Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Back to BCBR

Q: How do you know if someone's doing the BC Bike Race? A: Just wait. They'll tell you.

It's hard not to bring up this thing that takes up so much of your time, money, and daily strategizing, so I can't dispute that punch line. But I've tried to keep it to a dull roar so as to be a little more respectful of my friends' and family's attention spans now that we're two years deep into project "Cross the Finish Line in Whistler."

Before I say anything else I want to say thank you to my coach Richard La China, my husband Gerhard, my mom and dad, Gerhard's mom and dad, my friends and riding buddies who hear about almost nothing but, and Dr. Tony Hagner who helped me over my last hurdle. Honestly, if you find yourself standing on the start line of BC Bike Race, with all the stars and luck having aligned to get you that far, pat yourself on the back. You've done a great job. The hardest part is over. The rest is just riding your bike.

BC Bike Race, here we come! 
I left SoCal on Monday, had a lovely dinner in Calgary with my friend Aoife who got me drunk on peach sangria and sirloin Alberta beef steak before putting me back on the plane. Next stop, Comox, to stay with Gerhard's parents for a few days and check out Cumberland, which is only a short ride away from their back yard.

One last shot of my long hair (read on!) ... and mounting the derailleur
Special shout out to the team at Thule who have made a bike bag that is an absolute joy to travel with. And extra thanks to WestJet who handled it with kid gloves apparently -- it emerged without a scratch, scuff, or even a spec of dust, and when it was time to build my bike, it was literally 15 minutes start to finish, thanks to a handy built-in work stand. The bike goes in vertically, rather than the traditional clam-shell style, with plenty of room for wheels on either side of the frame, neatly housed in their own special bags.

Step one ... remove all the foam! 
15 minutes later it's pretty much done!!
I will bring my bike everywhere now that I know it's that easy. Blaize at RIDE Cyclery did an awesome job checking that last tune and packing it up for me so all I had to do was unwrap some foam, throw on my pedals, reattach the derailleur, and re mount the handlebar (not even the stem!).

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 770 MSL - Just add wheels
I took a brief break to go get my hair cut because I figure I could knock off another couple of ounces by taming my unruly mane. I wouldn't normally mention my hair cut, but it was done by this fellow Jason, at Roots in Courtenay, who is amazing. He is a professional yo-yo-er, flies kites (in preparation for kite surfing lessons this year), dance instructor, dad, park rollerblader, mountain biker (hardtail ... in Cumberland ...) and some other stuff I can't remember now (there was so much!). But he pretty much 100% embodied the "NFG" attitude that makes people amazing, authentic humans.
Quick bathroom selfie
before I ruin my new haircut
After that experience, my mother-in-law Christine and I headed to Broken Spoke -- a coffee shop and bike shop in one! -- where we sipped lattes and slayed the crossword puzzle. Pretty sweet.

Then it was time to ride. I'd been putting it off to be honest. I was nervous because for the last month, I've been dealing with a SURPRISE injury to my left leg that has apparently been lurking for quite some time but reached full painful potential a month before the race. Because of course. Unable to pedal my bike for most of the last few weeks, I have been a little dark-of-spirit.

Fast forward through plenty of stretching, icing, warming, arnica-ing, painful therapy, whining, and finally, a gentle return to the bike, and you can imagine my trepidation, I'm sure. I'm very happy to report that Dr. Hagner is in fact some kind of wizard, and has seemingly brought my leg back to life. My ride was awesome.

The famous Syke's Bridge
Stopped at two more bike shops for the fun of it (Trail Bicycles in Courtenay ... one of my favorite shops in the world, and Dodge City Cycles in Cumberland, which is pretty much exactly as good and just as friendly). Then hit the trails. My ride was basically a preview of the second loop's downhill single track, but instead of preriding the fireroad, Chris at DCC helped me pick a more fun way up that included "Cimax" -- a new "up" trail that is meant to help keep people from climbing Thirsty Beaver (a "down" trail ... don't do that). It was the rowdiest climb ever and I loved it.

My most prized possession at the top of Climax
Once I'd maxed out Climax, I was on the course for BCBR so I followed that to Upper Thirsty Beaver, over to Blue Collar, then Railroad, Crafty Butcher, Double Pumper, 50:1--where I met my new friend Sean--and then we closed by exploring the new Josh's (very new ... very raw ... very awesome) and then out the rest of Josh's. So. Rad. Leg did great, bike did great, and I was grinning like an idiot as I rode past Riding Fool hostel on my way back to Courtenay. (Ohhh, now I get it.)

Gerhard's mom and dad took me out for dinner to this lovely little place called Kingfisher and I had an awesome meal of Ling Cod, Pork Belly, and some delicious veggies and then it was home to bed. A terrific first day!


The view from the Kingfisher: Powell River in the distance!