The BC Bike Race Story

The BC Bike Race  went into it’s 10th edition this year and has grown into one of the Worlds premier MTB stage races.    Starting on Vancouver Island, racing across Powell River, the Sunshine Coast, North Vancouver, Squamish and finishing in Whistler it is a great tour of the Canadian West Coast.  This year was exceptionally exciting as we tested our new redesigned Kona Hei Hei DL race bikes and prototype Shimano XTDi2 electronic shifting.BCBikeRaceLogo-586x640

For the trip my Kona teammate Spencer Paxson and I teamed up with his buddy and housemate Stephen Ettinger. We travelled together in my old work truck for the course of the week, staying with our Kona teammatess across the coast and trying to tear each other’s legs off.  Both these guys were late additions to the race as they were vying for the USA Olympic team spot but came up short in spots # 2 and 3, as the USA only qualified one rider .  This added a great dynamic to the race as the lead group was already loaded up with defending champ Tristan Uhl, French Marathon Champion Frederic, Squamish hero Quinn Moberg, my Euro buddies Anderl and Manuel, 12 time Tour de France legend Udo Bolts and a few others.  The tension was high going into stage one as we tackled a 30 minute climb in the rain to the top of the singeltrack in Cumberland to kick off the week.13613443_10153558703586193_5877821887883434430_o copy

Having scouted the trails back in June I fought hard to hit them first but came up short clipping a bar, doing a full 180 and losing the hole spot to a couple Euros.   These guys were good sportsmen  and let me by as I came storming back to regain the lead just before the first wet and rooty Furtherburger decent.  It was hard to be smooth, pin balling down the slick roots opening a small gap to the chase group. This lit a fire for the week as I’d stay out front for the rest of the day, eventually claiming a 45 second lead over the chasing trio of Paxson and Ettinger and Moberg.  It’s always nice to win the first stage as it goes along with claiming the Yellow leaders jersey.13603371_1215342528483997_3155851367266654938_o copy

Stage 2: Powell River-  Day 2 the trails are a little tamer with no real selective climbs so the race generally stays together.  We had a solid lead group of 8-10 riders enjoying the relentlessly flowing trails deep in the forests of Powell River. Putting in an effort towards the finish the lead group was dwindled down to 3 riders.  It turned into a rock-paper-scissors battle between Ettinger and Paxson to take the win with my teammate coming out on top and myself content to keep the jersey.

Stage 3: Earls Cove- Sechelt:  This has historically been the big day at BCBR with numerous short punchy fireroad climbs and a hard 15 km section of nice singletrack descending to the finish in Sechelt.  The legs were ok as Stephen, Quinn and Spencer stayed ahead for most of the stage.  I’d catch them on the last climb and put in a pre-race planned attack, gapping the boys by a minute going into the last descent.  Having recon’d the course with teammate Kris Sneddon, who grew up on these trails, I had an Ace in my hand heading down to the finish line.  Unfortunately a flat tire on the first part of the descent dropped me back to 4th.  Chasing back to the lead trio the days efforts were further derailed by a stick knocking my chain off with it ending in a knot around my crank.    It was like fishing line as the more I tried to undo it the the bigger knot it went into.  At the same time the rear tire started leaking sealant all over the place again. Gongshow…13603399_10153552771721193_4173310415300212455_o copy

Eventually the chain was untangled only to realize 6 links were bent.  Removing these and reconnecting it with a quick link the chain would barely fit around the hardest gear in the back and would allow me to single speed out.  1 more link and it would’ve been game over and a long depressing hike-a-bike.    I’m not sure why anyone would ever willingly ride a single speed bike as it’s like trying to race a nascar stuck in 2nd gear.  Thankfully the tire held up with one more blast of C02 and the last 8 km was mostly downhill.  Rolling in 6th, losing 5 minutes in the GC, and also the leaders jersey, but still within striking distance in the days to come.

