Margarita

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Red Bull Joyride #Crankworx

Red Bull Joyride Whistler

All great things must come to an end, and now that Crankworx Whistler has joined that category I want to look back at five days of amazing energy and excitement and share them with you!

Day Six brought with it a charged vibe in the air, furthered by the erratic weather that had low-visibility conditions and wet, muddy terrain added to the already difficult Fox Air DH race course. The riders raced down the A-Line trail, one of the world’s most infamous with 39 jumps and 30 berms, and a 1200+ meter vertical descent – the reputation is well-earned.

Fox Air DH

Fox Air DH

The fans were whipped into a frenzy when spotting their favourite riders take to the course, and the mountain bikers certainly didn’t disappoint with their speed and style on the course. The winners of the race were Mick Hannah for the mens category, and Jill Kintner for the women’s category. Check out the official Crankworx Fox Air DH site for more info.

finn isles wins whip off championship

Finn Isles at the Whip Offs | Photo Credit: Clint Trahan

The Official Whip Off World Championships brought excitement to Day 7, when Crankworx announced a day prior that 14-year old Finn Isles would be allowed to participate in the event. The young Whistler boy was being rooted on by his fans on twitter and other social media, and the hashtag #LetFinnIn quickly changed to #FinnIsIn. Finn Isles ended up winning the event and his victory was emotionally charged for all those involved.

Later on that night, Crankworx hosted the Ultimate Pump Track Challenge, one of my personal favourite events to watch. It was a fairytale night for the couple that won the top spot in each category, Barry Nobles and Caroline Buchanan, read more about their story on the official Crankworx website.

Day 8 brought on the Giant Dual Slalom and the Canadian Open XC races. The cross-country Canadian Open XC is a tough race to complete, with many technical course challenges along the Whistler Lost Lake Trails. The Giant Dual Slalom was very exciting to watch as two racers battled to get to the bottom of the course first. The winners were Mitch Ropelato for the men’s category and Jill Kitner for the women’s category. For more information on the Giant Dual Slalom, check out the official Crankworx website and view the highlights video below!

The Red Bull Joyride event is one of the most anticipated events at Crankworx, and for the whole mountain biking community. It saw Brandon Semenuk, a celebrity of the sport, finish first place for the third time in the history of the event, a feat that had never before been accomplish. This year the top 3 riders were all from Canada, with Brett Rheeder coming in second, and Anthony Messere finishing off in third. The riders definitely proved their worth with a variety of strong performances, however there were also many falls, spills and trips to keep the crowd oohing and aahing in suspense.

Gulevich jumping onto the Red Bull Cabin

Gulevich jumping onto the Red Bull Cabin

How the family watches Joyride!

How the family watches Joyride!

Messere landing a back flip onto the Cabin

Messere landing a back flip onto the Cabin

My little man cheering on the riders

My little man cheering on the riders

Semenuk doing a 360 off of the Red Bull Cabin on his winning ride

Semenuk doing a 360 off of the Red Bull Cabin on his winning ride

The last day of Crankworx brought out some of the fastest racers in the world to compete in the Canadian Open DH race. Straight down, no mercy – the Canadian open DH course is a ripper, a one-run takedown of Whistler’s rooty single-track, steep rock drops and big air features. This technical test-piece calls for blazing guns and laser focus from those who dare to drop in. 

Day 10’s action wraps up another year of Crankworx Whistler, one that many people will look back on as the best year yet. Mountain biking fans won’t have to wait too long for their next dose of Crankworx, as it was announced that Crankworx Rotorua has just been added to the mountain biking’s festival roster for the 2015 season, kicking off down under from March 25th to 29th in New Zealand.

For more information on everything Crankworx, go to their official website. For more pictures of my time at Crankworx in Whistler, check out my Instagram feed.

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Crankworx Whistler

Crankworx Whistler

I’m writing this in the hot tub of my hotel, trying to soothe my aching body after the beating it got on the mountain yesterday. I’ll tell you all about my little tumble on my bike in a little bit but first, let’s recap the last few days of Crankworx.

