Another day, another bike race! CR's Snowden Forest was the main stage today for a magical bike ride through endless kms of loamy single track. Known by some as the 'cursed forest', Snowden has many technical rocky/rooty sections that never seem to dry and always keep you on your toes. I love the challenge of riding these types of trails as you always have to be on alert and really get to play with your bike in order to keep in continuous forward motion.
Martin Ready of Island Mountain Rides put together an epic course that wound circles around the forest and managed to hit all the best trails along with tonnes of variety. Great course!
I met up with a shuttle this morning to get from the finish line at Willow Point Park to the race start at the nursery near Snowden. The only problem was that the shuttle didn't exactly leave on time and we arrived at the start line with about 15 minutes until go time. Not ideal but I had to get a warm up in before the crazy sprint start that seems to be the norm in these races. By the time I got back the first wave of riders had already left and I had to hustle to line up with my wave! I was placed in the fourth wave based on my time from day one. As I looked around I recognized many faces that I had passed the day before. Hmmm...maybe I should have started closer to the front...
But it turned out to be way less of a traffic jam today so it was super easy to sneak by riders and I actually got to race at my own pace which was awesome.
It was a crazy sprint downhill on a logging road and I just put my head down and held on for the ride! I am learning that there are a tonne of roadies in this race and they go hard on the roads! I learned some new hand signals today and got a bit more confident hanging onto the wheel in front of me...that takes some serious trust! They all go into crazy tucks that fold their spines and place their hands in the centre of the bars. Yeesh...it's a whole new world for me lol.
These are not the gang of riders I am used to ripping through the trails with. It is great to hear all of the different languages, meet visitors and see our Province through their eyes. But there is also a side to this experience that I didn't anticipate and that has actually shocked me. Let me start by saying that the majority of riders have been nothing but courteous and friendly. But I have also experienced a few negative encounters that I have never come across in any of my other racers over the years. These range from just not so friendly peeps who don't return a hello or a smile (but really I can't blame them as many are in full on survival mode in the wilds of BC) to flat out disrespectful and real life trash talking on the trail.
This morning I witnessed two guys in a full on fight that nearly came to fists while ripping along a logging road at 30kms/hour. It was something to do with 'cutting me off' and then 'insulting me'. Around here you don't really call people out like that in the trails...ever really. You just have fun and rip it up.
And yesterday while I was merging into a line up of guys walking their bikes into the entrance to Two Sheiks I was actually physically PUSHED out of the line. Yup. I looked up at the (grown) man expecting it to be a joke and to see him laughing. No smile there! Just a solid arm pushing me to the side. I was speechless.
Ok ok enough about the negative because it truly is one small piece of this super rad BCBR puzzle. But it really did shock me so I thought I should share my thoughts. Apparently I live in a fluffy happy Island bubble of 'yo bro's, hi fives, rainbows and single track. And I LOVE it:)
50 something kms
Cool in the shade hot in the sun.
Super sore calf from the crash cramp yesterday:(
No crashes yay!
My rear shock is leaking boo.
Moved up a spot in my category today.
Have just begun to appreciate the roots and gnarly sections. The more the better as that seems to be where I make up all of my time!
I'm already starting to get sore in places I've never been sore before.
Finished in 3:20ish
It was an awesome day. It has been so great to be a local over the past couple of days...I got to see so many friends and familiar faces and soaked up all of their positive cheering energy! I'm heading to Powell River tomorrow morning where I will join in the big caravan and leave the comforts of home and familiar territory. Let the next adventure begin!
I only took one pic today...of the bike wash. They have it all set up for you with racks, hoses, soap, brushes, towels and chain lube. It's awesome!
Gotta go eat some more...