I have a passion for technical, punchy, cross-country single-track and I enjoy competitive rides and races. I live and train year round in Squamish, BC where the single-track can't be beat.
2012 BC Bike Race Winner
2012 TransRockies Winner
2x National Champion
Canada Cup Series Winner
2x Podium @ Pan-American Championship
Canada Summer Games Silver Medalist
3x 'Hell of a Series' Winner
Support: Specialized / Corsa Cycles / SRAM/Rockshox/Avid/Truvativ / Squamish Integrated Health / Nesters Market / E13 / Zett compression wear
The second Toonie race of the yearApril 30, 2013
The second Toonie race of the year was on April 24th and I was happy to take another win. It is only a Wednesday evening Toonie race in the small town of Squamish but I remain certain it is also the most competitive cross-country race series west of Ontario. And winning these races is becoming increasingly challenging. Squamish has an army of young rippers that are only getting faster.
Results from Toonie Race #2 can be found here.
Next up was the Sunshine Coaster 50km marathon XC on the Sunshine Coast. I’ve won this event three times and was hoping to defend my title but instead I came home with my first ever disqualification from a bike race. Dang! Race day was cold, wet, and muddy. A lead group formed on the first climb consisting of Greg Day, Josh Carlson, Quinn Moberg, Kevin Calhoun, and myself. Josh had the early lead and set the pace for the first few kilometres. Quinn made a few surges and I was happy sitting on the back of the train with Kevin. About 10km into the race and halfway up a notable 30 minute climb Quinn made a sneaky attack and gapped the group. By the time I responded the gap to Quinn had grown to some 20 or 30 seconds and it took me the better part of 5 minutes to close that gap. Once I had joined Quinn he continued to put the hammer down until we were out of sight (out of mind). It seemed certain that team Corsa was going to take the top two podium steps and we were hoping Greg Day would fill the podium for a clean Corsa Cycles sweep.
Unfortunately the course marking was a bit sparse and Quinn and I got lost. Quinn opted to back track and enter the course where we left (despite lost time of some 20 minutes or so). He later froze half to death and Did Not Finish. I opted to enter the course at a new location and ride it reverse until I found the race leader… I then followed him into the finish mildy hypothermic and received a DQ… fair enough. A bummer day but much racing to come!
My new bikes showed upApril 18, 2013
My new bikes showed up two weeks ago and I think I have finally dialed them in! They are sweet. Can you say Specialized S-Works Epic 29… with a full SRAM overhaul. A lot of athletes are stuck endorsing products that they perhaps don’t believe to be truly superior. I am grateful A) to be on the best bikes B) to be able to confidently state A.
I would like to mention here that I have no further interest in hearing any non-sense about 29er vs 26er. Having spent the last 3 years playing with both wheel sizes in hardtail and dually version I can say without any hesitation that big wheels are faster up and down EVERYTHING. Anyone still arguing for smaller wheels may as well make the move to racing a bmx on singletrack. Those tiny little bmx wheels would be light, stiff, lacking traction, and roll over almost nothing. Just like my 26” hardrock but worse. Bigger wheels = faster bike = more awesome. I guess if you wanna get sick like Semenuk maybe avoid wagon wheels. Although I haven’t had any trouble with whip flip 360’s on my 29er. I pulled one of these in the season opener Toonie race while descending Half Nelson… lost a few seconds but I had some time to spare so I thought I would get sick… with my seat up.
*thanks to Reach Physio, G-Van Catering, Nesters Market, and Corsa Cycles for a great Toonie! And the army of volunteers/SORCA!
Next up is the Sunshine Coaster XC on the Sunshine Coast of BC. Go figure. 45km singletrack epic on April 27. The trails on the coast are exceptional so needless to say I am looking forward to this.
Uphill, downhill, whatever… I like riding. When I was younger I dabbled in road, XC, DH… my first bike actually had bmx grind pegs on it. I had fun with all of them and I have respect for all disciplines of cycling but ultimately I found myself most stoked riding XC as it seemed to incorporate a bit of everything… and the cheese people say you need to follow your heart so here I stand… fully legit XC nerd and just loving it. Occasionally I attempt riding on the road but reckless drivers and car exhaust always have me itching to get back into the forests. And the last time I did a shuttle run was six years ago… way too much standing around on those outings. This year I have been staying off the pavement and getting creative with big miles on logging roads… it has been an interesting and pleasant change. No traffic and lots of climbing… tons of climbing! I’ve found some pretty cool rides with limitations mainly due to the lingering snowline and I’m looking forward to extending these pedally outings into the high alpine mid summer.
Until then, and at that time, and always, aim to keep the rubber side down.
Today was a slayer of a bike ride.March 6, 2013
Today was a slayer of a bike ride. The sun was out and the air was warm. My winter bike, the Specialized Hard Rock, is a bit beat up after all the rainy days but I think it’s time to put it away anyhow. I’m excited to build up and hop on my new race machine: the Specialized Epic 29er! Should be here soon! Spoiled monkey will work hard!
It has been a long winter with no blogging and for those of you who take an interest in my biking habit I apologize for that. I spent the winter in Squamish; skiing, biking (epic trainer rides), going to the climbing gym, and working obscure and odds hours as a driver.
I’m looking forward to getting back into the routine of more focused training/racing.
My 2012 season was spectacular. I made a big effort last year and was pleased with the good results. I hope to do something similar this year, that is to say, make a big effort.
I would like to say thank-you to the readers of the Squamish Chief Newspaper who voted me Male Athlete of the Year once again at the conclusion of the 2012 race season. I am honoured but, as always, I take it with a grain of salt. I appreciate my athletic abilities and I work my butt off to maintain and better them. I am not so naïve as to turn a blind eye to the talent hiding in this small town though. There are downhill racers, freedriders, dirtjumpers, XC nerds, kiteboarders, rockclimbers, kayakers, runners, skiers and base jumpers - I am but one of the many. My occasional trips to the bouldering co-op are a firm reminder that I am no super-man… just another monkey with a passion for something and the stubbornness to pursue it.