The SRAM Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized brought out 350 riders to test their metal on this grueling race on Day 3 of Crankworx. Most racers described it as the toughest race they’d ever done, and as an all-day bike race with multiple runs and hike-a-bike sections, I couldn’t even begin to comprehend how difficult it was. Check out the results and more information on the Crankworx Enduro results page.

kidsworx-bline

Monday at Crankworx was a day of fun for the kids and amazing races – the Kidsworx B-Line race took place that day. Kids from ages 7-15 took part in the races, where future athletes of the sport get their first taste of competing.

Crankworx brings the top mountain and XC biking athletes from all over the world to the little mountain town of Whistler, and it’s super inspiring for the kids to walk and bike among the greats.

Spotting the Coastal Crew in line for the lifts, seeing Andreu LeCondeguy at a restaurant with his friends, catching Brandon Semenuk at the SRAM tent, and even sneaking a peek at Stevie Smith, broken leg propped up in his wheelchair, puts these kids face to face with their idols and inspires them to be more like these top riders.

This was my daughter’s first downhill race, and unfortunately she took a huge fall during her training laps, but still got back up and did her best! All the kids had a great time competing and having fun racing down the trails!

crankworx-falling

The next day was my turn to hit the trails. I’m a newbie at the sport, and Jay loves showing me the ropes – and showing off in the process. I have so much to learn about the sport – how to control my bike, the brakes, and how to do catch some air on the jumps.

Crank It Up has to be my favourite trail so far, an intermediate trail which is great to practice jumps and catching air on. It was here that I decided to take a few small rolling hills and turn them into something ridiculous.

Going way too fast, I launched into the air, flipped over, rolled a couple of times, and then flew off the cliff side. Well, not quite. A small, thin tree broke my fall, literally catching me while my bike flew further and got stuck on another tree. The only scary part of the fall was that my helmet flew off, and I remember thinking that the only way my body was going to stop was if my head smashed into a tree.  Thank goodness for that baby tree, which dug itself into my upper thigh and caught me.

I knew shortly after that I wasn’t seriously injured, just very, very sore. I was laughing at my ridiculous state, catching my breath and trying to get the courage to stand up and keep going. A couple of other riders saw me fall and stopped to make sure I was okay – this is so common the mountain. Whether you’re skiing or biking, if people see someone on the sidelines, they always want to make sure everyone’s safe and having fun.

After a few minutes, I go back on my bike, shaky, nervous, but alive. I rode the rest of the way down the mountain, just a bit slower this time.

photo_garbanzo-dh

The Garbanzo DH took place on Tuesday afternoon (Day 5 of Crankworx) and is one of the events’ legendary races – it’s been run every year of Crankworx and is known as one of the toughest downhill courses in the world. Descending 3400 vertical feet across seven kilometers of trail, some refer to it as a downhill Enduro race, where no less than 100 per cent will do. Congratulations to men’s winner Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas and women’s winner Claire Buchar. To see all results and webcast of the event, check out the Crankworx Garbanzo DH results website.

Tuesday night we took in the GoPro Dirt Diaries movie festival, where six mountain bikers are invited to create a five minute movie capturing the essence of the experience we all share and love. The riders are given two months to put together their videos to tell their own unique story, and are then screened in front of a massive audience under the open skies at the Whistler Olympic Plaza.

Our favourite film won the festival, “What I Do In Whistler” by Ross Measures, but all films were amazing. My second favourite, which received third place, was Claire Buchar’s “Hate”, which was amazingly filmed and really showcased her true talent as a mountain biker.

Watch Ross Measures’ “What I Do In Whistler“, the winning GoPro Dirt Diaries movie below:


What I Do In Whistler from nsmb.com on Vimeo.
I’m stoked for the next few days of Crankworx with exciting events including  the Ultimate Pump Track Challenge, the Official Whip-Off World Championships, and the Fox Air DH race. For all event results and upcoming schedules, check out the official Crankworx website.

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Kidsworx & Familyworx at Crankworx Whistler

Kidsworx at Crankworx in Whistler

The first two days of Crankworx have been full of fun and exciting events. The opening celebrations started off with the family-friendly Kidsworx Village Crit, followed by the mens’ and womens’ Fat Tire Crit.

