Saturday, August 1, 2015

BCBR Recap Episode 8: Day Six, Squamish + Mr. G's Wild Ride!

After a little delay I'm happy to be back to project "write all of BCBR down" with a recap from Stage Six in Squamish. As is the case with this event, every day was my new favorite day. Could not be more true in Squamish. One day, I want to live in Squamish and ride my face off until the end of my days.

The heat was of course still with us, and thankfully, we started out at a nice morning hour so it stayed manageable for the first couple of hours. We lined up at the community center for the penultimate race of this adventure, and it felt like the nerves were all time for me. I wanted to finish safely, but I wasn't quite ready to be "almost done." I also felt the other ladies nipping at my heels a little bit -- the competition was top notch and no one was giving up anything. Hence, I wanted to have a solid race on our last real shot at GC gains (and at the very least, prevent any losses). 

I have raced in Squamish before, years ago, for the Test of Metal so I had some idea of what was waiting for us out there. I also remembered how awesome it was to climb through town and have so many locals out cheering us on! Even ran into Sarah, who I used to work with back in the Premier's Office!  

Squamish is also awesome because the trails don't wait for you to get out of town limits -- they are right there, in between houses and neighbourhoods. So we moved from road to single track and back again before finally settling into a day in the woods. 

The first descent of consequence was SO fun. Rock drops, big bermy switchbacks, roots, skinnies ... everything you could ever want, challenging enough to scare you, but still just inside the limits of my capabilities, which means you get that awesome pay off: big sense of accomplishment, translating to a confidence boost. Got kind of drunk with it. 

My usual suspects were buzzing around but I maintained my usual strategy of consistent and steady, with no mercy on the climbs. I knew I was holding fifth and hadn't seen the other ladies much after the first technical section. For this big day I added another couple turns of the screw so that I was often riding a little above what I knew I could push, relying on opportunities for recovery to help me balance it out.

Stand out sections were Half Nelson -- which they should have some kind of warning about. I'm picturing a sign that says "Maximum Fun Ahead" or something -- just so you're not taken by surprise at video game turns, berms, drops and tables. Rollercoaster smoothness, with tons of Gs and I was quickly losing my MIND. I could barely concentrate because I was frothing so hard. More locals were up there cheering us on and trying to impress some kids I accidentally nose-wheelied a landing off a table which was exciting for all involved. So happy to ride it out and hopefully they thought I did it on purpose! 

Half Nelson kept bringing the thrills right into the day's feature trail, Pseudotsuga. Which was basically MORE thrills like Half Nelson's buff single track but with more big berms and a little bit of chunder thrown in.
Squamish was also the biggest day for climbing so adding in its nearly 1,500m was making my efforts costly. I realized I'd overdone it shortly into Powerhouse Plunge and its follow-up single track through the highlands. All of a sudden I felt like my gas pedal had gone dead. Whoops. 

It seemed to be something I could mitigate with just a little more mental focus so I tried to stay centred and remind myself what I was doing constantly. Therefore, the final few km of the stage were some of my hardest. I was thrilled when we popped out back on the pavement, a sure sign the finish was coming quick. Thrilled at least until a pack of 5 in my category mobbed me, and hit the gas through town. I was thusly motivated. The last stretch ended up being an exciting battle through town and connector rec trails as I worked to haul back all but three of the ladies that jumped me. It didn't matter that much, my fifth place in the GC was well-protected. But every day is a race, and I wanted to post a good result as the week wound down. I had to settle for 8th.

With my race over, it was time to recover for the final day in Whistler. But on Day 6, I also got to play support crew! Gerhard joined the industry and sponsor guests of the race to get a taste of Squamish riding and the BCBR experience. His wave left after all of the racer waves, and he'd been out riding all of the same terrain -- all 55km of it. Rocky Mountain had a sweet Altitude 799 MSL Rally for him to use, Lululemon kitted him out, he borrowed a few things from my stash, and he was off to the races. Literally.

Gerhard has a nappetizer before sushi
I'd love to read his race report on his day but I'll share what he told me at least. Sounded like he started out pretty great with a solid 20km, but then his newness to mtb-ing and sudden dive in caught up with him after the first aid station. He was doing a good job with his eating and hydrating, but on a hot day with a surprise effort like that on your body it was hard for G to keep up with the caloric deficit. Still, he had the same breathless descriptions of the best bits like all of us, so I knew he had a fun time. In the end, he crossed the finish line at 6:29:37, salty and shattered. I have never seen him like that. But under all the sunscreen and dust, there was that telltale single track smile.

Ladies and gentlemen, Gerhard is now a mountain biker. I was so proud of him for taking on that challenge and for sticking it out right to the end. Just wish we could have ridden it together!!! We will be back.

Both of us were only too happy to have the AC in the RV and we finished the day with a massive protein intake at Satchi Sushi in Whistler village with mom, dad, and family friends Dennis and Dianna. An awesome day. And just one more to go!

Rocky Mountain Altitude chilling at the RV 

Race morning 

Getting ready for our lead out
Getting focused in Wave 2

Another one from the paparazzi 

the front of the race gets ready to roll including our women's winner, Katerina Nash

Gerhard finishing an awesome day in the saddle!! 

The face of a champion!! yay G! 

G's borrowed shred sled

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