This year I headed straight up to BC after the EWS in Colorado finished up. It is the longest period of time that I've ever spent over in Whistler. It was great. It was long enough to settle into a daily routine, a little glimpse into a normal life, a reminder of my life back in NZ and a reminder of how much I look forward to getting back home in a few weeks.
Hannah Barnes & I rented a little condo, out of the village, in close proximity to the grocery store, yoga studio, lost lake, the green mustache and of course Mt Currie coffee shop. Bliss. We cooked in for most meals and all dinners, bought a 1 month yoga pass and abused it - definitely got our money's worth there, going every single day and dragging our fellow mtb temporary residents along with us. We drank white wine while watching chic flicks, went on a paddle board date night with Seb Kemp, Tara & their dog (without knowing), Sunday market, xc rides, early morning, mid day, apres ride and evening swims in the lake. We spent copious amounts of money at the green moustache - Buddah bowls & $8 smoothies was just a daily occurrence. You become numb to the prices after a while and just give in to spending heaps. Of course we had shopping days too and yes, of course - the reason we were here in the first place was round #6 of the EWS tour. We had an enduro race to race. I knew it would be a big one, but just how big was still a distant memory, and for now we were just savoring our new normal routine life - something you don't quite come across living out of a bag on the road.
I was super excited about all the new tracks, all the hard work that went into creating these new, secret tracks and reviving old, tired tracks. Practice was super fun. We just went for a pedal and rode new tracks. They were hard, technical, challenging, scary, but fun and definitely a good challenge. To access most of them, we had quite a pedal, and finding that balance between riding them enough to race and riding too much to be knackered come race day is always hard to find. I opted to ride all the stages once, except for the last one as that was easy to access by chair lift. Due to their very technical nature, I would have liked to ride them more, as they were more like dh tracks where you really had to have all your lines dialed or else. In the end, I didn't, and just got on with it.
I don't feel like harping on things in the past, so I won't say much, but I will say that I wish we had more time and that the day wasn't so rushed. There has been a lot of complaining, and I feel that if we just had some more time, all of those complaints could have been avoided. We're all up for big days out, not opposed to pedaling or riding technical tracks. It was just a combination of short liaison times, in really high temperatures that didn't really offer anyone to recover and compose themselves for more than 10min before dropping into a pretty full on stage. Maybe 2 days would have been better? Or one less stage, to avoid that rushed, stressed out feeling for the entire day? Running stage 4 earlier in the day before we were all toast? Who knows, but I do know that I loved the stages during practice and didn't mind the climbs, but when I had to do all of the above under such a rushed environment, in that heat, it didn't really make for a very enjoyable day.
Anyhow, I still had a blast - its Whistler how can you not? I went back after the race and rode those tracks, they were amazing - amazingly scary! They challenged me, I conquered some obstacles, felt like I progressed my riding, discovered new trails. I may not have got the result I was hoping for, but I made all my liaison stages (with not much time to spare), I rode some scary shit, nailed some lines, completely messed up most of them, fumbled, stumbled, bonded, cried, laughed and survived a pretty tough day on the bike. Hats off to all the girls that raced this one & survived. My poor bike feels completely clapped out after 3 weeks of Whistler schralping, but nothing a little TLC can't fix.
And that was all just in the 2 weeks leading up to Crankworx…the actual festival week is a complete mind f@$k consisting of people, places, schedules, parties, badges, buttons, lanyards, passes, stamps, booze etc.
just some of my highlights:
- Going on a scavenger hunt in Lost Lake with Seb Kemp & the kids that he coaches - remarkable future generation - it restored my faith in the next generation. (and being taught how to ride a teeter totter by a 7 year old).
- Stand Up Paddle boarding & watching Seb get ejected off his board by his dog. (Not sure i'm keen to make SUP a hobby of mine).
- SRAM Women's riding clinics that Rebecca Rusch organizes every year & coaching with so many other inspirational women.
- yoga (some great, some not so great - "say hello to your cells" WTF?).
- Filming for Juliana Bicycles with Seb, Dan & Andy from the Union Production Co.
- Sven's new Bike Magazine cover
- Gary Perkin Photo shoots with fellow Juliana teamies Katrina Strand & Kathy Pruitt (& the Santa Cruz boys).
- Seeing the SRAM videos for the first time on the big screen that we filmed months ago in NZ with my buddy Sarah Leishman, Ross Measures & the MindSpark Cinema Production company. SO Sick.
- Fishing with Joe Parkin in the gondola.
- IKAM magazine.
- Mama & baby bear encounter with Gabby Molloy. HA ha ha!
- The SRAM pop up shop was mind blowing - INSANE! LOVE #theguidetogettinglost
- Pemberton Tacos! SUSHI.
- Meeting new peeps & catching up with old one's - making current plans & planning for future adventures.
It was time to leave today. My bank account is probably in over draft, I'm too scared to check. I'm yearning for the old world and a slower pace of life. I'm looking forward to cheaper food, small espresso's, red wine & quiet time. Time to reflect on the crazy season that its turned out to be and to digest it all, process everything and then decide what I'd like to do with it. I feel the need to press my reset button, to slow down and get ready for the absolute highlight of my year and season - the Trans Provence.
Thank you & cheers to every single person that made the North American leg so much fun - you all know who you are. Till we meet again in a few weeks for pizza, gelato & more wine of course ;)