Towing the line with over a 1,000 riders of all abilities in one of the most enthusiastic bike cities I've experienced is something special. I took part for the first time back in 2010, which was a terrible day on the bike. Fast-forward four years to having a great day and chasing around Olympian Max Paxton. That is why bike racing is so exciting.
The trip started Thursday and ended Saturday evening, as I wanted to get home for Father's Day on Sunday. Thursday I drove from my home in Peachland (BC's Okanagan region) to Squamish in four hours (at the speed limit of course.
..) thanks to old the Civic. I have a rule for Vancouver drives, which is: one gas, food and pee stop. Squamish is further and that sure tested the stretch of my bladder. I arrived at the residence of friend and local ripper Quinn Moberg and family, just in time for a chill feast.
Come race day the super accurate weather people called for rain. Just like they did at home on Thursday and just like they did for Friday. Both days I dressed for rain and the sun came out. I had so many layers that my bodily fluids were lost those days. I was not letting that happen on race day. A cloudy morning with no rain welcomed racers and it turned out to be a perfect day to race.
The start line had all the spandex wearing studs of BC, minus men's Olympian, Geoff Kabush, and the women's Canada Cup leader, Sandra Walter. 11AM came and we raced, fast! Covering the 67km in ~2:30 something for Max Plaxton and I followed up in second. Locals say the course could have ran a couple minutes or so slower this year.
Photo: Grant Bruce
A group of us rode off after the first single track section and never looked back. Working together well and trading pulls like a road race for long enough that I could eat my English muffin with jam before Max decided to sprinkle in some spice and open things up. Eventually he eased slightly for Quinn and I to catch him, so we could work together for a long, open fire road section. After pushing hard into a block-headwind we finally hit the famous 9-mile climb. Not much to say other than it's long and uphill for 9 miles... Where’s all the downhill!? I rode steady up, losing some time to Max, but gained time on Quinn, Kris Sneddon and Craig Ritchey.
I rode solo to the finish and enjoyed a successful day on the bike. When things go well, the body works efficiently and the bike does its job and there is nothing but excitement. I'm happy with how things went, considering I was racing under the most training load I've been under. I wanted a great training day and I got more than that.
Bike racing is one great part of the day, but having a great warm up with fellow riders, seeing all the spectators cheering on course, cooling down with friends, sharing tall tales from the day and having food & drinks together is why we choose to spend our days on earth with this kind of crowd.Check out the race profile on Strava.Next up
: BC Enduro in Kelowna this weekend.Evan Guthrie