Bow 80

I’m not sure where the last month went but it has been a pretty rad rollercoaster.   After Mongolia I headed home to the Rockies with Lilla for some wind down time at my Dads farm just outside the village of Mcbride.   A few hikes in the mtns some rounds around the hay field in the tractor and then it was off to Hinton to get ready  for the Alberta Provincial XC and Marathon weekend.

Provincials went off without a hitch and I was lucky enough to come away with two (XC, MX) new Provincial Jerseys to sport next yr!

Next up was ticket time.  AKA, money grab courses to get myself ready to head up to the oilfields. $ 1000 later I was equipped with  H2S, First Aid, and a Chainsaw ticket and off to Whitecourt to start my career as a Faller on the Seismic lines.

Time flies.  And now its sept 21st and I havn’t done a proper write up in over a month.   I blame work.  After having not worked more then a week in the past two yrs I finally got back to bussiness and am doing my part to keep Canada’s economy going.  My buddy Daniel Vanderswan from Valemount hooked me up with a sweet gig up on the oilfields playing around with quads and chainsaws.  Basically we run around in the woods cutting down trees and making trails so the jugheads and drillers can come in behind us and search for oil.  It is rad. 

Even radder was getting a couple days off after a 12 day shift to go race the Bow 80 down near Calgary.  This race is always  a favorite of mine and this yr was no different.    I got myself out to an early lead before pulling over to deal with a flat tire issue.  By the time I got things togethar again there was a 6 minute gap to the leaders.  My oil field legs cried as we tried to chase down the leaders and pretty soon I was at a 10 minute deficit.  After 2.5 hrs of racing the legs eventually woke up and we managed to close the gap to under 3 minutes and get back up into 2nd place.  I couldn’t quite track down  race leader Mike Vine as he was riding well on the day, and it sounded like he even got lost a couple times and still pulled off the victory.  Nice work Mike.  

Check out John Gibsons Pictures and Report of the race! 

Driving back up to Whitecourt after the race was a mission.  I bonked hard 1 hr from town.  The next day I was pretty average at work but thats an advantage of being on day wage.  2 more weeks of work and then its a 13 day training blitz to try and get ready for a little racing over in Malaysia.   

As this race report was pretty quick I have brought back a little report from the last Bow 80 in 2009.

 Between pit stops, highway construction, a crazy rainstorm over rogers pass and a 1 hr time change our perfect schedule ran ontime like a ukraniane wedding as we rolled into Bragg creek at 4 am. We were hoping to party with the Bow cycle guys at there end of season bash but they were being good race organizers instead of hardcore partiers as they had already gone to bed. With the race starting at 7:30 we figured sleep was a good idea and pulled our sleeping bags out and slept in a meadow. At 4:45 it began to rain and soon after Simon took off for the truck and I moved below a large pine tree for shelter. At 5:30 the rain began dripping through the tree. I tried to think like a fish and enjoy the wetness of my soaked sleeping bag but I’m not a fish and was soon off to the pickup to find Simon. At this point we were both not super stoked. The next hr was spent contemplating our decision making skills and searching around my truck in 2 weeks of piled up gongshowness to find our riding gear and food. After being told I couldn’t race by the lady at the sign up desk then being allowed to race as the other lady remembered me from last season I made it to the line just in time to head off with the other racers to try and defend my title from last yr.

Early on I realized the day was going to be hard work as the internal racing system was short circuiting and I felt more like a 13 yr old hockey player with a concusion playing in the 6 am sunday morning game of a five game tounament than a biker. Probably too my advantage the weather on the day was short circuiting worse than I was and the light drizzle we left in was a full on downpour and pretty soon frosty began spitting large snowflakes down at us. I was super stoked as I hadn’t been in the snow in over 16 months but that feeling was overiddened by an odd numbness which would take over for the rest of the day. If it was a treeplanting day we would’ve planted for a half hr to make camp costs and then started lighting things on fire. This was a bike race though and Brian Cooke and Brian Bain were riding hard for the win. Cooke would drop off but Bain was taking advantage of my concussed hockey player riding skills on the technical sections and I was clawing back on the climbs. With 15 km to go Bain and I were riding togethar and he was looking really strong. Soon after we began running up most the climbs to stay warm and coasting slower on the downhills to prevent wind chill. It was fricken cold.

Just when I thought Bain was going to drop me, he instead froze up and vanished like frosty in a snowstorm.  His 1% body fat wasn’t doing the trick where my extra insulation came in pretty handy.  Riding alone in the lead now, I did a sketchy endo in a hub deep mud puddle but felt zero pain when I landed thanks to my numbed body. Pretty cool I thought, I was now a feelingless human pin ball but somehow the legs still went around which was nice. With .5km to go from the finish I came to a sign reading “Tom’s Snow re-route”, pointing right off the main trail.  I figured some guy named Tom had made a re-route to shorten the course due to the snow. Apparantly it wasn’t the right way as after a while I finally re-connected to the real trail to find myself in 2nd place with Brian Cooke 20 ft ahead. Feeling like Frosty the snowman on drugs I chased up to him and said “Hey”, he looked back confused asking “what???what the hell are you doing here??”. “I’m cold.” I responded as I sprinted ahead to take a 36 second victory to defend my Gold Buckle from last yr.

At the finish line I was escorted bye Mrs.Bain to the medical trailer where Brian Bain and I would spend the next 1 hr curled up in sleeping bags, drinking hot coco and acting like drunk 13 yr old concussed hockey players. As the day wore on only 40 of the 180 riders would finish as the other 140 were either pulled or had enough logic to pull themselves from the snowy gongshow. My buddy Simon spent his race leap frogging from warm car to car to keep warm as he was determined to make it two for two on the weekend as well. By the time the last rider crossed the line the sun poaked through the clouds but sadly enough there would be no ice cream cakes or swimming in lakes with hot girls this day.

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