These are the races I am targeting 2013:
April 27 – Sunshine Coaster Marathon XC – Sunshine Coast, BC
May 11 – Orecrusher XC – Squamish, BC
May 18 – Canada Cup XC #1 – Mt. Tremblant, QC
May 25 – Nimby Fifty Marathon XC – Pemberton, BC
June 15 – Test of Metal – Squamish, BC
June 29 – July 6 – BC Bike Race – BC
July 14 – Canada Cup XC #3 - Sudbury, ON
July 20 – Canadian National XC Championship – Hardwood Hills, ON
July 27 – Aug 2 – TransRockies – Canmore, AB
Aug 9 – Crankworx Fat Tire Crit – Whistler, BC
Aug 17 – Canada Cup XC Final – Whistler, BC
I was planning to race the Tour of Mongolia but I was accepted into a program at VIU starting at the end of August so I have to put that one off another year. Goin’ do me some book learnin’s!
I am racing this season with continued support from Specialized Canada, Corsa Cycles and SRAM/Rockshox/Avid/Truvativ. As well as Nesters Market, Squamish Integrated Health, E13 by the Hive, and Zett Compression wear. My race and training clothes will be a custom kit provided by Quickspeed. Superman costume!
Will keep you posted!
RBC GranFondo Whistler and MoreOctober 8, 2012
On Saturday September 8th I raced the RBC GranFondo Whistler and finished 5th aboard my Specialized Tarmac SL4. I was near the front of the 7000 rider mass start that departed from downtown Vancouver at 6:45am. I dressed for race DAY and it was a cool morning. The first rays of sunlight touched down as we rolled across the Lions Gate Bridge. Ryders Eyewear ‘Via’ made appropriate adaptations and it was a pleasant moment to be on a bicycle. Rolling through Squamish Lauren handed me a feed using our improvised musette. Turns out plastic shopping bags are inadequate for this function. As I grabbed the bag, the bottom ripped open and my bottles and food went bouncing down the road at 45km/h. I had to stop and collect these necessities before chasing back to the lead group. I was feeling kind of useless on the bike and nearly dropped out at Brohm Lake but then Lauren yelled at me like a drill sergeant so I mustered on. I owe Lauren big thanks for helping me along on this one. I hope to return and better my fifth place finish.
After the GranFondo I needed a break and I took some time off to catch up with a few other avenues of life. I am done racing for the year and am currently refocusing for another season. 2012 was my most successful season to date. Success being defined not by results but by physical condition. I have never been as strong. I can only hope to better this in 2013.
I owe a big thanks to Susan Chappelle and the team @ Squamish Integrated Health (formerly Squamish Therapeutics) for fitting me in at strange hours, before races and between travels. Cycling is demanding and it goes along way to accelerating recovery by having massage, chiro, acupuncture, yoga, and ND’s available, all in one place, and working together… INTEGRATED Health. My bike goes to Corsa Cycles and I go to Squamish Integrated Health. It’s an ideal set-up. Their new location is across from the Chieftain… check out the floor made of pennies.
I recently built up a sweet winter bike to thrash around on in the approaching mud and snow. It has small wheels. I spent the last 12 months riding 29ers exclusively. I believe they are better 99% of the time. I have been reading trails with the capabilities of 29” wheels in mind and since getting back to 26” wheels I have had numerous close calls with habitual line choices. Often times what a 29er will roll through, a 26er will not, and this is where I have so far avoided catastrophe. But it has me itching to get back on big wheels if for nothing more than personal safety. Maybe the big wheels turned me into a hack… and the controversy live on…
I was lucky to make a trip up to the Chilcotins with my brother in law a few weeks ago. We left Squamish in the early AM and drove to Tyax Lake, pedaled a 6 hour epic, and drove home. First time since 2005. Where are the years going?
More recently, I went mountain biking with Will Routley and we pinned it up to Elfin Lakes (5600ft of climbing). Good weather has extended the alpine riding season and I love riding up their so no complaints (5600ft). On the way down I broke rule #1 and splattered myself across an FSR road. It was more embarrassing than it was painful. A few stitches were in order but only minor flesh wounds were received and they serve as a humble reminder of Rule #1: Don’t Crash. Thanks to Corsa Cycles for repairing my machine. …and I Strava’d that ride! Strava? Ya, Strava! If you don’t know what Strava is, check it out and get on it! It’s the best thing to happen for cycling nerds since 29ers! Strava.com
Strava the bike, Strava the skis, Strava the cat!
I also started using Twitter recently because it’s the year 2012. Follow me…
Trans-Rockies - Neal KindreeAugust 22, 2012
After BC Bike Race I put my legs up for a few days then jumped back into racing at BC Superweek. Superweek is to roadies what Crankworx is to mountain bikers. I was fortunate to be able to attend both.
I put in a good effort at Superweek and have no results to speak of. The experience was eye opening and I took home a deeper understanding of pedaling efficiency.
A friend, and guitar player, once explained to me the importance of moving economically along the fret board. The same rules can be applied to a pedal stroke, a corner on the road bike, a section of single-track, and an entire race course. Economy of movement is the name of the game and I pursue it when I ride my bike. Equally relative, my friend won’t play his guitar until it’s tuned to perfection. If he did play out of tune, it would sound bad. I won’t ride my bike until it’s tuned to perfection. If I do, I’m liable to hurt myself.
After Superweek I raced the GearJammer XC, which is typical, awesome, Squamish single-track. Jack Haig was in attendance and kicked my ass although I still beat him to the finish line. I struggled on many sections of the course to maintain Jack’s pace and had to play some dirty cards but, no friends on race day. Jack gapped me on several sections of the course, notably the climbs, and I outplayed him on the final descent down the smoke bluffs.
Having wrapped up an enormous training block with the GearJammer I was once again on easy street. I took a few days to rest, relax, and recover before my final preparation for the TransRockies.
Last year I got stomped by Max on the opening stage of the TR3 and I thought it would be awesome if I could put in a good effort on the Stage 1 Time Trial. I arrived in Fernie on time, well prepared, well rested, and focused. I pre-rode the TT course the eve of the race with a cell phone and full sized can of grizzly deterrent. I went to sleep that night after rethinking the entire course and knowing my legs felt good. I had a great ride, dug deep, and beat Plaxton’s 2011 TT effort by a minute. Max is riding absurdly well right now and I speculate if he so desired he could take a few minutes off my current course record. None-the-less, he is chasing bigger things and I am stoked with my accomplishment. Having acquired a five-minute lead on the opening stage I was able to thoroughly enjoy the riding experience for the remainder of the TransRockies. Not to undermine the rest of the race, as it was still a battle, but the time gap was enough that I wasn’t under pressure for the GC win.
