Sunday, July 6, 2008

Post Sleep Race Re-cap - The Good the Bad and the Ugly

The Ugly
That’s me! Bruised, scratched, bitten and baggy! I only remember one real fall, and that was on day 1 – a wipe out on a rock slab descent that resulted in one scabby knee I had to carry with me the rest of the week. The rest of the bruises and scratches I don’t really remember where I got them, but I look like a victim of domestic violence, only most of the damage is on my legs. I have so many mosquito bites on my ass it looks like small pox could be making a come back! At least the itching has taken my mind off my saddle sores. And as for the bags under my eyes, I don’t’ think I could fly right now without having to check them into the baggage hold.

The Bad
The worst part of this race for me was pulling out only 15Km from the end on day 2. Seeing a good friend and riding buddy succumb to the effects of heat and dehydration was devastating for both of us. This was the right decision to make, but oh so hard. So close we could smell the end, but any further and we could have been taking a helicopter out of there instead of a truck. Sometimes it takes as much (if not more) strength to quit as it does to continue on blindly ignoring reality. I will always respect Terry for this smart decision. I was so sorry have lost my team mates though.

The 2nd day was also the worst ever mountain bike race day I’ve ever had as far as terrain is concerned. 125Km of dirt road does not the ‘ultimate singletrack’ experience make! Only marginally better was day 1 and 3 with more singletrack, but plenty of it was unrideable because of it being either freshly cut or log-jammed with racers as it was too soon after the start for racers to thin out. I think the race should be re-named ‘The Ultimate Wait for Singletrack’, because we didn’t really get good singletrack until day 5. This is regrettable because I don’t think I’d go back to Victoria to ride given what we rode. I’m sure there are better trails there, but maybe they are trying to keep the good stuff to themselves?!

The Good
New team mates! I couldn’t have finished the race without being picked up by another person lacking a partner, or a team willing to become a team of 3. Eric and Christie took me on as an addition to their team and for that I will be forever grateful. As a team of 3 we still had to abide by the ‘not being more than 2 minutes apart’ rule so we had to learn how to ride together as a team. I think we managed this pretty successfully and I think I only swore at Eric a couple of times for ribbing me about being in my granny gear on a couple of climbs! He was only pissed off because he couldn’t climb so slowly through the throng of hike-a-bikers on some of the climbs. He had to resort to fancy trials skills, doing track stands and hopping around, not ‘real’ biking ;-) Christie was a real champion and however many racers overtook her on the climbs she pulled back that many and more on the descents. Now that’s real mountain bike racing!
I knew the racing through Squamish and Whistler would be good, I can now include most of the sunshine coast too. Some unbelievably good singletrack that I’ll be playing through in my dreams for a long time.

A stage race like BCBR isn’t just about getting on your bike and racing. It’s everything around the racing too. It’s being ready for the next day, having bike and body in good enough shape to do it again, and again and again. I can truly say that I could not have done this race without the support of Chris – the real unsung hero of the week, taking on every task to keep us going through the week. Champion bike mechanic (I never had one mechanical issue – the burped air from my front tire on day one was solely due to my bad lines on the trail), cook, and bottle washer, he was there doing it all. THANK YOU CHRIS. I don’t think Terry realized how hard this job was until he spent some time with Chris on the ‘other side’. Chris deserves his sleep of a ‘King’ today.

Stay posted for more pictures to be published and a video when my ‘King’ awakes later today.


Anonymous said...

Awesome so pleased you managed to actually finish, & how lovely to find such smashing new friends.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mel, are you coming through Vancouver on your way home or are you already home? We'd love to see you. Caroline

unixbloke said...

Well done Sis nice to see to you got through it relatively unscathed and of course to Chris and Terry for their support. I'll stick to the scuba Diving thank-you much more relaxing.


Anonymous said...

Nice to have you back home...great job! John & Ellen