Written by: Sarah Devriese
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Pushing up higher, we encountered the rocky, steeper sections. Water flowed along, finding the easiest path down. I’d have to do the same… I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to ride it and I thought I was in over my head. If only I had brought my full-face for this test ride! It took some encouraging words from the boyfriend before I put foot to pedal and pushed off from the top. I’d go first and give it a try.
I bounced between the top flat sections littered with baby heads. The course turned left soon enough and I could see the rocky, steep section up ahead. I picked the right-hand line and smoothly cruised over what seemed so daunting 20 minutes before. Nice and slow, I steered through the chunder and in no time was feeling good and back on track. Smooth track!
Ryan headed to the front and I followed his lines. Berms are fun! I’ve been focusing on keeping speed and bike handling through turns. This was fantastic! We stopped and discussed what of the lower course was doable and what I’ll have to ride around. At the rock drop, we discussed that the little chute could be a pedal catcher and foot placement was going to be important if I’d just roll into it. Perhaps a better line would be coming off the left rock and dropping into the chute more? Then another nice berm. Some tree dodging and picking through the ride-around, more bermy flow pretty much to the finish. Glad the first run through went so well! (I was nervous.)
We returned to the truck muddy, wet, and cold. “Two weeks till race-day. That’ll give things time to dry out.” Little did we know what was in store for race weekend…
I rose early and was soon picked up by fellow bunnie Keara and her boyfriend to head to Bear Mountain. Armed with every piece of armour I own, I wanted to do the 2 required pre-laps today and get to know the course better. I crashed on CBC a few days earlier and was still sore and bruised. And hadn’t been on the bike since.
The rain never seemed to have left since the pre-ride two weeks earlier and it looked like we were in for a wet and soggy weekend. I grabbed a shuttle to the top with fellow girls Keara and Kelly. We pushed the bikes to the start. A group of vollies (THANK YOU!) awaited us and my first run was checked off. Down the wooden ladder. Time to put the mud in Muddbunnie! Not an understatement! It took just one run to return at the bottom covered in wet dirt and soaking head to toe.
Repeat. The rain continued to pour. The berms were deeply rutted. The flowy sections turned into earthen soup. A mini-river seemed to flow over the rocks. Roots glistened, awaiting to be slipped on. The bike’s rear swayed as I pedaled through the muck, attempting to swim to the course finish. I bet my mom’s glad she doesn’t do my laundry anymore!
Two runs down and pretty tired. I headed back to the city with Keara and rested the rest of the evening. What would tomorrow be like? At home, we watched the weather radar and saw the green blob that continued to hang over the lower mainland…
Another early rise and off to the mountain! I shuttled to the top with the other early birds (not many of them!) and took a pre-run. The lovely vollie at the gate explained that there was no stopping on the course to session this morning. Others were setting up a tent to keep dry on this yet-again wet morning. I received the go-ahead and pushed off the wooden ladder. I picked the right line and tumbled into the corner. The exposed roots were darn slippery! The vollies and other racers stare down and friendly laughter breaks out as I pick up the bike and hop on again. The vollie yells behind me “Better now than at the race!” I shake the fall off and continue the ride down.
Halfway down, I notice I can’t pedal. I pull over to the side of the trail and see that my chain can’t move. What’s going on? The chain’s only half on the jockey wheel. I realign the chain and continue down. Just ten meters further, I can’t pedal again. Same thing. I coast the remaining section of course to the finish and push the bike back to the tent-city. A quick rinse of the rear derailleur and I see that the jockey wheel’s toast. It won’t align flush anymore and can’t keep the chain on. Uh oh.
Out of my wet and muddy clothes, I head for the CCN’s bike mechanic tent. Jaime, there to help out with mechanic issues, is bleeding brakes. He asks me to grab some napkins and hold them against the brake fluid reservoir. I tell him about my bike and the jockey wheel and he points to a bag full of spare parts. “Dig through down to the bottom”, he says, “I’m sure there’s something in there for ya.” I find a little box with two jockey wheels. These will work! We put my bike on the stand and take the broken one out. Jaime pops in the new one and before I knew it, the chain was rotating smoothly and I could race in two hours! I expressed my many thanks to Jaime for saving the day and gave him a Red Racer beer. He was delighted! So was I!
Quick sandwich and some m&m’s later, I soon headed up on the shuttle bus. There was about an hour wait at the top before race time so I chatted with fellow bunnie Kelly and the few other girls. There were even some familiar faces from previous races! And the rain had finally stopped! Soon enough, we were called to line up and I pushed the bike up the rock to the start gate. Trying to calm nerves, I listen. “30 seconds… 15 seconds, you can go at 5… 5, 4, 3…” Racers are off, one after another, a minute apart. My turn. “5, 4, 3, …” Pedal! Down the ramp and through the corner. Keep looking ahead and prepare for the next rock or turn. Plenty of people braved the bad weather and muddy trail to hike all the way to the rocky section up top (Hi Lisa!). Even after such a brief course closure before the race, the dirt was drier now that the rain had stopped. Lots of fishtailing and heavy pedaling to get through the mud, though. The course was over quick. I saw the blue pipe and the people at the end. Turning the cranks, I pushed for the finish and jumped off the bike. I felt extremely happy with my run. And happy to be under 8 minutes! Especially as I rode this on my AM bike.
I want to thank the team’s sponsors Red Racer Beer, Velocity Cycles, Different Bikes, Hoo Ha Ride Glide, Cap’s Bicycle Shop, DesignOutLoud, and Dirty Girl Designs for the support! Thanks to all the other bunnies at Bear Mountain this weekend! It is wonderful to be part of the team, ride together, and race together. Congratulations to Kelly, Isabelle, and Keara for podiums! I’d also like to thank my boyfriend Ryan for pre-riding the course with me and supporting me through the race weekend. Special thanks to Jaime for saving the day with a new jockey wheel! Bear hug to Muddbunnie Lisa Feather for taking pictures on the course!
Another adventure down, I feel that my riding and racing skills have improved tremendously. See you at the next challenge: Charlie’s Angels in Whistler!
A huge thank you goes out to our 2012 Muddbunnies Race Team sponsors! Our racers have the opportunity to race because of these wonderful sponsors, please take a moment to visit their sites:
Red Racer Beer: www.redracerbeer.com/
Reflect Sports: www.reflectsports.com/
Dirty Girl Designs: www.dirtygirldesignscanada.com/
Design Out Loud: www.designoutloud.com/
Caps New Westminster: www.capsbicycleshop.com/
Different Bikes: www.differentbikes.ca/
Velocity Cycles: www.velocitycycles.ca/