On Stage 2, my teammate, Evan McNeely and I were able to get away early, work together and extend my GC Lead over Chris Sheppard. We crossed the finish line together, which was really cool, and the day’s effort put Evan 21 seconds away from 2nd place in GC.
Stage 3 was the hardest of the week. Chris Sheppard had a GC position to defend but was more intent on winning the stage and Evan was fighting to knock Chris down a spot on the totem pole. My plan was to hang with the leader, not loose time, and maintain the overall. It was awesome watching these two go at it and not being able to stay with the leader. First Chris was off the front; Evan and I bridged the gap, and held his wheel. Chris was pushing me to my limit and I was happy when he eased off the throttle 15 minutes into a massive climb. Evan sensed opportunity and went with it; I tried to follow but was unable. Over the top Evan’s lead was big, he was well out of sight. There was no need for me to chase my teammate and I knew Chris had only 21 seconds to play with so I moved over and Let Chris do his thing. He did it well and we caught Evan at the bottom of a screaming fast ten-minute descent. The final climb of stage 3 was absurd. We climbed something like 4000 feet in 10km. It was a serious hill and Chris torched it. Evan and I were over the top minutes behind and I rode the final descent cautiously loosing additional time but not concerned about loosing the overall GC lead. I finished the day in 2nd several minutes behind Chris and ahead of Evan with plenty of time to spare for the TR3 GC win.
TR4 was a totally different experience as many of my strongest competitors were not attending, so the pace was slower.
The static world – the still world, is very different from the dynamic world that can be experienced with speed. The faster you go, the more you must focus. And the more intensely you focus the faster you will be able to go. This I like to call “the zone.”
I think of the zone as a dynamic state of meditation, with an infinite ceiling. In a catastrophic moment, all people subconsciously access the zone at a very high level.
Picture yourself on a bike ride and in the moment of crashing. You were enjoying the trail, but you screwed up, hit a rock, and have been thrown off your machine and into the air. In that moment, while airborne, your focus is intense and undeniable. Your focus is to preserve life and limb. There is nothing else passing through your conscious mind. No bills to pay, no relationship problems, no static world stresses. You are as deeply in the moment as is perhaps possible. Hyperaware of the here and the now, hyper-unaware of all else. I would argue that if a human being could focus that intensely for hours on end they would rise to the top of any pursuit. The more intensely I focus the more difficult it becomes to maintain that state. I can see it in great athletes and hear it in great musicians. The zone is a place where ordinary humans go to accomplish superhuman feats. A lack of focus is almost always at fault for mountain bike crashes. Had you been in the zone while riding that fun trail, it’s doubtful you ever would have hit that rock!
Back on topic: TR3 was 95% spent in “the zone” which doesn’t leave much room to soak up the scenery. TR4, with my major competitors gone, despite still being very challenging to win didn’t require me to spend as much of my time in the zone. I was able to look around, and soak up the epic beauty of the Rockies. It was an amazing experience.
After TR I had a short vacation with my girls family near 100 Mile House. I brought my Tarmac and found some super cool roads to trip on. On the drive home I road from Cache Creek into Lillooet which was the most scenic and stunning road ride I have ever done in BC. I was home Thursday eve and was working when the Crankworx Fat Tire Criterium was brought to my attention. I decided to race, despite feeling drained. It was a stupid decision. I crashed while pre-riding and got mildly worked over. I finished fourth, soar and bleeding. Not the Friday evening I had hoped for.
Two days after the fat tire crit was the Vancouver MS Bike Tour. It’s by no means a race, but a fun ride for a great cause. I was riding and fundraising as part of the EMD Serono team and together we raised fat stacks! Perhaps not enough to cure multiple sclerosis but enough to help further research in that direction. Lauren joined me on the ride and we did the 60km route under bluebird skies. It was an amazing day and I left feeling really good about contributing. Fundraising can be difficult to do because often times it feels like begging but I’ve recently changed my mind on this. It’s not begging, it’s granting. Granting others an opportunity to contribute to and be a part of something big and positive. To those of you who generously contributed, thank-you. Initially I felt like I was taking your money, but after riding the MS Bike Tour and seeing how involved and happy the attending MS patients were I had a total mind shift. People can be physically week but mentally strong beyond my understanding. It was inspiring to see and I’m looking forward to next years MS Bike Tour. I’m going to raise fat stacks!
Crankworx wrapped up for me on Friday eve with the Ryders Eyewear ‘Cabin Fever’ party. It was wicked! A combination meet and greet/2013 product launch/and free beer give away. Live DJ on hand and it evolved quickly into some craziness and a dance party. Fraser was in the zone.
The following morning I payed my dues with honest suffering under the sun at the JABR (Just Another Bike Race). The JABR is the fourth and final race in the Hell of a Series (orecrusher, test of metal, gearjammer, JABR). I’m proud to say that on Saturday I won the JABR making it 4/4 in the Hell of a Series. The JABR race course is my new favourite and it sounds like Dwayne won’t be changing it for 2013. Lot’s of Squamish’s best-kept secrets to be experienced at this one. I guess they’re not secrets anymore but I still consider them to be gems of the impeccable Squamish trail network.
This has been my strongest and most successful year of racing to date and I owe it all to my sponsors.
Thanks for reading.
BC Superweek -Neal KindreeAugust 21, 2012
I took some time off after BCBR and then jumped right back into racing with the Gastown Grand Prix, Giro de Burnaby, and Tour of Whiterock; racing at BC Superweek was an eye-opening experience. BC Superweek was hosting some of the strongest riders in North America and I was impressed with the speed. I have never raced in such a high calibre field of riders on the road… it was super cool and I hope I can get some more of this stuff in next year.
Following Superweek I was right into final preparations for Transrockies.
I arrived at the GearJammer fit but taxed from my last big training load. Jack Haig of Australia was also racing the GearJammer and this was an unexpected surprise. Jack is clearly a very talented racer and he put the boots to me on hometurf. I was able to nip him at the end with a few seconds separating us when I crossed the line for a win. Despite my winning, Jack was the stronger rider on this day. I had a major advantage knowing the course and trails and I played this to my advantage in the final kilometers.
After GearJammer I had a light training week with some time at the lakes and by midweek I was driving the Yaris due East ready for another 7 days of racing at the TransRockies.
