I feel like I've been kicked by a donkey and then hit by a car...both times on my right side. Here is the story of my double right side spanking.
I spent my winter snowshoeing around the Canadian arctic, exploring for diamonds. My days where spent hiking by myself through deep snow in ridiculously cold conditions, then spending my nights hanging out in my tent flying my toy helicopter (air hogs for life!). My chopper was my greatest form of amusement and my most reliable distraction to keep me from constantly thinking about riding my bike (and girls).
I would spend my night's bundled up in bed dreaming about my new Devinci Wilson, and sexy ladies of course, but this is a bike story, so I will keep it to that. I would get updates from Tyler every few weeks, letting me know that "so and so" is now on board, and I would add another part to the bike in my mind. Our final product is one of the nicest bikes I've ever seen. This bike is sexy hot, and rides like a dream. I couldn't ask for a nicer ride! A very special thanks to all our sponsors for such a great bike! Finally in early May I said goodbye to the arctic life for another season, and with my eye's wide open was brought back to life and reminded of what I love to do more than anything else. Finally bike season is here!
I spent my first few weeks at home in Nelson, B.C. adjusting to the warm weather and riding as much as possible. It was so nice to be back in the Kootenays. Honestly, home to me these days seems to be out of my bag, more so than in Nelson. I've chosen this lifestyle of constant traveling because I truly enjoy it, it's just hard to be away from a place you love so much and call home. Our spring riding in Nelson was incredible. Nice and cool, a few rainy days a week, making the trails in immaculate riding conditions.
I would spend my mornings out on my road bike, getting my legs out of snowshoe mode and back to spinning mode, and in the afternoons ride my DH bike. It's truly amazing how you can forget what its like to pin it. I spent my winter snowshoeing through deep snow seemingly at a snails pace, finding no comparison to shreading pow on your skies or snowboard all winter. And it's funny how your mind can drift away from that state of Jedi/Storm Trooper mentality. Luckily for me, it's something that will always be there, sometimes I need look a little further to find it, but it's always there. The riding was amazing, but I needed to get some serious vert in. I had about 3 weeks to get ready for the Mountain State Cup series
that I am racing this summer. Pedaling up or shuttling, is great, but I needed some chair lift access to actually get the vert in I was looking for.
So I went to Whistler in search of the english blokes
, and some serious lap time. If any of you don't know what I mean by the "english blokes", it's from a story I wrote last summer about the english blokes
that I lived with in Whistler last August. It's a funny read, check it out. So I looked and I found. Unfortunately we are down a few good men, but luckily had a few "acceptable" substitutes. I spent 2 weeks riding the chair in Whistler and a couple of EPIC
days in Pemberton! I wish I had some pictures from the riding in Pembi, but we didn't stop once. Each trail, pinning it, top to bottom...Thanks for the good times Seb!
Hanging in the blokes' house was awesome. I feel like a kid in summer camp again. It was a quick 2 weeks, but we had a lot of fun. It was the typical debaucherous good times, and way too R rated for this story. I did the local loonie XC race every week, which was loads of fun. Unfortunately there weren't any dress up themes, but I got that out of my system down in Crested Butte a few weeks later, so it all worked out. The XC races were good to do, because I think most people would agree that there isn't much pedaling in the bike park. That starts to mess my body up. Way to much standing in a static position, and not enough pedaling. And I knew the Crested butte mountain state cup race that I was going too in a few weeks is a very pedally course at high elevation. So I am really happy to have done all those screamer XC races...to beers afterwards!Crested Butte Colorado
I once again, loaded up my car, said my fair wells to the english blokes, and started my way south to Colorado. My destination was Crested Butte. I had done some research on the internet about CB, but had no real ideas or expectations of the place. It was one hell of a drive down. 30 hours in a hot car is never fun, and I don't think I've ever used my cruise control so much. I'm pretty paranoid of getting pulled over in the US with a car loaded down with gear from Canada. I think I've watched too many Hollywood movies about people getting thrown in jail for breaking some crazy laws that you wouldn't otherwise know exist.
