Wild & Free in Big Bear

I jumped at the opportunity to escape the buzz of the city and enjoy a weekend of shredding and new activities.  I knew it was going to be good, so I called up my friend and creative Andrew Jackson to see if he wanted to capture the weekend with me.  As the weekend progressed, I realized how important it is for us to escape the over-stimulation of the city to breathe in the intoxicatingly fresh oxygen only trees can provide.  That, mixed with some awesome riding, chilling with horses, and rock climbing, and you have yourself the perfect weekend.

Huge thanks to Andrew Jackson, Meg Kee, CC and Derek Volcan, Kristen What, Adventure Girls, and everyone else who made this weekend super special.

A little Snow Shreddit

IT SNOWED! So me and my bestie Hanna headed out to TegeFjäll (in Åre, Sweden) where we met up with a group of our girlfriends who are testing a new ski design. Regular piste runs just seemed boring after a little sprinkle of fresh snow, so we decided to hike up above the lifts to where the good stuff was! (We all had transceivers and avi gear, don't worry).  We didn't want to hike for too long as the girls needed to get as many laps as possible, so we dropped in fairly low, but high enough to get some untouched snow. The terrain isn't that steep, but with perfectly spaced trees and some fresh pow, I was more than content. Despite the low visibility up top and that one rock I nailed (1:27 in), the conditions were awesome.  The girls had to split but Hanna and I continued shredding until we got hungry.  There's a teepee on the mountain run by a bunch of Englishmen (and women), so we stopped in there for a bite and some Fika (Swedish for coffee and a baked good) while drying our gloves and getting cozy by the fire.  All in all a rad day and a good excuse to test out my new GoPro Hero5 !  

 

 

Find Your Life's Purpose

Lululemon just posted a great blog about finding your life's purpose. Sounds a bit deep and overwhelming, but sometimes we just need to sit down a do a little self-reflection on what we want and where we want to go. Maybe you'll have an epiphany, or maybe it'll just give you a little more insight into what direction you should take next.  I filled out the questions here, but I encourage all of you to fill it out for yourselves and give yourself permission to grow and dream and take that leap of faith into the unknown.

01 WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU HAD SIX MONTHS TO LIVE?

I’d sell my truck, buy a camper van, get my boyfriend to move over to the West Coast, and I’d draw, create music, travel, and ride my bike all the way down to South America and back.  I’ve always wanted to do a huge roadtrip all through the states down to South America.  Living the simple life, full of colour and heat and music and joy and adrenaline and love.

02 WHAT WOULD YOUR 90-YEAR-OLD SELF TELL YOU TO DO?

I think my 90 year old self would tell me to listen to that gut instinct. To not pay attention to all the “what if’s” and judgements and worry of others, and to follow my heart.  Don’t hold back on what you want to do and who you want to be, as scary and out of control as it may seem.  Tomorrow may never come and you never want to regret not doing something.

03 WHAT CAN YOU GIVE YOURSELF MORE CREDIT FOR?

I think overcoming change, adapting, and being open to new possibilities.  I went through a tough time transitioning from a full time racer to a lifestyle athlete, but I took something bad and turned it into the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me.  I also think I’m more organized and smarter than I think.  Growing up and being a creative mind in a regimented school system never made me feel like I knew what I was doing.  I felt my efforts were a bit written-off because maybe I didn’t go through the process the same as other people, but at the end of the day I’m just as smart and just as organized.  “Judge a fish on it’s ability to climb a tree, and it will spend it’s whole life thinking it’s stupid.”  or something like that.

04 HOW WOULD YOU BE BEHAVING IF YOU WERE THE BEST AT WHAT YOU DO?

As far as my art goes, I definitely would be putting my foot down more. I’d be more assertive in what I wanted and how much I got paid to do it.  It’s hard in an industry that is known to undervalue peoples skillsets.  Everyone loves art, but most don’t want to pay what it’s worth.  If I was the “best” (because best is always subjective to the viewer) at what I do, I’d be able to charge what I wanted, and say no to the jobs that weren’t respectful of my hard work and talents.

05 WHAT DO PEOPLE THANK YOU FOR?

Can't think of anything super specific, but every once in a while I’ll get a personal letter or a shoutout from someone who I’ve inspired.  People will write to me and say how one of my photos or videos or write-ups has touched them, inspired them, or helped them through a tough time. This gives me so much joy and happiness I can’t even begin to describe.  I don’t know what it is, or what drives me, but hearing that I’ve touched someone’s life in a positive way is so rewarding.  I want people to feel like they can accomplish anything they set their mind to. I want to motivate people and light a fire up under their ass. I try and look at the world from a positive point of view, and it breaks my heart when people don’t see their own beauty and talent. So being thanked for making an impact on someone’s life is probably the one thing I get thanked for. And it’s so freakin awesome every single time.

