Aimee’s Blog – Cross Country 101

Spring is supposed to be in full swing…whats up Mother Nature?? Its been a test of will getting out day after day on the North Pour but we all know that is the hardest part; getting out the door. I have actually learned to enjoy the rainy days on the Shore and just choose my routes and trails wisely. Anyways, enough small talk about the weather…here is what I have been figuring out this past month!


I know reading about this aspect of riding isn’t nearly as exciting as reading about a rider tackling a gnarly jump or overcoming the mental blocks of a tricky section of a trail or race course (way to go ladies!)…so sorry for the boredom but I know maybe a few of you may find it interesting (Crystal, are you out there?).

My motive for getting some solid advice on training was simple; to maximize my time and results. I started out by getting my training heart rate zones tested.. ho hum…exciting stuff I know. However, this turned out to be extremely valuable and useful info that I can’t recommend enough. I went to Peak Performance and they were amazing. I was expecting a somewhat elitist and intimidating environment but found it to be really relaxed yet professional and the information I came out with was well worth every penny. Their services are made for everyday people who are looking for effective training programs and information.  If you are going to do it why not do it the best way you can?

Next, I took this information to a extremely well versed and experienced cross country racer who also knows how people with responsibilities need to train (ie. All non-pros!). He gave me an outline to work with and let me put together a solid program that suits my reality.  Yes, there are still hours to put in but with options to split up workouts, use the bike trainer at times as well as the chariot with Cooper it will work well in my world!

Proper bike fit was another aspect I was missing and I went right to the source  Dave Howells is a North Vancouver local and all around good guy with 25 years of riding and racing experience who also works with the BC Bike Race. He informed me through his very thorough assessment that I was losing 15-20% of my pedalling power by my slack bike set up. This is fine and dandy for riding around the Shore but for hours upon hours of pedalling and climbing it could use a fix. To say it made a difference is an understatement. Do it ladies if you want to get the most out of your bike…crazy how much better you will feel.

My hubby also decided to look at my actual bike to see how we could slim it down a bit…shave off a few pounds here and there. He knew that I was not willing to shell out major bucks to loose a few ounces but he proposed he could a few things as a Mothers Day present. How could I argue with that? I always thought my xc bike was somewhat light. This is because I was used to my freeride bike and have never had a carbon frame or cared; it had to be durable for the Shore. He managed to lighten my wheel set and now my bike is a svelte 32 pounds. I chuckle at this since to me this feels amazing after riding with heavy all mountain tires and rims all fall and winter but to a true xc rider this is still a monster. This was part of his plan apparently…build up strength all winter and then enjoy the treat of a few upgrades! I admit he can be rather clever at times.


My friend Bryan and I returned to the Suburban Rush this year to race together once again. We have done this adventure race as a team 3 times now; with me missing last year due to a big “Cooper filled” belly. However, I did volunteer and cheer him and my replacement on in 2010 and was excited to get back out again on the race course this year.  This event is top notch and sells out every year.  If you want to try an adventure race for the first time this is the one for you! Plus (and all importantly) the riding is super super fun!

Bryan and I have been friends for about 10 years now. I met him through the adventure racing scene and he still runs the best race series out there In the past we have raced in his MOMAR jerseys but this year he gave me clearance to ride in my MB jersey since he thought they were pretty cute.

Things have evolved for both of us now that he has 2 children and I have Cooper. We met the morning of the race after a few quick emails to confirm our plan (we are getting quite efficient now) and compared stories of how well received our absence for the day was by our spouses at home. My hubby had great plans to take Cooper to the hardware store, the neighbours for a visit and maybe even Costco! I think he figured out pretty quiock that little ones are portable but also have particular needs that home can only provide.

Bryan and I had a blast per usual, with the highlight being riding in a train down the fun descents with some fellow racers and we rocked the orienteering thanks to his map skills. (we felt like kids again scaling fences and running through prickly bushes). We followed it up with a visit to the local pub for a burger and beer and then back home to the familial. This was the longest I had been away from Cooper and I did miss him; however he loves hanging with his dad and they didn’t skip a beat, however he did skip a nap from all the excitement of Home Depot and all the man stuff they enjoyed.

Well, we are in the home stretch now! I have 5 weeks of serious training left and then the easing back begins following the Test of Metal. Do I feel ready? Heck no…but I doubt you ever do. Juggling life and training leads to many days of fatigue which could be mistaken for lack of fitness. However, I hope that once I get some solid rest (from training that is!) I will find my form and have a good ‘ol time riding my bike and hanging out with my folks and Coop. I need to enjoy every complex moment of this balancing act…as the best things in life can come from commitment, compromise and focus.

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5 thoughts on “Aimee’s Blog – Cross Country 101

  1. Your posts are never boring to read! Even those of us who don’t race but enjoy long days in the saddle day after day learn a lot from your experience. Keep at it and have fun!

    BTW – Cooper looks so cute in a helmet 🙂

  2. Go Aimee! Ina’s words exactly… you’ve got a wealth of knowledge and experiences that are totally useful to us ‘mere mortal’… (ha!) recreational riders… 😉 Please keep sharing, it IS appreciated!!

  3. Thanks gals!! I am so glad I am not boring everyone with this stuff as I have found it all so interesting! Not that I am trying to be too serious, just efficient 🙂

  4. Aimee, I love reading these!! I am quite a bike geek at heart so all those tips I was digesting every word! Most of all I am impressed with your time management – being a mom must be so time consuming. I don’t have a little one and I struggle to find time to get on my bike. I would love to be a mom one day and you make me think that perhaps I could still have a life as well! (although I think you may make it look easier than it really is!)

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