Stage 4: Sechelt-Gibsons:  Heading into another solid day on the Sunshine coast the plan was to conserve energy then attack the last climb and hopefully stretch the lead on the long section of HWY 102 trail heading to the finish line.  This plan changed in the opening kilometres when the emotions got the better of me and I sent a hail mary on the first climb.  Sometimes you gotta go with your gut feeling and use the adrenaline rush’s when they come. Opening a gap the lead extended on the single-track descent along Chapman creek.  There was a long open fireroad up next which was troublesome to stay ahead with a group of 10 guys working together behind.  The lead would shrink down to as little as 20 seconds but a 2nd wind opened the throttle to attack on the last climb and extend the lead to just over 3 minutes by the finish. This closed the gap to within 1 minute of Paxson and Ettinger with 3 stages to go:  Game on!13737481_10153574199351193_8399818248976360055_o copy

Stage 5:  North Shore Vancouver:  This was a short and hard 15 km ripper behind one of our Kona boss’s, Richard Cox’s house.  We wanted to win this one for him so Spencer and I attacked the first climb, dropping everyone. Ettinger caught back on briefly so it was back on the gas a little harder, leading Paxson down the descent, dropping Ettinger and then we’d team up on the small road section to extend the lead.  On the final climb Paxson dropped back and I’d take the win by 35 seconds which really tightened up the overall standings with my teammate holding onto the leader’s jersey by just 22 seconds over myself and Ettinger a further 30 seconds back.

Stage 6: Squamish:  This was a big day in the race with the most climbing and a lot of technical singeltrack through the backwoods of Squamish, one of Canada’s premier riding areas.  Spencer and I came up with a game plan to try and lock up our 1-2 gc positions with him going off the front early with local hero Quinn Moberg, who we figured would be fired up to take his home town stage.  I’d sit back in the chase group and hopefully be able to attack them on the first climb going up 50 shades of green and drop our main competitior, Ettinger, and ride up to Spencer.

This plan worked brilliantly and soon team Kona was crushing it, 30 seconds behind Quinn but surely gaining on any riders behind us.  Things were going perfect until I started having wheel troubles, pulling into the first feed station for repairs.  Telling Spencer to keep riding, the pit stop was around a minute getting things sorted out before chasing back up to him.   From here we decided to keep working team tactics as there was a fair bit of fireroad riding between trail sections and then we could sort it out between the two of us later on in the stage.brohm-lake-1

In full control of our destiny we took the descents a bit slower to avoid any catastrophes.  This plan blew up in my face as the rear tire detonated going over a small rock on Pseudo Pseuga.  Dang, some years I go all year without a flat tire riding way harder, but this race I must’ve crushed a 4 leaf clover somewhere along the trail. Only having one tube and enough C02 to fix it once I stopped to do it right.  Spencer carried on as we could hear the other boys coming behind and needed to protect his yellow jersey.  Dropping down to 8th, losing 4-5 minutes  in the process, I’d eventually get rolling again with just under 20 km to the finish.

From here the only logical choice was full gas and try to limit the losses. It was either that or play it safe and be content with 3rd overall but that wasn’t what I came to the race for.  Crossing my fingers I rode the tubed tire with no remorse and miraculously it held up. The morel was at a tipping point after all the troubles but a girl I couldn’t recognize yelled some motivating words 1km from the line and reminded me to keep the throttle down.  Thanks whoever this was as it lifted the spirits 🙂    In the end it was the best of a worst situation,  coming in 4th &  putting another minute into Ettinger, but definitely losing some time to my teammate Spencer.