Everything went very well and I felt strong. I put in a really big effort on the opening stage 1 time trial and secured a lead of several minutes. I extended this lead on stage 2 and lost only a small portion to Chris Shepard on the final Stage of the TR3. The TR3 is the first three days of TransRockies which are spent in Fernie riding the local trails. The remaing four days of the seven day TranRockies are known as TR4 and they leave fernie behind in pursuit of Canmore. These last four days are much different riding. Less singletrack, more epic. I went on to win the TR4 as well with a commanding lead. It was a super fun experience as I had never taken part in the TR4.
I might be riding at my all time best right now. if not, very close too. it feels good and can be bettered.
Next up is the Vancouver MS Bike Tour, Just Another Bike Race, and RBC Granfondo. and maybe some pedally stuff at Crankworx.
July 1 to July 7 was an incredible week in my life.July 12, 2012
The BC Bike Race is very real and very fun mountain biking. The kind of mountain biking that you see in photos and looks exactly the way you wish it would. And at that, seven fantastic days of it. This year was the wettest BC Bike Race to date and as a result it was also the most accurate depiction of what BC singletrack is really like.
I live in amazing Squamish BC, where rain falls one out of every two days and the trails can’t be beat. Squamish is home to the most loved stage five of the BC Bike Race. It’s not my favourite, because I ride it any and every day I wish to. My favourite stage would have to be Powell River…it’s technical XC singletrack all day. the type of terrain which exhausts your arms as much as your legs.
enough ranting and raving…
The racing itself was ideal for me this week. It was incredibly challenging and pushed me to my limit daily. It was apparent early into the first stage that the battle would be between Barry, Chris, and I. We separated ourselves from the rest on the first sustained climb with Barry setting the pace and Chris reaching the summit first. Chris made an effort to gap us on the first descent and failed. Shortly after I would make an effort on a technical climb and fail. And then Barry would make an effort on a climb nearing the finish and fail. I don’t know if any of us actually made whole-hearted efforts or if we were only testing one another, but following day one I think we all knew it was going to be a tough week.
With that in mind, I made my best efforts to be conservative and burn only what fuel was required to stick with the leader for stage two and three. What was required was a lot! I started day four feeling exhausted and I knew it was going to be one of the most testing stages. Barry was riding the stage at a hard tempo and Chris and I were doing our best to match Barry’s pace. We would both eventually fall off of Barry’s wheel losing minutes.
Knowing an effort in Squamish was easily anticipated I figured Sechelt would be my best opportunity to make a committed effort. I had a strong ride and was well prepared mentally. The day’s efforts had me pulling the leaders jersey on in my hometown of Squamish. My family was out to see this and it was a special moment for me.
I went into stage five with the goal of extending my lead with another big effort. Barry had a tough day and when Chris and I noticed this we didn’t hesitate to “put a few knives in him” as one rider described it. The two of us worked together to get “out of sight, out of mind” as quickly as we could. We continued working together throughout the Squamish stage knowing that we both had a lot to gain with this combined effort. It wasn’t until Farside that the game changed. Chris dropped me temporarily at the end of the Crumpit Woods area but I was able to claw my way back while ascending a sustained aerobic climb. I made a move entering the smoke bluffs, earned a small gap and used my hometown knowledge to ‘no brake’ nearly the entire smoke bluffs descent. The gap was enough for the stage win and a few more second on Chris. These, as it turns out were nearly needed on the final day in Whistler.
During stage seven I was prepared to follow Chris and do little more than I needed to safely roll in with my GC win. Mid-stage I tore the sidewall of my rear tire open. I tubed it up as quickly as I could and got on my bike and suffered for 30 minutes. I finished 3rd on the stage and won the overall GC with a very slim 15 second lead on Chris.
I’m really proud of this result. It is a big win for me and I have worked hard for it. That being said, I can’t claim it as my own. Many people have chipped in the time, money, and positive guidance that makes my cycling career possible. Thank-you Kira, Evan, Hannah, Colin, Francis, Sarah, Rippin’, Dave, Sandra, Pat, Fraser, Ahren, Kate, Nick, Brent, Joe, Owen, Chris, Take, Cuz, Susan, Dean, Dre, Danielle, Mom, Dad, Jeff, Meghan, Brenny, and Lauren.
Thank-you to Specialized Canada, EMD Serono, Corsa Cycles, Ryders Eyewear, Squamish Therapeutics, E13, Carney’s Waste Systems, Zett, my friends and family.
Next up is some excitement on the road at BC Superweek.
Enjoy the heat, haze, and hectic summer roads!
A detailed report of the BC Bike Race can be found here.
Results from BCBR can be found
Squamish's Most Classic: Test of MetalJune 26, 2012
Squamish's Most Classic: Test of Metal
On June 16 I raced Squamish's most Classic; the Test of Metal. I had a strong ride, felt great and posted my fastest finishing time to date despite the slow and soggy course.
The race was on immediately after Cory Wallace won the first prime. From there Chris Sheppard set the pace and I followed. By the time we entered Jacks Trail Chris and I had established a lead that would grow as the race progressed. I was first into Jacks Trail and took the 2nd prime at Alice lake. Chris and I would stay together throughout the next few Kilometers until we hit 'Rock and Roll' where I made an effort on the steep pitches of the climb. At the top I had a small gap and entered the corners with the confidence and comfort of race leader. This is a big advantage as it allows me to ride conservatively while Chris burns energy chasing.
I extended my lead some through the descent having local knowledge on my side and with my increased lead I was all the more comfortable. I rode hard through the traverse into the nine Mile Climb and when I hit the climb, I turned to a tempo that was again conservative. I rode a hard but restful pace until the crest of Bonk Hill. Chris was chasing and closing the gap while we climbed this initial section of the nine-mile road. At the summit of bonk hill, my lead had been reduced to less than 100 feet. However, having ridden conservatively up the first half of the climb, I was now well rested and ready to torch the second half. Cresting Bonk Hill I turned on the gas until i was at speed descending the rip. At this point my lead was minutes and the remainder of the race was a 'ride-smooth' type of deal. I'm happy to take my third Test of Metal since those in 2006/2007. Those five years flew by.
