Sandra’s Stories – Canadian MTB Team Camp Day 9

“We gonna rock down to Electric Avenue, And then we’ll take it higher.” Kika and I were the only ones in our group today who knew this song and we attempted to sing is as we rode the trail ‘Electric Avenue’ for the first time. It’s a beautiful new ribbon of singletrack in the Stewart Mountain area of the Highlands, which is much closer to Bear Mountain than Hartland. It’s been recently built by the Nature Trails Society — THANK YOU!!!

img_20170301_120810Enjoying a Mountain Moment.

It was just one of many cool trails we hit today on our training route. This morning, I was happy to see the snow was pretty much gone. It rained during breakfast, but by the time we congregated at the Hub bike shop before our ride, it had stopped. I was still wearing my rain jacket, but once we were into the trails in earnest, I had to shed it, my head band and my Buff right away. It’s pretty awesome how warm you can get on the mountain bike, as opposed to road riding. It’s so physical and there’s not a lot of wind chill in the equation.

img_20170301_120859Classic Vic riding: mud, rock, and moss.

The Stewart Mountain trails are really fun, and they’re quite different from Hartland. It’s hard to describe the difference, but I’d say they’re less established, narrower and more natural. It reminded me how much I love natural singletrack and the infinite possibilities it offers.

I was feeling a bit lethargic today. I think camp is starting to catch up with me and my freshness rating is on the low end. It was mostly my brain that was slowing me down, but I definitely felt yesterday’s squats in my legs. And the 800-gram (each) Minions — they give amazing grip on off-camber wet, mossy rocks and roots, but they do require a lot more oompf to roll up the hill than the Ikons.

img_20170301_120846Views for days.

But it was an absolutely fun day being challenged by Kika, Haley, Emily, Lespy and Petey. I had to dial it back a bit in order for my brain to keep up with what was happening on the trail. Maybe another cup of coffee was required? Why is this even a question?!

After riding, I showered, lunched, rinsed and scrubbed my clothes, and then met Kika for coffee. We walked to coffee shop up here and it turned out to be social central, as more and more racers are arriving every minute. Oh yeah, the first Canada Cup is this weekend!

Before dinner, I headed down to the bike room and started tensioning my wheels under Trotter’s watchful gaze. My wheels are actually beginning to look more like wheels! So exciting! Dan seemed a little worried when I told him they would be my race wheels: “But you’re not racing on them this weekend, are you?” Oh ye of little faith, Dan! 😛

sandra-walter-at-canada-cup-1-photo-credit-paul-craigSandra Walter’s first time competing for Canada was in 1998 as a junior at the World XC Mountain Bike Championships. She has since flown the maple leaf at eight more World’s. Her competitive career spans two decades & is fueled simply by a love of the sport. She aspires to achieve new sporting heights, while inspiring women & girls to discover the joys of mountain biking.

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