Tag Archives: Duncan Pruvis

Race Report: Fernie 3 all mountain stage race

By Duncan Purvis

A couple of friends and I decided that this year we would head to Fernie for the Fernie 3 All Mountain Stage Race. This is one of those decisions that sounds better in February than it does trying to drag oneself out of bed on the third day of the “race” (by “race”, I mean ride). The Fernie 3 was held on June 27, 28 and 29th. Since I signed up I think I was worried most about whether or not it would rain while we were there, which often happens in Fernie. What I did not worry about was record high temperatures in the +35 range. It hit 36 on Saturday, 37 on Sunday and “only” 30 on Monday.

Day 1

The first stage was a 28 km course with 1,300 metres of vertical. The start was a new subdivision just off the highway on the way to the ski hill. When we arrived at 8:45 for the briefing, it was already in the mid 20’s. The race (ride) started at 9:30 on a beautiful, newly paved road. For the first 5 minutes of my day I quite enjoyed myself.


The course quickly veered off to a fire road that I can only describe as being covered in about 3 inches of finely powdered dirt. 150 mountain bikers churning up the silt turned it very dusty, very quickly. As I was not winning the race (ride) at that point, I was behind a number of other dirt churning machines so as if the heat wasn’t enough, a few mouthfuls of dirt really added to ambience. After about 10 minutes in the dustbowl, the course mercifully veered off into some single track. For about 30 seconds, I was again somewhat happy. Then the trail started going up. Then it went up some more. Then a bit more. Then a few seconds of rooted, rocky downhill and then up again. I think there might have been an aid station and some watermelon. Then up, and up and up some more. At one point the climb broke out of the trees into the baking sun. I think I was suffering a little bit from the heat. (as well as suffering from the fact I had not mountain biked in the actual mountains since June of 2014). There was some point in time that I had just decided I was never going to be cold ever again in my life. That I had absorbed and created so much heat that I was just going to exude warmth for the next 40 years. Mercifully, my thoughts kept my mind from the pain my legs were suffering from, and after a few grueling hours I had reached peak elevation.


Nothing like a mountain bike race to get your fill of that clean mountain air! Breath deeply.

I thought to myself that I had made it. Just a nice downhill, and I could cruise across the finish line and drink some more . I was wrong. The next 20 minutes was a hair raising (if I had any) descent. Chock full of steep drops, roots, rocks and trees it was almost harder than the uphill. No rest for the arms, or braking fingers, my upper body was sore by the time I finished. So while it was a relief to hit level ground, it lasted about a minute because the course sent us back up a hill again. I think there might have been an aid station and some watermelon.I thought to myself that I had made it. Just a nice downhill, and I could cruise across the finish line and drink some more Slingshot IPA from FBC. I was wrong. The next 20 minutes was a hair raising (if I had any) descent. Chock full of steep drops, roots, rocks and trees it was almost harder than the uphill. No rest for the arms, or braking fingers, my upper body was sore by the time I finished. So while it was a relief to hit level ground, it lasted about a minute because the course sent us back up a hill again. I think there might have been an aid station and some watermelon.


Aid stations are crucial on hot race days, and here the author is captured by his own bike cam elbowing his way to the beer keg for some much needed mid race refreshment.

This time, the climb took us up some singletrack to meet up with a fire road that came out of the trees at the bottom of the cedar bowl at the ski hill. By now it was about 12:30. It was hotter than it was when we came out of the trees the last time. I cursed the fast riders who were probably done by now and drinking all the cold beer. I again contemplated my fate as the human furnace. I finally came around the corner of the climb and saw the trail disappear into the darkness of the trees (Shade!), a fittingly named downhill called “Dark Forest”. While it was somewhat cooler in the trees, this trail was another steep downhill in soft black dirt that I can only assume came from the burning fires of Mordor. Or perhaps I was in a heat induced hallucination. I really was suffering from the heat. A bit dizzy… I remember thinking that I was probably a bit of a danger to any other riders around me, but luckily I remembered everyone was probably already finished by now and they had likely packed up and gone home. I was only a danger to myself. Only a small spill in sooty black soot of the dark forest, and I was back out on “powdered dust road”, headed for the finish. That’s when the muscles in my right quad seized up in a gnarled spasm. Sigh. A few stops to stretch it out and I was back on the glorious new asphalt, headed for the finish.

dark forest

Shade, thank Shimano! Welcome to the Dark Forest!