Following the Test of Metal, I was back east for my first World Cup event since 2007. The course was at Mt. St-Anne, QC and it was technically and physically the most demanding course I have ever ridden. It was difficult to ride the course... just to ride it. I cooked myself in the days leading up to the race just trying to figure out the lines and course layout. I did too many laps of a strenuous circuit and come race day, I wasn't feeling snappy. This should have been obvious to avoid but it was also necessary to pre-ride and I felt great while doing this. Despite a poor showing on race day, I feel I took some very valuable experience away from this and I will hit my next WC better prepared. After the race the Specialized Racing team went out for a feast and team dinner. All the big names were there and it was a nice treat. Again, So lucky to be on such a wicked team! Special thanks to Carneys Waste Systems for getting me out east on points to attend this event. Congrats also to Max on a personal best and huge accomplishment of fifth place.
After this World Cup experience I would love another kick at the thing next weekend in Windham, but I will be racing something too fun to pass up...
Next up is the 7-day BC Bike Race. This, I am very excited about!
Last weekend I placed 4th at Canada Cup #3June 11, 2012
Last weekend I placed 4th at Canada Cup #3 in Hardwood Hills, ON. I am happy with my form and I felt great on race day. Unfortunately I was having some minor drivetrain problems which caused me to move at a slightly slower pace than I otherwise would have. It was a good day, could have been better, could have been worse.
A few days prior to the Canada Cup I met up with my teammate Evan McNeely at the EMD Serono Headquarters. We were attending a conference for the MS Bike tour which we are both taking part in. It was a great experience and we heard from speakers on all sides of the disease; researchers, marketers, patients, doctors, fundraising participants and then some. It's cool to be so involved with such great sponsors. They are going above and beyond here to help raise funds for research. On the topic of great sponsors, Specialized is unreal. I feel very lucky to be on such a professionally run team and I'm excited to be able to offer feedback that is taken into consideration right away. I feel very involved and that means a lot.
I returned from out east with the swine flu or something of that sort. Last week, which I had big plans for in terms of volume, was a complete write-off. I had to take a rain-check on Squamish Toonie #5 as I was barely able to cook 16 litres of chili.. but I did. And it's awesome! Knowing I wasn't able to race Toonie #5, I had to call in Corsa Cycles's secret weapon... Ricky federau made the trek from Chilliwack to be sure Team Corsa remained undefeated on home turf... so far, still the case as Ricky slayed Toonie #5.
I was on my bike thursday for an easy day as well as attending the Corsa Cycles Friday night world Championships where I won both primes, the KOM, and the final sprint. Groovy. It has been said that I am a sandbagger.
Saturday I was still not feeling 100% recovered from the swine's flu but I had a good day riding easy trails and bumped into some rock climbing pals while on the trails. I rode with them for a bit and then back home for some chili.
Sunday was the Junkyard Dog XC in Surrey (BC Cup #1). I managed a win with a narrow lead over the rocky duo of Greg Day and Colin Kerr; both of whom are riding really well.
Next up is the Test of Metal and Mt. St-Anne World Cup.
Keep the rubber side down.
Squamish Toonie Race #4May 29, 2012
On Wednesday May 23 I raced Squamish Toonie Race #4 and won with a narrow lead over local ripper Greg Day. that makes it 4/4… my future brother-in-law had a personal best 5th place which is awesome. He started mountain biking a little over a year ago!
On Saturday I was in Pemberton racing the Nimby Fifty. This race is epic both in quality, quantity, repeat. The quality of the event is very high, the quantity of the terrain is sufficient, the depth, size, and talent pool at the start line was THE best Canada has to offer. As expected Max took the win and I finished second.
Early into the race Max and I had separated ourselves from the rest of the field and Max took the first Prime. I followed down the initial descent and lead up the Nimby trail (100 switchback long single-track climb). I won the prime at the top of Nimby and continued to lead into the new section of the course…I don’t know the name of this trail but it’s good! As we entered the Red Bull Downtime Max took the lead and I was following. The trail was extremely dusty and having Max just ahead of me made the terrain difficult to see at times due to the dust clouds he was creating. I had a bobble in a rutted section of the trail and my front tire caught the right side of a rut and I was off the trail in a hurry. It wasn’t a crash but the resulting lost time is not something I was able to make up and the gap grew from there into an impressive three minutes.
It’s amazing how quickly the lead of the race can vanish in circumstances like this. I would have liked to ride more of this course with Max but a little bobble is all it takes and it’s a gap I am not able to close.
Max’s time of 2:03 would suggest the Nimby could be completed in less than 2 hours. My time of 2:06 would suggest that I took nearly ten minutes off my winning time last year. Groovy. I credit five minutes to hard work and five minutes to my bike. Last year I was riding a 26” hardtail, this year a 29” dually. Smoother is faster.
Next up is Canada Cup #3 (Hardwood Hills, ON).
The Nimby Fifty post race food was unreal! You have to experience it. Are you experienced?
3 for 3May 22, 2012
On the eve of Wednesday, May 9th I made it 3 for 3 at the third Squamish Toonie Race. This was followed by a win on Saturday, at the first event in the 'Hell of a Series’: the OreCrusher XC. I won the OreCrusher in 2011 and was able to successfully defend my victory with a narrow 8-second lead over Sechelt's Kris Sneddon. Kris acquired an early lead at the OreCrusher and I spent most of the race trying to close what was at its biggest a 40-second gap. I caught Kris on the last lap and attacked over the crest of the last substantial climb. I was able to hold the small lead to the finish line. After the race Kris and I extended our day's fun with a ride up to Cat Lake for our first lake swim of the year. The lake was incredible! The heat of the day had warmed the surface water of the lake to an ideal temperature. We followed this delightful dip with a rip down the trail ‘Cheshire Cat’ and then back to the OreCrusher venue just in time for awards.
Following the OreCrusher I completed a heavy week of training. At the time I was feeling good, but in hindsight perhaps it was too much. I flew back east on Friday for Canada Cup #1 in Mt. Tremblant, Quebec. Evan’s mother Kira collected Neal-and-Bike from the Montreal airport and shuttled us up to Mt. Tremblant. This made my travels much more manageable. Thanks Kira! I arrived in Tremblant 7:30pm Friday evening and pre-rode a lap of the course. Not much has changed with the Tremblant Canada Cup since first attending in 2006. I had a strong start and was first into the single-track but before the end of the first lap five riders had passed me. This occurred following a bit of a pushing match with another racer as we entered a trailhead. I lost the pushing match. Starting the second lap, Raphael established a lead and I was chasing with a trailing group of five riders. Over the remaining three laps Raphael’s lead grew steadily and I broke free from the chase group for a 2nd place finish. I am happy with 2nd. It is my best result at Tremblant but to be honest…all of Canada’s top talents are out of the country attempting to qualify for the Olympics. I felt good on Saturday but not great. Some top-end snap was missing and I can't be sure whether it was due to too much training during the week or travelling the day before... perhaps it was both. I will be looking to improve my performance and I feel I learned a number of things this weekend. I will add this to the toolkit and move forward.
