New Summer Challenges

Last summer I really challenged myself with my 45 days of mountain biking.  This year I was struggling to come up with an idea of what to do as a new and fun challenge.  Suddenly it came to me . . . last year I participated in my first ever race (the NSMBA Fiver) and I thought I’d keep the fun, competitive spirit going!

I have signed up for a number of enduro races this summer and have created quite the fun schedule of trips around BC and Alberta to participate in the sport I love and really test myself by being pushed to the limits.  Will I win?  Absolutely not!  Will I finish?  That’s the hope.  Will I have fun?  That’s a given!

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The races are all part of the Canadian National or BC Enduro Series as of now.  So far the schedule is as follows but there may be 1 or 2 more races added and I will update when I add more:

April 21st – Kamloops Beaver Classic

May 13th – Fraser Valley

May 20th – Kelowna

June 3rd – Kamloops

June 24th – Crowsnest Pass

July 8th – Canmore

July 21st – Squamish – Hot on your Heels

Of course I will be riding in between these as well.  Maybe participating in some Fivers again or just getting out there for some no-competition fun.  I also can’t imagine a summer would go by without a trip to Coast Gravity or Whistler as well but time will tell for those.

Naturally, Ryan will be joining me on this adventure.  He is registered for the races with me and is going to be a great cheerleader . . . waiting at the finish line for hours for me to be done.  So far we’ve managed to negotiate which races we should register for, figure out accommodations, and estimate any expenses that we’ll come across.  There was some debate over camping vs hotel vs Air BnB and while I absolutely love camping I got a bit nervous about riding a billion hour race and not having an actual, comfy bed to return to.  Luckily, Ryan could see my point and we have some rooms booked up with some lovely local folks at each stop.

An exciting addition is a new logo made by the lovely Kristina at Sketchy Trails.  It is absolutely beautiful and I love that she captured my “popsicle nightmare” look of colourful gear.  I have an order ready to get some custom jerseys printed to wear to the races and maybe one or two extra to give away.

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The other issue that is at hand is training.  Other than the mountains being covered in snow at the moment, I’ve also run into a snag of my front brake giving up the ghost (just before a descent no less) and me scrambling together money to replace it.  In the meantime, I’m hoping Ryan is okay with me borrowing his hard tail.  At least my legs will get an extra workout that way!  Pretty soon I’m going to be kicking it into high gear and getting out on trails as close to every day as I can.  I have a long way to go before being in form for racing.

I will be documenting the whole experience.  I plan on having my trusty GoPro on me for every race so you can all enjoy my suffering and my triumphs.  I will also be writing all about it in my blog series which will be called:  (Drumroll, please!)

The View from the Back of the Pack.

I’m not saying I won’t be giving it my all.  I just know how many wonderfully talented riders are going to be out on the same trails as me and I know that just finishing each race is an amazing goal for me.  I fully intend to get to know some of the trail sweeps and to fall over, exhausted, at the end of each race.  But through this I’m going to learn so much, meet new people, and have fun experiences to remember forever.

Wish me luck, all . . . I’m going to need it.

Off Season

Living in Vancouver makes it a bit tricky for the “off” season.  For the most part, our weather is temperate to ride all year long.  This makes it hard to make excuses as to why you’re not getting out on your bike but, as I’ve discovered, riding shouldn’t be a chore or a box you should feel like you need to check.  It should bring joy!  I’ve definitely had days where I felt less than enthusiastic about the ride I’m on but I never want to get to the point where I feel miserable getting out on my bike.  To that end, I’ve (mostly) avoided riding when there’s a lot of snow on the mountains or if I really, truly feel like it’s just too much.  Unfortunately for you, dear readers, that means my updates have been VERY sparse.

We did get out on a lovely ride on New Year’s Day which, luckily, refuted something I was very afraid of happening.  I haven’t lost all of the progress I made last year!  Sure, I may have gained the weight back (sigh) but the skills are still kicking around in muscle memory.

While I wasn’t out on my bike a lot I did find ways to stay active this winter.  For Ryan’s birthday, he wanted to go snowshoeing with a group of friends which we did.

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I went for some runs, some rides, and some hikes.

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For the most part, I worked a billion hours a week and went to my mom’s house for the holidays where I ate a massive amount of food and indulged in a bit too much wine.  Obviously, the training needs to start again…. as soon as this pesky snow melts!

As far as indoor training goes, I was lucky enough to borrow a bike trainer for a friend of mine (as seen in the Port Moody excursion) to keep moving while the weather is bad.  I’ve also enjoyed some much needed yoga.

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The other big event was my bike maintenance course.  I did write about it at the time, but it has come in handy SO much in terms of feeling comfortable with taking care of my bike (and the bikes of my friends) and saving some money on mechanic fees.  I highly recommend taking one if you have the chance.  Getting to know your bike feels so freeing.

NOW, what’s on the horizon?  After the 45 day challenge last year, what could be coming this summer?  That, for now, will remain a surprise.  Stay tuned for updates on this year’s exciting challenge!