Whistler Report Part 1
“All I know is that I woke up in a creek!”
That could quite possibly be the quote of the year. This year’s annual trek to Whistler, British Columbia was not without incident. No, the bikes were not stolen but a broken bone, separated muscle 2500 dollars worth of Canuck medical care and some great stories are what we came back with.
Let me set the stage for you. Wendy, Will and Mike were the virgins and the returning champs were Jen, Marvin, Ned and myself. Two of the virgins would meet their doom on the first day of riding. But I am getting a head of myself.
We arrive in Seattle late on Thursday night. When I say ‘we’ I speak of Jen, Marvin and myself. We have plans to stay the night right in SeaTac at one of the cheaper motels. We are picked up by the courtesy shuttle and witness the sandman visit the driver, luckily the curb woke him up. Should have been a hint. Next, whoever was in charge of cleaning up the crime scene in the room before we got there, should be fired. The smell in the room was horrendous, almost made my nose bleed; I think Marvin even cried a little. It was bad. Hey! We are from Baltimore we can do this.
The next morning we take a cab and pickup the truck from the rental lot.
We pack up after breakfast and head out to Bellevue, located right outside of Seattle, to meet and greet with the Helly Hansen US office.
Nice digs, the people were absolutely great they gave us a tour and shot lots of shit with us about the new mountain bike specific line for 2007. It was great to be able to put a face with a name. (We will have more info on the 2007 line in the next few days.) After spending time with HH we set out for the drive up. We decided to take a new route through Vancouver and try to cut some car time out of the trip. It seemed to work as long as you didn’t get lost, we got lost. Back on the highway again we finally arrive in Whistler and find our luxurious accommodations. We begin to meet up with the rest of the crew as Mike and Ned arrive a few hours after us and Will and Wendy a little while after them. We have dinner and take a look at the Slopestyle course.
The next morning we wake early and dress for battle. We mount our trusty steeds and march to the frontlines. For those of you who do not have your finger on the pulse of mountain biking, Whistler happens to be the best place to ride your bike, gravity assisted of course. We ride all the trails we can find from the very top of the mountain to the mid-mountain station.
Hours pass and soon we are feeling the effects of exhaustion and that’s when Mike and Will’s trip takes a bad turn, on the very same section of trail they both hurt themselves. Will places his hand down during a fall and breaks one of the small but necessary bones in his wrist. A few hours later Mike has a small hiccup there and twists his ankle severely separating the muscle form the bone. The next day they will collectively pay about 2500.00 for some face time with a doctor.
Over the next few days more and more people pour into town with eventually 45-50,000 people in attendance at the peak. It is stunning to see so many people out for a bicycle event. This is no small town battle of the bands, where the crowd is filled with the girlfriends of the other bands. These are actual spectators. Many of these people have never seen an event of this nature. Some do not even ride a bicycle, yet. To have that kind of cheering section is unbelievable. These people are rooting for everyone!
As we go to register for the two races we are flabbergasted at the prices. Almost 120 dollars to race a single event! Have I ever mentioned how broke we all are… We do not have the funds to do this. We have traveled far to be here and we are enjoying ourselves regardless of the racing so it seems the crowd of spectators just got a little bit bigger. We continue to ride each day savoring every minute of riding and every foot of trail. We are greeted by many friends from the bike world and get to catch up and swap stories, picking up where we left off.
The day of the Slopestyle competition was eye opening. These guys must be injecting pure insanity right into their veins. Giant man-made obstacles littered throughout the course with riders being judged on fluidity, creativity and overall craziness. Some incredibly huge stunts and many pairs of huge golden cohones were scattered about. Visual adrenaline. The winners ended up being those with the cleanest runs that could pull a trick off the 35 foot video screen drop. (See pic) They are either all winners in my book or all stupid, I guess it depends on the mood.