Stage 7: Whistler-  Heading into the final stage the race was up for grabs with Spencer up 1:13 on myself, and Ettinger just a further minute back.  It was a short 25 km stage so we had to watch Ettinger carefully as it was right up his alley, being a 1.5 hr sprint type race.  Again we worked together for the first half of the race taking turns leading and extending the gap to secure our 1-2 gc positions.  Hitting the first steep climb of the day our French rival Frederic headed to the front with Quinn while Spencer and I barely hung on.  It was nearly mission accomplished for us as we had a large gap to Ettinger and now it was time to battle it out amongst ourselves for the overall win.  Starting to get dropped with only 15 km to the finish, it was go time if there was any chance at reclaiming the yellow jersey.IMG_4997

It’s crazy how the body can respond as it went from from getting dropped into an adrenaline rush as I overtook the lead heading into the gnarly tunnel vision descent.  Here the gap continued to open, soon after popping out on a small road section. Sitting up a bit to let Quinn regain my wheel, we worked together before we hit the last large climb up Danimal then a rough descent to the finish at Alta lake.   Going over the top of the climb the lead moto gave the heads up that Spencer was 1:15 behind.  With just 5 km of descending to go this was going to be tight!

Soon after after a piece of mud flung up in my eye so I took a hand off the bar to try and remove my foggy glasses to see a bit better.  The front wheel hit something and next thing I was flying over the handlebars into a total yard sale.  Laying there in a pile beside the trail all I could think was “you gotta be f”””ng   kidding me”.     Knowing Spencer was close behind it was time to remount before he got a glimpse of what was happening.  My glasses were somewhere long gone in the bush but the real problem was the stem had knocked around 45 degrees making the bike unrideable.   Banging it against a tree and twisting it between my knees it was somewhat fixed . Hopping on I banged my upside down brake lever back into place then noticed the stem was still off 10-15 degrees but it would have to stay that way as it was all or nothing at this point.4966556-Cycling-crash-Stock-Vector-cartoon

The last part to the race was wild as the mind went into a 5th dimension, letting go of the brakes and forgetting anything I’d ever learned about risk management.  Quickly catching back up to Quinn, he showed great sporstmanship by giving up his chance of a stage win, pulling over to let me by as I continued to hone in on to the finish line.  It was the roughest and ugliest I’d probably ever ridden a bike but it was getting the job done.

Drifting out on the last gravel corner before the pavement I nearly lost it again but dragged a leg to regain composure and was soon sprinting full gas towards the finish line.  Starting to see stars I looked at the lead moto asking how far it was to go but he had no clue.  Oh dang, I thought as the body started to get dizzy and was in an unknown state.  Thankfully the finish line was just another 2 minutes up the road.  The countdown then started as 73 seconds needed to pass to gain the overall victory.  Quinn came in 20 seconds later and then time seemed to stand still as the seconds lingered by ticking over one at at time.  Eventually Spencer would roll in 2 minutes later.. Hell yeah!!!! Mission accomplished by 58 seconds!!  This victory  was especially rad after being on the brink of elimination a few times throughout the week and having put so much focus into the race over the months leading up to it.

Spencer has now been 2nd, 4 years in a row, but  we both deserved this Win. Working well together all week and getting the job done taking the top two steps on the podium for Kona.  He’ll get his time I’m sure.13692901_10153567984281193_665310781101697049_o copy

This race and the weeks and months leading up to it were a huge team effort.  Big thanks to the Sneddons, Dik & Cory, the Verners, Max Palxton and Petra for opening their homes to us over the week and to my teammates for the pre-rides on their hometown trails.  As always a huge thanks to my sponsors as without them these opportunities wouldn’t exist:  The Kona Bicycle group, Shimano, Jakroo, Wilderness Trail Bikes, Maxxis Tires, MRP Forks, GIRO, Smith Optics, Accent InnsFreewheel CycleStraight Up CyclesRuss Hayes bike shopBeet-It, Clif Bar, Balance Point Racing.

Off to my hometown trails in Jasper with my Euro buddies Anderl and Manuel for a week of training before Marathon National Championships in Quebec in a couple of weeks.

Over and out.

PS Thanks Erik Peterson for the finish line pictures and Mike Lowell from Shimano for the Trophy and wine shot.

