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  • Norco Factory Team Update: Canada Cup Finals at Crankworx Whistler

    August 26, 2016

    By: Andrew ‘Lespy’ L’Esperance

    Canada Cup finals went down at Crankworx in Whistler and it was a tough one! The team did really well and finished off an incredibly successful season in a big way.

    Whistler

    We all felt pretty lucky to be racing our bikes in this place. Photo: Chris Vezina

    First, let’s throw it back all the way to the beginning of March when the whole team gathered in Victoria, BC for Canada Cup #1, the season opener. This is where it all started for the 2016 season. Norco Factory Team got together for the first time and set the stage for what would be one of its most successful in recent years. That was 5 months ago. We all been training, racing and traveling since then and having a lot of fun along the way.

    As a team we racked up 5 Canada Cup wins this season, every athlete got a win. Also, the entire team was selected to represent Canada as Mountain Bike World Championships in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. At 2016 National Championships in Baie-St-Paul, Quebec we captured 2 National Titles with Peter for the U23 men and the Team Relay title. This weekend at the Whistler Canada Cup during Crankworx we sealed up the Canada Cup Series Title for the Pro Men and Women. Haley took the win in the Women’s race and 3 of boys were on the Men’s podium in 3rd, 4th, and 5th. That’s where this past weekend’s story begins.

    Norco Factory Team, Canada Cup, Crankworx Whistler

    Amazing group of athletes and friends. Photo: Perry Disera

    This year for Canada Cup Finals in Whistler they changed the race venue from Lost Lake Park to the bottom of Blackcomb. That meant there was much more vertical, more than 200 m of it per 4 km lap. The climbing, combined with the heat on race day made for a tough race. Haley dominated the Women’s race from the second lap and finished with a solid lead on the field. Her ride was enough to take the win in the overall Canada Cup Series. On the Men’s side, I finished up third after a tight battle with Stephen Ettinger and then Geoff Kabush getting the better of me on the last lap. Evan and Peter finished up 4th and 5th for some solid representation on the podium and McNeely rolling in 11th. In Whistler they do combined Men’s and Women’s podium, with sparkling wine, so that was a lot of fun and messy.

    Whistler also hosted the 7th round of the World Enduro Series. Last season Guthrie competed in two rounds and this year will be the same. With all the XC racing focus he jumped into the deep end but was focused on getting a good result. With a clean day, no issues other than catching a rider in a tight section on the first stage, and a ton of fun, he finished up 32nd overall with mostly top-25 stages. He was satisfied but looks to move up at the next EWS in Finale Ligure, Italy.

    We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful place to finish of the season than Whistler. Now the team is shifting their focus to different events as we roll into the fall. Guthrie will be doing some Enduro and Pete to race some skinny tires for H&R Block at Tour of Alberta. Haley and I are off to the final round of the World Cup in Vallnord, Andorra. McNeely will be sitting behind his sock machine pumping out Sneaky Socks.

    Check out a few of the photos from the weekend by Chris Vezina and Perry Disera.

    Norco Factory Team, Canada Cup, Crankworx Whistler, Evan McNeely

    McNeely finishing off a long season and looking forward to some down time. Look for this guy at a ‘cross race near you. Photo: Perry Disera

     

    Norco Factory Team, Canada Cup, Crankworx Whistler,

    Careful what you say when stepping up on the top step, you will get sprayed. Photo: Chris Vezina

     

    Norco Factory Team, Canada Cup, Crankworx Whistler, Evan Guthrie

    First lap, Guthrie crushed the start strung out the field early. Photo: Chris Vezina

     

    Norco Factory Team, Canada Cup, Crankworx Whistler

    Roam in the Loam wasn’t so much this weekend, a bit dusty. Photo: Chris Vezina

     

    Norco Factory Team, Canada Cup, Crankworx Whistler, Haley Smith

    Haley was in a league of her own at Canada Cup Finals in Whistler Photo: Chris Vezina

     

    Norco Factory Team, Canada Cup, Crankworx Whistler, Haley Smith

    Lespy rolling the drop and keeping it smooth. Photo: Chris Vezina

     

    Norco Factory Team, Canada Cup, Crankworx Whistler, Peter Disera

    Pete keeping it smooth on the dusty descent. Photo: Chris Vezina

     

    Norco Factory Team, Canada Cup, Crankworx Whistler

    Men’s and Women’s combined podium, fun and it saves time.

     

    Norco Factory Team, Canada Cup, Crankworx Whistler

    Relaxing post race, with Gramma Guthrie who came out to cheer us on. Photo: Chris Vezina

     

    Norco Factory Team, Canada Cup, Crankworx Whistler

    Thanks Jonathan for the help this weekend and all season Photo: Chris Vezina