So you know when you sign up for a race on a whim. You know you really don’t have any expectations on the outcome, or even what you might be getting yourself into.
That would be me with the current race on my plate. The Golden Ears Gravel Fondo. It is it’s inaugural race and 4 days before the race, most of the conversation about the route is still hush hush. Some of the course rolls through private property.. so they don’t want folks rolling up early to do some recon. Fair enough.
This looks to be an amazing race. 95+ kms of cycling gravel trails and roadways. It has been a few years since I’ve jumped on a race of this length but when I came across the ad for it, it looked too good to pass up.
I convinced a mate of mine to sign up with me for the day. So at least the suffering will be shared.
If you got what it takes.. here is the link
Keep posted of our race day activities!
So addimittedly I have been pretty non-existent lately though not completely off the radar.
I have kept myself busy with an early April Trail race under my belt for the year and am switching gears into training for my upcoming 100+km Golden Ears Fondo (cycling) in just over a month.
Truth be told, my inspiration has been waning lately. Not for lack of opportunity of outdoor engagement, let me be clear of that.
Perhaps it is just the reality of real life.
I know that in this day and age it is very easy to get disillusioned by scrolling through the likes of FB or the Insta-world and feel that you are the laziest person attached to what we call the outdoor community. Apparently everyone else is outside right now climbing every peak all the time and is happy as shit doing it with little more than cool shades and spandex.
I call BS.
I find that I require setting up challenges for myself or little projects to pin on my horizon to push towards. My inspiration comes from things like Signing up for a race. Picking a peak to climb (preferably one that is not full of people). Sometimes it’s from grabbing a book from the library on hiking in an area I have not yet explored or ordering a new peice of outdoor equipment and the anticipation of getting out to try it.
I enjoy the balance of a busy city life and escaping to the mountains when I can. Though taxing at times, I make it work.
And above all I think the most important thing is being honest about where your at. We can’t all spend our lives being outdoors all the time. Selfie stick in tow. The reality is we still have to sit down and do our taxes, take the cat to the vet, get the car serviced,etc. This does not make us less than sponsored athletes or less passionate about hiking than others. These passions that inspire us are part of who we are, but there other parts of us too.
All of these parts are what make us who we are, so they all matter. Hopefully this in itself can be a small inspiration for others..
Well I feel it’s officially time. Training season has started. A few races lined up so far. Both running and cycling. I managed to get out for a 80km ride yesterday with my brother which was good. We don’t often have too much time these days to put in a long ride together. The bike has been tuned up and is feeling good. Likely will need new tires soon. Amazing that I’ve been able to burn through my current ones so quickly.
The weather is slowly getting better. More sunlit days rather than the drab cold rainy constant that is our westcoast winter.
Looking forward to another racing season and new adventures. See you on the trails.
So as it goes. Our attempt at the Neve Traverse was halted by poor weather and high avi conditions. The weather pattern we had hoped for delayed itself a few days and the end result being that our window of opportunity closed for the time frame we had committed to the project. We will be looking ahead to tackle this one at some point.
The joys and pains of time-based projects. You plan, you plan, you get what you get, and you don’t get upset.
As it goes.
Since being back to the grind and licking our wounds a bit we have been able to put together a list of hikes/climbs that we’d like to tackle this year. Some beauties in our own backyard and some over the border in Washington state and Oregon. We shall see what we get through.
Over the weekend a buddy and I attended the Vancouver outdoor adventure show and are nicely stock piled with some more potential trips to add to our list, amongst them a guys weekend of mountain biking in Squamish. Should be a gooder. So I would say As it goes.. Next Adventure!
We are 3 days out from our next trip. A 50km journey over the Garibaldi Neve Traverse. My gear is in piles on the balcony. Lists half made of what I need to bring on my coffee table. I sometimes wonder. Am I the only one who packs like this?