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BC Bike Race

BC Bike Race has been one heck of a week thus far for  The Kona Bicycle Co...  The past 6 days have blown by as my teammate Spencer Paxson and his buddy Stephen Ettinger have journeyed together in my old pickup truck to  join the other 600 racers at the constantly moving carnival called the BC Bike Race.  Cumberland-Powell River-Sunshine Coast, North Van, Squamish and Whistler tomorrow.    13603399_10153552771721193_4173310415300212455_o copy

Stage 6 in Squamish today was an exciting one as Spencer Paxson and I worked some team tactics nicely together for the first part of the stage to help solidify our 1-2 gc lead over Ettinger. My day would go sideways from there having to stop at aid one to fix a wheel and then a slashed tire later on dropping way back.

From there it was a fight to get back up to Ettinger and the other boys. The body has been on fire this week although I must of squished a 4 leaf clover somewhere along the line as there have been a pile of mishaps putting a harness on nice fitness I’m currently riding.

Going into tomorrows stage it’s looking good for Kona as Spencer has the yellow Jersey, I’m 1 minute 13 seconds back in 2nd and Stephen Ettinger is a further minute back in 3rd.   Looking forward to one last kick at the can during Stage 7 in Whistler tomorrow to cap what has been one hell of a roller coast ride.. Big Thanks to my sponsors: Kona Bicycle CO Shimano MTB Accent Inns Beet-it Sports Canada  Freewheel Cycle Jasper, Balance Point Racing, Straight up Cycles and Russ Hayes.

Race Reports and Results can be found here:  http://www.bcbikerace.com

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Nimby 50- A Canadian Classic

logoThe Nimby 50 in the mountains surrounding Pemberton BC claims to be a “technical marathon mountain bike race.”  At only 37 km it is rather short but it’s the toughest most epic 37 km I’ve ever raced as the course is dominated by tough single track lacing down steep mountainsides and over rocky outcroppings. The climbs are full of pristine switchbacks while the descents are gnarly and full of edge of your seat moments.  It’s the most savage XC MTB course I’ve scene in North America and is a must do for anyone into real backcountry mountain biking.  To make things more interesting for the race’s 7th year it was 6 degrees and raining throughout the day which added another element to a memorable day.IMG_5035

Friday was a good pre-ride of the course with the Sellwood Cycle Kona crew from Oregon. For the night we headed  into the forests surrounding Mosquito lake for a night of bonfires, country music and camping.  Generally after a night of camping I’ve had some of my best races as the natural setting seems to re-balance the system, a big part of it I figure is being away from all the electrical currents which have taken over the airspace’s in our modern lives.

Race day started out with a 10 minute fireroad climb with a $100 prime at the top before a descent back down to the valley floor before starting the long 100 switchback climb up to the paraglide launch.  Quinn Moberg (Rocky Mountain) was climbing strong, 2015 race winner and former XC National Champion Ricky Federau took chase in his baggy shorts while I settled into a nice groove with my Kona teammate Kris Sneddon chasing behind.

 

At the start of the climb a bunch of riders blew by me as they seemed pretty keen to get up the mountain.  My climbing legs weren’t in action at the start of the day so I settled into a sustainable pace knowing some energy would be needed late in the race as that is where things get interesting with a bunch of short punchy climbs.

The Nimby is a tough ride as after the 50 minute climb up Nimby trail there is a sketchy descent down Overnight Sensation before traversing into the mosquito lake part of the course which includes about 45 minutes of steep climbing and technical trails to the finish.    Kris and I worked well together with him leading the rough descents while I took over on the climbs, limiting our losses to the leading duo who we finally caught glimpses of heading into the Mosquito lake part of the course.  IMG_5039

We upped the tempo and latched onto the leading duo with 10 km to the finish on a small fire road climb.  It was tactical battle as after the fire road followed 5 km of technical single track before 2 km flat gravel road to the finish.  Ricky was decending faster then us, Quinn had been stronger on the climbs but we were out descending him.