Next up is the Nimby 50 in Pemberton, BC where I have my work cut out for me if I am going to defend my title. Max will be racing and he is no doubt the stronger rider...perhaps in the best form of his life having just finished ninth place in the most recent world cup. The anticipation of suffering is giving me anxiety. Haha, no, I’m looking forward to it. I love having strong competition close to home. It's what makes racing fun!
After the Nimby I go back east for the third Canada Cup (Hardwood Hills, Ontario) where I hope to induce suffering.
Then I must make a decision... do I race the Test of Metal or Nationals... many pros and cons to each.
Keep it fun, keep it fast!
Toonie #3 results (Squamish, BC):
OreCrusher XC results (Squamish, BC):
Canada Cup #1 results (Mt. Tremblant, QC):
Squamish Toonie race #2May 8, 2012
Wednesday last week I won Squamish Toonie race #2. I will race as many of the squamish toonie's as fit into my season. I will miss a few of them due to travel. They are short and sweet and too convenient to pass up. The competition level is high in Squampton... or are we saying squawesome now?
I was feeling tired from burning the midnight oil with my 'race-drive2000km-race' in a 26 hour period two weeks ago. Due to my state i skipped 'Race the Ridge' last weekend in Maple Ridge. It's a road stage event that i had planned to attend but there's no point in racing if your not up to the task.
As much as i would have liked to attend (I love road racing!) it was a good decision not too. I was well rested by the end of the weekend and had a highly productive week of training.
Second annual Corsa Cycles Fashion Show on thursday. It was my first time at the fashion show and i believe it was the second show... last year being the first. Strange things go on in squamish some evenings. I wasn't modelling in the fashion show because as fate would have it fashion and style hit the back burner early in my childhood. But it's good somebody is keeping the world in style.
What a drag it would be if we reverted to racing in wool jerseys, fabric helmets, and bright fluorescent stretchy things without suspension, disc brakes, carbon bikes, dropper posts, 1x10's, and of course, fashionable attire.
Dude-man Ricky Federau sends XC with dropper post... assuming his foot isn't broken. He was attacked by chickens late friday afternoon. no but really: Ricky had a moving accident last week and had to cancel on tomorrow weekly training ride. He crashed down a set of stairs while moving a chair for his girlfriend. Both Ricky and the Chair made it through the wall at the bottom of the stairwell. dude!
Saturday May 5 was the Sunshine Coaster Marathon XC. It's a 50k marathon xc race on the sunshine coast (if you didn't get that from the name). I won but not without a struggle and some barely bearable suffering. Local pro Kris Sneddon was setting the pace most of the day with Cody Canning hanging comfortably.
I haven't raced bikes with Cody in ages. He switched to road and in doing so dropped off the face of my earth as many have... Ryan Anderson, Will Routley. For awhile i was more focused on keeping my eye on Cody then on Kris but then mid race Cody disappeared. From then on it was Kris and I battling to the finish. It was a great race as the two of us are very comparable riders and Kris did gap me on a few sections of the course courtesy of mad skill and local knowledge. I caught him -oddly enough- on a fire road descent with a 1x10. go figure. From there i followed for a little longer and when we hit the next steep climb (still on the fire road) i made my move and stepped into the hurt locker. I opened up a good size gap very quickly and then had to tone it down so as not to blow up. The gap remained at 30 seconds from this attack through until the finish line. 20 minutes in the hurt locker. ouch.
I was happy to repeat last years victory of the Coaster. it's my 3rd victory at the coaster with my fist being 2007 or maybe '06 when it was known as the Rat Race.
Results are posted here:
Shortly after my last blog postApril 24, 2012
Shortly after my last blog post I caught the flu and did not start the Barry’s Roubaix Road Race. That same weekend Stephen ‘Rippin’ Riby of EMD Serono was in Squamish discovering what real mountain biking is all about. He left lusting for more of our sweet single-track and I am certain he will be back because Ontario can’t compare.
Midweek was an excellent training block spent riding with Kris Sneddon and Ricky Federau. I am renting a suite from one of Squamish’s best trail builders and he has built a trail from the backyard that links into the giant network of single-track around town. I can ride from the backyard (literally!) and spend hours shredding trails without every touching pavement. I was quick to show off this luxury to Kris and Ricky who both approve that Squamish is rad. Ricky proved once again that he is the fastest XC downhiller I know by destroying me on the descents. Ricky can descend as fast as any top DH rider but he can also climb like a retired protour domestique. And Corsa Cycles has signed Federau to the team! So once again, ‘chicken farmer Ricky’ and ‘garbage man Neal’ find themselves teammates! Oh good times!
The following weekend I was racing my new Specialized Tarmac SL4 at the final Spring Series in the Fraser Valley where I took another 3rd place finish. The bike weighs 14.5Lbs and according to Dave Heisler “it is the lightest bike [he has] ever weighed.” It is also the stiffest road bike I have ever pedaled. I spent some time moto-pacing in the upper Squamish and the Tarmac SL4 is a speed machine. Much like my Epic 29er, the Tarmac is designed for speed and riding it at 65km/h up and down the valley is a beautiful thing.
Torturous days of moto-pacing were followed by some much-needed massage treatments @ Squamish Therapeutics before my departure for Sea Otter.
I drove to Monterey, California solo and had a disappointing ride in the Short-track XC where I was lapped and pulled from the race. I should have finished the race but it’s too difficult to pass riders on such a narrow course and the folks at the back of the field don’t carry speed effectively. The result of which is working really hard and not going very fast. I was passing riders at approximately the same rate that they were being pulled from the race and this interesting situation kept me nearly dead last for the duration of the event. I did manage to move from #80 to #20 before the lead group caught me.
The following day was the Cross-Country event; a super fast 20-mile loop. I ran a 37tooth ring for this high-speed course courtesy of E13. The E13 guys were on-sight showing off the goods and they were quick to swap out my front ring.
The race went well and I finished 11th. I am happy with this result and keen to better it.