06 WHAT IS IT TIME FOR IN YOUR LIFE?

I think it’s time to make a move. I feel like I’ve sat on the edge of my ideal life staring down at it for too long now. Waiting. Waiting for what?  I can see it, I can feel what it’ll be like, and I can imagine my life how I want. Now I just have to jump.  I’m standing on a cliff-edge peering down into a beautiful turquoise pool, with all of my friends cheering me on to jump. What’s holding me back? Right now all I need is that inner-self to give me a push. That non-verbal, subconscious reflex that makes your body leap out off that ledge, into the air, into risk, into the unknown. Jump. Just. Do. It. You’ll be so happy once you land.

 

 

 

Daily dose of Vitamin A

So many of us get wrapped up in the stresses and grind of daily life: work, appointments, homework, schedules, spouses, pets, bills, or general responsibility.  Whatever might weigh you down, we all feel some kind of devotion to our stresses. We starve ourselves of simple joys and experiences because we "should" be doing something more responsible with our time. Yes, deadlines are deadlines and we can't ignore that, however sometimes wasting 3 hours on instagram/facebook/tv because we "should" be getting something else done and therefore won't allow ourselves to have fun, is completely ridiculous. Essentially, if you're going to procrastinate, go procrastinate outside and make it a soul-nourishing experience!! Grab a headlamp, a friend, a thermos and get out there!!

One of the joys of living on the North Shore is that adventure is at your doorstep.  With work in the afternoon and an art project to do, I set out nice and early with my buddy Sofie to grab some vitamin A (for Awesome) before my day started.  We hiked up to Eagle Bluffs, starting in the parking lot at the top of Cypress. With a thermos full of morning brew from Bean Around the World, and some snacks, it only took us about 1:15hrs of chatting to reach our destination.  3hour round trip and we were back to reality getting on with our day, holding close to us the awesome experience we just had. Another great one was St Marks Summit, (which I've talked about before) which also starts at the top of Cypress and is about a 3hr journey as well (including time for snacks and photos, duh).  We searched out the first snow, and came back to our trucks giddy with excitement for the coming winter, wind-kissed cheeks and a new sense of clarity.  Making time to get outside a priority is, what I believe, one of the biggest improvements someone can make to their life.  Clean eating, getting outside, connecting to friends. It's what we were made for. Lets not forget that.

Not all who wander are lost

Middle of nowhere, British Columbia. 

We packed our bags, bikes, and camping gear, and headed out for a weekend in the interior.  Camping with car access is always super convenient, as you don't have to worry about pack weight, food, etc. No cell service meant we could be present in the moment, and the rain held off until later that night. I absolutely love camping, and purchased a nice new home (tent) at the beginning of the summer, and have only had the opportunity to use it once!  So I was pretty excited when I got invited on this trip.

 My humble abode. Was a shame we could only stay one night.

My humble abode. Was a shame we could only stay one night.

Steak, soup, sauteed onions, and veggies filled our bellies and prepped us for the big day we had coming. Everything tastes better in nature, and having a open fire-grilled steak is probably one of the best tasting foods ever. I was glad to be going to be full and fuelled. I was a bit nervous as I had heard the ride would take 8hours, which would be almost twice as long as my longest ride to date.

 Grilled to perfection. Some of the most tender, awesome steak I've ever had!!

Grilled to perfection. Some of the most tender, awesome steak I've ever had!!

 Felix the Steak Master.

Felix the Steak Master.


In the morning we had another great hot meal, packed our bags, broke camp and set off.  The first few hours of the ride were not the greatest. A lot of rough loose terrain meant a lot of hike-a-biking, and at about 2 hours in we contemplated whether we had made a wrong turn or not.  As soon as we hit our max altitude, our spirits picked up and we bombed down narrow rocky single track, mud-bogs, and bright yellow meadows. Fog was lying dense and low, so if there were epic views, we had no idea.  the rolling terrain went with our emotions as joyous woops, laughter, and yells led the downhills, while groans, sighs, and silence dragged on the uphills. 

 chasing the fog

chasing the fog

 The crew after the first big climb, and after realizing we weren't going the wrong direction. Phewf!!

The crew after the first big climb, and after realizing we weren't going the wrong direction. Phewf!!

