Adam Woodhouse, 2nd Cat 1 19-29

Blake Bunting, 3rd Cat 1 0-18

Jacob Stefiuk, 11th Cat 1 0-18

Caleb Harapnuik, 12th Cat 1 0-18

Levi Harapnuik, 22nd Pro Men

A very good start to the season for all the riders who participated in this race! Everybody will be training harder than ever for the next one and already can’t wait to hear those start beeps…

Adam Woodhouse in 2nd.

Adam Woodhouse in 2nd.

Blake Bunting in 3rd.

Blake Bunting in 3rd.

 

Session Update #13 and 14

Squamish, BC

April 16-17, 2016

Day 1:

This time, when Team BC comes out to train,  they don’t get worked hard in the gym or on the stationary bikes. All the riders head down to a zone below Quest for some race sims and loose slippery corner sessions.

Starting the morning off right with a ride/hike to the top of the trail.

Starting the morning off right with a ride/hike to the top of the trail.

Walking the track is always the first thing that gets done, just like at a real race.

Walking the track is always the first thing that gets done, just like at a real race.

This race sim wasn’t all that different from others in past weeks, but more riders and more competition was pushing everybody to perform at their best to get ready for the upcoming races.

Lining up for five practice runs before the official race begins.

Setting up for five practice runs before the official timing begins.

There are no “typical” C4 Training sessions, and right before the “race” was about to begin, Cory called everybody higher up the fireroad to a long decent into a T-intersection.

Setting up a little timing section to work on holding speed on flat turns.

“The mud and water has more traction than the rocks. Push off in the mud.”

Timing these really short sections is really useful when it comes to full length tracks where exit speed on corners like these can sometimes make or break a race.

"This is why we do things that suck, so that when we get to the racecourse, we don't suck."

“This is why we do things that suck, so that when we get to the racecourse, we don’t suck.”

Riding a flat corner over and over again may seem a little silly for DH training when there are some of the best trails just a few hundred yards away, but doing these drills are a lot more useful than you may think.

After the short detour, it was back to the race sim, with two more practice runs, and a final "race" run.

After the short detour, it was back to the race sim, with two more practice runs, and a final “race” run.

Race sims are not only to test the speed or technical skills of the riders, but also the mental strength. Nothing compares to the emotions of a race day, but the closer that it can be replicated, the better riders can get used to the feelings of dropping in on a real race run.

A bunch of teenagers with knives. Thankfully all that was cut were vegetables.

A bunch of teenagers with knives. Thankfully all that was cut were vegetables.

The team BC riders got to go home for the evening, but the C4 riders still had work to do. It was time for session two of nutrition, but this time the riders were making their own post training snack.

A knife, a food processor, and some patience were some of the ingredients for some tasty vegetarian tacos that everybody could enjoy!

A knife, a food processor, and some patience were some of the ingredients for some tasty vegetarian tacos that everybody could enjoy!

Tracy walked the riders through making one of her family’s favorite meals. Who thought you could make tacos with just Veggies and some spices? “I can’t believe it tastes like real meat!” Cooking the meal took up the entire time and there wasn’t quite enough time to talk about exactly what made it so good and nutritional, so more on that will be covered next time. Thanks again Tracy!

Day 2:

IMG_9102 (1)

C4 Riders were up early again for another mental toughness training session, this time going over questions from the last session and what it would achieve, breathing,  and a little about goal setting. More will be covered in future sessions, but it looks like the riders already have a good understanding of what mental toughness is and how it will help them during the race season!

After mental training, it was time for on bike training in one of C4's favorite zones.

After mental training, it was time for on bike training with Team BC in one of C4’s favorite zones.

Coho Park has been used for timing sessions for multiple years and is always a great place to come back to. Every time there’s a training session there, a new line seems to get built and it’s up to the riders to break in and go as fast as possible on the freshly made trail.

There are many lines and trails in just a small area, which makes this a really good zone to do training in.

There are many lines and trails in just a small area, which makes this a really good zone to do training in.

The riders used a jump over a log into a dug out corner that was built last year to start off the short timing section, but Cory had different ideas for the bottom.

This corner was the start of the new rocky tight section that lead into the short sprint towards the finishing tower.

This corner was the start of the new rocky tight section that lead into the short sprint towards the finishing tower.

It doesn’t take long for a fresh cut line to be ridden out in the soft Squamish dirt! Three laps times twelve riders is easily enough to break in a new line.

Gotta start getting used to the warmer weather. Summer is right around the corner!

Riders take a quick lunch break before timing begins.

Another successful weekend with Team BC is in the books. A few riders will be making the trip down to Port Angeles next weekend for the first round of the NW Cup! Racing has begun. Are you ready? We are.

