Aimee’s Blog – BC Bike Race – Part 1

I can’t believe its done! When you spend over 8 months thinking, planning and training for an event when it is finally here it brings many emotions….all happy and all positive.

I have never spent so much time packing for an event. This is due to the fact that I was preparing for 7 days of bike racing but mainly because I wanted to ensure that my little guy was all set for a funfilled week and his grandparents had all they needed to provide comfort for Cooper without too many trips to the local convenience store.

The daily routine was generally like this:
Coop is up at 5-5:30am and we enjoyed some breakfast and play time before the grandparents would wake.  I would join the racers for transport if that was required that day and Coop would enjoy some fun and travel! This was the longest I would have been away from him…but he was unphased really.  My parents are well versed in childcare and are super grandparents (fit and energetic) and were excited about seeing new parts of the island and coast they hadn’t seen for a while.

When I finished racing they either met me at the finish line and then we headed to the hotel to check in.  I would spend time with Cooper and have dinner with him before he went to bed at 7 and I followed shortly.  My parents got to explore and have dinner on their own each night and brought me back some wholesome food for dinner which  Iwas happy with.  After racing and eating goo and bars a wholesame sandwich was usually all I craved. Although I did make an exception to my normal eating habits and had a coke and sometimes a bag of salt and vingar chips to get the quick sugar and some salt immediately after the race.  You always had to think about recovery for the next day and this definitely helped.

How it played out:
Registration on the Friday was quick and easy (I was impressed!).   I couldn’t believe the amazing swag we received for this event. An awesome Dakine suitcase and an overnight bag plus a new pair of Ryders sunglasses (with several to choose from) and more…

I took the ferry on Saturday with the other riders but in the minivan with Cooper.  It was nice to arrive in Parksville and have a good nights sleep at my parents place which is in a very serene and quiet area by the water.

Cooper woke up early and we enjoyed breakfast together before I packed up and was off to Cumberland for day one.  A nice quiet drive and a beautiful morning for the first day of this 7 day epic adventure.

Cumberland:

I was given advice that was both good and contradictory. “Make sure you don’t get caught in mid pack jam that happens when you hit the singletrack”…yes, this makes sense. “Don’t go out too hard the first few days or you will blow up by Day 4`….yes, this also made sense. Putting these two pieces of advice together would have meant carry a good pace into the singletrack and then find a good rhythm for the rest of the ride.

I have alot of respect for everyone who showed up for the BCBR. Everyone must be in great shape with good racing experience so who am I to think I belong near the front! So I had a nice leisurely start and thought that would put my in line with others who held my same pace. This was somewhat correct however the bottleneck in the singletrack was almost comical and somewhat tension braking. The front runners would have been so long gone before any of us even got to ride in this first set of trail. However, we all had some time to chat a bit and walk our bikes awhile before the group eventually got rolling. This whole stage I kept it down a notch to save my legs and feel good. The descent down Forbidden Plateau was my hightlight as one of the motos rode behind me with occassionial cheers that kept my adrenaline pumping. I ended up bottlenecked again near the end but when I was done felt fresh although my time was a bit pokey. Not really my main concern as I wanted to get stronger as the week went on and today I didn’t max out at any point of the course.

I drove back to Parksville and my folks had taken Cooper out for some errands so I did a light pedal around the neighbourhood to clear out the legs and had a bath before they arrived home. Ahhhh…if this could be my daily life that would be grand…haha..

Campbell River

This was the day we all started to travel as a unit. Cooper, my folks and me.  We arrived in CR at 8:30am for the 9:30am start everything was relaxed and fine.

We hit the road for about 30 minutes or so before funneling into the singletrack. It was backed up again but not nearly as much as yesterday. I was really enjoying the amazingly lush singletrack trails that I have never ridden before. We did hit some more fun technical bits that ended up providing me with a nice pinch flat…oh here we go again I thought!! Since I did practice my tire changing the week prior I got underway confident I could fix this in 5-8 mins. It actually turned into a spectacle as this wonderfully nice team of two men from South America stopped to help me and took over the operation while also taking pictures and having a break. So 5 mins turned into 15 but all in all it was fun diversion from the `race` and after I jumped back on my bike I was full of vigour to make up lost time…it is fun to chase!

The last 10km or so I rode behind a gal who held a good pace so I enjoyed the last bit of CR goodness before hitting the finish line to find Cooper and my folks waiting for me.
After a shower and some healthy grub that was it for the day!

Powell River
After an early morning breakfast with Cooper I headed to the bus to join the other racers to catch the ferry to Powell River. I caught a little nap by the beach as we waited for the ferry and also had a great chat with some long lost aquaintances on the way over.

We hit the race course after a walk to the start line where there was little time to spare. I grabbed my bike and filled up my fuel before we set off.   I really enjoyed the lush and loamy trails and there wasn`t alot of extremes in the way of ups and downs but alot of steady effort the whole way through. I was more aggressive today off the line and it paid off as I lost very little time stuck in traffic and found a good pace with some fellow riders. I was catching people as the race went on and beat a few gals that had come ahead the first two days so I was happy and surprised about how it went! I finished 5th in my group and was gaining ground as day one and two had left me in 9th place. I felt like I was finally racing!

That night I hung out on the deck of our hotel overlooking the water as Cooper slept …enjoying a nourishing Chicken Burger that my folks brought from the pub. And yes I did have fries with that!! Yam fries…mmmmm….

Earls Cove to Sechelt
This was the big day…the toughest day of the race I was warned. Alot of climbing and the most distance at 65km. We took another ferry that morning so didn`t get racing until 12:30pm. Makes for a long day but not a bad way to spend it!

The start went well with a climb that seems to help spread the group and then lead into lots of climbing on double track trails. I was feeling pretty good but knew not to hammer too much as it was going to be a long day and the sun was shining bringing a bit of heat.

It was a really great day of riding since it felt epic based on distance and also since we were travelling to another destination. I was saved from missing a turn by Katrina Strand (one of the CDHG`s) and from then on we rode together off and on until the final aid station.  I also rode with another fellow from Vegas who went on to tell me he had been doing 20 hour training weeks.  His pace was going to burn me out so I let him get ahead but ended up passing him again near the end when he bonked…reaffirms that you have to listen to your body and ride your own race and pace.

When I hit the beginning of the singletrack descent (10km of it and the reward in the last quarter of the race) I knew Katrina would catch me if all went right for her. So when I heard “rider up Aimee“ I replied “I have been expecting you!“ as I let her pass and we shared a chuckle.  Being a Whistler expert and former national downhill team member means she rips; so lets just say I wasn`t that ashamed.

I finished not far off the pace this day and since there were no issues with bottlenecking or mechanicals on the course it helped me ride a good solid day.  Now the hump day and the longest day was done.  It was soooo awesome to see Coop at the finish sitting on a blanket trying to play with a nearby dog…happy and content.  I was also happy to see that I finished in 6th place again with a solid time and felt strong.

By the time we finished up and got back it was getting late (since we started riding at noon).  A nourishing turkey sandwich from the local eatery was perfect before we got Cooper to bed and I followed shortly after.  Now 4 out of 7 days are done….tomorrow is the shortest is distance but that doesn’t mean it will be easy…

Part 2 Next!

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