It was a pretty smooth sailing trip, other than this one morning in Montana. I've got all my "car camping" gear with me, so I just drive as far as I can, and when I get tired, pitch my tent off the high way up some dirt road somewhere and call er' done. Well I camped out late one night in Montana, did my thing, found some dirt road off the highway, off some farmers field. The coast looked clear, so I pitched my tent and called er' done - I thought I was all good. I had a good sleep, woke up, did a little stretching, decided to take care of my "morning business" if you know what I mean. Well I was hanging off a fence post with a "No Trespassing" sign starring me in the eyes, minding my own business, and all of a sudden a shot gun goes off...and nearly knocks me on my ass
. To my surprise there was a greasy red neck and his pick up no more than 80ft away from me. This greasy bastard was shooting off his double barreled shot gun at some clay pigeons, lucky for me, not in my direction. Now I was freaking out. "Holly sheep shit, how hasn't this guy seen me". I had my bright blue tent set up in front of my car in a small depression in the land, and I guess he couldn't see me. I have never taken down a tent so stealthy and so fast before. Now that my car was loaded, I still wasn't sure how I was going to start my car without this guy hearing me. So I figured my only chance was to time my start with his shot gun blast. Sure enough I timed er' right, and rallied my loaded down civic, down a washed out dirt road in reverse, then booked it to the interstate as quickly as possible. Dude didn't end up following me, and I didn't need to take a crap anymore. Sorry I don't have any pictures of that one for you guys. Luckily that was the extent of my excitement on the drive.
I arrived in beautiful Crested Butte on Tuesday morning and didn't race until Sunday. This was the smartest thing I could have done. I spend most of my time in the mountains, other than when I'm up north working, and still had no chance with the altitude in CB. The town sits at just over 9000ft and the race course is at about 11500ft. I have a new appreciation for all of you big mountain, high altitude climbers. It was like a smack in the nuts with the back of a spade. Well...it wasn't that bad, because we can all imagine what the back of a spade to the giggle berries feels like. But it was really tough to walk up a hill without getting winded, let alone sprint your DH bike for 4:20:00 (that was my race time).
CB felt like home as soon as I got there, and it feels like I have know everyone there for years. Thanks to everyone I met over the week for being so welcoming! When I rolled into town, I met up with my good friend Amy from Nelson that had made the move a few years back. Amy and her husband Murry Wais where oh so kind enough to put me up for the week in their beautiful home in south CB. Thanks for great hospitality! You guys rule. So I roll into town, Amy shows me around, introduces me to a few of the finest...and the rest was history. I spent my whole week just hanging out, meeting new people, getting to know people, riding bikes, having beer, eating lots of the best pizza in the whole world, and just feeling at home while doing it all. One of my first introductions was at the Secret Stash pizza shop. Jeff and Jay Ceffa are the owners of this fine pizzaria.
This pie shop has the most unique pizza menu I have ever seen. If any of you go to Crested Butte, you must check out the secret stash and have the finest 'ZA known to man kind!! Jeff and Jay both love to shred their bikes too, so the next day they showed me around the mountain for opening day of the bike park at Mt. Crested Butte. It was a lot of fun. The mountain is definitely in the early developmental stages of gravity fed trails, but this year has been a huge step forward for them and I think good things are to come for Mt. Crested Butte. The terrain on the course had a couple steep pitches, a fun road gap at the top, a couple long ballz out pedally sections, and a couple fun jumps to finish off the course. It was super dry and dusty, very much like silt. It definitely kept me on my toes. Coming from Canada and having such a mild spring made the dry sand feel a little foreign, but it was good fun and I'm really happy I made the trip down for the race.
I ended up 7th in the pro men, and I'm pretty content with that. It was a very pedally course at altitude, and I pedaled my ass off! I didn't make too many mistakes, and just about passed out at the finish. So I'm happy with that.
By far, hands down the funnest bike event I have ever done, took place Friday evening. It was the annual chainless downhill. Not to throw anyone off, but it isn't really a race and not done on a downhill bike. The town of CB is flat as a board, with tall mountains surrounding it, this makes CB ideal for a townie bike. It seems like everyone in town has a whole fleet of townies, and everyone rides. It's awesome to see so many people parking their vehicles and pedaling. The chainless DH is a big event in town. Hundreds of people get shuttled out of town about 7 miles up a very mellow dirt road, dressed up like lunatics, drink beers, act insane, and all coast down together.