Doing some quick math I figured I better put in a good dig and get into the singeltrack first which should eliminate Quinn but I would need at least a 15 second gap to hold off Ricky.  A good power surge gained the position I was looking for and with my new Kona Hei Hei DL race bike I’ve gained some descending skills which helped hold off a charging Ricky with a 5 second gap heading into the 2 km home stretch of fireroad.  It was game over for Ricky at this point as I set it on cruise control to take my first Nimby 50 title 🙂hero

Somedays you can power away in races while other days you need to sit back and treat it like a chess match.  The Nimby was a chess match this year and it was a bonus to sneak out a win as the fitness will only be going up from here.

 

Heading down to my friends Dave and Thea Mcnaught in Coquitlam after the race was a good way to end the day and set up for the BC Road Provincials in Aldergrove in the morning.  Going from one of the rowdiest MTB races in North America to riding around in circles on the roads of the lower mainland was a yawner but it did provide a great training day over the 132 km course.  The legs took a couple hours to come around but felt good towards the end as the 50 rider field sprinted up a 1 minute climb to the finish.  My positioning was out to lunch heading into the finish but the legs had some juice to power up to take around a top 10 spot which put a cap on a solid weekend and will surely put some fitness in the bank for later on in the summer.IMG_5050

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Around the World

Last October after the 24 Hour World Solo Championships in California I took a break from racing to fix one chink in the armour
and had my eyes Lazer corrected at King Lasik in Victoria BC.  A lengthy recovery, combined with a broken finger built into 6 weeks off the bike. The body took kindly to this down time to recharge from a busy few years and bounced back stronger then ever. The eyes have been fluctuating but tend to still be on the upward trend approaching 20/20.    Starting with the Tour of Costa Rica during the last 2 weeks of December its been full steam ahead racing 35 days between then and mid April.IMG_1703

 

Following Costa Rica it was onwards to Australia to eat some Kangaroo and get the body fired up for an assault on NZL races.  All primed it was off to New Zealand to meet my teammates for the 7 day Pioneer stage race across the southern Alps. This was a highlight of the year as we road far into the NZL Alps an enjoyed some classic moments as Team Kona.

Next up was reuniting with my friend Tarrren to take on the 24 hour Solo Worlds Champs in Rotorua on the North Island of NZL.  She looked after the pit crew along with Jason, Justin and Dion and we came oh so close to taking down 7 time World Champ Jason English.  There’s only 4 more minutes to improve before the World Champs in Italy next June and that title will be in different hands 🙂

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The weeks to follow in New Zealand were near perfect as we soaked in the last days of the NZL summer and drove around the North Island visiting friends, hitting races and soaking in the natural beauty of the land.

My buddy Ondrej Slezak joined me to tackle to Kiwi Crusade during this time but that was a rather unforgettable gongshow.  We are making plans to re-unite to tackle a real race in the future, maybe somewhere down in South Africa..  Ending the New Zealand journey at the Southern Hemispheres longest running MTB race with the Karipoti Classic was a good sendoff as Tarren hopped a jet back to Australia and I took off to Vietnam to defend a title at the Vietnam Victory Challenge.  The defence was a success with possibly the strongest legs I’ve ever had as they seemed to have been brought a new life after the downtime last fall.

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With a pile of racing in the bank my buddy Simon and I headed off too Northern Vietnam, Laos and Thailand for 3 weeks of bike touring and soaking in the Asian lifestyle up there.  We road a pile of kilometres, ate a lot of fresh fruit and experienced a wild part of the World. Riding around with Apidura bike packing bags sure let us travel fast and hard.  Our time in Asia came to an end and Simon took off back to the land of maple syrup and I jetted off to India to tackle a week long race across the Himalayan foothills in the Uttarakhand province boarding Nepal.  It was a wild 2.5 weeks across India, full of crazy days but ended in a hiccup as I caught a case of Dehli belly.  The body called for a recovery period in a first world country so off to Australia it was.

