Being in Canada, where all is metric, we are going the whole hog. Liters of water, grams of Heed powder, kilometers of pain. Today we shook out the legs, re-tuned the rigs, rebuilt my rear hub and got new brake pads, having fairly worn through the old ones on the screaming descents yesterday, en route to the hospital. The 28 grams of prevention would be worth it, as I knew we were going to be burning some metal over the next few days on the Fernie singletrack. At our local bike shop the Gear Hub, the owner recommended a pre-race “easy ride” up to Fernie Alpine resort, with “fairly steady incline on dirt road” to the flat trails around the lake. Having been here before, we should have known that it wasn’t going to be as easy as it sounded. Dennis’s leg with it’s 10 stitches, was well iced-down, and feeling pretty good (2 out of 10 on the numeric pain rating scale. I am driving him nuts with this.. “what number is the leg NOW Dennis..”. We loaded up the packs, and headed for the foothills, the slow incline soon dropping into the “RailTrail”, a 3k section of thick roots, sharp inclines, off-camber logs which woke the brain up better then the liter of java that we had at breakfast. We opened out on the road to the lodge, hard pack dirt, but steep, and settled into granny gear within 10 minutes.
The road wound through an amazing forest of giant cedar trees, each one greater in diameter than my bike was long..
We enjoyed Marty’s take on how many roof beams, tables and shingles could be had out of one of these giants, and joked that we’d be back in the night to load one up in the Camelbacks..Dennis and I finished the climb to the lodge, the boys turned back as their legs had had more than enough the day prior and they were in recovery mode.
A green lake lay at the base of granite towers, some still cloaked in snow. The silence was deafening. The trails leading up to the lake looked ominous, since the just riding the road has us grunting hard, I was getting a taste of what was to come in stage 3, the most challenging stage of the course apparently. The flying trip downhill and back to the basecamp led to a relaxing day, more bike chores, balancing forks and shocks, checking sag and rebound, tweaking things for the last time. The race meeting in the village had a smaller crowd than last year, the racer numbers surely victim to the ongoing recession as well as the terrible weather last year. We were happy to meet Clint and Karen from CO, who rode last years race on singlespeeds, and are doing so again this year! Cricket and Brian are back, on new steeds, looking fit and healthy, we will be keeping a close eye on them as we vie for spots in the field.
A final feed in the organic cafe (“local redneck health food” as the owner Cindy described it), had us belly up, and fully glycogen loaded for the coming race day. Check-in is 9am, kick off 10:59, 2 minutes after our friends Dan and Marty. The “time-trial” format has racing teams of two departing one minute apart, so we hope to chase down our rabbits before we get to the technical climb sections. “Ding ding” riders back! TR2011 here we go!