Stage 7: Whistler, 30.3km, 1041 m D+
When the alarm goes off at 6AM on the 7th day of a mountain bike stage race, you don't really want to get out of bed. Your eyes don't open much more than 12% of their full capacity for the first 30 mins, your brain is still stuck in your last dream and no matter how much you love eating breakfast, you are not thrilled to be shoving cereals down your throat. However, today's racing conditions were exciting and I didn't need extra motivation to get out and do my best; I was thrilled. Today was the last stage of BCBR and entering the day, I was sitting 12sec behind Katerina on the general classification. The stage was shorter, but packed with very steep climbs and fun, steep descents.
My strategy was quite simple; attack until Katerina or myself collapsed. I wanted to win and if that didn't work, I didn't really care if I totally collapsed and wobbled to the finish line. I listened to Eminem "Till I Collapse" song in the RV while getting dressed up to get even more excited.
The lyrics are sick. First verse:
‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired, feel weak
And when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up
But you gotta search within you
And gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you
And get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face, and collapse
- We didn't start too fast. All my eyes (2) were on Katerina's Camelbak. I had to make sure it didn't leave my sight and that no one would get between the two of us.
- First singletrack climb. I let her lead. "Let's warm up a little bit." The race was supposed to last about 2h and I wasn't confident enough to lead for the full duration.
- We climb a lot. "Okay. I'm comfortable enough." "I'm sure she is also very comfortable too, don't be fool by the slower pace Magh."
- "Maybe I should attack now?" "Only 12min in. Calm down Magh."
- "What about now?!" "14:30 in...just wait"
- "Now?" "18 min in. Just relax."
- We pop out of the single track climb and arrive on a super steep, wider fire road.
- "Okay, now I gotta go." "Wait for it...."
- WWAAAAHHHHHH! It's on. Don't look back Magh. I pass about 10 guys that were in front of me. Garrett from Clif Bar encourages me. "I think I have a gap, but I can't look back."
- "F*ck this climb is way longer than I imagined. I'm really suffering now. I have a gap though, keep going Magh!"
- "SO. F**KING. LONG" That climb just gets steeper and steeper and longer... I look under my arm pit and see the orange FOX fork about 40m back. "Come on Magh, hold on." Finally hit the descent. I'm so freaking cross eyed that I you could film a Jerry of The Day video of me going down the thing.
- Katerina rides back to me. Oh well, I'll relax a little and try again later.
- A little later, we are climbing another steep climb that is loose at the top. I here her mess up behind me. WAHHHHH!! I go again. Although, that attack is not as decisive as the previous one, because I was already out of breathe before starting. Still, I get a gap.
- Eventually, she rides back to me. WAHHHH I go again. "Crap I surprised myself there!" "okay Magh, you are feeling like shit, but you have a tiny gap again, so try to keep going".
- She comes back soon enough. I slow down and eat a gel.
- We hit a technical downhill and Katka leads. She goes so fast and I lose sight of her. "SHIT! Try to go faster Magh"
- Get out of the singletrack, Katka takes a wrong turn, I come back.
- We ride next to each other on the pavement. "Hmm I'm hungry". Then we see the 3 pink ribbons indicating a left turn into a trail. We both start sprinting. She gets in first. I mess up in the technical climb entering the trail. "Shit. Try to come back. This is so hard I wanna fall flat on my face". I finally bridge back up.
- We hit a descent, she opens up a gap. Then we start climbing again. I try to close. Not happening. "Oh boy I think that's it." "Oh come on Magh! Don't give up in front of Katka (actually, I'm behind at that moment, but you get the idea), you can do this!" I finally bridge back.
- We hit another descent. "Gotta stick to her wheel Magh!" "Man I'm so out of control to follow her." She eventually opens a gap.
- I ride as fast as I can until the end (which is mostly descending), but can never catch up. "I guess I'm the one who collapsed." Cross the line with a big smile on my face.
- Big hugs with Katerina at the finish. "That was FUN!"
- "I'm still hungry." Go to the finish line snack tent and eat 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwich to which I add potato chips in the middle.
- Hang out with Dave, jump in the lake! Chill at the finish line with good friends and watch people's smile while crossing the finish line. It's so inspiring to see people so happy and proud of their accomplishment! And believe me, completing this 7 day stage race is quite the accomplishment! Congrats everyone.
BC Bike Race is now done and it was the best week ever! I'm happy I get to sleep in tomorrow but I'm also a little bit sad that this action packed and thrilling week is over.
We got to race incredible trails and beautiful courses all week and I feel so lucky I got to take part in this adventure. I'll miss hanging out and hearing the stories of everyone at the race and I will miss pushing myself and spending fun times with Katerina. She really pushed me to my limits every single day this week and got the best out of me - I couldn't be more happy.
She's the best :)
Now, David and I will hang out in Whistler for a bit and then start heading to Canmore for our National Championships next week. I'm excited for the next couple of days of rest that are on the program, which should leave plenty of time to jump in rivers, take nice walks and explore new small paradises in BC!
Thanks for following along this week! Your encouragements meant a lot to me. I hope you enjoyed BCBR as much as I did. If you are looking for a good challenge to push yourself and have a good time on your mountain bike, look no further!
Final big thanks to everyone who made this possible and everyone who made this week awesome.
Now, I can finally fall flat on my face and collapse. :)
Time of racing: 17h40:51 (It came down to 53 seconds between Katka and I in the end.)
Time total: 20h46min total including small warm ups and cool down.
Elevation: 8006 meters of elevation