Today, in Whistler, was the final day of my 2015 BC Bike Race experience. The stage was 21kms with and decievingly tough 850m of climbing. 850 meters doesn’t seem like a lot when all the other stages had more than 1,500, but the trouble for me, was that a lot of the elevation game came all at once, and the opening climb up the ski hill just got harder as we hit the single track. Easily ridable on day one would be The trail ‘Yummy Numby’ but on day 7, with 300 Km’s of racing in the legs, this super technical climb proved to be very hard. I sort of went backwards today…but that’s okay.
Bringing it home one last time.
The XC trails around Whistler are very technical, with lots of roots and large rocks to navigate around / over. I’m pretty sure I broke my pinky toe by slamming it into a rock as I transitioned from pedalling to the ‘attack stance’ of pedals at 3 & 9 o’clock. My foot began to throb and sort of distracted me from the task at hand of finishing up BCBR on a strong note.
Receiving my Finisher’s Belt Buckle from my lovely ladies
Enjoying some post race watermelon (a staple around these parts) with Women’s solo winner Katrina Nash
Filling Scott from Rocky Mountain in on my day. Awesome support from the Rocky crew really made a difference in my race.
Sharing stories with Dwayne, a local Squamish dude who still rips super hard. It was really fun racing with him all week long. This is what MTB Racing is all about.
My second post race staple – potato chips!
One last bike wash. Another routine task of racing BCBR.
Pro Freerider Geoff Gulevich rocked the skinsuit for the final stage. ALN and I thought he looked pretty good in an XC racing kit.
I ended up loosing too much time on Day 7 as I was thoroughly punched so I slid down one spot. My final ranking was 12th overall in Solo Men covering ~322kms in a total time of 18:46:12. A super solid result that this working dad can be proud of. I learned a lot about my riding and myself and made some new friends along the way. This is such an awesome event that I encourage anyone who mountain bikes to serious consider entering.
Myla is happy to have her Dad back 🙂
Thank you to Tyler, Scott, & Ben @ Rocky Mountain Bikes for all the great support through the week. It really takes a mental load off by knowing your machine will be taken care of. A last minute cable change was stress free. My Element worked awesome all week. No mechanicals and my bike worked perfectly each stage.
Thanks to our team title sponsors, Kokanee and redbike, for helping me get to this great event with super support and encouragement. Brent had the forethought to reach out to Rocky, and it made a big difference in my race.
Danielle Baker, racer relations kingpin, keep on being awesome. You always answered my questions as if it was the only one you were asked each day. You made this experience really fun and memorable for me. Thank you.
Thank you also goes out to Andreas Hestler, one of the big cheeses at BC Bike Race, for inviting me to participate and share my experience to Pedal Mag’s readers. Dre still shreds as evident by his top 10 result, and it was super fun to ride hard with you each stage.
A happy family at the finish
And of course, a huge thank you to my family. To my inlaws who traveled to Vancouver & Whistler to help Liesje take care of our daughter.
To Liesje and Myla, you ladies where so supportive. You helped me do my selfish racer thing and celebrated my achievement together as a family. It was really special to me to see you as I finished to get my belt buckle. I love you ladies!
Well, that’s it. BCBR 2015 is in the books. What an awesome event, awesome experience, and awesome adventure.
Thanks for reading,
Squamish, the place near and dear to many MTBer’s hearts, was the setting for Day 6 of the BC Bike Race. A big day of climbing was in store, with over 1900 meters of climbing across the 53 km course.
Wake up call via a dying chicken call (Photo: BCBR)
It was one last day of sleeping in a tent for me and by this point of the event, many racers have departed for the luxury of a clean bed and flush toilet spoils that a hotel room provides. So my tent mate and I split up (amicably at least) and had a tent each for ourselves. It was so HOT in Squamish, well over 30 degrees, so I’m pretty sure I could have cooked a mean flatbread pizza in my tent. But luckily, once the sun went down, so did the temperature, and I enjoyed one of my best nights sleep soloing in my tent.
Pretty bikes all in a row
On this queen stage of BC Bike Race, legs really twinge and people who haven’t already, start to crack. I started out way better than yesterday, and my legs felt good again. I maintained my pace and didn’t go too hard at the start because Squamish is a long day in the saddle. Ridding ahead of a few of my competitors I’m trying to best, I ended in a good group (Andreas, Dwayne the local strong guy, and a couple of German riders from the Rocky team) and we clicked away the kilometres until the fun bermy trail called Half Nelson where I was dutifully dropped.
The second half of the race I spent riding on my own and with a few guys that were having really good days as they came up on me and passed even thought they’d had been racing behind me all week. I was feeling pretty good, so these guys were having really good days.
