Video: Taking on BCBR as a Brand New MTBer in 'It's Just Like Riding a Bike' - Race Face Creator Series

Oct 2, 2019
by Race Face  

Filmmaker: Markella Mildenberger

Synopsis: A brand-new mountain biker pushes all her limits as she attempts a 7-day stage race over 300 km with 10,000 meters of elevation throughout the mountains of Coastal British Columbia. Faced with a handful of obstacles before the race even begins, she will meet a whole new set of challenges as the week progresses and discover what the cliché ‘It’s Just Like Riding a Bike’ really means.

Why We Chose this Film: We were so taken by Markella’s tenacity - despite being dealt a hand that was out of her control, she's found ways to persevere and seek out adventures around the world. We wanted to give her the chance to take on another with the BC Bike Race. Riding a mountain bike gives Markella a chance to see the world in a different way and her revelations from the back of the BCBR pack will give you all the feels. While you enjoy this impactful film, remember that every rider has a story and it may not be too far from your own.


Photo: Dave Silver
Photo: Todd Weselake
Photo: Scott Robarts

Photo: Todd Weselake


Stay tuned for Friday's Dirt is Soft by Peter Wojnar. A bit of a different piece, this video explores our relationship with injury and bikes.




40 Comments

  • 12 0
 Well Done! This is one of the best videos on here. That showed some commitment. You can get skill and technical training but drive is something else
  • 6 0
 Fantastic video, and fantastic memories to relive.

I got to ride back and forth with Craig for a chunk of the race - and when he said "I want to be seen as doing really well because you're up there", he absolutely was. Nevermind missing part of a leg, he's an objectively fast rider both climbing and descending. He was fighting a cold for the first few days of the race, but once he got that out of his system he hauled ass.

One thing the race really hammered home to me, is that there really isn't anyone who's not working their ass of on the BCBR. If you're up in the front of the race, there's a good chance you got there with some competitive drive, so you're not going to be taking it easy. If you're further back, you're spending far longer on your bike every day.

The pros spent an average of about 2:15 on their bikes every day. I averaged around 3:45 to finish a bit behind the middle of the pack, and the riders at the back of the pack were averaging around 6:30.

If you told me I had to spend an extra 3-hours on my bike every day out there, I certainly don't think I'd have the fortitude to finish, and I deeply admire the riders like Markella who did.
  • 6 1
 So many kudos and high fives are in order. What a journey and incredible experience. EVERYONE just amazes me and I am so fortunate to have been a part of this experience and able to share my story and others' with this film. Riding at the best of times has its challenges ( or so I hear- I am a rookie lol), the BCBR adds a level that totally kicked me in the arse- in so many ways. But, as KAT puts it, we gotta be cracked open sometimes.

Craig, Jez and Richard and the whole last wave crew and all the people leading the way- so much gratitude to them all.

I am beyond inspired by those around me - what a community in sport and in life .

Thanks for watching and your kind words!!
  • 5 0
 Thank you for this! I have had a similar journey, on going list of injury, surgery and rehab, a test of mental and physical health. Challenged myself to racing the Trans BC enduro, got in last year but had to give up my spot due to a broken collarbone,seperated and damaged shoulder joint. Accepted the challenge of another rehab and claimed a spot this summer that Megan saved for me. Made it through and surprised myself with how I rode. Don't know where id be without biking and all the people I've met because of it. Bravo to this lady and her strength to overcome, and accepting the ups and downs life throws at us. Im going to go ride now, feeling inspired!
  • 9 0
 Ride on! And thank you! What an incredible community I found myself in- so thankful for the chance!
  • 5 0
 This is so inspiring. Thinking back to when I started mountain biking the thought of doing the BCBR wouldn't have been conceivable in that short a timeframe. This is as much a testament to mental as it is to physical strength
  • 6 0
 Great Video. Love the pure dedication of this! Props to @raceface & @RockyMountainBicycles
  • 2 0
 Much Love xxxx
  • 3 0
 @Markellamarkella29: When I saw what you were riding up Seymour at the beginning I was pretty worried.
Good to see you got hooked up with a real bike.
  • 3 0
 Whether you're in it to win it, or in it just to finish, we are all on our own journey. This video was a great reminder to do hard things.It also reminded me that the BCBR is still on my list of 'yet to be completed' adventures, and i should probably register soon. Thanks for the push @Markellamarkella29
  • 2 0
 You should register! I would tackle it again in a heartbeat! Thanks for watching!
  • 3 0
 This was great. It's awesome to see folks breaking down barriers and overcoming hurdles so significant.

@Markellamarkella29 I'm curious if you found anything outside of physio/medicine that helped you manage your nerve pain (e.g. diet, supplements)? I deal with nerve issues not nearly as severe or life altering as yours, but impactful none the less, and am curious if you found anything that helped.

