Day 6—Stage 5, Sechelt
I awoke this morning to sea gulls squawking outside the
window—at 5am! After closing the window and burying my head under a pillow I
dozed off only to be roused by the neighbors about doing laps in their room
with bike shoes. This went on for two hours until I finally got up at seven
with an hour to prepare for the start. Apparently these folks were foreigners,
because every Canadian I know takes their shoes off indoors!
Today is Canada Day when the folks here celebrate their
nation like we do on the Fourth of July. Unfortunately, the weather decided to
rain on the parade and it was pissing by the time I left the motel. For those
who don’t know, I despise riding my bike in the rain and today was going to be
no exception. The skies continued to open and as soon as we rolled off the
start our bath began with a trip through some city streets and onto a sandy
gravel climb through the local dump.
Folks were off their bikes, walking up the hill and the
stench was hardly dampened by the rain. Thankfully Sechelt dump is small and
even the local bears were staying under cover. The next obstacle was a thigh
deep creek crossing that pretty much was the literal icing on my cake. I was
soaked and cold and incredibly unmotivated to ride my bike fast or at all for
I distracted myself from my imminent demise by attempting to
clean as much of the endless super-steep uphill singletrack. This worked for a
while and I passed a few others, but my frigid body slowed as it preferentially
produced body heat over wattage. Riding with one-and-a-half leg power has been
hard this week, but as I approached the single leg mark, I was continually
forced off the bike by the countless roots and rocks, which littered the
impossible grades in a maddening puzzle.
Frustration collaborated with the cold and fatigue to foil
every effort to establish any sort of rhythm and I seemed to be off my bicycle
as much as on. My heart rate slowed to less than 120bpm and I stopped for a
Honey Stinger shot and Red Bull chaser with no effect. I was beyond gone, in
the hurt box and fully thrashed. A shadow of my usual strength and stamina was
all that was left and I became aware that it was going to be a long, slow
struggle to the finish line at Langsdale Ferry.
I made it thanks to grim determination and the endless
encouragement from my fellow riders. That is what rocks about racing—we all are
super competitive, but most of us are also keenly empathetic to the woes of a
failed body and sooner or later when the music stops we all find ourselves without
a chair in this game.
Today is a historic day for Canada, but it won’t be one I
will look back on fondly. History did NOT repeat itself with a result similar
to the 2007 BC Bike Race for me. However, the route was brutally hard and at
the same time rewardingly awesome! The conditions were near epic and Jason
Sager and all the other category winners showed us that the stage can be won in
an amazingly short amount of time. Hopefully tomorrow will be spring like and
bring fair weather and new life to my legs in time to enjoy some of the great
riding around Squamish.
Take care and ride on!