Lush Shore climbs are good for the heart, good for the soul.
"Be fit and ready for battle.
I read those words while travelling in Norway. They’re part of the Viking code. Further instruction include dying an honourable death in order to live in Valhalla for eternity. Although the latter may be a tad overzealous for my current lifestyle, the former could be paid heed. Not that I’ve ever stormed any ramparts, or pillaged any villages (well, there was that one time in Niseko), I have returned from many rides exhausted, often bruised & bloodied as though bested in battle. Any biker worth their salt, at some point, has bitten off more than we could chew. At times, our conditioning has failed us. Rather, we have failed our conditioning. In the worst case, leaving us crumpled up trailside like a spent kerchief. For anyone who’s ever run the tank empty, you’ve received the wake up call to get your sorry ass in shape. The best way to do that? “To become a stronger rider, ride more.” Andrew Shandro, Canada’s two time DH World Cup winner, offers up some of the simplest, yet possibly best advice. Ride hard - ride often. The code of the Rider wouldn’t look much different than that of the Viking: stay fit, stay strong, be battle ready. Minus the part about dying an honourable death I'd hope.
You want interval training? Outsider Stephen Mathews laps the Warden on Fromme.
The strongest riders are on the trails at every opportunity. They know the secret. Sure the kettle bell, lunges, squats and burpies (do people still do those?) are going to build your strength and temper your heart rate, but isn’t the best way to excel at something to do that something at maximum, every chance you get? “Your body doesn’t work that way
,” Carl Moriarty, Arc'teryx Product Manager, obsessive adventurer and part time superhero, understands the science of metabolism. He explains slow burn training and interval pyramiding but it all sounds like ouija board black magic to my Cro-Magnon mind. His voice fades into the background as I drift into visions of mashing through boulders, shouldering trees aside, oiled calves flexing under the strain, heaving spandex…
Outdoor spin class. "I play sports, I'm not trying to be the best at exercise.
" - Kenny Powers
"Did you get all that? 4 days on, two days off, spin class twice a week, a run every Tuesday and Friday starting at 6 am..." This wasn't sounding fun at all. I'm not a racer or think I could ever become a good one, I like riding too much and "training" too little. I couldn't bear to bring myself to spin class again, especially when the weather's perfect for real riding. I tried it once. Besides being constantly yelled at for an entire hour by an overly enthusiastic gym rat who I wanted to throat punch, it was like a bukkake sweat orgy with a bunch of strangers. It was meager imitation, minus all the fun. Hardly the real thing, or nearly as inspiring. CrossFit however, seems to be all the rage these days. There's CrossFit socks, CrossFit shorts, CrossFit headbands...
Frankly, people are getting damned good at it. They can do more burpies than me. There's even CrossFit competitions. Way more burpies than me. But what was the original goal of CrossFit? To get good at CrossFit? Ask Bo. Bo knows.
All judgement aside, if you want to be good at gluten free stand up paddle board yoga then put that loaf of bread down, get your downward dog on, and start paddling! Do you want to be a Tough Mudder or a Tough Mutherf**ker? Fabrication is simply imitation. Be authentic.
CrossFit is not a sport. A healthy diet of roots gives you all the calories plus a bowl full of inspiration.
“My ride starts the moment I leave my front door.” Dean Payne, BCBR
Founder, knows big rides keep you fit. The BC Bike Race courses are best described as singletrack epics, 50km routes on dirt for a week straight. This year the race returns to the Shore (its rightful home), with a route that will offer a taste of new style flow trails and a hint of that old Shore feel. Be prepared, North Shore kms are much akin to a Jamaican minute. Top finishers will favour the fit and the technically savvy. To endure will require big training rides and those rides need to incorporate lots of climbing. Lots. For those that fear the climb or give up mid stroke and push their bike, it may be more than just the physical challenge or lack of conditioning. Part of the climbing game is the mental fortitude it takes to make it to the top and push through the pain. Everyone suffers, even the fit. How many of us have been cursed out by our riding partner? “You never told me it was this steep/long/technical/difficult!” Seriously, I’m struggling too bud, but I’m telling myself I’m going to make it. Believe you will make it, and that may be the difference. Don't quit, don't be a softie. PMA.
"Why don't you try a mugaccino of harden the f*ck up?
" - Chopper Read
Provided you’re not riding a bike park, our sport requires no more than the purchase of a bike as the entry fee.* The climb to the top may be our only price of admission. Besides, you appreciate more that which you’ve worked for. Some of the best rides are earned. *on that note, support your local trail association and give back to the trails you ride
The angle of the dangle. When it's steep enough for your testicles to be resting on your stem, it's a Shore training ride.
A little dab'll do ya when things get tech'd out. "Hearin' the coach scream ain't my lifetime dream
," - the Notorious B.I.G
The best way to become a stronger climber is to climb. Back in the day, we never considered a shuttle to the top. Climbing was an integral part of every ride. Not by any means was our machismo getting in the way, it simply wasn’t part of our vocabulary. It probably had something to do with mitigating our losses. Truth was, we had bikes that could barely survive those descents back then. One inch head tubes, 72 degree head angles, canti brakes, pinner tires and narrow bars. Suspension was non-existent. We were destined for catastrophic failure. Those early bikes were never meant for our ill intentions, especially here on the Shore. Something would inevitably get destroyed on the way down, sometimes our bike, sometimes our body, in a worse case scenario, both. Climbing extended our saddle time. It prolonged our survival and postponed the inevitable carnage. “Do you enjoy the dessert as much if you savour each bite, or gobble it up?” Andreas Hestler loves a long and nasty climb. Dre knows. If you can make it past the tipping point and push through the pain, you just may break on through to the other side and find a little Dre deep down in your little cotton socks. Learn to love the climb. "To know it is to love it," Mountain Bike Mike.
They don't call it Cardiac for nothin'. Chunder abounds on the Shore - perfect training grounds.
Some people are saying that the recent enduro craze is simply a return to our roots. We’re abandoning our big bikes, leaving the chairlifts and shuttles behind, grinding up climbs and relishing the physical and technical challenges of the difficult ascents. Maybe even as much as the savoury downhill we know awaits. Just look at the amount of climbing trails popping up in the Sea to Sky corridor over the past few years. 50 shades & the Legacy in Squamish most recently, Yummy Numby, Piece of Cake/a la Mode in Whistler, and even climbing trails here on the Shore (stay tuned...). Our appetite for riding has only grown and instead of just the downhill dessert, we’re eating our meat and potatoes too. “Everyone’s calling it Enduro nowadays,” says Craig Sabourin, long time Shore rider, offering some perspective, “back then, we called it XC.” A return to our roots? Some will argue we’ve never left.
Stephen Mathews on a New Shore climbing turn. Better than spin class bukkake. Unless you're into that sort of thing...