I think that sometimes in life you’re destined to cross paths with certain people for a reason. I’ve found a group of English blokes that have become best friends within weeks of meeting them. You will have to bear with me when I refer to them as flaming blokes every other sentence. It’s for their benefit and has nothing to do with slandering the English… you all are top notch in my books. This is the story of how I met these flaming blokes....The past two months of summer have been amazing. Before Mt. 7 Psychosis I spent some time in Nelson, riding bikes and putting all of my personal belongings in storage. My plan was to live out of my car for the rest of summer, and ride my bike as much as humanly possible…no real plans or agendas. Simply work around the race schedule and play wherever I can in between. Deep down I knew that at the end of summer, the time would come when I need to head back to the artic and do some more work. It was crunch time to get my two wheel fix in before I put my bike away for the season.
When I was in Nelson I met an English bloke named Martin. He was on a Kona demo tour that took him from the flat lands of Saskatchewan to the coast of British Columbia. We hooked up for a few rides in Nelson and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this flaming bloke can ride a bike like a mofo. Born and raised in England, Martin grew up sipping tea with the queen and starting every morning with the famous English breakfast, and finishing every day with a few “true English” pints. He tells me that the riding “is a bit shit there”, and somehow he found a way to become a wicked rider. He tells me it’s the “Peaty” influence in the UK, I say bullocks to that, I think it’s all the tea…who really knows.
Martin or “dry martini” as I like to call him, made his way to Golden the following weekend for Psychosis, as did I, and from there we rode bikes and rocked out. Psychosis was ridiculous this year…in a good way. I mean, it scared the shit out of me, and that never really happens to me from a course. But I am honest enough to admit that. The Mt.7 course puts you through an assortment of challenges as you descend the sub 16 minute course. This year Golden added another challenge to all the racers - the heat made you feel like you're crawling through the desert on your hands and knees. I remember one of the training days hit a solid 41 degrees. I think I did one training run down the course, and then sat in the river for the rest of the day. The added heat meant Dead Dog was overwhelmingly dry, unlike its usual dry beach sand consistency. The fine organizers were nice enough to saturate Dead Dog with over a thousand gallons of water the night before the race. “A” for effort, as that made the course a lot safer for the early morning racers. But amazingly enough I couldn’t tell by the time I raced. I must say Psychosis for me is a love hate relationship. I love racing there, but each year I do it, I am always dreading the pain you go through while competing… then when it’s all over, I am very happy to have done it again. It’s a truly unique event and definitely the most challenging races I've done.
My travels then took me to Vancouver Island for a Canada Cup and the national Championships at Mt. Washington. It was sloppy and rocky and loads of fun. The car camping was “a bit shit”. Me and my hombres only lasted one night in the wet parking lot before we caved and ended shacking up with buddies in a Swiss style chateau at the mountain. Thanks for the hookup Todd! It happened to be my first Mt. Washington experience, and I really like riding there. Although the mountain hasn’t been very developed, the course is sick. It’s a lot like the tracks in Quebec - wet, rooty and rocky. The rain on the island seemed to never let up, and would eventually follow us traveling racers to Whistler for Crankworx the following week.
The next week was spent riding my brains out and taking part in a handful of Crankworx festivities. I ended up running into Martin quite often that week. He spent the week working the Kona booth, and I spent the week passing the Kona booth with high fives via the lift line. It was torture for Martini. Sorry buddy…honestly you didn’t miss a thing
After the Canadian open, which wrapped up Crankworx, most racers’ season ended a little earlier than usual. So August was pretty open. I had been crashing out on my buddy “chopper Steve’s” couch for about 10 days and was feeling like I might want to have a bed for August. Martin offered me a place in his “transient” style biker house at the base of Blackcomb. From then on it was technically…retarded (pardon my French).
It was officially the most people I have ever lived with in one house, and for some reason it all worked smoothly. These 7 English blokes got along like peas in a pod, and I couldn’t believe how many tea bags this house went through. The rumors are true everyone…the British love their tea. We couldn’t keep enough tea in the house. This house was great, everyone rides bikes and most people weren’t working. Perfect! Between, Martin, John, Jeff, Is, Foz, Tom and Paulo, there was always someone riding. In August I hammered in 28 days on the mountain, whistler was great this summer.
From then on it was like I was in College and living on campus. But all my classes were canceled...Haha! My non stop antics kept the guys entertained and I'm proud to say that I've got them all hooked on shot gunning beers.
August was spent riding for most of the days and a healthy serving of beach time in the afternoons. I like to call it intermission from riding. Most nights were spent around the tube watching and listening to John work on his Elton singing STAR. Damn you’ve got that song dialed John!
Nearing the end of the month it was Paulo’s birthday. That was ridiculous. I now have found out that it’s English tradition to make a penis cake for your buddy on his birthday…well I'm not sure if that’s true, but the cake we made for him was hilarious! Paulo’s party was typical for a dude’s birthday. We started the day off at the Air dome for a sweet foam pit session then to the mountain for some shredding and finally we all got completely knackered, and Paulo was a write off. The next morning we found that the front of our house was littered with shot gunned beers and for some reason there was a used condom on the ground that no one could account for. Pretty sick.
The guys took part in the Whistler toonie XC race each week. I decided to join in on the fun for the Lost Lake race. That week’s race had a dress up theme, so we all got pimped out for the ride. I decided to dress up like Batman, but for some reason everyone but one person at the race thought I was cat woman… a little embarrassing but that’s cool. I think Jeff had the best costume out of all of us. He decided to dress as a woman, but I think he looked more like a transvestite prostitute. Jeff ended up winning a night stay at the Fairmount because he looked soooo good!
One lazy afternoon Jeff and I decided to take the day off. Riding the chair everyday starts to make you hurt after a while and it was time for a break! Jeff was in the market for a new rear wheel because his current wheel looked a lot like a stop sign. So we came up with the brilliant plan to take off the tire and ride the rim around until it disintegrates into a million pieces. I recommend this to everyone who is going to build up a new wheel…it was really fun! We “hucked” stairs, drifted corners on pavement and took the old girl to dirt. We literally rode this hoop until it popped like a stale taco. I couldn’t believe how well it hooked up a pavement.
My month was spent doing all sorts of ridiculous things like this. Unfortunately all good things do need to come to an end, and I had to say good-bye to these flaming blokes. If it weren’t for Martin I wouldn’t have met these guys and have had such a great time. Thanks Martini… you da man!
I had a great month in Whistler, but now it’s time for me to head back to the great white north and continue hunting for diamonds. It’s funny, I'm actually really looking forward to heading back to work. My job is really cool, and to be honest I've only logged about 7 weeks of work in 2007 and I think it’s about time I get back into reality…and do some work. Fancy a brew
-Tom Hay 25, milk/2 sugar. York
-John Peel 28, milk “Im sweet enough” says John! York
-Jeff Britton 28, milk/2 sugar. York
-“I couldn’t possibly do a thing until I have a cup of tea!”
-Simon Miller 26- Milk/ 2 sugar, York
-Foz Walder 24- Milk, Brighton
-Martin Ashley 25- , Doesn’t drink tea…Touser! Glouster
-Paulo Stevens 24-, Milk, Isle of white
Here's Derek whole album.
Derek is a member of the Pinkbike.com/Devinci DH team
and is supported by:Devinci Bikes
-MRP Chain Guides
-DT Swiss Wheel Sets
-Chromag Bars and Stems
-Rockstar Energy Drinks
- N.R.G. Enterprises
As well as being individually supported by Oso Negro Coffee, Smith Optics, and his Mom & Dad.