The Kidsworx Village Crit is an awesome opening event showcasing the sports’ youngest athletes, from ages 2 – 15. My daughter was super stoked to compete in the Ages 7-9 race and had a ton of fun on . See official results of the Fat Tire Crit on the official Crankworx website.

photo 1

Ready to race in the Kidsworx Village Crit!

photo 2

Kidsworx Racers Ready to Go!

Check out the young athletes crossing the finish line in the 7-9 aged race below!

Following the Fat Tire Crit, Five Alarm Funk took to the stage as the opening band for Crankworx. This energetic, 10-piece band was an awesome musical experience to behold, and had everyone in the crowd dancing in the open-air Whistler Olympic Plaza.

photo 4

Ready to board the lifts and hit some awesome downhill trails!

The big event of Day Two was the CLIF Bar Dual Speed & Style brought 15 riders to the finals – an event that is one of the rider’s favourite at Crankworx. The unique mix and format of disciplines allow races and slopestyle athletes to bring their strengths together to battle it out for supremacy.

Check out the video below to watch Kyle Strait and Greg Watts battle for first place.

The top 3 riders were all from California this year, the results below:

1. Kyle Strait
2. Greg Watts
3. Ryan Howard
photo 5

The Winners of the CLIF Bar Dual Speed & Style

Day Three brings with it an epic test of endurance, character, and grit. The SRAM Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized, the sixth round of the Enduro World Series, will be taking centre stage today.

For more information on the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro and more events taking place, check out the official Crankworx website.

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My Experience at Wanderlust Whistler

Photo by Raffaella Dice for Wanderlust Festival

Photo by Raffaella Dice for Wanderlust Festival

Yoga is an inner journey of soul and body, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. I first came to practice yoga because it looked like easy exercise, but after I left my first yoga class drenched in sweat, I realized it wasn’t as easy as it looked. However, I liked it, I enjoyed it, and it was a good workout for me.

There was no spiritual journey about yoga that I could ever really grasp. I listened to my teacher’s words during classes, and thought deep and hard and let it all go, but there was never an enlightening moment – there was never an instance where I could truly say that I understood what yoga was really supposed to be about.

I was too busy making sure my posture was correct, and memorizing sun salutations, to make any sort of spiritual connection within myself.

Photo by Stephen McVeigh for Wanderlust Festival.

Photo by Stephen McVeigh for Wanderlust Festival

I went to the Whistler Wanderlust Festival simply thinking that I would learn about the different varieties of yoga and try some new things, meet some new people, and have a good time.

I didn’t expect myself to start brushing away tears in the middle of a yoga class, suddenly in touch with a deeper connection, learning more about myself than just how to hold a yoga position.

Photo by Jon Chiang for Wanderlust Festival.

Photo by Jon Chiang for Wanderlust Festival

The Wanderlust Festival is an incredible experience, bringing together a worldwide community of yoga lovers – teachers, experienced students, and newbies, like myself  – for over 6 years now.

It offers a schedule that is packed to the brim with varieties of yoga classes like suspension yoga and yin yoga, but also experiences like hiking, mountain biking, winederlust, musical performances and farm-to-table dinners. The teachers at Wanderlust come from all over the world – some are renowned and sought after, and others might be local to the community – but every teacher I met was absolutely wonderful and brought their own perspective to their teachings.

Photo by Raffaella Dice for Wanderlust Festival.

Photo by Raffaella Dice for Wanderlust Festival

I sat in on a Speakeasy session with the co-founders of Wanderlust, Sean Hoess and Jeff Krasno, along with yoga teacher Eoin Finn. I was delighted to learn how down to earth and real they came across – their intent to bring together this community, to revel together in music and yoga and offer a transformative experience seemed true to who they were.

Their intent on expanding the festival further throughout North America and beyond was exciting – Australia has had a few one-day festivals already, and Europe is next on the agenda. The various locations chosen for the festival are all based on their natural beauty, whether surrounded by mountains or ocean or vast desserts.

Photo by Leah Martin for Wanderlust Festival.

