Monday, June 30, 2014

Update: BCBR So Far

Lying in the RV with my legs up and since I'm terrible at napping, I thought I'd get some more words and photos up from our good times so far. Of course they do no justice - this event is pretty next level in every sense. 
This is my girl before our first day. In case you missed it, I drew Gerhard's birthday for a race number which makes me smile every time. Day one's stage was gnarly. If I was a hiker, I would consider completing the course an accomplishment, so steep/rooty/slippery were some of the descents/drops. With my beloved Top Fuel, I felt like i'd brought a knife to a gun fight. The North Shore is no joke and it was quite the welcome for us racers. Ok bcbr! You have my attention. ;) 
These pink ribbons are our guides on course. Despite remote trails, technical terrain and long courses, they are perfectly placed and I've never felt a shadow of a doubt that I was headed the right way. Love it. This one was photographed on our opening section day one. A little ways after this, we had a bear on the course (I could have sworn I heard him woof while preriding). 
This is an after picture ... Despite super wet weather, BC mud is very forgiving and rarely cakes up which makes it kind of fun, actually. 
Here's the Open Women's podium (my category). Day one saw Wendy Simms (2013 BCBR Champ) in third, Endurance pro Sonya Looney in 2nd and Olympian Lea Davison with the win. I came 12th. 
At the end of each stage, I've learned the procedure is: eat something, drink, bike wash (you can do it yourself or a volunteer group will take a donation to do it for you), then eat something, drink something, shower. Eat drink sit. 
Here's the bike wash. Whatever you do, don't get showered and cleaned up first. I found out the hard way it's an excellent method for getting clean clothes soaked and muddy. 
When you're bike is clean, dry it, lube it, then these fine volunteers pack it into the transport trucks to move to the next stage. The organization behind tearing down and rebuilding base camp is astounding. 
We're on the move! Our first ferry ride. Met lots of awesome people on board and ate chips with my feet against a wall so I was happy. 

We spent the night at mama and papa bear Gross's house eating eating and eating. The Team Kris RV went ahead to Powell River and the Gross family took over support crew duties like champs. 

Annnnd, welcome to day two! Sorry for the foggy pic. My phone was in my sweaty pocket ;) 
Reposed San Diego today (not pictured: my Sock Guy Arch Ride socks)
My favorite male cheerleader and me post race. 

My day was much more manageable today. Loved the singletrack though still felt a little outgunned bike wise. Dropper posts are mandatory here. Mandatory. Enjoyed the climbs and then went my own [safe] pace down the descents. Starting to get the hang of this BC singletrack but it's been a very humbling experience. Until yesterday, I was fairly certain I am a decent (maybe even good?) bike rider. Now I am not so sure, haha. 

And here is our home for the next two nights! Powell River is lovely so far. Looking forward to a 49km stage tomorrow followed by a dip in the pacific for my aching legs. The support team is headed out on a salmon fishing mission so with any luck, we'll have something special for dinner tomorrow! 

PS - blogged from my iPhone! Please forgive typos and formatting :) 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Day 0: Ready.... Set ...

Ground zero on day zero. The hour is upon us! Started the day with a trip to Argyle school for the hub bub of registration. So exciting to see all the racers streaming in and the stacks of red racer bags and yoga mats ready for us to pack up. 

Inside our race packets were lots of great goodies, but these are by far the awesomest features: top tube stickers of each stage profile. So valuable. 

Down in the staging area the kids' races got started. So cute and exciting to see little rippers. Reminded me of the Pink Helmet Posse. 

Little girls on bikes!! Yes!!

Here are the little dudes getting it done. My favourite was the kid in the dragon costume. 

Dad couldn't walk by the podium without giving it a try. 

The contents of my racer package. My number, 218 is of extra special significance because 02.18 is Gerhard's birthday! Thanks universe! 

Ran through some openers today before I got rained on again. It's been raining a lot and we're expecting to race Stage One in the mud. 

Making my fav rice cakes, of course! 

Our racer safety meeting featuring the most hilarious discussion about piss, shit and bear attacks I have ever encountered. Thanks Brooks!