The 7 mile ride finishes off on Elk St, the main drag. Hundreds of people line the streets to watch the last corners. It's a dirty 90 degree right hander, coming off dirt onto pavement with a massive pot hole separating the two. It always takes people down, and everyone is there to see it. It was ridiculous! I dressed up like a woman, borrowed the "secrect stach's" townie bike, filled the back panier racks with cold Pap's and made a solid effort to go no hands no feet for as much of the ride as I could
The ride started off, me and monkey's (my crew of insane CB lunatics) decided to hold back and be near the end of the wave of people going down. We slammed some brews, got primed up, and dropped in. Holly sketchy off the start. So many people take the "chain-less" aspect of the ride, very seriously, and actually take the chain off their townies. Well when you do that, you become brake-less because you lose the pedal brake. I call BS to that and just zip tied my chain to the chain ring so I couldn't pedal. Well it's a short steep pitch off the start and there are hundreds of people cruising down, all seemingly at there own pace. Some fast, some slow, all on a single lane dirt road. It was mental off the start. There where many "screams of terror", "move it or lose it", whoa F#*K! and couple dirty bails.
After the first pitch, it mellows out and you have time to enjoy a few beers while not holding onto your handle bars, and not putting your feet on the pedals...aahhhh I was just asking to take a dirty!
I didn't want the ride to end, but we where running out of beer so it was about time. Like I said, there is a nasty corner at the finish, and the boys were trying to tell me to no brake it. I was coming in way way
too hot, so I decided to lay down some sick power skids in front of the crowd for good measure. I laid down two kick ass skids, and on the third one, got pitched over the bars and took a dirty in front of everyone. Tuck and roll baby! It was awesome! I managed to tuck and roll, and didn't even lose my flip flops. I just ended up with some kick ass gashes up my right side. By this time I was quite numb, and wasn't very bothered by it. I stayed dressed like a woman for hours and dealt with my wounds in the morning. I woke up with a sore brain, and battered up on the right side. And that was the first of my right side spankings!
To my great disappointment, I had to leave beautiful CB on Monday morning to make my way north to Canada. I spent two days on the road getting back home to Nelson. I arrived in town at about 4:30pm and decided to check in with the boys at the Sacred Ride bike shop. I had a beer and a slice with the boys, and by that time the "Dirt tours" (www.dirttours.com
) local shuttle was about to take off. I had all my gear with me and hadn't ridden in Nelson in over a month, so it seemed like a good idea. We shuttled up, I road down for about 15 minutes, and that's when it all went wrong
. I was feeling a little off from the long drive, but didn't think much of it. About 15 minutes into the ride was a fast straight section, to a 4-5 foot wooden jump in the middle, to another fast straight out section. I came in a little hot, got a little bucked, lost my balance, started leaning to the right and had a tree grab me by the lower right abdomen, ripping me off my bike.
I guess there was a big dead fall tree that had fallen across the landing last summer, and someone bucked the middle out to clear the trail. Well the right side of the tree grabbed me just below my rib cage on my lower abdominal, ripped me clean off my bike. I knew before I stopped skidding on the ground that I needed to get to the hospital ASAP. I have never taken a harder hit, let alone in the guts. I went into shock pretty bad, but knew that my priority was to keep from passing out and get to a road as soon as I could. Luckily Pat from Dirt tours was on his way down, and we managed to eventually get through to him on the cell. With the help of solid group of people, I shuffled down the trail all messed up for about 45 minutes to the waiting van. The ambulance met us a little further down the logging road, and they dealt with me from there. I spent the night in the hospital and later found out I'm one lucky son of a gun. I impacted my liver, right on the money, and wouldn't even have made it to the ambulance if it where lacerated. I ended up badly bruising my liver, bladder and guts pretty bad, leaving my outsides to a big hematoma. No internal bleeding, no lacerations. So damn lucky! I was in Canada for 3 hours before I ended up in the hospital. I'm one seriously hurting unit these days and need to take a solid couple weeks to let my body heal. This isn't really what I had in mind for my first few hours home. But in the big picture, I'm very fortunate to be alive and healthy.
A few weeks off the bike is "no big deal", I don't need to pee in a bag for the rest of my life, and I can enjoy beer for a long long time! That was my second right side spanking!
I truly feel like a wreck these days, but everyday feels a little better, and Damo my physio figures I'll be good to go in a few weeks. A very very special thanks to everyone that helped out that night, you all made a bad situation as good as it could get, very much appreciated! And HUGE thanks to my good friend Pat Williams of Dirt Tours for being the rad dude that he is. Pat picked me up from the hospital and took care of me for a week at his place while I was all messed up, you rule! See you all at the races in a few weeks!
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