Warning: Long post today, but fitting! So, here we are… the final day in Whistler and the close of the first leg of the Dirty Nomad global cycling tour (well, 2nd if you count Trans Provence, which I definitely do as it was massively rad). How did it all go? I would love to build suspense, but lets just cut to the MF chase now:
Today was epic, rad and filled with shredding. BOOM!
Yes, final days can be funny… Would I run out of nerves and start to think about playing it safe? Was yesterdays fiddly day going to mess with my mojo like a nasty tiger beer hang over? How was it going to play out? Today was about trying to strike a balance between maximisation and self preservation… Massively conflicting and opposing forces at times in this place, without doubt. Before I get into the low down, here is an hor d’ourve of Gnar for everyone:
Yes, this was from yesterday down ‘No Joke‘, a black run from the top… It’s epic and wants to eat you or break you if possible. How to deal with it? Jump the fucker:
Actually, complete lies, trying to jump that section in No Joke would have resulted in someone having to wipe my ass due to the double broken collarbones it would have given me, I just wanted a cheap Segway to include a photo of me jumping, see, I can do it, only when a camera is present… Show pony? Most likely.
Right, on to today… Its only fair to give a lap by lap account, mainly as I haven’t done this before and it will help to caress your palate with the sweet taste of shredding and Gnar:
- B-line installation lap – Much like in Formula one, every morning consists of a warm up lap… a loosener so to speak… B-line is perfect for this as it has a little bit of everything, jumps, berms, fast straights and some roughness, but none of it that makes you stop breathing. Usually there are beginning mistakes and errors as you warm up, but today I was ON it from the first pedal stroke, a good sign
- Blue Technical – This run consists of so many trails I can’t name them all, but essentially they are a whole series of blue runs that are all technical (slower, steep, rough, tricky mofos that demand epic concentration). I shredding it like confidential documents in a… shredder… Happy times, this was all good
- Ninja Cougar/Karate Monkey/Samurai Pizza Cat/Afternoon Delight/Lower Whistler DH – Yes, quite a mouthful this lot, but this was THE run of the day, for a couple of reasons A) I was absolutely smoking the first 3 listed, like I was possessed… Maniacal essentially. Why have to bolded the last two? Simple: These are double black diamond runs, that’s right, the biggest, baddest mother F’s that there are in the park (well, not these two per se, but their category). How did I treat them? With disdain… Into the shredder they went with the others. We don’t need no water, let the mother F burn.
- A line – This wasn’t as hot as the first 3, but still a good blast down MTB trail royalty… Yes, I was going better, but still casing too many jumps… Move along…
- B-line/Schlayer/Crank it up – A weird combo, but good shred quality… Starts easy, gets insanely hard when you hit the Schlayer mid section and then is all fun down crank it up. Doooooosh!
By this time, one thing was becoming very clear… It was here… I could feel it in the air… People could smell it, some even taste it… Yes, it was upon is:
The Shredpocalypse was underway
Quick, back for more! However, I was to be waylaid by a small issue… compounded by still being too cool to carry spares (cred again wins out over practicality, I clearly have a LOT of growing up still to do):
However, far cooler than a bike walk, this time I got a picturesque gondola ride down… Cue scenery shots:
This attempt to cancel the Shredpocalypse was dismissed and I returned to rip another Ninja cougar et al to Afternoon Delight and Lower Whistler DH (Double Black Diamond alert), absolutely tearing it asunder with even more prejudice than before.
What had I eaten? What was going on? Had I been possessed by a shredding spirit? Last day fever? Fuck knows, but I was riding out of mind… Man and machine had melded into one fluid unit and it was clicking together like Lego lightly covered in super glue. At one point I burst out of Karate monkey (just like a monkey actually doing karate) and blasted towards Samurai Pizza Cat with such fever that I startled and dismissed a shredder who was about to begin his run… the food chain was being turned on its head and I was feasting at the Gnar Buffet like a fat kid at a birthday party.
Lunch and then up to Garbo (that’s how you say Garbanzo in a cool manner) it was to continue the shredathon… Er, slight spanner in the works. Firstly, it was cold… Like, proper cold up the top of the mountain, which is a perfect Segway to a great lift conversation I listened to between a dad and his teenage son:
- Son: “Dad, how come its colder at the top of the mountain, doesn’t hot air rise?”
- Dad: “Hmmm… that’s a good question”
- Son: “So what’s the answer dad? Shouldn’t it be warmer up there?”