Home sweet home! Final prep now underway and here's our amazing palace on wheels. Plus my trusty steed. 
And check out this crew!! Gerhard arrived tonight so our team is complete. And my brother-in-law Reinholt is here for good cheer and good vibes, too. Super excited to get rolling! Bed time :) 

Let's Ride!!

The BC Bike Race Movie

Seven: The BC Bike Race Movie from BC Bike Race on Vimeo.

Pretty hyped after watching this. 40 minutes of frothing.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Day T-1: Make Mine An Expresso

Started today with drizzle in North Van but after over a year in the California sun, rain seemed novel! 

Shuttled the crew (ie mom and dad) to the Canadream HQ to pick up the RV then took off with duelling GPS systems (Siri:1, Garmin:0) to get the bike to the shop where I made an appt for pre race checks. 

The shop I picked was Obsession: Bikes since that's who will also be providing mechanical support throughout the week. 

While they worked on the bike, and mom and dad took a crash course in everything RV, I wandered the Esplanade and quay where I found evidence of BCBR everywhere. Also espresso, wifi and cheap Thai food. Perfect. 

Back at Obsession, shop dog toothy-smiled Reggie greeted me and we became fast friends while I waited for Myrosha to join me for a little preride. 

Myrosha and I grabbed the Expresso Express and let the bus do the climbing up Fromme. 

Stopped for a quick photo op before I got the bike too dirty. Ain't she gorgeous? Big thanks to Blaize at RIDE for getting her race-ready and the team at O:B for putting humpty dumpty together again.  

Trail selfies. I insisted. 

The entrance to Expresso, day one's Enduro Stage. Flowy, yes. Gnarly, also yes. The sudden downpour at the start didn't help my confidence, but I think it's gonna be fun on race day!

I love this pic because it's a clear delineation in space and time between when I had never ridden North Shore singletrack to now understanding what THAT'S all about. 

Sessioning this triple threat: wet rooty log-over, to wet rock, to wet ladder bridge. Myro is too fast for my iPhone. 

Back at the ranch, showered and finally dry again. Check out the sweet digs back at camp! 

Great (wet!) day. Thanks for the ride Myro!!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wheels Up! Next Stop, Vancouver

"Have I done enough?" I asked Gerhard yesterday. "Just the right amount," he said. And with that, we have arrived on the eve of the long-awaited, much-anticipated 2014 BC Bike Race. Bucket list item, gnarly bike event and my first stage race. 

Home Sweet Home!
This is a quick post to say I'm packed and on my way. I can't thank everyone enough for their support, especially my PIT CREW EXTRAORDINAIRE, Mom, Dad and Gerhard in the RV with Mama Bear and Papa Bear Gross heading up our satellite operations in Cumberland. 

We're looking forward to seeing as many of our friends and family in BC as possible so be sure to get in touch if we haven't tracked you down yet. 

And if you can't be in BC but want to get in on the action, here is a quick run down of how you can "follow" us: 

BC Bike Race: 
Twitter: @BCBikerace
Instagram: @BCBikerace
Website: Daily updates with results, pictures, videos and all the info.   

Twitter/Instagram: @_KrisGross

Instagram: @gerhardmg


Useful Hashtags: 
#ultimatesingletrack #BCBR #BCBR2014 #ridelikeaninja #ninjaspotting

Up up and away! 
Our itinerary-ish
North Vancouver - June 26 until afternoon June 29th
Cumberland - Evening June 29th until Evening June 30th
Powell River - Evening June 30th until Morning July 2nd 
Earl's Cove to Sechelt - Morning July 2nd until  Morning July 3rd 
Sechelt to Langdale - Racing through to Squamish on July 3rd
Squamish - Afternoon July 3rd to Morning July 5th 
Whistler - Morning July 5th until Morning July 7th

And now some next-level awesomeness created by the talented Athena (with help from the talented Ian who made handy resized versions). Because my mom is awesome, she went all out and made this logo into T-shirts for us all to sport. I couldn't get everyone a T-shirt but if you want to show your support during the race, here are some options!

