BCBR day 6 and we’re in Squamish, home of extreme sports in Canada and some ace trails.
The usual start to the day and the race. climbing out of Squamish on tarmac, soon followed by singletrack climbing interspersed by gravel roads, the latter being in full sunlight and baking hot. Interspersed with the climbs were a sandy gravelly singletrack descent with sweeping corners which proved a challenge of judgement with little grip and no berms and some easy treecovered singletrack.
The literal high point of the day was 570m up which we reached without too much pain as the gradients were shallower than on previous days. However, the following 2km of singletrack called Half Nelson was sheer bliss: whoops, big berms, tabletops etc all in a mature fir forest with lovely grippy dry surface. Sme very significant air was had and I was able to keep pace with the leading old gits through this due to the smooth surface although some very front-heavy landings gave the guy behind me pause for thought…..
Another gravel climb and we were into Enduro one – very technical with some big rock buried in the sandy soil and drops of up to a foot caused by roots and erosion elicited some cries of alarm not dissimilar to those heard from the more vocal women tennis players! I kept my speed sane and rode sensibly and was rewarded with limited losses to the front guys which I felt sure I could recover on the open climbs.
A short climb and we were into Enduro 2 which was again swoopy, smooth and bermy – fantastic.More gravel climbing before Hoods in the Woods: 3km and 300 vertical metres of glorious but technical descending with more rooty obstacles, deep hollows, narow gaps through trees and finally a 3ft drop onto a gravel fireroad to take us to the last 10km of the course and more mellow singletack.Seeing that a couple of guys that I’d let past in the descent only 20s up the road I chased hard to get to them knowing that on was the guy I’d inadvertently led astray yesterday and was hoping to pull him to the next singltrack to atone for that error. Flat out after a small descent and pedaling hard I crossed from the left hand tyre track towards the right to prepare for an upcoming corner and the next thing I know I’m in the gravel.
Lots of undignified noise ensued but once the histrionics were over I attempted to get up only for my right leg to let me know in no uncertain terms that this wasn’t on.The executive summary is that I managed to pedal myself one legged to within a few metres of the 1st aid station where a short rise defeated me and I accepted help from the medics. By this stage my right thigh was considerably larger than the left and bending it was excruciating. I was driven to hospital for x-rays to determine whether I’d broken the bone which thankfully urns out not to be the case and I’m now writing this from the race HQ.
It’s 99% certain that I won’t ride tomorrow as I can’t bear to bend my right knee by more than a few degrees and the bruising will get worse overnight, so alas this is the end of my BCBR ride which is a great shame as I had cleared the most challenging parts of the most technically challenging day only to make a stupid mistake with only about a dozen km of relatively easy riding until the end.
This means that I’ll miss out on Whisler and the shortest day (25km) but also some world-class trails. Still, it could have been very much worse as I really thought I’d broken my leg.
With 2 weeks to the 24hr TT I’ve been advised to rest for a week and try gentle exercise after that to test my leg. The week of recovery was always gong to be the case but as to whether racing a week later is viable I really don’t know. The doctors say it’s possible but given the rigours of the event it may well be a bit daft.
Thanks for reading this and despite the damp squib ending I can thoroughly recommend the BCBR. It’s not for the feinthearted and definitely no to be underestimated but I can’t argue with the event tag line “the ultimate singletrack experience” (in my limited experience).