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The last 3 weeks in Australia served its purpose and has left the body semi-recharched and the mind ready for the 2nd half of the race year.  Martin and Juliana, Peter and Nancy, Ondrej and Hanna, and Todd all opened there homes and treated there Canadian visitor with some great times and some solid food to fix a broken system.

Its unreal to be on the other side of the World yet to feel right at home which is only possible with great friends such as these.  Australia was also full of some good riding which has left the body primed to take on the Canadian portion of the season.  A couple races were mixed into the scene as well which will help with the process of getting back into top form.  Sometimes you need to put your ego on hold and take races as good opportunities for motivating training rides.  These races reminded me a little more R&R is in need which will be taken care of back on home soil:)

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Sitting here at Sea Tac airport in Seattle waiting for the the final flight to Victoria tonight the mind is in a peaceful state, ready for some Canadian time to regroup and set off on the next round of adventures.  This week the body will be on full recharge mode before heading off to Vancouver to pick up some fresh Kona bikes then onwards to Salmon Arm  for some camping and racing at the Salty Dog 6 Hour Enduro 🙂

Huge thanks to everyone who has made this last trip around the World possible as without all the friends and support who have stepped up this journey wouldn’t be half of what it was.  I haven’t forgotten the kindness and good times and will be looking forward to the next visit wherever it may be, hopefully you all make it to Canada one day for a feed of Maple Bacon 🙂

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Uttarakhand Himalayan MTB Race (India)

Sitting in my hotel room in Chiang Mai Thailand recovering from  3 weeks of solid base miles with my buddy Simon bike touring across Northern Vietnam and Laos an unexpected invitation came in.   My friend Yeti from India was helping with a 2nd year race and was looking for some international riders to come and take part too help develop the event.  It was a split second decision but off to India it was for the 7 day, 630 km Uttarakhand MTB Himalayan Challenge!LOGO-900x444

The Uttarakhand Himalayan MTB Challenge, put on by the Indian Department of Tourism in association with the Cycling Federation of India had two goals:  promote tourism and grow Cycling in India.  It was a nice race to support as there are zero entry fees for its 100 competitors which allowed 80 local Indians a chance to race there bikes for a week and another 20 International riders from Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, USA, New Zealand and myself form Canada to experience one wild ride across a beautiful part of the World.

India is an incredible country with over 1.25 Billion people and a history which reaches back 5 millennia. Our first stopover was the countries capitol of New Delhi which inhabits a population the size of Australia inside its boundaries.  It’s one crazy ass place with everything imaginable squeezed in there including some old castles and impressive historic monuments. It can now12963724_10153384664711193_2890858111245580554_n also stake claim to the Worlds worst air pollution, over 3 times worse then Beijing which is pretty screwed its self.  12 hours was enough to digest a lifetime of bad air as we got the heck out of there and headed up to the mountain town of Nanitial, just 280 km away.  In Canada this drive would take 3 hours, in India it takes over 9 hours as the streets are a spectacle themselves with everything and the kitchen sink on there.  At one point my mind was getting overwhelmed by all the action so I closed my eyes, only to reopen them to a giant billboard falling on a shed beside the motorway.  Oh boy, here we go..

The racing itself was stunning as the mountainous landscapes in Uttarakhand made for some wild race courses as the roads constantly wound themselves around mountains, over passes, through river gorges and past bustling mountain towns. Often we’d climb for 35-40 km, followed by epic descents, knowing around each corner could be our destiny with the end time if we didn’t ride wisely. There was never a quiet moment in India and this sort of racing on open Indian road ways required 100% attention.  On day 1 our biggest competition from India, Sachin, was wiped out by a jeep, breaking his bike into three pieces and launching himself down a mountainside.  Miraculously he woke up 3 hours later in a hospital with no recollection of the wreck, and also no serious injuries.  The next day Sachin hopped on a 35 lb, 100$ Wal Mart bike, wrecked himself again on the first descent, hopped up and went on an attack for 2 hours before we finally caught him again.  After this stage we nicknamed our relentless and determined friend “Crash.”13029507_10153392269591193_7454978529930189018_o-2