 At one point we rode along a jagged ridge; a slip to the left meant a long trip down.

At one point we rode along a jagged ridge; a slip to the left meant a long trip down.

All the hiking was worth the end downhill portion, however. It was immaculate, and the best singletrack I have ever ridden.  A thin ribbon cut into the side of the mountain, surrounded by the greenest moss we had ever seen. Undulating terrain sloping downwards gave us the perfect opportunity to double up, pop, scrub, and pump our way down what seemed like the longest trail of our lives.  As I bombed down this dream-like trail, I thought about the previous 32km and was glad. There's something about earning your turns that makes the joy of the descent that much sweeter.

 I don't have any pictures of the good stuff as I was having way too much fun riding to stop and take a photo!! This was taken just after the prime zone; still awesome singletrack.

I don't have any pictures of the good stuff as I was having way too much fun riding to stop and take a photo!! This was taken just after the prime zone; still awesome singletrack.

We finished the ride at 6hrs.  Exhausted, hungry, and grinning ear to ear, it's the best Sunday I've had in a long time, and maybe the best ride I've ever had. Made a quick edit of some of my footage just for a little taste!

 6hrs of helmet-wear = tangled helmet-hair! 

6hrs of helmet-wear = tangled helmet-hair! 

Stay Epic!

Seymour Peaks

Thanksgiving is a time for being... well, thankful! But mostly overfed.  I decided to battle the food-coma and go for an awesome 3hr hike with my friend Vaea up to the peak of Seymour mountain.  Super accessible, well marked, and scenic, Seymour is a great little hike to do if you're stuck in the city or don't have all day.  It was pretty foggy at the top so the typical sprawling views of the city/Howe Sound weren't too visible, however the terrain up there is super rugged and interesting that I spent more time photographing that than anything else (well... besides ourselves...)!

Stay True!

Panorama Ridge

Took a gorgeous day-hike with my friend Kate up from the Cheakamus parking lot in Function to the Summit of Panorama Ridge.  A fairly mellow hike, we saw a lot of xc runners, hikers, and people just generally enjoying the Sunday sunshine.  I've gotten a lot more into hiking in the past year, mostly because it's the first year I haven't been slammed with trying to train, save money, and race World Cups full time.  I finally had a summer home, and, after staring at all the beautiful mountains that surround us in the Sea to Sky Corridor, I decided it was high time I climbed some of them. 

 Staring down my next hike: The Black Tusk has always been a goal of mine, and now that I have more time, I plan to get to the summit before the snow does.

Staring down my next hike: The Black Tusk has always been a goal of mine, and now that I have more time, I plan to get to the summit before the snow does.

The views at the top never disappoint.  Wedge was so incredibly beautiful last weekend with a fresh dusting of snow, and Panorama Ridge was a whole other kind of epic with its 360 degree views including the ever-turquoise Garibaldi lake and the Black Tusk.

 not a bad place for a cup of joe with an old friend :)

not a bad place for a cup of joe with an old friend :)

Once we reached the summit we found a nice flat spot to take in the view, brew some coffee, and plan/dream up future adventures.  Kate got a new camping stove so we (obviously) had to test it out (#soauthentic). It felt almost too cliche and trendy as we set up the stove, but after one sip of coffee, I couldn't have cared less.

 It was a bit of a scramble up/down from the ridge; not bad if you have two hands but my pal Kate is rocking a broken hand at the moment, which proved to be a little challenging in some of the more loose sections.  The Tusk scramble will have to wait.

It was a bit of a scramble up/down from the ridge; not bad if you have two hands but my pal Kate is rocking a broken hand at the moment, which proved to be a little challenging in some of the more loose sections.  The Tusk scramble will have to wait.

We goofed around at the top, stalling for as long as possible, wishing we had brought our camping gear.  We reluctantly headed back towards Cheakamus lake, and it was completely dark by the time we got to the truck. I blame it on the overly epic views and my constant need to take photos with my GoPro. 

 Our bums, because why would we face the camera when we can face that view?!

Our bums, because why would we face the camera when we can face that view?!

 The water levels around the two lakes at the base of the tusk were fairly low.  Moonscape trails led us back to the meadows; a sharp contrast to the vast turquoise waters of Garibaldi lake on the other side of the ridge.

The water levels around the two lakes at the base of the tusk were fairly low.  Moonscape trails led us back to the meadows; a sharp contrast to the vast turquoise waters of Garibaldi lake on the other side of the ridge.

