I am a mountain biker
I eat pain for breakfast
my grip is onto death and gravity is my bitch.
throughout the daily grind as the clock grunts and sputters
in its creeping lethargy my mind races ahead to the trail
that’s where the roots and rocks wait
to rattle and shake my bones back to life
to stir my blood and lungs
I am a mountain biker
cables and sinew merge
with blood and aluminium
my pounding heart is the relentless groove
that spills across this blur of greenery
My wheels – on the trail
A foot on each pedal
and mind – in the middle
surfing through centrifugal force
turning the wheel that turns the tide
I am a mountain biker
and I eat pain for breakfast
He is a mountain biker?
Behold his bulging physique
the rippling muscles of a panther
propel his silhouette across the horizon
through the mossy trees
over the stumps and jagged rocks
careening past streams,
cliffs and beasts and shadows
Spandex! Sweat! Flesh and metal collide
in a joyful symphony of speed!
The gravel flies beneath his wheels
Bones chatter, muscles burn
mud splatters, wheels turn
He is a mountain biker
She is a mountain biker
Her eyes shine with an earthly fire
eyes bright with electrolytes
the horizon crashes beneath her shocks
perched like a falcon
she swoops and dives through splendor
We are mountain bikers
We dream to ride
We ride to dream
We know that a triumphant smiling face
is best anointed with blood, sweat, mud
and washed down with a nice cold beer
We know that every revolution
begins with a firmly planted foot
We know that without the pain
the ride would be meaningless
the sky less blue and the air less sweet
You are a mountain biker, you know who you are
You’ve come this far, give yourselves a mighty roar
Let them see you howl and soar!
Today I did my last training ride under some stunning blue skies. I opted for a road ride and thoroughly enjoyed it. In a few short days the race is going to start, and I am going to be nervous, but filled with anticipation of the hard work for the week. I am a mountain biker, and I am totally looking forward to this race!
9 more sleeps until the race starts. 2 more training rides this weekend, and 1 more core workout. Getting down to the wire, and my excitment is starting to grow. It is a tightness in my chest, and a ball in my stomach. I’m sure they will both get worse as the time to leave approaches.
Want to know what else is growing? My paranoia about hurting myself or getting sick. Everything around me these days is something that can potentially take me out of the race. Crossing streets I am very careful about watching cars. No unnecessary risks are being taken anywhere or any time.
9 more sleeps until the race starts, but only 6 more sleeps until I leave.
We’re getting down to the nitty gritty now. My coaching has everything laid out until BC Bike Race.
Tapering has started so this week is pretty light as is next weekend. Then the big show starts. It’s been a long road to get here and I am really anxious, but looking forward to starting the race.
There is still some work to be done though. I need to buy a better sleeping bag, and I think I found one today. After that I start the process of packing for a week of camping and riding. Lots of little things are needed there to ensure that the race goes well. It’s all about the small details now.
Well, I think I did it now.
In a 4 hour ride I cracked out over 58 km and 1,550 m vertical, then rode again the following day, and still felt awesome.
Day 1 Cumberland – 45 km 1,153 m
Day 2 Powell River – 52 km 1,080 m
Day 3 Earls Cove to Sechelt – 57 km 1,710 m
Day 4 Sechelt to Langdale – 48 km 1,403 m
Day 5 North Vancouver – 18 km 872 m
Day 6 Squamish – 52 km 1,680 m
Day 7 Whistler – 33 km 1,569 m
During my training I’ve always wondered if I am going to be able to handle the distance and the vert in any reasonable amount of time. I definitely can, at least for one day. Really stoked on starting this race now!
18 days until the race officially begins
23 days to go and people keep asking me how my training is going. Pretty well I supposed, but I’ve never done such a big event so I don’t know if it is enough. I’ll know for sure in a month.
One thing I do know is that I’ve been putting in some long hours in the saddle, and immediately after I am still feeling pretty good and not a total lump on the couch.
This was the last weekend in May’s riding:
For me to ride 130 KM in one day is pretty good, but then to follow it up with another 75 is pretty awesome.
The weekend after was the tail end of a recovery week.
Pretty decent ‘light weekend’.
This past weekend I needed to hit 5 hours on the bike and after a bit of hand wringing and waiting, I got my MTB back from the shop and hit the trails. I explored the Thetis Lake trail system on my way out to the Dump. I got lost, turned around, and generally confused many times, but it was pretty fun to try new trails.
I followed this up with an easy hour ride.
I have also not included all the evening rides I’ve been doing. It is a lot of work to prep for this race, but I have been enjoying it. Knowing that I can ride 56km on my MTB, get home, get cleaned up then head out for dinner is pretty awesome.
I will soon have 7 full days of this. In some ways it is still a little abstract that I am doing the race. The anticipation and nerves are building though.