I find myself at this transition point before every trip. My mind half in “reality” dealing with work deadlines, scheduling appointments, as well as my homelife. Spending as much time with my family as possible. Yet my mind is also wandering in the mountains, going over the what ifs? and do I need? Etc.
Like living in 2 different worlds at the same time. One moment your at home cleaning up your child’s toys and then in a flash you vaporize and are suddenly transported onto the side of some mountain. No deadlines, no meetings, no running out to the grocery store. Just there. On the mountain “being you”. It is a strange feeling to say the least.
Living in 1 world and exploring another.
Keep posted about our trip experience. This one promises to be quite special
Mid morning. Slight overcast. We’re just packing up the truck for an out of town New Years eve wedding that we are attending. In 2 days it will be 2018. That’s sinking in. Not in that cliche kind of way, but rather in the realization that my son is almost 1 year old (and my parental leave is coming to an end). Looking back over the last 12 months, I would definitely have to sum up this year as the year of transition. New job. New child. New chapter in life. Through all of this I have also managed to sprinkle in some amazing trips and adventures. Climbing Mount Baker, unguided, has to be the topper for sure. But taking the opportunity to get some technical mountaineering training has to be right up there as well, since one allowed the other. 2017 has also shown me the realization of dealing with some long standing injuries that I have put on the back burner. Perhaps too that being 36 years old feels a little different than being 26. Not worse. But different.
Looking forward to the year ahead I have some new goals to achieve, and perhaps revive some old ones. Some in the mountains. Some on the bike, and all on the blog to be shared with you. The reader.
I have enjoyed the experience of sharing all of this with those of you that have taken the time to read on past the title. It is a true passion to write about these trips. These experiences. The hope that it will somehow spark conversation, or even motivation for others to get out and achieve their own goals.
Hope to see you all out there killing it in 2018. Whatever your passion is.
I woke up yesterday morning with this memory from my solo cycling trip in the summer of 2016. Going from Calgary to Vancouver. I was outside of a gas station on the outskirts of Kamloops BC. It was hot. That muggy kind of hot you can’t shake even in the shade of a tree. I was frustrated because I had to get off the main highway and re route onto the 5A and I had not bothered to take down the information to do this efficiently. Also it seemed pretty sketchy where I was and there were some less desirable folks hanging out next to the gas station that seemed eager to assist in taking my bike off my hands for me.
The memory was so vivid. As though I was there again. I remember the shitty grin one of the guys gave me as I debated going into the gas station to get directions. I did not.
I felt distracted that day. But nothing bad happened in the end. So why this memory. Why this seemingly insignificant portion of that trip. I thought through how the rest of that day went. I got to my destination, albeit with some questionable re routing by Google maps and a sizable hill climb. But I remember that day being one of the harder one’s.
I had spent the previous day with my Aunt and Uncle on Shuswap Lake at their cabin (which I’m pretty sure they went up to just so I had a place to stay). They had picked me up in the early afternoon from the highway and brought me to to their place. We spent the afternoon on the boat, and had a bbq for dinner. We watched an evening storm roll in over beer and wine. I had a fantastic time with them that night and had shared with them the news that my wife and I were expecting our first child. It was a celebration of a evening and the next day none of us wanted me to go.
But I did go. They drive me back to the highway where they had picked me up. I loaded my panniers onto my bike and slowly started pedalling down the highway towards Kamloops and eventually home.
I believe what made that day hard, what seemed to distract me, was the complete shifting of gears. Going from sharing special time with family, back to the solitude of my trip. Such a shift of emotion. That afternoon riding up the hill out of Kamloops (and the grasps of those gas station pirates) my mood could not be further from the feeling I had, had 24 hours earlier. I rolled into my campground and set up my tent. Then I just kind of wandered the campsite for a bit. Feeling low.
Strange. Nothing bad had happened to me and yet here I was feeling as though I had been hit by a ton of bricks. Void of energy and drive. A testament to the struggle I had with traveling solo.
I knew when I set out on that trip that I would struggle with time spent alone, and I did, and I endured and came out the other end. And I know that this is not everyone’s experience with solo travel. Some thrive on it I’m sure.