Session Update #12

Squamish, BC

April 9, 2016

This week was a bit different, with training starting at C4 Rider training HQ for some mental toughness training lead by Dr. Dwayne Harapnuik. The riders were exposed to a bit of what mental toughness is and a little bit on how to develop it though routines, scripts, and riding logs. There will be more sessions in the future to improve mental toughness but this was a very good start to what will really help improve the riders performance not only on race day, but throughout daily life.

IMG_9016

“How often do you say you’d work on mental training in the off season?”

The most surprising thing to everybody about mental training is the ratio of what mental training should be to physical training. If you go to the gym 7 hours a week, how many hours must you commit to mental training? C4 knows the answer. Do you?

"I think I liked it better when it was raining." It was a warm dusty day at the Lowdown trail where timing took place. A lot slipperier than you'd think!

“I think I liked it better when it was raining.” It was a warm dusty day at the Lowdown trail where timing took place. A lot slipperier than you’d think!

The topic of tire pressure came up. The concept of running a lower tire pressure, while risking damaging your rims or burping the tire, would help keep you on the line and avoid the sharp rocks or roots that you don’t want to hit. Also different widths, manufacturers, and tread of tires would affect how much grip or rolling resistance that tire would give you. Racing starts in a few weeks, so riders must figure out what setup works best for them!

Part 2 of "classroom" training, nutrition!

Part 2 of “classroom” training, nutrition! “The next time you go to drink a coke, just imagine eating 17 watered down packets of sugar .”

After a few hours of timing on the trails, it was time to head back to HQ for a nutrition workshop lead by Tracy Higgs of Foodease Meals. The riders were given an introduction into the world of sports nutrition which included a breakdown of the different kinds fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. The riders were also presented a visual aid of how much sugar there is in certain manufactured foods, the glycemic index and how to use it, and a good healthy snack to recharge the riders after their on-bike training. This is only the beginning! Riders will be taught how to cook certain foods, learn about recovery and hydration, caloric intake, and much much more in future nutrition sessions.

It has arrived!

It has arrived!

The awaited shipment of Sram components has arrived and what perfect timing! Boxes of cassettes, brakes, suspension, rebuild kits, and all the parts riders will need to keep their bikes in top shape for the season are neatly organized and ready to be used! Stay tuned for the 2016 Raceface Gear!

Words by Levi Harapnuik,

Photos by Levi Harapnuik and Cory Leclerc.

February/March Update

Timing was a big focus for February and with winter coming a bit late it was great to get on it sooner because of all the lost riding time in December. The timing sessions were awesome and it was plain to see that the riders were progressing very quickly. The point that there is such a great group of guys and gals this season can not be stressed enough and it has helped everybody grow tighter as a group and also has helped push each other even further.

IMG_8734

A good hard pumptrack session never fails to yield improvement, whether it be fitness, or technique.

There was a good mix of locations with a couple new sections and of course the tried and true that a lot of riders have been training on for years.

Building in the pouring rain is a great way to keep warm and keep the spirits up.

Building in the pouring rain is a great way to keep warm and keep the spirits up.

Some days the weather was compliant and the rain held off, and other times the heavens opened and everybody got drenched. No problem with that because those who raced the last two BC Cups in 2015 knew that it was important to perform well in less than desirable conditions.

IMG_8460

By now, the riders who needed their new bike had them and were putting in a lot of time on the new red steeds!

By now, the riders who needed their new bike had them and were putting in a lot of time on the new red steeds!

The riders will get a few weeks off from training during spring break and Easter to go on trips and spend time with family, but they’ll all be back thirsty for more when April rolls around!

 

 

 

Session Update #11

Brackendale, BC

March 5th, 2016

C4 Riders spend the day on the pumptrack/dirt jumps in Brackendale to work on some pumping, jumping, and cornering.

"If you can't do this for five minutes, how do you expect to ride MSA from top to bottom?"

“If you can’t do this for five minutes, how do you expect to ride MSA from top to bottom?”

The morning starts out with a quick warm up and straight into some 5 minute motos to simulate the length of a race run.

Before long, a a couple riders were creating an inside line. Typical DH racers, right? Sam Hill would've been proud.

Before long, a a couple riders were creating an inside line. Typical DH racers, right? Sam Hill would’ve been proud.

This training session was a little more laid back and riders could work on what they wanted, whether it be the dirt jumps or the pump track or building. Having fun was mandatory!

"Every Downhill racer needs a pumptrack bike. No excuses. You will be faster if you ride pump track throughout the weeks."-Cory

“Every Downhill racer needs a pumptrack bike. No excuses. You will be faster if you ride pump track throughout the weeks.”-Cory

Pumptracks are such a vital part of downhill training, for skills as well as fitness. If you aren’t smooth and quick on a pumptrack, you won’t be any good on the race track.