Yesterday was a big day in my mind. 30 days until the race starts. Well, 30 days until day zero anyway (check in). I’m getting a nervous sort of energy. I’m excited for the race, but also nervous, incredulous, and a bit apprehensive. Have a I done enough prep? Do I have everything I need? Will I finish? When is my Transition going to be back in one piece?
I’ll know the answers to all these in a little over a month.
Saturday I got out on my MTB for an endurance ride. The goal was 4 hours, and I got pretty close. I rode out to the dump and took Executive into the trail system. That took less time that I expected, so I had quite a bit of time to explore the trails at the dump.
Too much choice is sometimes a bad thing, so I was stopping too often to figure out my next trail. I eventually decided on Bubble Wrap as my destination, and only got turned around once while getting there 🙂
It was an absolutely stunning day, and I had a great time on Bubble Wrap, a fairly technical trail. Once I was done that though, I then had to figure out how to spend another 1.5 hours before I could start heading home.
I meandered through the park, getting back to the Switchback and ascending it a second time for the day. That trail is always tricky, so on tired legs I wasn’t expecting much, which may be why I was so surprised that I cleaned it for only the second or third time in my life.
After exhausting myself on the trails I zipped over to the parking lot to refill my Camelbak, then started heading home. I took the longer way home, stopping by the bike shop to book my machine in for servicing before the race.
I was chatting with one fo the employees about how I wasn’t too happy with how the rear shock was performing. He fiddled with it a bit and declared that it had likely blown. There was no rebound damping and the compression damping adjuster didn’t seem to be doing much either.
I was hoping to spend more time on my MTB before the race, but for the foreseeable future I will be on my road bike until my Transition is up and running again. Glad it was caught now before it was too late to do anything about it.
Last Saturday was a bit of a troublesome day. My training plan had me doing an hour run which I did with the kids at Elk Lake. The run was fine until the last few minutes. My knee started to ache a bit, and I pushed through, which at the time seemed like it might be a bad idea. Me being a noobie runner I didn’t listen and kept going.
In ththe afternoon I decided to replace the wood on the sandbox. I dug out the old wood, cut the new pieces, and started hammering some nails in to keep them in place. Then disaster. I know from riding to always look where you want to go. While I was using the hammer I was getting a little close to my left pointer finger. As the hammer was coming down I glanced at my finger thinking I wanted to not hit it. Sure enough I whacked it really hard. Instant pain, blood, and bruising.
That night I was a bit of a mess. My knee was aching and my finger was throbbing and numb. I started feeling a bit angry . All this work put into training for the BC Bike Race and the last thing I wanted was to be taken out by a training injury or a finger issue.
By tu stay my knee was still sore, so I tried getting in to see my physiotherapist. The online booking showed nothing until June 1 and I got a little worried. An hour later I tried calling, and it turned out there was a fresh opening the next day!
The knee issue turned out to be an IT band issue. Stretching, foam roller work, and taking it a little easier to let it heal are my priorities right now.
The finger was very sore for the first few days. The Sunday following the hammer incident I had a short ride and I could barely have my left hand on the bars because all the vibrations were hurting to badly. By now the feeling has mostly returned to the finger, though it is till a bit tender.
Overall I consider myself lucky. This could have been much worse, and it certainly reminded me to take it easy. Less than two months to go until the race!
Training for BC Bike Race is going well. There is also a lot of planning happening in the house to figure out where I am going to be and when, plus what ferries Sue and the kids will need to take to follow the travelling circus.
This week is a rest and recovery week. It struck me when I read what the week entails, that I’ve come a long way. My recovery week
- 15 minute core workout on Tues
- 1.5 hour easy ride on Weds
- 45 min run on Thurs
- 1.5 hour ride on Sat
- MEC 100KM ride on Sunday
This is a light week for me, but is still way more excercise than I would have done in a couple weeks time last year!
This year is going to be a big year for me. The BC Bike Race is the biggest check mark on the bucket list, but a close second is getting a tattoo. Since my early 20s I’ve been thinking about getting something, but what to get changed considerably. In February a friend and I actually went into a shop, talked to an artist and booked an appointment.
During the consult I had an idea of what I wanted, and the artist liked the idea. When I arrived for the appointment, he presented a different take on what I had suggested, and I instantly loved it. Above is the end result and I couldn’t be more happy with it.
Why the bike cassette? Cycling, specifically mountain biking, has changed my life. In high school I was not interested in sports and was over weight. In university I got into mountain biking and over the years started to get pretty good at it. It was the first sport I was involved in where I was pretty good. Soon mountain biking became part of my identity. I identified as a mountain biker, many of my friends were mountain bikers, and the rest of my friends and co-workers knew me as a mountain biker.
In recent years I’ve started doing more road biking, and have enjoyed that immensely as well.
This tattoo represents the sport that I love, the sport that has changed my life, and the sport that I hope to continue for a many more years.