BC Bike Race

The BC Bike Race Journey began last Friday boarding a ferry to Vancouver with 1 Kona Hei Hei Supreme, 2 stuffed North Face duffel bags full of race gear, and a backpack full of food and drinks to get through the 7 day race week.    Trying to get off the elevator to unload my excessive gear on the upper deck  I was swarmed by 9 foreigners shoving there way onto the elevator.  Knocking two Stevia pops off the side of my pack which hit the ground hard with one puncturing into an exploding grenade of sticky gongshow.  This created a path really quickly as the crowders tried to give me the staire down as they got drenched in pop, I really didn’t care as they caused the commotion and now they were paying for it.  Getting out of there I could hear a bunch of swearing as the elevator was now overloaded and the original people on the elevator were getting annoyed at the fact the elevator was now overloaded and the door couldn’t close.  Tension escalated and F bombs started to drop, I was done with the situation, until a old man in a walker came up and tore a piece off everyone telling them to shut it, grow up and show some respect to each other.  I put down my things and backtracked into the situation in case things went sideways for the elderly man.  Everyone shut up, got out of the way, the old man and his lady got on the elevator and we all continued our ferry ride in peace.  I was impressed with the respect the crowders all of a sudden showed after being such douche bags.

Once we finished up registration in North Vancovuer, Kris and I headed to Dik’s house in deep cove for a huge pre race feed and games of corn hole in the backyard.  Dik has been with Kona for 24 years and has been calling a lot of shots for a long time keeping things in line with the company.  Listening to his race stories from the years past was a perfect way to kick off a week of hard racing.  Saturday morning Dik took Kris, Spencer and I on a couple hour pre-ride on his North Shore trails to hone our skills before catching up with Dave and heading off to Wendy and Norms house in Nanaimo for one last sleep before Stage 1 in Cumberland on Sunday.

10 minutes before Stage 1, Kris starting pissing on the Back tire of the Kona truck, right where I had my bottles hidden in a cool shady spot. “What the hell Kris!” I yelled,    Oh, don’t worry Cory its just the tire.  “No dude, you pissing on my bottles behind the tire!”.  Whaaat? oh shiit!  I’m so sorry Cory I didn’t see them”.      My bottles were soaked in Kris Piss, and the problem was that race start was right now and the mixes I put in my bottles are pretty complex and take a while to construct.  Kris hosed off my bottles with water and gave them a quick wipe down and off to the start we headed.

The goal this week was to get Kona on top of the podium, not last years winner Neal Kindree or anyone else.  Spencer Paxson, Kris and I were all riding really well coming off our Euro trip.   In the back of our heads though we all knew Kris was our team leader this week as he has dominated the BC Bike Race in years past and is unstobbale on the west coast trails out here.  Heading into the first trails I took the lead of the 550 rider field setting a steady tempo chopping the lead group down 6 riders,  Kris, Spencer, Kindree, Matt Hadley, Eric (The Great Dane), and myself.  Coming out of the trails we hit the only real gravel road climb of the week, a 350 meter vertical road heading up to the top of forbidden plateau.  This looked like a mere pimple after the 3000 meter vertical days we were doing over in Euroland.  We spent he bottom half of the climb testing each other out then near the top we started making the race hard for everyone as we knew if we started early enough in the race that we could likely wear some of the riders out as the week went on.  Neal chased down my first attack, then let the second one go as he could clearly see we were launching a team attack against him.  Heading over the top of the climb with a 30 second gap I hit the hairy decent down forbidden plateau with Kris and Hadley catching up half way down.  From here Kris would ride in for the victory claiming the yellow leaders jersey, Kindree would fight back for 2nd, Spencer third and myself in 5th.  Mission accomplished.  Now time to defend the Jersey.

Day two started much the same with us throwing down attacks against Kindree with him responding to every one.  Pretty soon we were a lead group of 6 again as we hit the rough trails in Campbell rivers Snowden forest.  Here things got interesting as Kris burped his tire and had to stop and re-air it, giving Kindree a 45 second lead with Hadley and Eric helping the cause.  Spencer stayed with these guys and I stayed back with Kris to help him chase back on. At one point we were down 1:15, thus putting him out of the yellow jersey.  We buried ourselves for 20+ minutes  with Kris catching  back up to the boys at the end of the first Enduro and myself coming off just before that and finally catching up just 20 km from the finish.  From here my race took a nose dive as Kindree attacked and I was gassed.  Struggling to stay on I clipped my pedal on a log going 30 km/hr+, launching over the bars and landing on my face.  My brain was rattled good. I hadn’t had that feeling since being rocked in Junior hockey 8 years ago.  Stumbling back on my bike I started checking for missing teeth and broken bones but everything seemd alright, until I went to pedal and felt the back of my left calve ready to explode.  I have no recollection of what nailed my leg in the crash but it left a solid contusion.  Trying to save my race I made it to the line just losing over a minute to the leaders which was a good sign my body was alright, I thought.  The medics took a look at me and were a little worried about my head but nothing over the top and gave me some acupuncture to release the tension in the left swollen calf.