- Dad: “Mmmmm… Why don’t you google it”
Gold – If only the Doktor had been on the scene, he could have sorted it out stat:
Second issue? Approx 200m from the top of Garbo, the lift suddenly and violently lurched to a massive swaying stop… Like, an emergency stop… faaaark! Once the swaying had stopped I started to wonder if this was connected to the reckless shredding that had been dished out so far today? Was the mountain fighting back? Here is what stranded looks like:
Usually this lasts 10 seconds… or 30… or a minute… Max. After 10 minutes and with the onset of carbonite freezing (I was Han Solo on the lift), I even resorted to taking photos of myself in the event I froze and was eaten by a bear/crow/wolf (not you Nathan, gross dude):
Finally we were back on and off for the first run of Garbo. I couldn’t get into the singletrack fast enough… Where I faced another attempt from the day to cancel the shredding. Garbo was shit… its been cut to pieces and was super rough and not to mention cold. By the time I got down the run I decided that it wasn’t worth the trade off, so I bid farewell to Blue Velvet in style and concentrated on slapping around the lower mountain zone. Some Blue Velvet goodness from the top of my teletubby head:
Lap after lap I hit it… Bang, boom, whack… Multiple runs of Ninja Cougar to Afternoon Delight… each time faster… Some helmet cam footage of Afternoon Delight being disrespected like a bad date:
It may not be that long, but it does have an average gradient of -20%, something the Go Pro doesn’t give it credit for.
I shredded relentlessly and endlessly until I got the warning signals that the chassis was starting to wane… I think I did 13 laps in the end? Not sure, a lot of it is a blur of gnar and finally riding like I WANT to ride… Not so much on the jumps, but technical terrain was my bitch today and that was golden.
You NEVER say its the last run of the day, but after my final rip down Afternoon Delight I sat at the bottom and soaked in the atmosphere… Suddenly a mixed feeling descended over me… that was it… Whistler 2013 was done, in the bank, over. No more lift up, no more shred down. Its a conflicting time sitting at the bottom on your bike watching shredders pin it down into the queue. You’re relieved that you have survived it intact, you feel flogged, but you want MORE. There is also a part of you that is ok to go, so everyone is vying for a piece of your mind at that point. You also realise tomorrow while you are on the bus leaving that this show will crank on, and on… The mountain just keeps on rolling while you disappear, its a bizarre feeling/fear of missing out! I would have sat there for a good 20 minutes just taking it in and fighting that internal battle for one more run… But I was fingered and it was time to start the packing process, and to dish out some awards:
- Technical riding – You may have got the drift, but today was all about killing the hard, steep and technically challenging riding and I loved every bump, drop, twist, battle and root that I had to master. An awesome feeling
- Not playing it safe – It would have been easy to get into a koala suit today and chill out and not do a new double black diamond run, but I would have missed out on a great day if I had
- Eating – I even got into the gels today to keep me going to maximise, looks like it worked.
- Garbo – Sorry my good friend, but you have been beaten to a pulp with braking bumps and need a holiday! Plus, no one likes a freezer.
- Tubes/me – Well, mainly me… riding old XC tubes in my DH bike? I’d like to blame conti, but really, duh, change the tubes bro before the trip. I am surprised they lasted that long
- Fox Titan pro arm guards – Its taken me a while to work this out, and its hard to admit as I am a Fox fan boy, but man you are uncomfortable and have wrecked my elbows. For sale.
Trail of the day – Need I say any more? Its really best to give it to the whole lap, the orchestra of shred, the dream team of gnar and good times: Ninja Cougar/Karate Monkey/Samurai Pizza Cat/Afternoon Delight/Lower Whistler DH. The sense of satisfaction and achievement at nailing the last two in particular can not be conveyed using the english language, I hit this 4 times today and marvelled at its fun factor and challenge… awesome.
T-Shirt of the day – A patchy award this one, but we have one for today. Its my new A-line T shirt, sure, its a tourist thing to do and I never nailed A-line like I wanted to… but still wanted it. Only slight issue is the colour of the font. I wanted green to match my dirty Nomad, but the girl in the shop assures me this is still cool (of course she did):
Celebrity watch – Brent Tippie… Er, famous in Canada and in MTB circles only (a consistent theme with this award it seems). Also saw Cam McCaul scoping the Cankworx course, epic.
Parting shot for today? Well… so many to choose from… But it seems fitting that it should be of me and the Bullit, sitting by the exit to the bike park, about to leave it for the last time with a strange mix of sadness, relief, achievement and being stoked after an awesome day of shredding:
Well, trip one done… Now its back to Singapore to lose as much weight as I can in a week before flying out for the Italian job (how cliche is it using that name?) which is next on the menu, so stay tuned!
Thanks for following the Whistler adventure everyone!