Also, those pancakes at the start looked amazing!
  • 5 1
 Hi Shinook! I have tried many things- the reason I am as far as I have gotten has been largely in part to a massive change in diet, overall nutrition and lifestyle- along with sheer stubbornness and a bit of an attitude Smile I think the best way to address pain is to understand it as much as we can- and it is a very different beast for many people. I had to learn and visualize it like a highway that can never be changed- it will always be there BUT I have to learn to make alternate routes to other places- which is how I ended up climbing mountains and finding shenanigans - I think I see it as fuel now and try to use it that way too. Thanks so much for the kind words and encouragement! I have fallen in love with MTBing and the community of people.

Pancakes are soooo good !
  • 1 0
 @Markellamarkella29: Right on! It is a great community and very diverse, with many trying to overcome their own challenges.

Do you mind sharing some of the dietary / nutrition changes you made that helped? That's something I've been exploring lately to see if it helps my issues some. I've more or less cut out refined sugar from my diet and it seems to help some, but I've been wondering if there is more I could do to help reduce inflammation and the pain that I get when I ride. I know it's different for everyone, but it's always interesting to hear what others have done that's helped.
  • 2 0
 @shinook: Absolutely! My main goal was and always is to reduce inflammation (though a race like BCBR or anything heavily physical does nothing for inflaming all the things haha) - but like you I cut out all sugar, I stopped drinking alcohol which contributes to a sleuth of other things as it is, I watch my gluten intake and I have cut out meat and dairy. From my research and several several discussions over the years, reducing gut issues and nervous system issues is really important (in general health too, but greatly when you suffer from an injury). I focus on maintaining healthy gut which promotes healthy everything and reduces overall inflammation. I don't take anything anymore, just supplements like B12 and B vitamins and I make sure to maintain magnesium, zinc and try to sleep ( this is still a struggle)- overall I have significantly reduced my pain to a happy 5 /10 which by comparison to years ago is monumental. I hope that helps in some way. Thanks again for connecting and sharing your own experience.
  • 1 0
 @Markellamarkella29: Thanks a ton for the info and congrats on your finish. Hope to see you at some other rad events in the future!
  • 1 0
 @shinook: I have my eyes on a few Smile
  • 6 1
 Love this. Thank you for sharing your story.
  • 3 1
 Thank you for watching itSmile
  • 2 1
 The human spirit can be a fantastic thing. Markella showed some amazing drive to keep going, not just in the race, but in her whole attitude to life after her injury. On another note, I'm not sure how I'd feel if my coach turned up on an ebike.
  • 5 0
 dammit, so no one has an excuse to not do the BC bike race. Including me!
  • 2 0
 sorry? heheh You won't regret it though.
  • 1 0
 Props to you, Markella. And thank you for the perspective. I'm coming off my second major back surgery in 5 years and starting riding my mountain bike again in July. Pedal stroke by pedal stroke I'm getting my strength back. Like you the pain isn't something that will go away, so it's a matter of learning to live with, in and around it and simply enjoy the moment. Congratulations on your Everest.
  • 1 0
 Just an amazing effort Markella
A combination of an impressive engine on the climbs , embryonic descending , but an unflinching iron resolve that had to be seen to be believed . This girl doesn't have an ounce of Quit in her

Just shines a light on the "unfinished business" I have with the BCBR
Hoping very much to get back there , perhaps in 2021
perhaps a back of the pack revival may be in order
  • 1 0
 You were so terrific to ride with. I can't wait to do it again. Thank you for your encouragement and high fives! xo
  • 1 0
 Wow,
I can't relate exactly to how Markella's pain is, but I had a herniated disc in my lower back a few years ago, leading to Sciatica down one leg. The pain was forefront in my mind while on a 6+hr flight, How much pain someone has to be in to request an emergency landing. Nerve pain is wild, painful, and scary.
Unreal that you did BCBR, yeah girl!
  • 1 0
 Pain is pain is pain. So many variations and yet the same. Sciatica (from what I hear) is no joke - flying is horrendous- omg. I discovered that if I have an entire row, I can stretch out and turn and move and readjust over and over - trick is getting a cheaper cost of 3 or 4 seats to experience that comfort. props to you for carrying on, it IS NOT easy. Some days are better than others, and sometimes it feels like, huh, I'm not in agony today and then other times it hits like a ton of bricks, huh? keep going, and riding too I assume ?
  • 4 1
 What an amazing person! Great job Markella. Big props to @RockyMountainBicycles way to step up.
  • 2 0
 Thank you for your words! Means so much!
  • 4 1
 Wow! epic story, brought tears to my eyes!
  • 3 1
 I hope the good kind ..... the kind that makes you never wanna give up in life. xox
  • 1 0
 Great story, very inspiring along with the others riders storys. I am turning 62 in time to do a 60 ride here in New Zealand. Cant wait!
  • 3 1
 WHOOP !!! Yeah YOU ARE! I would love to follow your journey! Good Job!
  • 1 0
 That was incredibly motivating. Seeing the difficulties some have to go thru before they even hit the start line is humbling and inspiring. Awesome job out there
  • 3 0
 I love this!
  • 3 1
 Thank you!!
  • 1 0
 Inspiring story. Thanks for sharing part of your life. Maybe someday I will have the currage to do something like you did.
  • 1 0
 Really fantastic ,and that ending song ,just brilliant,congratulations to all
  • 3 1
 AWESOME!!!!

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