 I've known Kate since I was 15; she's like a sister to me. Tip: If you're going to spend an entire day hiking with someone, make sure it's someone you're never going to get sick of!! Especially at the end of the day when you're both sore, tired, and hungry, it's good to have a solid adventure buddy :)

I've known Kate since I was 15; she's like a sister to me. Tip: If you're going to spend an entire day hiking with someone, make sure it's someone you're never going to get sick of!! Especially at the end of the day when you're both sore, tired, and hungry, it's good to have a solid adventure buddy :)

We hit the grocery store hard on our way home and cooked some good old fashioned steak and potatoes. The remainder of our evening was spend weeding through umpteen failed time-lapses, laughing hysterically at how un-photogenic we are, and drinking tea. All in all it was an absolutely amazing day, and I can't wait for the next one!

Stay Rowdy.
xo

River Kayaking

A couple days ago my friend Katrina took me white water kayaking for the first time! We met up in the morning and went over the simple safety rules of being on the water while she suited me up in her spare dry-suit and gear.  The river was fairly mellow but I still had an awesome time through some of the bigger rapids!  Definitely something I could see myself getting into.  The only downside to the day was the stench coming off the shore from all of the dead fish that have finished spawning and have washed up on the banks of the river.

 suited up and stoked to go!  This is pre-rolling practice. Going underwater with all the dead fish floating around wasn't that awesome, but safety takes no holidays so we got 'er done.

suited up and stoked to go!  This is pre-rolling practice. Going underwater with all the dead fish floating around wasn't that awesome, but safety takes no holidays so we got 'er done.

 Found a big cliff with a small overhang 3/4 of the way down

Found a big cliff with a small overhang 3/4 of the way down

 The drive out to the drop-off zone was so gorgeous. It's officially fall now and I love it!!

The drive out to the drop-off zone was so gorgeous. It's officially fall now and I love it!!

 

 

A new beginning: SO FRESH. SO CLEAN.

First Post on the new blog! Hi!

I’ve created this space to share with you my experiences, what I’ve learned, and some of my favourite things! Food, workouts, training tips, books, etc.  A lot of people have been wondering what I’ve been up to this year; if I’m racing, if I’ve fallen off the face of the earth, joined a tribe, eaten by a cougar, etc. Good news: I’m alive and never been happier!  The end of 2014 was a bit rough, not gonna lie. It felt a bit like my world was falling apart, so I apologize for the lack of communication.

Being forced into a sort of semi-retirement whilst dealing with pretty bad post-concussion syndrome and a bummed hip, and being dropped from my World Cup team felt like someone took my identity and all my hard work, balled it up and smashed it into the ground. Then jumped on it. While laughing. Thanks for coming out. We don’t want you anymore. What I soon realized, however, was it was the exact wake-up call that I needed.  I learned two things from this experience:

1)     Just because I don’t have a DH bike doesn’t mean my identity is lost. In fact, I can actually be more of an asset to the community than if I was just focused on racing. One door closed but 10 have opened!

2)     Results are results. They happen and then they’re simply a number on a piece of paper.  So are contracts. So is business. What stands is your authenticity, your passion, drive, generosity, and integrity as an athlete and person.  Sometimes the industry has funny ways of working, but if you stay true to who you are, someone is bound to see your potential and pick you back up again.

3) Race for the right reasons. If you’re not loving it, take a break. Racing is hard work and you have to love the fight to be successful.

Some other things I’m excited to share with you are my friends!! I have so many rad and interesting people in my life, and I can’t wait to share their stories and talents with you.


Thanks for reading, shred hard, be happy.

St. Marks Summit

If you haven’t been up to St. Mark’s Summit, I suggest you go! It’s becoming a pretty trendy hike for Vancouverites, so I suggest getting up early to beat the conga-line.  A good 3-4hr round trip (if you include snacks at the top), Mark’s is a great hike to do with a group of friends with a super rewarding view at the top.  The last time I went this epic Raven was just chillin on a snag right where we were eating. Pretty majestic.

Crankworx 2015 Recap

That’s a wrap!! Crankworx this year was unbelievable. It was my first year coming into the Festival not really knowing what to expect.  I have had a pretty relaxed summer camping, surfing, visiting Sweden, tons of coaching, and riding my bikes for fun.  Without a training program or bike sponsor for 2015, I’ve really just been doing whatever I want!

SATURDAY/SUNDAY/MONDAY: GETTING DEEP
I started the week off right with a last minute call asking if I’d like to participate in the Deep Summer Photo Challenge.  I’ve watched the slideshows every year, and have so much respect for the photographers and what they can accomplish in 3 days, I just had to experience it for myself.  I was on Grant’s team, and, although it was a few early mornings and copious amounts of hiking, it was all worth it.  After that came a GoPro shoot in the park with Remy Metailler wearing all sorts of POV contraptions! It was tons of fun, and really a walk in the park (no pun intended) after our gruelling Deep Summer shooting.

