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Day 7 — Whistler

July 28, 2010

Last night we had a guy do amazing deeds with a chainsaw.  He could cut a little stool with a letter for the back in no time at all.   For me today, there was just one amazing deed left to do — ride Whistler.   It was a very disorienting morning for me for some reason.    I managed to get some laundry done so for the 1st and last days I wore my CarboRocket jersey!  YAY!    Breakfast at 6:30, the bus at 7:30 and race start at 9:30.   Before I got on the bus I found the chiropractor who was taping up knees.  I had one done yesterday and went for both today.  It really did help.   If I rode more downhills I’d be in less pain, but the walking downhill is hard on me and there was a bit of that in the last two days.

It seemed to take a long time to get to Whistler and when we got there I thought “oh yeah, we went up a bit, it’s cold here!”  I found my bike and looked around for a building, any building.   I found one, along with a few other people.  Real toilets.  Ancient arcade games.  It was nice to get warm again.   We would start today at the Upper Village at the Fairmont and end right back at the same place.  We waited forever to start — it was nice to chat with people but I was ready to get going!  Today everyone would do the same route but we started in waves of 50 riders.

It was a little weird being surrounded by shops, but no worries, before long we’re going up a stupid steep hill, and any thoughts of retail madness would be far behind.  About 30 seconds from the start, yikes, I wasn’t about to walk but it was painfully steep.  I did have to stop and peel off my jacket.   The grind continued and then, yes, we’re walking and we’re not out of view of the start line.   Sigh.  The first wave of pros accidentally did an extra loop because they turned onto part of the end of the course so they got to do some of the 20% grade twice.  Better them than me, I say.   We climbed up and then way back down again and then up to the first chair lift .  We rode up one of the beginner downhill mtb trails (Easy Does It).  Following the sweeping berms took forever.   I don’t know if it was the altitude or the fatigue, but I felt foggy and weird.  It was a grind, grind, grind.  We get up to the top and Debra says “Can I have some water?”  I say “Of course!”  It turned out she had run out of the usual and had to mix something new and it wasn’t palatable.    If I used my brain, we would have emptied hers and poured half of mine into hers.  But did we?  No.  In any case, I was happy to share.

We ride over to the start of Crank It Up!   Who gets an entire downhill run at Whistler to themselves?!  ME!!!   Well, too bad I don’t know how to ride it, but having it all mine was super.   This is an intermediate jump trail and I had a blast even though I wasn’t trying to catch any air.  It took guys who knew what they were doing almost 7 minutes to get down.

No rest for the wicked, there was more insane climbing (er, bike pushing) to be had, and then it’s somewhat of a blur.    I remember the aid station and the total kms was off of what they said it was supposed to be, so it was about 3 miles longer, which is quite a bit when you consider 12 verus 15 miles.    We did the Frank Zappa set of XC trails which were wonderful, quite a bit like home with the addition of bridges!   I loved them.   BCBR had this thing they called “power moves” which is when you have to really put some effort in to climb a ledge or some sort of obstacle.   When I went to do a power move, which was nothing usually, I could feel my quads scream in protest.  “Whoa!” I thought to myself,  “I am finally reaching toast.”  Luckily, regular spinning was working fine most of the time.  However, every hard effort through a rock garden would leave me feeling wounded.

Debra, on the other hand, was dehydrated and starting to bonk from not feeling well enough to eat.   I knew she was going to finish, but I also wasn’t about to leave her out there alone.  This meant a lot to her and to me too, so I tried to ride just enough to stay out of sight and then I’d wait to make sure she was there.  She’d get upset at my for waiting, but at this point, I didn’t care, we were going to make it — and these trails were a total blast to boot!

To spare you any more play by play, let’s just say Nick and another guy who was bringing up the rear caught up to us right near the end.   We walked up the last hill from hell together, rode down the last sweet bit of singletrack and gathered up at the bottom and crossed together.  The founder of the race Dean Payne put our finisher medals around our necks and that was it.  It was over.

I bought myself a cool jacket with the BCBR logo and then wandered into the Fairmont.  I found my bags, changed clothes in a bathroom big enough to live in, and found a cab (although it turned out the B&B would have picked me up! Darn it says cheapo me!)    The B&B was awesome.  They locked my bike in the shed and helped me in with my stuff.  I had a wonderful shower and nap and then it was time to get back for the 7pm banquet.

I decided to walk the 4.5km into to town.  I forgot how long that is, especially after finishing BCBR this morning.  But it was a beautiful walk on a dedicated path that went along trees and the river for a while.   I made it to the banquet, but 20 minutes late.  Thankfully Debra had saved me seat.  It was hard finding someone you knew in a room of 500 people in normal clothes!

At the banquet it was surreal, we eat and talk, but it hardly seems like it is over.  Although I’m really glad I’m not riding tomorrow.  I wish I had something left, I’d go back out and ride those XC trails, but I knew I was pretty darn cooked.  All the same, I left my bike together just in case.

To top the surrealness of the evening off I hear my name being called.   They had given away 4 of the 5 sets of XTR kit to people who had snagged a certain t-shirt at the evening presentations.  For the last set they drew names from all participants.  I was one of out of 11 people who could have won the new 10 speed XTR kit!  Unfortunately, I was not the one called — bummer!

I’m shy and when I’m tired I lack the energy to be too social.  I enjoyed a few more stories from Nick, he’s the sort of guy who not only has interesting experiences but can tell a good story.  I was starting to run out of steam and being too cheap to stay in the Fairmont wanted to head back to my B&B.   Apparently,  I wasn’t done adventuring for the day.  Everyone told me to take a cab, but I had directions for the bus.   Once you get to know Whistler it is pretty small and easy to figure out, but when you’re new it is a little disorienting.   That was the theme of today — everything was just a bit beyond the comfort zone.  But I found the bus station, caught my bus and arrived in total darkness at my stop.   Yikes!  Street lamps were almost non-existent.   By feel, and puzzling out the map she had given me I finally made it back to the B&B, just a little freaked out from that moment of feeling that you’re lost and will be sleeping on the street.

I have just one more entry about this race … and already the theme is beginning to emerge.   I was terrified of Whistler to be honest.  I’ve seen the people on A-Line and those crazy trails.  Well, nobody talks about the XC trails, and I had a blast on Crank It Up even though I didn’t know what I was doing.   I found my way around in a strange town with few directions and even in the dark.     We don’t need to run marathons, climb Everest or really do anything too crazy, we just need to step out of that comfort zone and see what happens.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lisa S permalink
    July 31, 2010 6:09 am

    Jen, it sounds like an incredible experience! Sounds like there was a lot of sweet riding, and lots of challenges to over come. I may need to add the BCBR to my bucket list in the coming years! Thanks for the great stage re-caps, and congrats on completing one of the toughest moutain bike events out there!

  2. brkeyes7 permalink
    August 17, 2010 5:50 pm

    “we just need to step out of that comfort zone and see what happens.” Love that line! Awesome, so glad you are part of the team, you’ve done what many only dream about the BCBR!

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