Another dusty day in the books
Riding solo for a while, I had a chance to really reflect on this experience and re-confirm how much I love to race my MTB. Pushing myself to my limit day after day is such an awesome experience. Sadly this journey is coming to an end but there is always a new adventure around
My family picked me up after the finish, and I gave the girls a tour of basecamp with all it’s amenities, shower trucks, water station, Bears Den, and the toilets…you know, all the necessities.
Liesje and Myla visiting my basecamp
The final day is set for Whistler. We have an awesome condo rented in Creekside, away from all the noise of the village, and with Air Conditioning! It is super hot in Whistler right now, so I feel like a king with my A/C.
Thanks for Reading,
Day five of the 2015 edition is the day that BC Bike Race comes to play in its own backyard of North Vancouver. Only 39kms in length, Day 5’s stage still packing in over 1,500 meters of climbing and covered both Mount Seymour and Fromme.
Living out of this bag all week
As basecamp was located in North Van, I skipped out on camping for the night, trusting the tent to my tent-mate, and joined my family in the rented condo just off of Lonsdale. The only thing that could have made the detour better would have been air conditioning! A nice shower, a comfy bed, and a clean bathroom was just what I needed after realizing I dug pretty deep on Day 4. With good intentions of hanging out with the fam and taking in some Canada Day celebrations, I needed a nap pretty bad, and I spent the better part of two hours perfecting my corpse pose on the bed. Wow, I can’t believe how much my daughter is changing by the day at this age. In just a few days she’s developed new interest in learning new motor and cognitive skills. Quite amazing I’d say!
I’m very thankful to have the support of Rocky Mountain Bikes here at the race. One of the mechanics Tyler was giving my bike a once over 45 mins before the stage and noticed my shifter cable had frayed. It most likely would have broken mid stage if he didn’t notice it and quickly fix it before the race went off.
Tyler fixing my bike shortly before the stage today
On with the race – it was a mentally tough one for me out there. I realize I”m not a slouch on the MTB, but I’ll admit I’m a little timid compared to my racing mates on some of these gnarly trails and I let that get the best of me today. I climb fast but descend slow in my group. Descending is more mental than it is physical and practice makes perfect. It’s pretty hard to practice a challenging 10 minute leg breaking arm pumping downhill when I live in Edmonton – but no excuses.
Earlier in the stage, it was really nerve racking. There was a lot of street and gravel bike path riding, with guys taking huge risks around blind corners. At any moment, a dog, a walker, or a car could be in our path and some guys seemed oblivious to this or just plain didn’t care.
Bus to myself and a few Brazilian guys
The scariest part of the whole day was riding down a steep set of stairs, as a pack, super slow! As you may know, stairs are fine to ride if you have momentum. Braking and going slow does not equal momentum. Then throw in a Brazilian guy who climbs really fast but who isn’t a good rider, walking his bike down the stairs while everyone is riding. There was no where to go! But thankfully I made it unscathed.
On the first gnarly downhill, all of the switchback turns were completely blown out with dust. It was like riding on sand. I completely screwed them up and crashed in a dirty heap. This was the straw that broke my mental camel’s back and I was done. My legs wouldn’t push up the hills very hard and my downhilling was not at the level I’d like to push myself to.
But I made it in, and honestly, felt better on the last downhill called Expresso and the legs came around for the final hard push into the finish. I’m excited to see what tomorrow brings in Squamish. The penultimate stage is 53 kms in length with over 1,900 meters of climbing. Another day, another stage.
Tent life. Moving in at Squamish
Thanks for reading,
Hump Day! The forth stage of BCBR, from Sechelt to Lansdale Ferry Terminal, is the middle stage of this week long adventure. Covering 50kms with 1500m of climbing, this new route took a few people by surprise as it took most, including me, longer to complete than expected. Yesterday was considered the ‘hardest’ stage of the race, but today’s could be considered just as tough. Although it was 10kms shorter, it featured more elevation gain.
This week has been powered by Nutella.
I’ve been snacking and eating a lot – comes with the territory when you’re burning over 2,200 calories per stage. Nutella has been a treat of choice. On the ferry early in the week a German guy asked me if I was European since I was eating Nutella!
Breakfasts and Suppers have been wonderful too. Check out this menu from Sechelt. The Quinoa and Kale bake was amazing.
Today’s stage went 90% to plan. I rode the climbs super strong and was ahead of most of the group of dudes that I was riding with for most of the week. At the 1hr mark, I even had the lead group in my sights, about 20 seconds up ahead, but I was wiser to stay on my own pace rather than push hard to join the leaders for a few moments of glorious suffering. My water conservation was just about right, as I just had to ratio my water to for about 20 minutes prior to Aid Station 2. The last push to the 20 minute decent to the finish line, 4 kms of fire road climbing sort of did me in. I just did not consume enough calories in the day, and my empty tank warning light was starting to blink. Instead of railing, hooting, and hollering my way down the fun trail, I hung on for dear life just to finish in one piece.
