By Norco Factory Team XC
The mountain bike racing season has finally kicked off in North America and we're sure there couldn't be a better place than beautiful and sunny Southern California for the first couple of races. The US Cups in Bonelli Park and Vail Lake were the first events for the Factory team this season and we were all happy to be back together doing what we love most - racing bikes.
If you have been following along with the team and athletes on social media, you’ll know that the season kick-off was a success for the team and that we had boat loads of fun over the last two weeks. If you haven’t been following along, please do so and we will take you on a journey at national and international events throughout the season.
Speaking of that success, we raced to the podium in all four races of cross country and short track. Peter Disera finished 2nd
in both the Bonelli and Vail Lake XC race, Andrew L'Esperance and Haley Smith stood on the 3rd
step in Vail Lake and Haley walked away with her first Short Track win in the Women's Pro Category at Bonelli Park.
Read on for some team rider perspectives on both races and some photos from the last two weeks in California and follow us on our social media channels for more news and updates while we're on the road.
Quinton Disera - @quintondisera - Instagram
"Bonelli US Cup was looking good for me until an unleashed dog in the feed zone ran out and took me out mid-race. I ended up chasing back up towards the top 10 but some bad luck on the last lap dropped me back.
In Vail Lake, I was hoping to be back up at the front for the whole race this time. The first half saw me up there until I began to turn into a diesel, making me yo-yo-ing on and off the front group for the final laps. All in all, great racing and happy with where I am at this time of year. Thanks to the Norco Factory Team and all other sponsors for the superb support. It’s going to be a great year!"
Andrew L’Esperance - @andrewlespy - Instagram / Twitter
"Okay, well this made it to social media, but the story is too good to not share again. In the final sprint in the Short Track in Bonelli, I took the last corner too wide, hit a sign, took it down completely and then continued sprinting. It happened so quickly that I barely noticed it. Look for the video on Instagram! You don't want to miss this one.
Looking back to the race at Vail Lake it sure was some intense racing and also the fastest XCO race I have ever done. Our race was around 45 km and we averaged 27.5 kph. For reference, Bonelli was 30 km total and we averaged 21 kph! With the speeds and the wind, the race was a tactical battle and it was a blast to race!"
Peter Disera - @petey__D - Instagram / Twitter
"During the first race, Bonelli, I was solo for most of the day chasing down the leader. I was in some sort of flow state throughout the whole race. It was as if I was on autopilot while my mind was wandering. It sure was the strangest sensation I've experienced in a race yet. I guess the heat was getting to me. Heading out on the 4/6 laps, during the race at Vail Lake, I remember thinking to myself: "I have no idea how this is going to shake down". The course was so fast, it was going to be difficult to get away from the large lead group. I spent the next lap thinking about how I would try to win. In the end, I finished 2nd."
Sean Fincham - @seanfincham98 - Instagram
"Bonelli US cup was my first race of the season as well as my first race in Norco Factory Team colours. It felt great to kick the season off with an awesome group of people and I am excited for what's coming next!"
Haley Smith - @haleyhuntersmith - Instagram
"As athletes, we’re always looking for improvement and critiquing our performances down to the minute details. It’s easy to point out all the things we could have done better! But after this block, I’m taking a second to recognize the improvements I made. Just two years ago, a US Cup podium was a dream. This year, I’m coming home with a win and two other podiums. Who would have thought?! Plus, I got to spend two weeks in California with some of my favourite people, in the most supportive atmosphere I could ask for. I’d say that makes this trip a win."
The Norco Factory Team XC has now left sunny California and is already on Vancouver Island for the Bear Mountain Canada Cup
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