If I’ve had a harder day on the mountain bike I’d have to think back to day 3 of the transrockies where I had walk most of the way up Cox hill in the pouring rain. But hey, at least that day I was cool. Of course Im referring to the “temperature” sense, as I never, ever feel like I’m “cool” in the I’m awesome sense, in a race like this.

Obviously, my greatest fear was that the free keg of beer donated by the FBC at the finish was gone, or worse yet, warm. Happily there was some nice cold stuff still left when I got there.slingshot_with_glass_small

Day 2

You know that feeling when your friend books the accommodation (for 3 people) and it turns out to NOT be three bedrooms, but two bedrooms and one crappy short leather couch on the top floor of an non-air conditioned apartment complex that was built as close to the railroad tracks as any building code would possibly allow?

I wouldn’t call “sleep” what I did that night. More like a series of short naps in a sauna with a train.


Planes Trains and Automobiles….. and mountain bikes.

Just to make sure my worst fears from the day before did not come true, I decided to make sure I had my free beer BEFORE the race started, and before those fast guys got it. I showed them. Hiccup.

Day 2 was a 32 km course with 1225 of vertical. After the horror show of the day before, this day was almost pleasant. Maybe it was the pre race beers. Or maybe I had recognized that I needed some electrolytes in my water to stave off any leg crampsIt started out in town with a km or so of pavement. The group hit the trail, but thankfully it wasn’t as dusty. As usual, it just went up and up. I think the first climb was about 500 m over 5 km. I kept telling myself it was just like all the hills in the River Valley back in Edmonton. The corresponding first downhill was a really nice piece of trail nice flowing, fast turns and not too steep. This downhill led into a nice section of smaller up hills and smaller down hills, faster sections of up down, versus big climbs and big descents. It was fun…

oom sign

That way?!!? Are you serious? According to my GPS the beer is just over there! What’s your volunteer badge number? I am going to need to speak to your manager!

As the course turned and started heading back into town, my garmin was reading about 30 km. the single track gave way to a gravel path which appeared to me to lead us straight back to the finish line. I felt good. I forgot that apparently this weekend was about suffering, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise when I came around a corner and instead of course markings pointing straight down the gravel path to the beer, they pointed up a steep hill into the trees. I thought about stopping and arguing with the course marshall that my garmin said I had gone 32 km, and that’s what the course was supposed to be, but if I was honest with myself, I did demonstrate some willfull blindness as the elevation gain was on my garmin was only reading about 1000 m. Cursing the organizers I headed up the hill. Maybe it was the power of negative thinking, but my leg cramps came back again despite my electrolyte precautions. Another few breaks with precious seconds between me and cold beer ticking away, I eventually hit the top. Again, not sure if it was my bad attitude but I managed to slide out on the gravel road going down the hill. Just to add a little road rash to my hip in case I was feeling too good about myself. Finally, the finish line came into view some 35 (an extra 3!!) km into the day.

Day 3

Train,Sauna, sticky leather couch etc. And honestly, if all that wasn’t bad enough, the building fire alarm decided that it needed to go off at 3 am. I was merrily sleeping right through it before one of my friends woke me up to tell me they were going downstairs until the fire dept. came. I told him I felt safe in my bed and to text me if there actually was a fire. I tried to go back to sleep but the fireman came barging in to the apartment looking for the fire. He didnt find it, and he also didnt tell me to get out, so I went back to bed.7GoJtUzaA0UrXOh9utQKqJUmnyR

We awoke, (or were still awake) for day three to some overcast skies! It only hit 31 that day. This day was a 30 km course with about 1100 meters of climbing. We rode a lot of the trails we did on day 2, but in reverse direction. They were fun, but served to simply show me that anything I was going fast on the day before was in fact a net downhill. Another excellent blow to the ego. On the plus side, there were some times when I was actually pushing it, as opposed to just surviving. felt good enough to try and chase some people as opposed to hating the world and everything in it. For brief moments it was “race” not a “ride”.


I finished, no significant injuries or bike damage. Day 1 gets more and more enjoyable in my memory, the further back in time it goes. We stuck around for the banquet on Monday night and sure enough, the FBC had some more cold beer.  All in all, fun weekend. Already thinking about registering for next year! Have to say I was impressed with Fernie and the number of trails they have. Its obvious they have done a lot of work on trail maintenance and have built the requisite structures to ensure smooth riding. Obviously they need to work on filling the valley floor or shaving the tops off the mountains so their climbs are more like the Edmonton River Valley, but I’ll give them some time for that.
In summary, Fernie Brewing Company makes good beer.