TUESDAY: SOMETHING NEW
Live Paint show!!! I was invited as one of 8 artists to participate in a live paint-off at Garfinkels! We were given 30 minutes to complete a 24X30″ piece, with no references, in front of an audience.  This was by far the most nerve-racking art I have ever done!! I started off rigid, however, when voted to get into the finals, I loosened up a bit and utilized the canvas a lot better. I ended up winning, and my paintings were auctioned off at the end of the night! Such a cool experience and I’d totally do it again.

 super focused during the 30minute time limit. No references, no practice. Just you and your tools!

super focused during the 30minute time limit. No references, no practice. Just you and your tools!

WEDNESDAY: RESTING WITH FRIENDS
Rode Air DH and Garbanzo tracks with Tracey Hannah and Emilie Seigenthaler. I was thinking about racing Air DH but felt pretty gassed from shooting for 4 days and staying out late for the Paint-off. I was starting to get sick and wanted to try and stay healthy and rest. Sometimes your body knows better than you do.

THURSDAY: PUMP IT UP
Pumptrack would have been my first race since the Sea Otter DH and Enduro in the Spring, so I really had zero expectations.  I wasn’t nervous practicing, or even during the first couple of heats.  I was loving the track and just being able to see all my friends again made my night. Trish Bromely and I were having fun earlier in the day filming each-other and goofing off on the track; trying to gap little sections and nose-bonk the first table. Between time trials Tracey Hannah and I went on a coffee date with our moms and Mik. Everything was pretty relaxed. I only really got nervous when it was down to me and Dani Beercroft for the small final to see who would take 3rd.  It’s funny how, when faced with a result placing, I get more nervous and more focused on the result and less on riding.  I was ecstatic when I ended up taking the win over Dani to get 3rd; woo another podium!!!! It always feels good :)

FRIDAY: DUAL EMOTIONS
Dual Slalom was a bit of a different beast than Pumptrack. Way more technical, a lot faster, and gate starts forces you to step up your game.  Already having a good result, I went into the Dual with some mixed emotions: I had proved I still could perform and race with the best so I was relieved, however, since I did get a podium, I put pressure on myself to achieve nothing less than 3rd.  Going into a race so focused on a result is -for me- never a good thing.  I get so wrapped up in my placement that I forget to enjoy the ride!! A bit of a hectic morning didn’t help, but practice still went well.  First heat I was up against Trish.  She’s always so happy and relaxed that it calmed me down quite a bit.  I flatted and blew out my sidewall walking back to the Shuttle (so strange), but the Sram guys were nice enough to do an extra-quick tire-swap for me! (thanks guys!!)

As I got closer to the small finals I could feel my nerves heightening.  I would get to the bottom of my run and not even remember what happened! I was trying my hardest to relax, smile, and enjoy the ride, but the pressure to come at least 3rd kept creeping back. I beat Anneke 1 out of 2 runs but it wasn’t enough to move to the finals. Tracey got me in the Small Finals and I ended up 4th.  She was on fire, and so were Jill and Anneke, coming 1st and 2nd respectively.  I was a bit annoyed at myself for losing focus and getting wrapped up in ranking myself, but at the end of the day I had a lot of fun. I tried my best, and was quite satisfied with my 4th place.  All the girls were riding so well, and I would rather come 4th against a stacked field than 1st all alone. 

Coming away from a race like that makes me realize the importance of having healthy competition, and focusing not on the result but on the moment.  Tracey Hannah and I have been very good friends for years now, and, even though we raced head to head, we still ended the day with big hugs and appreciation for being able to push eachother to try our hardest. 

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: FUNDAY
After the race there was some definite celebrating, and I spent the rest of my weekend enjoying all of the great people that make up this industry, including shredding bikepark laps on a GT demo Sanction with Andrew Cho, Matt Jones, and friends.  I also stuck around for the Slopestyle on Sunday morning, and had non-alcoholic Caesars with my bff Geoff Gulevich and his Fiance in the Oakley/Pinkbike tent.  Brandon Semenuk’s first run was nothing but completely immaculate, and I felt bad for all the guys who crashed.  Seemed like a bit of an odd comp this year, but some amazing riding nonetheless. 

That’s about it for my Crankworx, and I hope to see you all there again next year!

xoxo