Monday, May 31, 2010

Not In My Back Yard

The past couple of weeks have been eventful. There was some great weather, and some great rides on the North Shore. I managed to put a stick though my hand on one ride, then the rains came and I managed a spectacular crash on one of our evening rides. As a t-shirt I saw at the weekend said... "Confidence: the feeling you get before you fully understand the situation". I limped home after the ride, and that weekend we headed up to Pemberton to ride more. My damaged wrist and ribs were not at all happy and I crawled my way back down the climb were due to race in the NIMBY50 the next week. Perhaps in sympathy for my creaking body, the fork on my favorite bike wheezed its way back to the camp. How long has my fork been that bad?  I don't know... but my wrist was not enjoying it.

After one frantic week of work, my Canadian citizenship test, and trying to figure out a working bike to ride in the NIMBY, Friday was upon us. I had got the new bearings for my Iron Horse and fixed that up... but a 43 pound bike didn't seem the right tool for a long cross-country race. The orange bike was still sick (though I bit the bullet and ordered a new fork) so... I dusted off "old faithful", a 10-year-old Santa Cruz I bought for $800 to do BC Bike Race and Trans-Rockies on 2 years ago. That would be fine. As we got ourselves ready in the pouring rain at the NIMBY start line, things were not fine. The rear shock released any air I put in over a few bounces, leaving the bike sad a droopy. It was too late to rush around and borrow a bike... so I came up with a new plan. I found the volunteers and asked if I could sweep the course by running it (yes, on foot). They thought I was crazy, but agreed that I could be useful.

I waved Ned, Tom, Megan, and Lina off on the start line, then short-cut the first few km of the course to start my run at Happy Trail with Nathalie the 2-wheeled sweeper.

A damp start in Pemberton

They're off...

The race course was fantastic... even on foot. The volunteer crew made me very welcome and I loved being part of the race, despite my lack of wheels. I managed to make myself useful by fixing a chain (thanks for the beer whoever you were!), and encouraging the tail-enders.  One racer made the choice to pull out after the first (massive) climb and descent, so I ran to to catch the next rider. With some encouragement we made it to the finish in time for the barbecue and beer. I've no idea how far I ran, but I was on my feet for about 5 hours in total. I was pretty happy with that.

The party after the race was perfect. Hay-bales, beer, a fire, music. Awesome. Tom, Ned, visitor Holly, Meagan, Lina, and I managed to do a good job of drinking beer and ended up closing down the party and sleeping in the forest. It would have been the perfect bike race, if I had raced a bike. I will be back next year!