Thursday, September 9, 2010

3 weeks in Whistler

I try to make it out to BC for summer every year, to see mates, and ride some of the best spots on the planet. I've made it out there for at least a month every year since 2002 (yeah... I was there! I actually rode Whistler back in 2000 too). Last year however was an exception due to all the surgery and shit I was going through.

So I went back this year for Crankworx + 2 weeks. I have to admit that I was more than a little nervous, as I hadn't been on a big bike for 2 YEARS!!! But I'm starting to feel stronger again now, so was time to saddle up and ride down.

Crankworx week was pretty crazy. The temperature was a big issue for me, as it was insanely hot (for a Scotsman), and since I don't have a large intestine any more, it makes absorbing water a bit of an issue for me, so staying cool is tricky. Thankfully the great guys at Raceface let me hang out in the shade of their booth, and since we co-sponsor a number of team riders, it ended up being the closest thing to a Banshee booth too.

All the events at Crankworx are amazing, and this year I would say that there was the best atmosphere I've ever experienced for all the events... but the Slopestyle really stood out for me. It's not the first time we have had riders competing, but is the first time that we have had 2 guys (Montgomery and Fogel) in the top 10 after everything was thrown down, and the level of riding really seemed to step up from everyone this year. Then Mike Montgomery getting 2nd overall on his amp was just amazing to see... Huge Props to Mike, you are crazy, and inspiring.

So after the circus that is Crankworx, I finally got to ride my new Legend. First week of proper riding was erm... sketchy at best. To be honest I think that it was my lack of confidence that was my biggest issue due to the fact that I'm not sure how well my body can take a crash, so I was riding very cautiously, and nervously, which made me tense and made me ride like a noob. Seriously, I actually started cramping up when riding the log ride on Facrobat because I was so tense!!

I think the turning point was when a couple of mates drove up to ride with me from Seattle and Vancouver (both British guys I have known for years who have moved over... can't blame them!). Riding with them was a bit like old times. Riding 'Ride don't Slide' with them did almost destroy me due to my lack of DH riding strength and fitness, but it also gave me a boost, because I rode everything clean (apart from one ejector style dismount when I realised I was on one of the optional super steep lines without realising it). This ride seemed to spark a bit of new confidence riding a bike back into me, which grew over the next week, and got me back towards riding like I used to. Sure I wasn't going as big or fast as perviously, but at least I was starting to feel more comfortable on the bike.

The last day riding I hit the 2 things I had put on my 'To Do' list, (cleaning the 'farm yard' up on freight train, and gapping the ladder to ladder gap on In deep before the tripple hump. Not bad I guess for first 2 weeks back riding after 2 years off, and I left Canada with some more strength and fitness (especially in shoulders it seems) and a new boost of confidence in my ability on a bike. I still have a way to go before I'm really back on it, but I am back enjoying riding a bike with confidence again, which is a very good feeling... things are starting to flow!

Props to Guillaume Bossu for most the photos. I'm in the white Banshee top armoured up to the max riding the 'pumpkin' Legend, and Guillaume is in the red Banshee race Top on the White Legend.