If you've stumbled upon any of my riding or written work on this website over the past few seasons then it shouldn't come as a surprise to you that I love my life here in the loops. The city of Kamloops has played host to some of the most rampant and memorable moments of my life and as time rolls on, the situations only continue to escalate. I'm so tightly bound to this town and all its otherworldly wonder that I don't think I will ever get away, and at this point in time I have no intention to. People often question how a young man born on the east coast and raised in the great white north would have come to call Kamloops home, and that story seems as fitting a way as any to start my monthly column.
My dusty life in the loops essentially began as a vacation that I forgot to bring to an end. My first visit to the loops was when I was sixteen years old. I'd made friends with a local rider named Stevin Tuchiwsky over a parts sale and he offered me the chance to come visit. At the time, Steve held legendary status in my eye. He had what I now regard as a classic Kamloops style and the idea of riding with someone of his caliber made the 36 hour Greyhound ride from Whitehorse seem more than reasonable. I quickly packed my bags and hopped on the bus in search of a short adventure. Arriving in Kamloops I found so much more. Something about this place - the riders, the trails, the landscape and the ever ominous dust - grabbed a tight hold of me and wouldn't let me go. It wasn't long before I made the official move and the rest became history.
The riders were the first of the elements that pulled me in. In addition to Steve, I met a lot of talented riders right away. Graham Agassiz, Matt Brooks and Kurt Sorge were all living in town and never shy to take me for a ride. Riding with people like that seemed totally insane. On a daily basis I witnessed them perform acts of bicycle trickery I'd previously never imagined possible. And as if riding with rising stars like them wasn't enough to knock me off my feet, Freeride Entertainment began filming in town and I got to meet Andreu Lacondeguy and Cam Mccaul; really funny guys who are still two of my favorite riders. Seeing the way all these riders rode their bikes and the way they lived their lives made me want to be a part of this place more and more with each passing day.
Despite their heavy influence on my current lifestyle, the riders were only the tip of the iceberg. I also met a lot of influential photographers, talented individuals hiding behind their cameras who drew me in through their work. Allan Mcvicar was the first to invite me to collaborate in his efforts to expose the beauty of our riding and our landscape. I didn't have a car and he would drive me and my bike anywhere I wanted to go, as long as he could take my photo. Something about being involved in such artistic creations as Allan's photos sparked a creative mission for me that has lasted for years and will not soon burn out. A lot of my favorite images of myself have been captured by Allan and many of them are featured in this article. Most of them were shot when I first moved to Kamloops in 2007, so they all fit in here perfectly.
Affectionate memories of people aside, there was instantly something evident about the nature of Kamloops that made me feel at home here. At first glance I was certain this landscape of cheese wedge booters and high-speed trails would be the death of me. Learning to ride here and let the landscape shape my skill set was the scariest learning curve I've ever been through. But I wanted to be a part of these grassy green hillsides, tall red-dead trees and long dusty ribbons of trail. It wasn't long before massive gaps looked less like death traps and more like opportunities to fly sideways, before tall rolling hills seemed less like postcard pictures and more like places to play. Though they've claimed a few of my bones and a lot of my blood, I will always recall the Kamloops hills and trails as one of the biggest reasons to stay.
Now after living here for five years I have been realizing what continues to keep me here. Above everything else that I have mentioned, it's the simple fact that everything is coming together. I'm able to ride my bike almost every day and experience things that were just daydreams only a few short years ago. To this day nearly every ride feels like an accomplishment and every time I throw my bike over my tailgate and burn off into the sunset I feel content. Through riding and living here I've found the perfect ways to express myself and just be me, and that's something people spend their whole lives trying to achieve.
So in case you have ever wondered, that is the short and sweet story of how I ended up living in Kamloops. And for all of those reasons, I'll never be able to leave. I've spent a solid five years here in the dust, coughing it out of my lungs, rinsing it from my hair and wiping it from my smile. I never could have imagined that a bus ride from the Yukon in search of a week's worth of wandering would have turned into a lifetime of adventure, but I wouldn't have changed a thing along the way. I feel so fortunate to be here still, and I do everything I can to keep myself in this position. I'm really excited to have this column this year and share with everyone through words and photos, some deeper insight toward what makes things tick. I hope you are excited too, to follow along behind the scenes of my life in the loops.
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