Immediately after the XC race I drove back to Squamish in 21 hours with a one hour power nap at a rest stop. Arriving in Squamish at 11:30 am on Sunday I slept in my bed from 12 until 2 pm and was back on my bike racing at 3 pm to win the season opener Toonie race with a strong field of nearly 150 racers.
Stoked to be home!
After the toonie race I had a few beers over a heated game of Scrabble with JD and Matteo. I crushed their balls by spelling lots of big words and Matteo was visibly hurt by his loss.
Amidst our intoxicated ramblings we concluded that ‘a bicycle is an instrument used to manipulate speed and its rider must make it sing’
I like that.
8th event of the "Spring Series"April 4, 2012
On Saturday i raced the 8th event of the "Spring Series". It was foul! Cold, Wet, and Windy. 10km into the race i was off the front with minimal effort. nobody seemed to be chasing so i just kept riding a good tempo. After 30km of this solo effort i was joined by David Stephens and the two of us spent the next 90km working together. David got the better of me on the last climb and won the race. I'm looking forward to warm weather!
My road bike showed up on monday and Pat @ Corsa Cycles built it up. I had been racing on Dave Heislers top-of-the-line "rainy day bike" up until now.
On friday i will do the finishing touches to my new road ride... a BG fit and some fine tuning.
E13 chain guide and rings showed up and the 1x10 system is now fully operational. There was some talk of going 1x10 on the road bike too... haha...
Next up is the Barry Roubaix Classic April 8th.
here are the top 5 from last weeks race in Mission, BC:
David Stephens - Garneau Evolution
Neal Kindree - Specialized / EMD Serono
Noah Blom - Garneau Evolution
Kyle Buckosky - Garneau Evolution
David Gerth - Garneau Evolution
I am feeling betterMarch 26, 2012
I am feeling better on the bike with every passing week. I was expecting to feel weak in the legs after spending so much time skiing this winter. This is not the case. To my surprise my arms are the weak link. Skate skiing is taxing on the triceps but does little to work the biceps. This has been, unexpectedly, the most sore part of my body training over the past month. Riding aggressively out of the saddle puts a huge strain on your biceps as you pull your bike into you with each pedal stroke. Slower riders tend to use their body weight to propel themselves while out of the saddle. This method of riding is very limiting because you will never generate more force than that of your body when weighting the pedals. A more advanced riding technique is to pull the bike into your pedal stroke while out of the saddle. This is done all the while keeping your hips near motionless and pulling with your hamstrings on the upstroke of the pedal revolution. Easier said than done. And as i mentioned, very demanding on your core and arms. My triceps are rapidly emaciating and my biceps are starting to feel stronger.
Training has been going well and I've been racing the Escape Velocity Springs Series events on weekends. These road races take place in Langley and are a great workout. The speed is a bit low but the racing is hard enough as I am a solo rider attempting to take on some strong teams of 8 to 10 riders. Makes for a challenging day. So far I have managed a 5th, 3rd, and 2nd place finish with one DNF because it started snowing!
On the mountain bike, i have my 1x10 set-up without a chain guide and it's wicked. I thought the chain would be dropped more but it seems to happen only a few times per ride. E13 chain guides should be here thursday so then I will be, as they say, "good to go". I would recommend a 1x10 drivetrain to anyone and everyone that is a serious mountain bike rider. Front derailleurs are out! Chain guides are in!
I'm still learning all the different specialized treads, but at the moment I am running the Purgatory 29x2.2 and it's sweet. The Purgatory isn't a super light race tire but it's a wicked 'ride' tire and perfect for spring training. It sheds the mud, hooks up on the slime, and makes training with Quinn extra difficult.
Last week I attended a conference on Multiple Sclerosis hosted by EMD Serono (team sponsor). Delicious food, good wine, great company, and many brilliant neurologists speaking in a far-off branch of english that I struggled to follow. Beta Cell receptor sites, and T30 enzyme structures. They were a great bunch and although I didn't really understand much of the presentation I appreciate what they are striving for: to improve the quality of life for patients living with MS. I will be riding in the Vancouver MS Bike tour with this same group of folks on August 12. I need to raise some funds...if you are feeling generous and want to support a great cause please email me @ n_kindree (at) hotmail.com
Next up is another of the Spring Series on saturday. The following weekend is the Barry Roubaix road race in Pitt Meadows, and then I head south to tackle the Sea Otter! super stoked...
The last week has been a blastMarch 13, 2012
The last week has been a blast dialing in the new race machine. Build it, ride it, adjust something, ride it, adjust more things, ride it… etc. I think I finally have it tuned up just the way I like. I got a Specialized BG fit at Corsa Cycles and am getting used to the new position. If feels fast!
The S-Works epic 29er is very much a ‘race-bike’ and less so a ‘ride-bike’. Not to undermine the quality of the ‘ride’ but I have never had a bike scream for speed like this machine. I am super excited to get my 1x10 drivetrain setup and start racing.
Training has been going well and I feel really good turning pedals. Since my Epic 29er arrived I was lucky with the weather and got some really good trail days in. The weather in Squamish is looking inclement right now and for the duration of the next week so it will be a grueling week of basement trainer rides. Although less exciting than the great outdoors I respect the quality of training that can be achieved indoors.
Congrats to Canada for nearly sweeping the top three at the Mellow Johnny’s Pro XCT last week in Texas. Good to see Max rip it up on a Specialized for the win!
I am currently experimenting with a pile of different specialized treads for shredding Squamish’s early season trail muck… I will let you know the results.
Last SaturdayMarch 1, 2012
Last Saturday – February 25 – I competed in my first XC ski race called the Payakentsut. The Payak is a 50km loppet and climbs up a never-ending series of hills. It’s not for the weak of heart and makes bike racing feel easy by comparison of energy expended per kilometer. I wasn’t the only mountain bike racer at the event… Alison Sydor was out there crushing souls as well.
I surprised a few people with my second place finish. Skate skiing came to me very naturally and I can only assume I acquired the necessary skill sets from a number of background sports. The most obvious being cross-country mountain bike racing where I learned how to recover and relax at speed. Momentum can be carried into a hill, lost, and regained over the crest of the hill with great similarity between bike and skis. As for the act of skiing itself, I was skiing whistler/Blackcomb weekly as a youngster and have experience in the tamest of backcountry settings. In my earliest sporting years I was a competitive figure skater, which is essentially the same motion as skate skiing. Rock Climbing and slack lining have given me the core strength and balance required for good glide. So although this was my first winter skiing and my first ski race, I would like to make the argument that I have had a lifetime of preparation. After reading this you can perhaps understand that my second place finish was not a surprise to myself. I was racing to win on Saturday and fell short but I’m still proud of my effort. I know of several things I will do differently at next years Payakentsut and I am confident I should be able to shave minutes off my time in 2013. For those wondering… Payakentsut comes from the Squamish Nation… a place to trains oneself physically.
