Bow 80

After resting for a week to let an inflamed leg tendon heal up I showed up in Jasper Sept 3rd for a mini training camp before the Bow 80. After three days of solid riding it was time for some tapering. Tapering (aka being lazy) is not one of my best virtues, esepecially when the weather is sunny and the trails are in mint condition.

Trying not to go stir crazy I headed off to Valemount for a couple days of blueberry picking and glacial ice baths with my friends Reiner and Ross. It was stellar, the deep freeeze is full of mtn blueberries for the winter and our stomachs were full of fresh Robson valley produce. Beets, beet greens, kale, potatoes, brocolli, cauliflower, and of course blueberries. It was the ultimate carbo load, but also a deadly mixture for the toilet. After destroying the toilet indoors, we elected to use the outhouse in the woods. I never though of an outhouse this way but they are bombproof when it comes to master dumps.

Friday night we had a massive sushi/veggie feed with a bunch of the Valemount locals and then it was off to Jasper to depack/ repack for the race weekend.

Saturday morning was repack time, bike ride, and then time to meet up with my Dad and his new fiancee Eileen. With a busy race year it isn’t often you get a chance to catch up with your family all the time so you got to take advantage of the opportunities when they arise. It was also “Warden Days” in Jasper that weekend so we opted to meet out at the Maligne horse range and catch up there. Pretty soon the afternoon was sliding by, and then Dad got asked by one of his old Warden buddies if we wanted to enter the horsepacking contest with him. Done. .

The horsepack race was a bit of a gongshow as two cowboys have to pack boxes on a horse, while the third one saddles another horse and then races around a field with the packhorse. In the first two heats there were 2 bucking broncos who sent there boxes into the trees, and another girl got yanked off her horse in dramatic fashion. We were in the third heat, after seeing all the chaos in the heats before, all we had to do was win our heat and not put on a gonghsow. Dad and his buddy Mike had the boxes on almost before I could get a saddle on my horse and then I was off. I hadn’t ridden in over year but the horses had it all figured. We crushed all the other Wardens and won. High fives with Dad and then it was time to head out as it was already 5 pm and there was a bit of a drive ahead.

Driving the icefields parkway from Jasper to Banff is unreal beautiful, especially in the evening when the road is quite and you can giverr. My Mom was working down at the icefields centre this summer and was the perfect place to stop in for a bite of supper before continiung on to Bragg Creek.

Trying to find a empty campsite around Bragg Creek on one of the last Saturdays of the summer wasn’t possible which I figured out with alot of driving around. Eventualy the ditch made for an alright campsite.

7:30 am: Race time. The race started hard as I wasn’t going to mess around after going out slow at Nationals and never really getting into the race. 500 ft off the line a young bull gave us a little head shake as we charged by him which helped kickstart the adrenal glands.

Leading 1hr into the race I came to an opening where a race volunteer was on the middle of a bridge pointing me to go right into a willow meadow. I knew from year’s before that we were suppose to stay on the trail but the volunteer disagreed and we got into a bit of an argument. With Mike Vine and Matt Hadley close behind I didn’t have alot of time to argue so I followed the guys directions into the Willows. It was unrideable and pretty soon myself, Mike & Matt were all togethar walking waist deep throught the willow patch with our bikes above our heads. It was a gongshow. I’m not sure what that race volunteer had in mind but I figure he had one or two too many beers the night before and was in rough shape that morning.

Back on course the three of us would ride togethar for the next 45 minutes which was perfect to eat up the little it of gravel road riding. Back on the trails we hit a decent climb up powderface where Mr.Hadley blew sky high, I took the lead, Mike took chase and that was the race. I did manage my first ever endo on a 29’r, going uphill at 10 km/hr over some roots. You know your semi-blown when you pull a move like this. It bent my stem around which was a quick fix and then it was off to the finishline to take down the course record by 16 minutes & reclaim the Bow 80 title after losing it to Mike the year before.

The rest of the day was solid as a bunch of us blown out bikers sat around the finish area eating an endless supply of sausages and watching other blown racers come in. The new Bow 80 course is a tough course for onlybeing 65 km, 2100 m of climbing and alot of rough trail.

Thanks Bob Grunewald and Bow Cycle for putting on one of the greatest races all year!
And for putting up a great prize purse. If there were more races like this one a guy could make a pretty decent living running around collecting cash pots..

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