Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The BC Bike Race 2010

If you’re a Mountain Biker, or someone that thinks they have skills on a mountain bike, then this race is for you. You might realize that you are not as good as you thought you were, but by the end of the week you will far exceed your expectations on the bike. In the beginning, there were people walking their bikes over the 3 inch roots on the prologue, but by the end of the week they were dialed in and riding most of the technical stuff. Sure, you will have your good days and bad days. Maybe have a bad day because you didn't eat enough the day before, or because you hammered too hard, but most will make it through the tough week. There were teams from Australia, South Africa, Belgium, England, Wales, Japan, and United States just to name a few of the countries that people had arrived from.

Dave Howells

I would like to say that I am a firm believer in living by flying off the seat of your pants (not a big planner, just winging it; advice from my mentor and teacher Zoriah Miller). I did not scope out any trails, or have any insight really about what to expect from the BCBR. The only place that I had really planned to photograph was the ‘Powerhouse Plunge’ descent in Squamish. The only reason I had this planned is because a week prior to BCBR, I missed the trail turn-off point at the ‘Test of Metal’ (as well as some good photos) in order to find this particular trail. In other words, Squamish is the only place that I had any knowledge about the trail.

I had an eye opener when I saw the trails in Cumberland, and all of the other venues for the BCBR. This year the destinations were: North Vancouver, Nanaimo, Cumberland, Powell River, Sechelt, Earl’s Cove, Squamish, and Whistler. I had never seen such beautiful trails with lush forest and such awesome single track. The only place that was significantly different was North Vancouver, which was an excellent place to have the prologue. The North Vancouver trail had lots of exposed roots, which were pretty high off the ground on the second half of the trail. The trail was pretty dry which gave the riders the ability to go fast. If you haven’t had much experience riding roots, this was going to slow you down, and the slower you go, the harder they are to ride. Some of the riders were walking the gnarly parts, and some riders hammered right through them. You could tell who the locals were on the prologue; they had the hometown advantage for sure.

One of the enjoyable things about the BCBR is that everyone is so friendly and excited to be there. Not just the racers, but the volunteers and staff as well. The food was great for the most part, aside from the day they served buttered chicken, and a curry dish as I am not a fan of foreign, or spicy foods. There was always ample supplies of water, and coffee for people that needed it. Sleeping in tents wasn’t all that bad either, and there were extra foam mattresses if you needed to soften up your bed.

The only thing that I would complain about it is waiting for the bathroom. Not something people like to do when they really have to go. As for the showers, I would shower before bed at around 9:00 pm because by this time everyone had already showered, and there was plenty of hot water. As for Internet access, there was always a Starbucks accessible except for in Cumberland. But the friendly people of Cumberland didn’t make that an issue. I had parked my vehicle in front of a house that was in front of the BCBR venue and was sitting in my car uploading photos onto my Mac. I had noticed that the house I was in front of had people out on the deck. I rolled the window down and asked if there was a Starbucks in Cumberland. “No Starbucks java around here unless you drive to Courtenay, but there are some local java shops if you need a fix.” I had replied that I wasn’t looking for coffee, and that I was looking for Internet. “Well just come on in and use our Internet if you like.” So there I was, uploading images to the Canadian Cyclist on a perfect stranger’s Internet while sitting in his living room.

I have taken a look and sorted the photos, etc., but I am my own worst critic. I tried to raise the bar and reach for the moon with the race photography at this event, and I was able to get some great photos, and photos that you and I will remember forever. Another event under the belt, many friends made, and a lot of great people met. I would honestly recommend attending this event whether you plan to race, support, volunteer, or anything else you can think of to do. It is great event to be a part of, and I am looking forward to it again next year. I already have some different things planned for my arsenal.

With not having a pot to piss in, or much $ in the bank (actually none), I had a lot to risk, and a lot to lose by going to the BCBR. If payment didn’t come through on time, etc., I wouldn’t have been able to get home, and would have been stuck in BC with no money. Things have been tough for me since late last year, and I figured that this was my break, my chance to change things for the better. It was not an easy task to get on with the BCBR as Media, but I am very grateful for the opportunity that I was given. I would like to thank the BCBR, Andreas Hestler, Dave Howells, Rob Jones (Canadian Cyclist), Dave Silver (Dave Silver Photography), and everyone else that was involved with me going to the BCBR. It was great!!!!