Last year on a particularly mindful evening, I sat down and wrote down a bucket list of dreams to conquer. There are some crazy things on there, some not bike related, but there were also a lot of adventures TODO. Almost everything on the bucket list is adventure oriented, so I zeroed in a few for 2012, one of which was the BC Bike Race.
I had heard lots of great things about the BC Bike Race. Things like, “bring a lot of travel, a dropper seatpost is essential, lots of singletrack, some of the most technical racing in the world, best stage race in north America, go really hard on the road at the starts so you don’t get bottlenecked going into the singletrack; there are a lot of racers.” I felt prepared to race. I had my 2011 Canyon Lux MR FS bike ready to go. I was a little wary of the fact that I didn’t have a dropper seatpost, but I had gotten by without one for so long I figured it wouldn’t matter. The technical? Everyone warned me last year before the Transylvania Epic, saying it was super rocky and technical. In the end, the tech didn’t bother me, so I figured BC would be the same.
Boy, was I dead wrong.
First, I had a nasty shock to the system about 10 hours before my flight. I discovered there was something terminally wrong with my 2011 FS bike. My 2012 bikes had showed up that day, but each of them had a custom and essential piece missing. What did that mean? It meant I’d be riding my 26” Hardtail for the 7 day stage race. As reality sunk in, I become very angry and I dreaded going to the race and the beating my body would take. I’d be at SUCH a disadvantage! I had sworn off stage racing on a 26” hardtail after the Yak Attack, especially one of the most technical ones on the planet. I was frustrated. I wanted to throw a hissy fit. I wanted to punch a hole in the wall. Instead I went outside and threw a tire across the parking lot as hard as I possibly could. Maybe I could have had a career in softball with enough anger.
I tried to shake it off and remember my winter theme; my theme when I trained through some of the coldest, snowy weather at 8000-12000’ in January/February. A theme I used when I went snowshoeing with my bike on my back. Honey Badger. Don’t give a shit. Just ride. The next morning, I got on a plane to Vancouver, Canada. I had never been there.
I had a couple days in Vancouver to give the airline a chance to lose my bike and find it again. I flew withAlaska Airlines and was very impressed with their flawless service. I didn’t even suffer through the obligatory 20 minutes of freaking out waiting at the oversized baggage claim. When I got off the plane, my red Evoc case was already there waiting for me in all its glory.
Through a mutual friend, I made some new friends in Vancouver – The Sportsmans. I was so thankful to know someone and to have a little help since I didn’t have a car! Emily took me for a ride at Fromme mountain where I was completely rattled with the technical trails. “What the hell am I getting myself into?!” For the first time in history, I asked to go back to the car and was really embarrassed. Emily toned it down on me and took me on some of the “easier” trails. It was one of the many huge blows to the ego I would take over the course of the next week, but being humbled is good. She assured me the BC Bike Race wouldn’t be that technical, but I was still freaked out and my preconceived confidence of being a good technical rider over the years went straight out the window. She was a really great person to be around – a fun ball of happy energy. Scott was generous with his time and took me to registration. He and Emily had done the race before and I got some beta from them. I was really excited and anxious when I got my race number. I was also really excited to see what new people I’d meet at the race!
Day Zero was an epic travel day. We had a long bus ride, my first ferry ride, another bus ride, and finally arrived at base camp.
Foreshadow of things to come…lots of bus rides!
I made some friends on the bus- a couple guys from Vegas. I was really amused with the smart ass comments coming from the seats behind me and I couldn’t help but turn around and join in the fun – 2 guys from Vegas named Marshall and Ryan. We got to Cumberland and unloaded into our tent city for the night. I unzipped the tent and took it in. That’s where I’d be sleeping the next 7 nights, rain or shine.
Yeah, yeah… I make dumb jokes and sound effect, and laugh at myself all the time. Better than not laughing I guess.
Carrying the racer bag around was also part of the workout each day. SO heavy!
I do love camping, but I was very thankful that I brought ear plugs with the close proximity of everyone and all the different sleep schedules people were on. My pillow wouldn’t fit in my BC Bike Race bag, so my pillow consisted of a pillowcase with clothes shoved in! It was surreal to think that the next morning was Stage 1. I sat on a grassy hill with my friends from BIKE and Bicycling and had a sip of scotch(I maybe have 4 sips of scotch per year, haha). I thought that’d be a good way to start the week. Anchorman would have been proud.