Facebook Profile Size

Square For Instagram or Facebok

Facebook Cover Size

Next stop Vancouver!!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

BC Bike Race By The Numbers

Just sitting here working on clearing the decks of work so I can focus on BC Bike Race and got distracted by ... you guessed it ... BC Bike Race.

The latest newsletter let us racers know that the daily handbooks are now available online. Since I am a total glutton for all things organizational (just ask "Team Kris" about the ten Detailed Itineraries they received a couple weeks ago ... thank you Premier's Office advance for teaching me about those), I could hardly wait to open each one and scour them for info about the event. Day Zero has a little "by the numbers" I thought I would share -- kind of interesting. Check it out:

For my American friends, 10,000m of climbing is 32,808' and 310km is 193 miles. 600 participants is still 600 participants ;) and I think we all understand what 75% singletrack means!! Holy Hannah! 

A lot of friends and teammates have told me that the BC Bike Race is a bucket-list item for them too, so make sure if you were one of those people, you note the Early Bird pricing sell-out times -- I wish I had been that organized, haha. But if you are, you could save up to $1,000 off your entry fee if I'm not mistaken. Registration opens for 2015 on July 7 at 10pm and this is probably a link you'll want to bookmark: 

I can hardly believe it but one week from right now, this is what I'll be doing! 

Okay! Back to work :) 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Race Report: Kenda Cup Series Final, BIG BEAR


I enjoyed a triumphant return to Big Bear this weekend after the drama of the knee thing. Very excited to report I won my race, and took home the Series Champion title to boot. Thank you to the gang at Big Bear Events and Sho Air Cycling Group for putting together a hella fun series. And thank you to Blaize at RIDE Cyclery for turning my beauty into a frictionless wonder. #BikeDoping

Let's back up because since my last post a lot has been going on getting rehabbed from the knee thing and ready for the BC Bike Race.


The hardest part about an injury like that is that no one can tell you when you'll be better. You just have to take it day by day, second guess every move and apply your Neosporin religiously. It took three days before the swelling reached its peak and then another three days to get it to come down again. For the Big Bear Shoot Out #1, I decided to get out of the house and support the team and with some peer pressure, I got to the point where I could walk somewhat normally, smooth out the limp and finally get the feeling that it might actually get better.

But when I got back to Carlsbad, it felt like things went backwards - my IT Band was all jacked up, it continued to weep and I was even forced back into a limp. At that point I decided to see my chiropractor who is wonderful (thank you to Dee Folse for introducing us!). He got all my usual trouble spots moving again and he showed me some pressure points to help my knee. I asked him, "Do you think by this time next week I'll be laughing about all this?" And he said, "You'll be laughing tomorrow." I could hardly believe it but he was right. If you have knee problems, try this:

Once I turned the corner, thanks to Dr. Mark, it was a really fast come back. In fact yesterday, the stitches concluded their three week stay with me and my knee and I've graduated to steri strips. Once it was moving again, I didn't waste any time and put in some really hard workouts on the road bike, and at the same time, I put some serious love into the mountain bike as well. The two of us are now pretty much ready for the BC Bike Race.


If you haven't heard of GarageWorks in Oceanside, let this be your official heads up. Steve is a suspension genius with deep roots in the sport (including designing 5.10 shoes for Sam Hill back in the day) so I had him go over front and rear shocks to make sure everything was up to snuff. He did a great job on the rebuild - the kind that makes you wonder how the heck you made do before. For the first time in a long time, I actually have suspension!

Next stop was RIDE Cyclery in Encinitas for the kind of bike love only Blaize B can deliver. I asked around and the unanimous consensus was that Blaize is your guy if you have some anxiety-laced it's-gotta-be-perfect maintenance work to be done. Blaize made my 2011 Trek Top Fuel feel like a 2015. You name it, it was overhauled and the results are joyous. I was showing all my Ninja Teammates the amazing frictionless wonder all weekend. It was almost a shame to get it dirty. Of course, I DID get it dirty, and I forgot to snap a photo beforehand. #fail.