I ended up 16th overall and 10th in Solo Men on the day, creeping my way up to 11th in the GC (overall cumulative) results.
With over 200kms of hard mountain bike racing in the legs, you need to get your recovery in whenever you can. Here I took the opportunity to put my legs up on the ferry. I was able to catch the early earlier ferry, enabling me to hang out with my family for a few extra hours this afternoon / evening in North Van.
It takes a lot of power to recharge everyone’s connectivity to the internet
Tomorrow is going to be hard, again. The same amount of climbing as today, but in 10 fewer kilometres on the North Shore. I say bring it on, as it’s another chance for me to crawl my way up the standings.
Thanks for reading,
Powell River was great, but time to move on, as some would say, movin’ up movin’ on. With 620 racers, and a hundred more staff, the ferry from Powell River to Earl’s Cove is too small to fit everyone from the event! So a lucky few get to commute to the start by Harbour Air float plane. I was one such lucky sole.
In order to make this happen, I had to have all of gear ready to go before I departed for breakfast, so it was an early morning for sure. Hurry up and wait – hurry and pack your bag; wait to catch the bus to breakfast. Hurry up and eat breakfast, wait for the bus to the float plane. Hurry up to get to the float plane, wait to board…
But the experience was well worth the wait. Each float plane around was made in the ’50’s, and Harbour Air can rebuild every part if they have the brass plate. FInd a brass plate in the bush and they could build a float plane around it. The pre-flight safety video was played on an iPad and and the racer who got to sit in the front with the pilot was instructed, in the event he needed to take over, to “pull up and the trees will get smaller; push down and the trees will get larger”.
Raceing today started right from the ferry terminal and climbed up for 10kms again. 1597m of elevation was gained over the 59km course, and stacked up to be a test of self pacing as it was hot and most of the course was exposed to the sun with little wind.
I managed my effort quite well today and avoided dipping into the red zone, dropped a few Euros on the final descent and finished 17th overall and 10th in Solo men on the day. I eased off the gas when things got stupid steep and kept the throttle open when it was smart to do so. The toughest day is behind us.
I’m currently sitting in 12th place in GC – about 8 minutes outside of the top ten. With 4 stages to go I can keep chipping away a that deficit and see if my strong polish blood enables me to fade less than my competitors as the race goes on.
Tomorrow is hump day we race from Sechelt to the Langdale ferry terminal with a quick boat trip back to North Vancouver and a rendezvous with my family.
4 scoops of ice cream does a body good!
Thanks for reading,
Ah, Powell River, a little mountain biking oasis tucked up on the mainland but only accessible by ferry. What a beautiful place. BCBR 2015’s route has us camp here on the beach for two glorious nights, with an amazing day of singletrack shredding in between.
Day 2 of BCBR was 52 kms with 1094m of climbing. The Powell River stage is one of my favourites, most likely because it most closely resembles Edmonton trails. Someone described it as a a magic carpet ride – just hope on and ride. The trails here on course were more rooty than rocky, and not so steep where you constantly needed to keep your speed at bay but rather you could just open it up and flow through the corners and float over the roots.
Starting right from the beach, we climbed for about 10 k before hitting the singletrack. I settled into what I’ll call the 2nd group and had some fun riding the trails with a fairly evenly matched bunch of dudes.
I didn’t make the same mistake as last year by missing water at Aid Station 1, so I actually didn’t need to soft pedal at all today. It’s so cool to race in these places as it feels like the whole town comes out to cheer us on. My favourite today was the “Aloha Climb” with a tiki bar and all.
A way better day for me results wise, 8th on the day in Solo Men by finishing 17th overall. Two days into the 7 day race, and I think people will start to fade quicker than I with my strong famine resistant polish genes, so I hope to look ‘stronger’ each day. Cheers to that!
rebike hooked me up big time with Rocky Mountain bikes, as they are supporting me as one of their riders throughout the week. My bike is working great and the Rocky boys will keep it that way. They set up is pretty sweet too and free beer for all wins a lot of friends.
Things are just winding down here at base camp, and as I type, Lululemon, one of BCBR’s sponsors, is hosting free yoga for racers. I really looked forward to coming to Powell River, and both the trails and the atmosphere did not disappoint.
On tap tomorrow is the longest stage of the race, Earls Cove to Sechelt. But first up in the morning is a plane ride!
Thanks for reading,