Every night we were put up in local lodging and dished up local Indian Cusiian. It usually worked out but after winning stage two heading into the mountain top town of Gwaldam we checked into a sketchy hotel on the edge of town.  For lunch we headed out back to what looked like a chicken coup and were served up a number of different Indian Curries.  Taking one look at the operation I told my travel partners Thomas Turner, Justin Price and Adrien Retief that we were rolling the dice with this meal.  Sure enough my dice rolled the wrong way and the next 24 hours was spent either on the toilet or running to a toilet.13055666_10153392325141193_1791765154525057768_o

Unfortunately stage 3 was the Queens stage and had over 150 km of racing.  The first 70 km was flat or downhill which allowed me to dangle off a large lead group, the only thing keeping me in there was seeing the Indians on there Wal Mart bikes and flat pedals which seemed rather inspiring.  Turning into stubborn mode for the 2nd half of the stage I pushed through the stomach grumblings to take the stage win but at the same time also pushed my body into emergency shut down mode.

Another round of spicey curry knocked me out for good and for the next 2.5 weeks my body has been in the hurt locker with heart rates above 130 causing meltdowns.  I could sense this was coming after the last 4 months of great racing and travelling through Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and now India.  I know better then to head to a country like India for a race when the empty tank signal is on the dash board but I have a tough time sitting still when theres adventures to be had.12983927_10153385238481193_4635075081108415717_o

For the rest of the race I tired to avoid the broom wagon and had an interesting time riding with the mid packers. These guys are the spirit of the sport of mountain biking, always with smiles on there faces as they do there best with whatever crappy bikes and food they have to power them through these long days.

Trying to find rest during stage races is tough at the best of times and in India its near impossible as the Indians love there noise with people honking there horns, dogs barking, chickens squacking and churches belting out religious statements 24/7.  Once in a while it would be quite enough to sleep for a bit but any sleep would be awoken at 4:45 am by the Chai tea guys.    WTF, in what World does someone want Chai tea at this time!?  We would unhook our doorbells, put ear plugs in and ask politely for no Chai tea but every morning these guys would show up all smiley faced and wouldn’t back down until they got an answer.  It was hard not to come out swinging at these early hours but we managed to hold back.13002437_10153392266866193_3406381992568881274_o

Sleep deprived, full of early morning Chai tea and still sporting a volcanic stomach I pulled my camera out and switched into tourist mode for the last couple stages.  It sure is surprising how much more you see when you’re not in race mode.  This part of India was especially astounding with waterfalls, thick forests and the entertainment of watching the locals do there daily routines on the side of the roads.  It’s something tough to explain as the street action in India is like no other place I’ve been on earth.

In the end a couple tough Mongolian Roadies would take spots 1 & 3, Thomas Turner from the USA was 2nd, Adrien Retief from NZL in 4th and myself managing to stay in 5th thanks to gaining loads of time on the first few stages.

This trip turned into a rough one but I’ve never had a regret heading out on an adventure  as every day is an entertaining learning experience when you’re some place new.  The Indians sure looked after us good this trip and left us with a positive image of there country.  The drive back to Delhi we saw our lives flash before our eyes a few times but we made it.  The day after I was full steam ahead hopping on a jet plane headed to Australia to settle down for a bit to regain some health in a 1st World country before tackling the rest of the season.uttarakhand-india

Next up is one of Australia’s Iconic Marathons, the 100 km Convict on the outskirts of Sydney.  This one will either go really good from over compensation or really bad if the body resembles anything from this Indian adventure.  After that it’s back to my favourite country of them all to kick off the Canadian portion of the race year 🙂 !

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