I'd also like to use this segue between the bike and training to thank my very good friend (and secret weapon) Chris Holmes, who would surely have the title sponsor placement on my custom kit, should I ever have such a thing. He has been there from day one on training rides (once he even drove us to Poway for parkway repeats .... for FUN), and with his bike mech smarts and capabilities, it's 100% true when I say I couldn't do this without him. Thank you Chris!! When we give you our first born, let us know if you'd prefer a boy or a girl.


You might think ten days out with your feet up would be cause for concern, however I was wise (?) enough to crash at the end of an enormous block of training and had a planned week of rest anyway. So I'm happy to report that fitness is 99.9% what it would have been had I *not* crashed and put seven stitches into my knee .

Sorting out Ninja kits at the Team Cabin.
Adding to my quiver of arrows is the amazing Big Bear Cabin Team Ninja has acquired thanks to Coach Richard where we all can go to trick our bodies into making more red blood cells. So hopefully, I've tapped into every advantage I can by this point and I can confidently say I'm in the shape of my life thanks to Coach Richard's meticulous training plan, which is a good place to be before you take on a seven-day stage race. Happy dance!


Okay back where we started!! The second episode of the Big Bear Shootout! Team Ninja had been leading the standings for the past few races, but to hold on to the top spot, we needed at least six racers to compete in the 2/3 category. However, father's day had our numbers cut down. Our only hope was that the other teams would be similarly hobbled.

As for my race, I learned that coffee and I are extra electric at 7,000' so the second cup on race morning was probably unnecessary. You can ask Regina, who was my ride from the cabin to the course and pre-warm up buddy. I was freakin' out. Partly the coffee but partly a bit of a confidence blip thanks to my return to the "scene of the crime."

Eventually I figured out that I should probably not be around people and went off to do my warm up and settle down. In staging I was super stoked to see a bunch of ladies had shown up! It had been lonely at the last event so this was a great change. Always happy to see women out racing.

Cat 1 30-39 Podium - W
Once the man said "go," all the anxiety and jitters went straight through my pedals into the dirt and I left it all behind. I was so happy to be back on my bike, racing, and healthy. I flew up the climb and just stayed on it through the long fire road first half of the race. The course was so long I hardly saw anyone so I just focused on riding clean and got blissed out on the views. 

Everything was going awesome until I made a mistake in a narrow section that saw my shifter smash into my guess-which-knee. I avoided disaster by a couple of millimeters, leaving the stitches still intact and the largest part of my wound closed. However the outside edge dribbled some red stuff down my leg and throbbed some too. The combination of oxygen debt, being grossed out and freaked out by my narrow avoidance of major complications left me about ready to vomit. I talked myself off the ledge as I worked to get my flow back on Skyline and before I knew it, I was starting to recognize the trail again and by the time I hit Fall Line, I was feeling just like my old self.

TEAM NINJA Cat 1/pro squad claims 3rd overall
Crossed the line in first place to the cheers of my Ninja teammates and then it was on to the serious
business of cheeseburgers, chips and pop. And a cider too, since we were celebrating. The girls had great rides, with Regina claiming victory in everything Super D and Paula up on the podium for her 2nd place finish on both the day and in the series. The dudes were posting some PRs as well and scored even more podium time for the crew. Check out the official team race report with full team results here.

Team Ninja's Cat 2/3 co-ed roster had the late and unexpected addition of Anne-Catherine, who logged a win and put us over the edge in series points. The day's hero for sure! Richard and I (and Evan before his truly unfortunate collarbone break) managed to claim enough points to take third place in the Cat 1/pro co-ed overall. And I also claimed the individual series win for the Cat 1 30-39 women.

Thank you to Sho-Air for putting on a tremendous series - we Ninjas had so much fun so thank you for giving us seven awesome opportunities to hang out and race bikes. We're excited for the State Championships so see you then!

Thanks as always to Team Ninja for being LITERALLY the best team in SoCal. So proud to wear our colors!

And thanks again as always to Coach Richard La China for bringing us all together, providing so many amazing opportunities to get better, fitter, stronger and for me personally, for getting me through a tough ten days and right back into the game.

Next stop! BC Bike Race.

Ninjas relaxing after the hunt (and before the next!)