BCBR Awe

Today marks the start of BCBR 2018. In a few minutes I’m going to head up to Duncan to watch the first stage, and I am full of nervous excitement and anticipation. It’s been building all week.

This has had me reflecting on last years race quite a bit. Tackling that long held dream and excelling at it, exceeding my expectations, was a truly amazing event. I learned that I am capable of more than I give myself credit. To have my family share in that really added to how special that race was.

I think about the race often. I think back to the stages, the transportation, the awe that I was actually there, the camping life, the amazing and plentiful food, the trails, and the people. I have reminders of the race in my office and I see them every day. I have a BCBR sticker on my bike that I see every time I’m on my MTB. BCBR alumni instantly have a connection and something to talk about. Before I had done the race I had read that it was a life changing event and that regular riding isn’t the same after the race. I agree with this 100%. Riding was ‘different’ afterward, but I can’t really put a finger on what.

And now it starts again. I’m looking forward to seeing the start of the race from the spectator perspective. I plan to cheer racers on at the start, then grab my bike and find a spot on the trail to watch and cheer some more. I wish them all the best of luck, and a safe journey.

Inside I’m wishing I was on the start line with them. Some day I’ll race it again.

Tzouhalem Stages

On Sunday I was up in Duncan and rode in the first ever Tzouhalem enduro. One thing I learned is that I am terrible with trail names. I’ve ridden at Tzouhalem a number of times before but really only knew a couple trail names. The Island Cup Series team posted the Trail Forks listing of the stages but I couldn’t tell if I had been on the trails before or not.

The event itself was a lot of fun. It turned out I had ridden pretty much all of the trails before, but I still felt like I was racing some of the stages ‘blind’. Some of the trails I had only been on once before so didn’t really know what was around each corner. Other trails I was familiar enough with but didn’t know where the end of the stage was.

Overall I was pretty happy with how the race went. No crashes, one close call with the front starting to wash out. I knew I was pushing on some corners. I think I could have pushed harder through some of the earlier stages, but I was having some wrist issues during the week and wanted to last all five stages.

According to Strava I set quite a few PRs on the trails. I really felt like I was flying down Double D, which is always a fun trail to blast down. Add in a closed course and it is easy to say that Double D was my favourite stage. I think I also did great with the chip sensors this race. I actually got a comment from the volunteers at the end of stage 2 on how well I was able to tap and get the beep.

After the last stage it was back to the parking lot for some recovery food and drink.

Results were posted later and I placed 29/61 in Intermediate Male. Tzouhalem Race Placement

This has left me in 18/72 for the series. Series Placement (4 races)

One of the things I really liked about this race was that the intermediates raced the exact same course as the experts. I’ve always been curious about how well I stack up against the experts but have never been able to really compare times. Well, my total time was 14:58.0. The last placed expert had a time of 14:41 😂 I would have been DFL in expert. Maybe I am in the corret category after all.

Chafe Adventure

Last weekend Sue and I headed down to Sandpoint to ride in the Chafe 150 Gran Fondo. It was quite an adventure. The drive down was long, and except for the border crossing, uneventful. Sandpoint is a neat little town with lots of great amenities close to where we stayed.

Here are some pics from the drive down.

The day after we arrived, we had a rest day before the ride. We went out for a great breakfast, did a little shopping around looking around in town, and generally relaxed. We also went for a short spin to keep the legs fresh and took in the pre-ride festivites of appies and drinks by the lake.

Early to bed and early to rise. Ride time!

The weather was looking a little iffy. In fact, in the start area it started raining a bit. I had brought them with us to Sandpoint, but hadn’t installed them on either of our bikes. Thankfully that stopped before we headed out.

The first section of the ride was an amazing backcountry road through some gorgeous farms. We got to the ‘big’ climb and I zipped up it with ease. At the top I waited for Sue and we both took off a layer. Soon we turned on the the highway portion of the ride. Overall the ride wasn’t difficult. The riding was gorgeous, but right next to the highway for 90% of the distance. The aid stations were well stocked and the volunteers were awesome.

Nearing the end of the ride I was wondering where we were. I hadn’t seen any signage in quite a while and didn’t really know where we were. After a couple more turns I suddenly recognized the location and how close we were. Woohoo! 130KM in the bag.

Beer, festivities, and Mexican food greeted us at the finish. Unfortunately the wind also kicked up so Sue and I didn’t stick around too long.

A shower, a hot tub, a little rest, then we headed out to find some dinner (yes a second dinner).

Our final day in the area saw us head down to Coeur d’Alene to do some shopping and sightseeing. Another nice little place once we got off the main highway.

Drinks and dinner in Sandpoint that night, then all too soon we had to pack up for the trip home.

Gnarnaimo Blind

A couple weekends ago I rode in the Gnarnaimo Enduro. It was part of an all mountain championship where racers did the enduro on a Saturday, then an XC race the following day using the exact same equipment. Logistics only really allowed me to do the enduro race, so I signed up for that. All the other enduro races I’ve done this year I’ve had the opportunity to preride the course. This was not the case with this race though; I rode it completely blind, never having ridden in the area.

The race went pretty well. The trails were very dry and loose. During the pre-race briefing we were warned about how loose they were. The first stage was a blast. Long downhill, very flowy, good jumps. I wish I could get a second run down those trails they were so fun. I skipped a couple jumps not knowing what was behind them.

I headed up for stage 2 and got set. Dropping in was pretty steep and I started in on the switchbacks pretty quickly. They were pretty loose. Coming up to one right hander I could see the trail dropped away pretty steeply. That was when disaster struck. My front tire washed out, the bike dropped away and I was launched down the trail. It felt like I flew quite a distance and all I could see were all the rocks in the dust. Amazingly I managed to land on my hands and slide, absorbing the worst of the impact. I had to run back up the hill to retrieve my bike. A quick lookover to ensure there was no damage, a quick check up the hill for the next rider, then I was off again. A couple turns down the trail I went to slow down and the lever for my rear brake went to the bar. I almost panicked thinking I was in big trouble. A couple pumps though and the brake came back. At the end of the stage I tapped the receiver and took a seat to recover a bit.

I headed up for stage three. I could feel some scrapes and some possible bruises forming. I was covered in dust too.

Stage three felt like it was a long way up the hill. I was starting to feel tire so I walked more and rode slowly. At the top I took my time recovering and drinking some water. I got myself settled, went to the start tent and got set. I headed off for my final stage. I sure got beat up on this one. It was really long and very bumpy. Lots of roots, dips, and a few drops. I had no idea where the finish was so I had to keep pushing. My arms were getting fatigued though and I couldn’t hold on to the bars very well. I had to either slow down, or death grip the bars (death grip being all fingers on the bar and none on brakes). I tried a little of each until I couldn’t take it any longer. I grabbed the brakes and slowed down. Crossing the line I was grateful I had completed the race.

Gnarnaimo Enduro

I’m happy to say that I placed 27th out of 46 racers. Pretty decent. This also leaves me in 16th overall having done 3 of the 4 races so far.

I am still not sure how many races I am going to be able to do this year, but these three have been a blast.