A lot of work has gone into the trail system at Fernie. Features like this boardwalk are not uncommon, and super fun.


Race Report: Devon Grand Prix of Cycling – according to Duncan

It was a rough weekend for me, but a great weekend for the team! Both days had great weather, Saturday was hot and sunny, while Sunday was sunny but cool and windy. Keegan won the bronze cupcake in the crit on Saturday. He was a monster! In the top 5 for just about every lap that I could see. Picked up a point on the first intermediate sprint, was just out of the points on the second, and was second overall on the last lap, pulling a controlled powerslide on the last corner to avoid crashing with the two guys in front of him who went down hard. It was an impressive performance. Jan was there taking pictures and getting psyched for Summerside, so you should get some pics from him. No lie, Keegan actually got a bronze cupcake. It looked delicious. I think a bronze cupcake is my goal for next year.

Keegan Machine Brooks

Podium, Oh Yeah!

Bronze Cupcake!

I on the other hand did not have such an impressive day. After the first lap with the pace car, I felt like I was in great position in the pack, fairly near the front. Kept with it for about 3/4 of the next lap and some guys made a move just before the last corner. I stood up on the cranks to go and felt my right pedal collapse under me. I slowed up immediately and figuratively limped into the start area. From the looks of it, my pedal had somehow loosened itself to the point where only half of the threads were still in the cranks, and when I put significant pressure on it, the threads sheared. I couldn’t even loosen it with my hand so I knew I was out. Really bummed out about it, especially so early in the race. I was itching to still be involved.

Jan says the fact that Keegan finished a race without a mechanical means that he has transferred his bad luck. Unfortunately, my bike was close to his for a good portion of the day and Jan thinks my bike now has Keegan’s bad luck. Great.

So off I went home to see if I could fix the bike for the road race on Sunday. On hindsight I should have stopped to watch the bike biathlon. It sounds like Lesley is a sharpshooter!

I used some WD40 to and a wrench to loosen the pedal, but the threads were shot. I couldn’t get the pedal threads started at all. I ended up taking an old pedal and removing the axle. I ground off the part that you would normally tighten against the crank so that it was narrower than the threads. Then I was able to insert it from the back of the crank and tighten it right through the wrecked threads from the other side. Luckily it worked, it seemed to clean out the wonky threads and I was able to insert the pedal back in. I used a bit of plumbing tape this time to make sure it wouldn’t come loose again.

I was really hoping for better things in the road race on Sunday. Again, bad day for me, but a good day for the team! Lesley pulled out a second place in the woman’s category. (see pic).  I didn’t see much of Stefan, the only time I saw him, he was leading the charge in the cat 1/2 group when I was on my way back.

I really don’t know what happened in the road race, but the end result was me getting dropped very early and (not) enjoying and very lengthy, lonely ride complete with headwind. I got dropped so early that I was out of the race before I had even gone to bed the night before.

Ah, It all happened so fast…. I was mid pack for the first couple of km, then the group hit the first corner and everybody took off. I pulled back to the peloton and was probably one of the last 4 or 5 riders. We hit another corner and again, everybody took off. I think I hesitated a bit, and before I knew it, I found myself back from the group. I knew if I fell off, I would never get back on again so I pushed as hard as I could and it seemed like I was 10 feet behind the last wheel forever. I wasn’t getting any further away, but I wasn’t getting any closer either. All the while I knew I couldn’t sustain the pace I was at and I just blew up. Looking back at my stats, I actually hit 197 on the HRM, so at least I can tell myself I tried, I just didn’t have it that day. I was very frustrated and disappointed. We weren’t even 10 km into the race and I was already done. Especially after my early exit from the race the day before. I thought about just heading back actually. But it was a nice day for a ride so off I went on my own, sadly watching the peloton get further and further away. It was pretty uneventful for the rest of the way. I really didn’t see anyone until close to the turnaround when I saw the guys heading back. Keegan was awesome enough to shout some encouragement. It looked like the main group blew up pretty good on the big hill just before the turnaround.

