In July, my husband, Phil, and I took our enthusiasm northwest to race the BC Bike Race – a seven-day mountain bike stage race from Vancouver to Whistler. We had signed up the previous year as a way to celebrate our ten-year anniversary and 40th birthdays. We couldn’t have picked a more blissful adventure. For that one week, daily life was fairly simple: wake up, eat breakfast, race mountain bikes, socialize, eat dinner, and sleep. For seven consecutive days, we wound along the most mind-blowing singletrack through deep woods, coastal inlets, and along mountain ridges.
Each 50-65 km course unfolded differently: sometimes we would face technical, ledgy spines and rocky drops. Other trails were lined with slippery, moss and mud-covered root ladders, or fern-laden, sweeping berms. Slow, steep, switchback climbs followed by fast, sandy, double-track descents kept it interesting. And, the bridges! Whether wide or narrow, short or long, you could count on being surprised by beautifully-built features along the way.
Camaraderie was high among the race’s 450 riders from around the world. I befriended “pods” of riders throughout each race and playfully leap frogged places with an inspiring group of women. Phil and I discovered that Vermont’s landscapes – spring’s muddy backroads and summer’s diverse trail networks – had prepared us well. Our fitness and technical savvy only improved each day through the pure immersion of racing hard. I found myself on the podium five out of the seven days and finished third overall in the Master’s category. Phil was psyched with a 7th place overall finish in the Master’s men and finishing 36th out of 450 in one timed downhill. As Phil put it, the BC Bike Race was the hardest, yet most satisfying and transformative racing we’ve ever done.