A little over a year ago I decided this was the year to check the box beside BC Bike Race (BCBR). Since August scheduling my days revolved around planning a bike ride then filling in the rest, versus life before BCBR which weighed a little more equally on the honey-do-list. For me personally I cringed every time I was asked how my training was going. To me this race was not about training, but just a means to riding new trails and riding my bike (a lot). There was no planned training schedule, no diet, no strength training. I set some weekly goals, started with 100Km/week and worked up to 250Km/week and a mock “race” week of 300+Km but that was it. In the end I tallied up to roughly 3300Km of primarily singletrack.
After riding so much to get ready for the race I was feeling good to go, as always I felt like I could have rode more but if I wasn’t ready now, I was never going to be. What I learned the most from my pre-rides to the race was that I was doing almost pure singletrack rides with very little road, when the race came it involved a more road and doubletrack than expected. This meant a couple things, the good was 50Km felt like 30Km and there was much less saddle time than expected. The bad was there was a bit more road time than preferred which meant my “weaknesses” (road riding) were being played on more than my strengths. After figuring out how to strategize my rides to play to my strengths I started to forget about the road and only remember the great singletrack. I would stay in my own enjoyable pace on the climbs until the very last second and go for a sprint to get back ahead just in time to go down.
The base camp setup was incredible, something I think everyone should check out one day. Hundreds of tents side-by-side filling the outfield of a baseball diamond, school gymnasiums taking three full waves of hungry racers, and don’t forget mega line-ups for the shower trucks if you were not quick enough to get in early. BCBR also thought of all the other current day “necessities” and had a huge charging bank for everyone’s electronics and WIFI as well. Rocky Mountain had the most important setup around basecamp re-hydrating everyone with some tasty Red Racer!
BCBR made sure you were taken care of off course setting up a great basecamp and feeding ample amount of food as well as on course with a great support team on bikes and motos and a couple well stocked aid stations each day. With all the support required my body still took a small beating. Cardio wise I felt great all week, if anything I felt my energy levels improving through the week. I did however end up with some inflamed tendons in my one ankle and then the other a couple days later as the first was healing thanks to the great med team getting me taped up. My guts also had a more challenging week digesting a fairly irregular diet and schedule. Overall I was pretty happy with how I held up to my first multi-day stage race.
I was definitely in the minority in the race wearing baggy shorts and jerseys, a fanny pack, skate-styled clip shoes and riding a Rocky Mountain Altitude Rally edition with bigger travel, bigger tires, bigger everything. It was a game of leap frog from the roads to singletrack between myself and the spandy-andy’s. My thoughts are that spandex and cham’s are just for those who don’t ride enough.
By the finish line on day 7 in Whistler, I was more than happy with the whole week. I finished 20th in solo men (33rd overall) which was way better than I ever expected. My body survived, I was still smiling and I had an amazing experience with a very well run race that I would recommend for anyone to take part in. The field of participants expanded from heart-rate, power meter monitoring “hardcores” all the way to those who have a pack to fend for a whole family, stop for breaks and pictures and just enjoy the ride. It was a great experience and has me left thinking of what’s next.
Last but not least I have to send out a HUGE thanks to Skyride Cycle in Vernon, BC for their support from day 1 a year ago making sure my bike was always ready and running well. Silver Star Bike Park as well for helping me out as well and my boss for letting me take two weeks off at a busy time in our trail building schedule. And of course my wife for letting me ride my bike everyday for hours instead of doing chores around the house.