Day three we continued our attacks with Spencer launching the first couple then myself coming up with a solid one launching into the lead for 20 minutes while Kindree, Eric and Hadley charged hard to catch on while my Kona teammates chilled.  From here we road as a group of 6 before hitting the first Enduro section of the day with Kris stringing us out going down it.  Trying to chase back on at the bottom I was pushing hard and road into a dip, missing a log bridge and going over the bars really hard.  Spencer was hot on my wheel and was stunned at the force of the fall.  Being a great teammate he gave up the chase of the leaders and stayed with me for close to a minute to make sure I was alright and had no broken bones etc.   Luckily for me I had time to get my arms out to help ease the crash and was left with just a couple scraped elbows and a bleeding goose egg on the left shin.  I still don’t know how I missed the bridge which scared me a little as my reaction times seemed a bit off after the nose dive the day before.  This time coming into the finish I lost over 6 minutes as I struggled hard to get my wind back and get the legs going after the spill.  Kris lost 30 seconds to Kindree in this day but was still in the Yellow Jersey by around 20 seconds.  At the finish Greg from Shimano looked into my eyes and told our mechanic Dave that I was a little out in space and concussed.  Greg was an all star hockey player making it to the pro level and dealt with a lot of concussions himself so seemed to have a good idea what was going on.

Days 4 and  5 on the Sunshine coast were dominated by Kris.  This was his home turf and he showed his dominance, not only winning both stages, but also beating all the downhill guys in the Enduro sections.  This was an unreal accomplishment as usually the XC guys are really tired hitting these sections and are more focused on the overall, not these intermediate downhill time sections.  Meanwhile a lot of the downhillers have dropper seat posts, bigger tires and focus all there energy for these brief sections focusing there races around them.    My race came unglued on these stages as I fought headaches all day and was having a tough time staying on trail as my balance and coordination had vaporized into the air.  At the end of stage 5 after losing 15 minutes to the leaders, the medics came over to the Kona trailer and asked me to stop by there Medic tent for a follow up to check my head.  I have had concussions before in hockey and had been worried about my head the last couple days having the feeling if I hit it again it could be catastrophic.  Being a stubborn bike racer I was trying to avoid the facts of the situation.  The Medics were pro and told me straight up they were very concerned as I had all the symptoms of a Concussion and told me to abandon the race.  This was a lot to swallow so I told them I would decide over the night.  That night I spent a good portion of time calling friends and looking up concusion info/symptoms on the internet.  It was becoming pretty blatant that the Medics were right.  Waking up in Squamish with the head still pounding I made the call to pull out of my first stage race ever.  It would be my first DNF in 25 stage races (176 race days).  Not a very good feeling, especially with Kris and Kindree in such a tight battle for 1st and knowing that Squamish and Whistler have always been the best days for me in the past.  I wasn’t too worried about Kris though as he was riding amazing and I new if he stayed healthy and out of trouble the race was his.  Having his other lieutenant Spencer Paxson also racing great, it made it easier to put the bike away and  start the recovery process.

Kris would go on to win both the Overall race and the Enduro, with Wendy Simms doing the same on the ladies side.  Both amazing accomplishments and a huge testament to the Kona Hei Hei 29’rs they were riding.  Spencer would claim second after Neal Kindree also abandoned the race due to a stomach ailment.  All in all it was a stellar week for Kona.  Nice work guys and a huge thanks to our mechanic Dave for the endless support all week keeping our bikes and us together!

Nearing a week off the bike I’m starting to get anxious to get going again.  I have always tried to battle through injuries but head injuries are a different game.  This one is going to get rested properly before I start mountain biking again.  The doctors suggested 10 days to 2 weeks minimum which I will respect before hopefully being able to get fired up again for the 2nd half of the year which has potential to be unforgettable!  Time to hole up for a while and let things settle down.

One Comment on “BC Bike Race”

  • Team DURP July 9th, 2013 8:58 pm

    Sorry to hear about your crash and head. Hope all is good and you are good to go for the 2nd half of the year. Always looking forward to hearing about your next race experience! Keep up the good work.

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