Coming back, I came across another Cat 5 rider, about 25 km from the finish. As I approached him I had visions of me trying to pass him and him latching on to my wheel resulting in a cat and mouse game of chase all the way to the finish line where we would have a sprint for last place glory in front of hundreds of cheering fans. But as I went by, I could tell he was as po’d about being at the back more than I was and he was in no mood for fun and games. So off I went by myself into the loneliness and crossed the finish line by myself and there were no fans, cheering, booing or otherwise. In fact, I think the finish line monitors had gone for coffee. I stopped to wave at the camera and held up my race number and UCI licence just to make sure they saw that I finished and so they wouldn’t have to send a search party out looking for me.

I keep replaying the day and wondering what I could have done differently. One, um, train harder this winter? Two, from a strategy perspective, probably a good lesson to try and keep in the middle or front of the pack to provide some buffer. After the first corner I worked really hard to get back on the next wheel and pulled a bunch of people along with me. If I had let up a bit and let a couple go by, I might have had a bit of break to recover. But as it stood, by the time I had to chase after the second corner I was already in need of some recovery and couldn’t sustain it.

Was very disappointed with road race as well, and the weekend in general. Those are the breaks I guess! Learn and move on. Still nice to be on a bike in the sun with some good people. All in fun.

News: Races this weekend, June 23 & 24.

The race is on this weekend.  Look for results from Fiera Race Team members, Duncan Purvis and Keegan Brooks as they contest the Devon Grand Prix, Crit. Provincials, and Road Race.  Look for Duncan to push the pace in the early part of the race, then sit back and prepare for a late attack in his brand new Fiera Race Team Jersey debut.  Watch for Keegan to get in to an early break, stay away most of the day, then just as it look like he could win, get a flat tire and not finish (predictions are based on past performance).  Watch Zone 4 for result.

Also this weekend, look for Fiera Race Team’s Jan Plavec and Lenka Plavcova to make some waves at the Lake Summerside Triathlon.  Expect Jan to break the sound barrier on the ride, and Lenka to stir things up on the swim.  Watch for their results here.

Best of luck to everyone racing this weekend.

Race Report: Coronation Triathlon

By Duncan Purvis

I had a good weekend at Coronation!

This is the third year I have done it, first year I got a flat and came in around 2:06, last year I was about 2:02. I set out to try and get under the two hour mark. It was a gorgeous day… sunny and not too hot, not too cold. I love coronation for the participation it brings. experienced triathletes on $5,000 machines and first timers on beach cruisers. It’s got a very enjoyable, inclusive feel to it. Also, there is free Subway at the end. Or maybe its $90 subway cause that was the entry fee. Regardless, it tastes pretty good.
I was seeded as the first of six swimmers in my heat, so I was pleased that I could swim “my race” and not get caught up in the middle of the chaos that is often a pool swim. I was hoping for a sub 20:00 in the pool.  So I hop in and focus on setting some good technique and rhythm. Well, that lasted about 20 metres and the woman behind me started slapping my feet with each stroke. So much for that strategy. I stopped for a second at the end and let her go by, but I was determined to keep up. It was probably good that she did. It gave me some incentive and someone to chase. I quickly felt my form and calm “technique focus” fade away into a thrashing mess, and by about 600 metres, she had gained about 20m on me. I managed to keep that pace though and finished at about 19:30, so was pleased with that. I also put my shoes on in transition faster than her so I felt vindicated.

The bike felt really good. I think the early season road racing helped! The uphill sections I was able to maintain a faster pace than I had in the past and my recovery time was good enough that I could really push pretty hard on the uphill and recover a bit on the ride down Groat Road. I finished in about 49 minutes, but that includes both transitions. My Garmin said 44, but the way coronation works is you pass over a strip coming out of the pool and then not again until you start on the run. A bit imprecise, but its the same for everyone.

The run, is my achilles heel, or arthritic knee, if you will. Years of skiing and numerous surgeries have made me a candidate for early knee replacement. I was trying to maintain about a 5:30 pace, but actually ended up at just over 39 minutes, which is around a 5:00 pace. To be fully honest, my garmin read 7.6 km, so I’m wondering if the course was a little shy of the 8 km promised. 🙂 No matter, a few advil later and the run was done!

Duncan, adhering to the posted speed limit, and being paced by his son at the 2012 Coronation Triathlon

Overall time was 1:48:18, so well under my goal and my best time at Coronation by about 14 minutes. I finished 10th in my age group, 66 overall…..All in all, very pleased with the race. Then I had Subway.  Full Results here.