I rode my bike in Canada for 7 days in a row and had a fabulous time doing that among a herd of like minded mtb addicts. It was a great time for me. It was a slightly different race for my team mate Dave. The short story is we won stages 1-6, went into the final day 7 with a 75 minute lead on the GC and dnf'd the final stage after Dave crashed hard enough he couldn't get up again.
Six 1st place medals and six leaders jerseys. We had a whole pile of fun collecting these :-)
To say he couldn't get up again is a big thing as he had bounced up from a number already. He is a tough guy. He crashed near the end of stage five breaking ribs. We won that stage then the following stage six, the longest of the race, nursing him along with his broken ribs. There were a whole pile of hike-a-bikes in stage 6 and I ended up carrying my bike and pushing his up them. A few times it was rough enough I was carrying both of them. Made me feel super burly woman!!
I was about 10 feet behind him when he did the race ending crash and it was a sight that made me sick in the stomach. It dazed me for a while. I totally blew the first aid and immediate response. Shortly the second place team came along and Ryan took immediate control stabilizing Dave's spine and calling in the medics. It took an hour from that point to get Dave on a backboard and transported off course. Ryan stuck beside the whole time not giving a second consideration to the race standings. Ryan is my hero of the whole race.
Ryan and his teammate Hillary took the GC and the overall win after our DNF.
The hour holding Dave's head waiting for the medics to arrive was a gamut of emotions for me, mostly scared and sad. When the medics arrived I was shushed away and told I'd have to ride myself to the hospital. Boooger that. I took off and kept on riding down the course. Once I was pedaling away from the scene I was really surprised to find how mad I was. I was pissed! Without thinking too much about it I just started hammering down the course following the pink flagging. I didn't know where the heck I was. The flagging marked the way home and riding hard made me feel better.
Coming over the finish line I was given a finisher medal. It didn't even occur to me I was finishing the stage race until I was handed the medal. Finishing was a prime goal but without my team mate by my side it is not a complete finish.
So now I have a finisher t-shirt and medal and Dave doesn't. In retrospect I am very glad to have finished.
This was a tough one to blog. I had a great time. It was a super week and super race. The win was never the prime goal for this one. I hit all my goals: to feel good, see some scenery, ride my bike lots, laugh lots, finish, ride my bike on Thrill me Kill Me a famous Whistler trail (and in fact the one Dave ended his race on). I feel a bit guilty coming off the race with such good feelings as obviously Dave does not. Losing the win on the last day doesn't bug me at all. You win some, you lose some. What counts in the end is how much grace you did both with.
These boyz define grace. They rode hard and fast and cracked me up on a daily basis. Yes those are lycra jeans and yes they did race wearing them. Very impressive showing.
Ironically the only day I carried my camera was day 7. Our plan was to cruise and enjoy. Here is the only photo I took during the entire event. This is at the top of Thrill Me Kill Me (I think).