Photo by Leah Martin for Wanderlust Festival

In the middle of a power fusion yoga class, where a live DJ would spin tracks according to the vibe of the room, an awesome idea brought together by yoga teacher Melissa Longfellow and DJ Hyfi, I had a breakthrough. Throughout the class we were encouraged to let ourselves go and to dance with the music however and whenever we felt the urge – even in downward dog we were shimmying our hips and going with the flow.

The freedom I discovered in this class, and so many others throughout the festival, was absolutely profound. Yoga suddenly wasn’t about hitting the Warrior II or Dancer pose precisely – and that usually consisted of me focusing on the people around me to make sure I was doing things right. Yoga suddenly became much more than that.

I was present in that moment. I was moving my body without any self-consciousness. It was like the light suddenly turned on and shone on me. It was something spiritual and almost magical – and I had to blink away tears as I felt this irrepressible  joy building up inside of me.

I’ll never forget that class. I’ll never forget that feeling.

I came away from Wanderlust more knowledgable and enlightened than I when I first arrived. I loved my experience at the festival and am so excited to be there to discover more next year!

Upcoming Wanderlust Festival tickets are available on the official Wanderlust website

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Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken Wings

I feel a bit guilty to admitting this, but I often use food to make my family feel better. I believe that when someone has a cold, a good cup of tea will make them feel better. If you’re having a bad day, a slice of coffee cake or a home-baked cookie and a coffee or a hot chocolate will make you smile. Emotional eating at its’ finest!

crispy-chicken-wings

So when my daughter came down with an ear infection this week, I immediately thought to make her a bowl of chicken soup – her favourite! But she had different ideas – she wanted chicken wings!

Dieting and chicken wings don’t usually go together, and my usual chicken wing recipe involves battered chicken wings being drowned in a deep fryer and coated with buffalo sauce or homemade honey garlic sauce. They are what delicious pub dreams are made of.

So instead, I tried to make a healthier version – baking, instead of deep-frying. And using spices and olive oil for flavour instead of battering them and dousing them in sauces. I still wanted to have a crispy chicken wing, and this recipe delivers just that.

oven-baked-chicken-wings

Prepping this recipe takes no time – toss the chicken wings with tamari or soy sauce and spices, let them sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or even overnight to marinade. Then throw into a baking dish, toss with (a lot) of olive oil, and bake at 425°F for up to 40 mins on one side, then another 20 or so on the other.

My cooking time was a bit less, because my oven is smaller and newer. I baked for about 30 minutes on one side and 12 on the other for the optimal crispiness. Definitely check on your wings the first time you make them!

Your chicken wings should be crispy, but not hard or crunchy. You know they are done and not overcooked when the chicken is nice and moist, and easily comes off of the bone!

My daughter added honey garlic bbq sauce to her chicken wings, but my husband loved them plain with a bit of hot sauce. They are very flavorful, crispy, and the chicken is very moist.

I served these with rice and roasted broccoli, my daughter’s favourite sides. She’s now convinced that the chicken wings made her ears feel better –  nevermind the antibiotics! Try this recipe next time you’re looking for a yummy homemade oven-baked chicken wing – you won’t be disappointed!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken Wings
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
 
Ingredients
  • Approx. 25 Split Chicken Wings
  • ¼ cup Soy or Tamari Sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp. No Salt Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Poultry Seasoning
  • 1.5 tbsp. Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Instructions
  1. Place chicken wings in a bowl, add soy sauce and seasonings. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes and up to one night in fridge.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  3. Add chicken wings to baking dish and toss/drizzle with copious amounts of olive oil (about half a cup!).
  4. Bake in oven for 30 - 40 minutes until browned, keeping an eye on it.
  5. Take dish out of oven, flip chicken wings over, and bake for another 10 - 20 minutes so each side is equally crispy.
  6. They should be crispy on the outside, but not burnt or hard, and moist on the inside when they are done.
  7. Allow to cool before eating!
Notes
If you don't have all the spices, change them up! I use onion powder, cumin, paprika, oregano - anything that is on hand.
In a toaster oven, this recipe takes less time to cook, about 25-30 minutes on one side, 15 minutes on the other.
After the chicken wings are done, you can add bbq or hot sauce to them if you wish!
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