But looking back on my trip as a whole I had a few experiences like this. Highs and lows. It was an emotional roller coaster of a trip. I am so glad i did it, but would i do a trip of that length again by myself? I often have said to people “No.” A trip of that length is a trip to be shared. The experience to be shared. At least that’s been my feeling on it.
I suppose this memory came up as I am slowly putting together the details of the next adventure.. A group project this time. 4 days mountaineering through the Garibaldi Neve Traverse.
It’s rainy here in the city, but for us winter hikers, skiers, snowboarders, and snowshoers, we know that means fresh white stuff in the mountains!
I had a chance to get out and hike a good section of the Lions last weekend and we were hitting areas that were already waist deep. The Season has Started!
I love this time of year. It’s awesome to get out and see all those summer time trails that I enjoy so much, and now they have something new to offer.
Again and again I am reminded how lucky we are to live here!
So here I am. Same paint on the wall. Same kitchen. Different album, and different time in my life.
I was looking back this morning at one of my posts from about a year ago. “Processing Time”. It got me thinking about how much of a whirlwind the last 12 months have been. Having a child, new job, and the life evolution that comes with it. An adjustment to say the least. A year ago I was winding down from a season of races, hiking trips, and other adventures. Now a days I’m rocking a much more domestic lifestyle (at least for the time being).
I have managed to get some mountain schooling in (Mountaineering course) and have tackled a few trips. Later this month I have a trail race coming up and i’m pumped to get back out there. But I must admit it. Things are different now. Not bad different, but different.
When I read back at “Processing Time” I remember where my head was at. Things in my workplace were chaotic, and my wife was maybe 6, 7 months pregnant. I was standing at the doorway of very big life changes and I think the blog piece was a way to remind myself to get things out of fifth gear and slow things down if even for a moment.
Perhaps that is what this blog piece is about as well. A check in.
I am half way through my parental leave and it won’t be long before I head back to work and thus begins the next juggling act: Family, Work, Outdoor Lifestyle. The unison of it can all be done. That I am sure of, as long as the priorities lie in the right sequence.
And with that Asher is stirring, and I must go. Oh ya and the album is Arcade Fire’s “Everything Now”.
Living out here on the west coast we are spoiled to have the coastal mountains in our backyard. Want to go for a day hike? Your about an hour away from world class mountains. Want a quick bag night? Take your pick of the many destination mountains available. Which is what we did…
Mount Cook. Just North of Whistler BC. Accessed via Wedgemount Lake. The hike up to the lake and camping area is fairly steep but a well managed trail.
There is camping along the lake edge as well as up in the hills. We went up on a Saturday morning. The trail was overtaken by day trippers. We took our time. Our objective for the day was to make it to the lake and scout out the route for the summit the next day. We eased our way to the lake and snagged a campsite. After a quick bite to eat and the tent set up, we continued over a bluff where we could get a good vantage point of Mount Cook itself.
Satisfied with what laid ahead for the next day we wandered around a bit and enjoyed the views before calling it a day.
Through the night the temperature dropped down to just above freezing. Its clear that our warm summer has long gone, leaving the cool autumn in its place.
We get up early to fill our water from the creek about 20 minutes from our camp. After that cold sleep it was good to get the body moving. We got back to our campsite, had a bite to eat and then packed our gear for the summit.
We set out. It was slightly overcast skies with hints of blue teasing that the weather would improve. The steep grade that we had going up to the lake continued up the mountainside. The bonus, our view kept rapidly getting better and so to the weather. The clouds started breaking and we even got a bit of sun.
We continued upward, hitting a bit of snow and then finally to the top.
(View of Wedgemount Peak from most of the way up Mount Cook)
We took in the view for a little bit and then made our way back down the steep slope. We got back to camp, had a bite to eat and packed up.
A short weekend in the mountains. But we can do that here. We are blessed, and should remember that.