"This pumptrack is too easy. Ride it backwards!"-Cory

“This pumptrack is too easy. Ride it backwards!”-Cory

Once you nail something, make it harder. Rail a corner? Come in faster. Never stop improving, never stop pushing. Don’t listen to people who tell you to shoot for the moon when somebody’s already been there.

“Y’all are brothers and sisters. Look out for your brothers. If you see em’ doing something stupid, stop em’, you seem em’ in trouble, help em’ out. Look out for each other. We’re a team, on and off the bikes. I’ll always be here if you need to talk.”-Cory

Session Update #8

Squamish, BC

Feburary 20th,

C4 Riders head into the woods by the road on the way to Quest to where dirt jumps and a pump track are built to work on jumping and cornering, also a little bit of fun.

IMG_8572

“This ‘Goofing off” is actually very useful”-Cory

The riders worked on tire taps, staying low and even 180s, all with DH bikes on dirt jumps. There are definitely some talented dirt jumpers in the group, and this really showed how important it was to have bike control and to really be comfortable moving your bike around in the air, and on the ground.

Tapping the top of the jump with the rear wheel, then lifting it back up and landing both wheels at the same time on the backside of the landing.

Tapping the top of the jump with the rear wheel, then lifting it back up and landing both wheels at the same time on the backside of the landing.

IMG_8576

Trying to stay as low as possible and come in with the highest speed possible without over shooting the landing.

"Scubbing" as they call it in motocross is also a way of coming super fast into a jump and yet not landing flat. It's not as easy as it looks!

“Scubbing” as they call it in motocross is also a way of coming super fast into a jump and yet not landing flat. It’s not as easy as it looks!

After the dirt jump session, Cory pointed out a line that he wanted everybody to try. You could either pump the first roller, then gap two and pump the last one, or get a big pop off the first roller, land on the backside of the second and pump the last two. We often see sections like this in a race track, but usually there are rocks and roots that need to be linked up instead of dirt rollers, so it’s good to practice and get things diled before you try the real thing and risk smashing rims and pedals.

"Jump from here to over there, otherwise Blake gets to hit you with a stick." That's good motivation, isn't it?

“Jump from here to over there, otherwise Blake gets to hit you with a stick.” That’s good motivation, isn’t it?

The final drill and challenge of the day was to ride down a hill into a corner which leads to the pump track. This may not seem that hard, but riding a flatland pump track with 8 inches of front and rear travel isn’t easy, and riders have to be fit to commit 100% and make it around that pump track without getting bogged down. To make sure everyone was pushing themselves, timing gear was brought out!

IMG_8584 (1)

Lining Up to drop into the pump track.

As the day came to an end, some commentary was needed to keep riders motivated and to push hard through the pump track. Yelling at them like Claudio is a sure way to get people to ride fast!

As the day came to an end, some commentary was needed to keep riders motivated and to push hard through the pump track. Yelling at them like Claudio is a sure way to get people to ride fast!

Session Update #7

Squamish, BC

February 13th,

C4 Riders head out to a network of trails that have been used in previous years of training to work on some flatter terrain. The day started out with cutting in a new section of trail with some tight turns.

Roosting the right hander before immediately having to change position to get ready for the tight left hander.

Roosting the right hander before immediately having to change position to get ready for the tight left hander.

 

Blake Bunting killing it!

Blake Bunting killing it!

"At first I thought this was stupid, but then I realized it's perfect"-Cory

“At first I thought this was stupid, but then I realized it’s perfect”-Cory

The first few times the line was ridden, riders weren’t really feeling like it was a worthwhile line to do timing on, but after a few more laps, they realized it was exactly what they were looking for. On typical DH tracks, you don’t often see these super tight “slow” corners, but anybody who remembers the 2015 BC Provincials race course in Whistler will know how valuable this kind of training is.

"If you're not digging, you're riding!"

“If you’re not digging, you’re riding!”

After timing was completed as the rain started, to come down, there was still an hour left in training. So what does a group of racers do? Build a jump of course!

The first few test jumps were a bit soft. But it doesn't take long to pack in when you have a bunch of eager teenagers willing to risk a trip over the handle-bars.

The first few test jumps were a bit soft. But it doesn’t take long to pack in when you have a bunch of eager teenagers willing to risk a trip over the handle-bars.

The riders weren’t just having fun. The jump landed into a berm which immediately led to another small lip to a landing into a flat corner which led back to the trail original trail. It took some skill to link it all together!

 

Session Update #6

February 6th, Squamish, BC

The timing has begun! C4 riders pedal up to the same location as last week to do some timing on a fast section of trail that leads onto a flat corner crossing the road.