Results from the Payak can be found here
I would like to thank Munny Munro for waxing my race sticks with highly toxic wax that is allegedly superior to Ricky Federau’s preferred Tea Lights. I also owe a big thank-you to Alpina for the ski boots, Peltonen for the ski’s, and Yoko for the poles. Answers to my many ski questions were kindly provided by The Nordic Shop in Squamish, and Sigges’ in Vancouver. Ryders Eyewear kept the snow out of my orbits.
My sister raced the Payak too and the following day she was off to Maui with her fiancée. They left a 14-year-old cat named Rex at my house while they are away. He cannot Meow, has one tooth, looks like a giant ball of orange fluff and really likes me. I love cats but suffer from Cat allergies. It’s not a problem unless I touch the cat, which is really hard not to do! It’s so cute and it doesn’t hide the fact that it wants loves… I have been feeding him salmon treats, hair elastics and reading to him.
My new mountain bike arrived yesterday!!!!! S-Works Epic 29er. The best cross-country race bike on the planet. I am spoiled, lucky, and excited to ride this thing! I am going to build it tonight with the help of Pat @ Corsa Cycles and can’t wait to get out on the trails. It’s very flash so hopefully I can rip it up and get my new podium shoes onto a podium…
I am alive and well and here is what's up:February 14, 2012
Winter has been a busy blast. I spent most of November and December working (driving limousines and garbage trucks)
Between shifts i was skate-skiing at the Whistler Olympic Park and Cycling in my parents basement. I think i may have lost some brain cells while logging trainer hours and staring at a concrete wall.
In the late fall of 2011 i was once again voted 'male athlete of the year' by the readers of the Squamish Chief Newspaper. This is a bit embarrassing considering the number of olympic medallists that call Squamish home. Myself being a non-olympian. None-the-less i am honoured to have received this vote for a fourth year.
Also, in the late fall of 2011 I raced the 6-hour Lunar Enduro Solo and won the event having beaten the nearest team by one lap. I have tried to win this thing solo a few times and was happy to finally make it happen.
Here is some recent media:
Published December 23 in the Squamish Chief Newspaper:
Published January 12 in the Whistler Pique Newsmagazine:
Published January 12 on cyclingnews.com:
Published January 13 in the Squamish Chief Newspaper:
I was planning to race the first 3 Pro XCT events in March but cancelled my plans as Pro XCT #2 and #3 no longer offer any UCI points.
This decision has given me more time to make the transition from Nordic skiing to cycling and i think this will pay dividends later in the year. I will be racing the Payakentsut 50k Loppet at the Whistler Olympic Park on February 25th. The Payakentsut will be my first and last ski race of the season.
I will participate in the Spring Series road races in Langley that happen every saturday and sunday for the month of March. This is a perfect fit to transition my body back onto the bike. My first exciting event will be the Barry Roubaix on April 7th followed by Sea Otter in Cali April 19-22.
And Finally... My blog is up and running and can be found here:
I’m just winding downFebruary 13, 2012
I’m just winding down from a fine day that started with a 35km ski up at the Callaghan Valley. I had fast company and was happy to spend most of the ski torturing 2004 Canadian National XC Mountain Bike Champ Ricky Federau (http://rickyfederau.blogspot.com). It is largely speculated that the old chicken farmer from Chilliwack is washed up, but having been redlined for 95% of today’s ski I beg to differ. I can only assume that if he invested in LF or HF wax and stopped using Tea Lights I would be forced to call our hammer sessions ‘training’, rather than rest-days. JOKE! There was nothing restful about it.
I should point out, also, that when Ricky won the 2004 national championships, he was, not surprisingly, riding a Specialized Epic.
Needless to say I’m really stoked to have been picked up by the Specialized / EMD Serono race team. I will be racing on a Specialized Epic 29er off-road and a Specialized Tarmac SL4 on-road. These bikes are as good as it gets and I’m fortunate for the opportunity to compete on them. EMD Serono has a multi-vitamin called multi-bionta that will be part of my wellness program. It’s a mix of vitamins/minerals and probiotics. Super-nutrients!
Corsa Cycles is a significant supporter of my race plans and I’m excited to be back at the shop. I should share a little blast from the past. My dad was the original and former owner of Corsa Cycles. He started the shop sometime back when dinosaurs roamed the planet and mountain bikes didn’t exist. Prior to my abduction by public education my daycare was the elaborate castles and mazes that I manufactured with empty bike boxes in the ceiling rafters of Corsa Cycles. I’m sure I pestered Dave as much then as I do now. Since those early days Corsa has grown into a high-quality operation and Specialized dealer. Corsa Cycles is a perfect fit for my performance based focus and needs.
Squamish Therapeutics will be involved for a second year. This is good news no doubt. Keeping bikes and body well tuned is essential to aggressive training and racing. Ryders Eyewear is also on-board for another year and rumour has it that they have a whole new line-up of photochromic options on the way.
Winter training has been going well and I’ve been spending a lot of time up at the Callaghan skate skiing with Adam Z. He’s a former elite level rock climber, turned mountain biker, turned skier and although I will never surpass his vision for moving on rock I think I should be able to beat him at a game of chess before the years out.
I am going do to my first skate-ski race at the end of February and come March I will be back to training in the trails with Quinn and Racing in the Langley Spring Series on weekends. Sea Otter is just around the corner.
Thanks to Specialized, EMD Serono, Corsa Cycles, Squamish Therapeutics, and Ryders Eyewear for providing me with an amazing opportunity. I plan to make the most of it. I will post blog updates at the beginning of each week.
Thanks for reading,
PS - Lauren has taken on the role of non-bike photos for my
blog. Here are two:
April 30, 2013
April 18, 2013
March 6, 2013
October 8, 2012
August 22, 2012
August 21, 2012
July 12, 2012
June 26, 2012
June 11, 2012
May 29, 2012
May 22, 2012
May 8, 2012
April 24, 2012
April 4, 2012
March 26, 2012
March 13, 2012
March 1, 2012
February 14, 2012
February 13, 2012