Cory setting up the Freelap towers and transmitter for the chips. Each rider is assigned a chip with a number. If you don't remember your number, you don't get your chip.

Cory setting up the Freelap towers and transmitter for the chips. Each rider is assigned a chip with a number. If you don’t remember your number, you don’t get your chip.

Some work had to be done further up the trail, clearing trees and shrubbery that had fallen since the last time the section of trail had been used. Many hands make light work!

IMG_8398

The timed section was only 16-18 seconds long, so every mistake had a huge affect on the times, but so did every tenth of a second that the brakes were held off or every ounce of power that was put to the pedals.

"There's an Italian in this group who is absolutely blowing everybody away!" For these guys, having your time being beat is just motivation to go faster.

“There’s an Italian in this group who is absolutely blowing everybody away!” For these guys, having your time being beat is just motivation to go faster.

For riders on the North Shore, they don’t usually get a lot of speed on the local trails due to the nature of the trails in the winter. Most race tracks in the summer aren’t like that, so it is important to hold it wide open and get used to some high speed corners throughout the winter!

IMG_8405

After the DH training was over, the riders who brought their trail bike headed down the road to meet up with over 100 other people for the Kelly McGarry Memorial ride. It was awesome to see so many people come together to remember what mountain biking is really about. There were no sad faces, no complaining, and all smiles and cheers as we rode for Kelly.

January Update

Time flies, doesn’t it? The first month of training has come to an end. Five awesome sessions down and many more to go! It’s great that we have such skilled riders and because of that, everybody has been having a lot of fun with shuttling days at Cypress and Seymour already! Riders are progressing faster than ever and it’ll be awesome to see how much more they can do before the summer of racing.

image1

The first two sessions had to be done in North Van because of the snow situation in Squamish, so while making the Vancouver locals happy, the riders who had to come from Whistler probably didn’t enjoy waking up an hour earlier. Hopefully mother nature will hold off on the snow and rain from now on so the riders can get back to their favorite training zones!

New for 2016, fitness testing has been added to the schedule, with the first day of testing completed on January 23rd. Everybody will be returning to the gym on February 27th to see how much they’ve progressed through the month!

12565593_1271448346215348_4092041617918538825_n

Usually Cory holds off on pulling out the Freelap gear for timing for another few weeks, but because of some wise advise from some of the parents and the current ability of the riders, timing and race sims will begin earlier this year!

12592701_1271674439526072_8523413262914513924_n

Session Update #5

January 30th, Squamish BC

IMG_8319 (1)

“These guys do what others won’t do.”-Cory Each weekend beginning with a climb to a training zone.

C4 Riders pedal up to Lee’s Trail Crossroad to work on a section of trail that we have been riding for the past one and a half years. But with a bit of a twist.

Clearing away a fallen tree on the new section of trail.

Clearing away a fallen tree on the new section of trail. Many hands make light work!

With it only being the 5th session, discussions about bringing out the timing gear were already floating around. “We’ve got such a skilled crew this year that we can start getting times down earlier than previous years.”-Cory

"I love this! Making something out of nothing."

“I love this! Making something out of nothing.”-Cory A downhill straight away into  Cones and a flat corner with a snowbank in case you come in too hot. Where’s the best line?

Overcook the turn? No problem, there’s plenty of snow left to catch you.

Coming out onto the road after the downhill sprint.

Coming out onto the road after the downhill sprint. Counting pedal strokes and making note of gearing.

There was a discussion about lines in the middle of the turn. Weather to go over a big rock or to go just on the outside of it. Everybody thought they knew what looked fastest, but it turned out that hitting the rock was the best line. We learned that riding is the best way to determine if a line works well or not. “On a DH bike with 650B wheels, I don’t feel that rock at all.”-Blake

Building the confidence to hit the tricky gap on Lee's trail. A lot of riders conquered their fears and nailed the tight landing in the trees!

Working on line choice to maintain enough speed to make the backside of the hip after a slippery corner.

After working on the road crossing, the riders moved down to Lee’s trail to apply the skills learned on the road to a real trail.

C4 takes to the air! Many riders conquered their previous fears and landed on the back side of a tight gap into Lee's Trail.

C4 takes to the air! Many riders conquered their previous fears and landed on the back side of a tight gap into Lee’s Trail.

With only inches between the tips of handlebars and the trees, this gap could not be miscalculated. It’s either commit 100%, or roll over it.

The afternoon is finished with a ride/hike up to Half Nelson and shredding back to the trucks.

The afternoon is finished with a ride/hike up to Half Nelson and shredding back to the trucks.

The riders will be back next week to run some race sims on the full course with the Freelap timing gear.

 

Photos and words by Levi Harapnuik