TransRockies has become an institution in the stage racing world: they have been around since the beginning. In late August, the inaugural Gravel Royale was their first foray into the world of gravel racing. The edition of the truly off-tarmac event makes sense, as the main critique of TransRockies in years past has been riders complaining about too many gravel roads. Sounds like they’ve just been honing the course for a real gravel throw down! After the four stages, Rob Britton of Victoria, BA and Rach McBride of Vancouver, BC took the top step in the Elite Men’s and Women’s categories, respectively. What follows is Barry Wicks‘ rider journal from each of the four days which gives a stream of consciousness account, followed by his interviews with other competitors. Each interview maintained the same format and consisted of just three questions designed to skip the small talk: What is your favorite color? What are you reading right now? What is the meaning of life? Enjoy the ride!
I honestly can’t remember the first time I thought about racing bikes or the fact that people might be motivated to race them. I had some inkling that there were professional road cyclists out there, a la Tour de France, but any notion was vague. For me racing was seeped in the nostalgia of a sticky summer day, riding a green BMX bike with a dysfunctional coaster brake. Most likely hurtling at an irresponsible speed, chasing friends down a hill in the hot and dusty interior of BC. Later in life, a university roommate and great pal, clued me into gravel riding, the Tour Divide Race, and so on. Call it bike pack racing, call it ultra-endurance riding, call it solo-soul-searching, or call it some sort of competition of human versus wheels.
The ocean felt like bathwater. A welcome reprieve from the usual cringe-producing ice bath of the West Coast of BC. I eased my way in step by step, the water picking away at the grime and sweat of a full day, mid-summer ride. Alycia strode into the water with confidence, and purpose, more at ease around water than I am. I’m always worried about hurting my feet. We climbed onto the trunk of a huge old-growth tree just out of the water, a relic of the island’s history. I could see a white motorboat in the distance, drifting lazily. I tilted my head to see if I could hear the inevitable music, cheering and the yells that I imagine would be happening on a party boat. I hear nothing, only silence and the lapping of the water on the beach.
Joel Fuller, photographer, artist, and endurance athlete, is addicted to the energy of nature – both sides. Joel believes that being outside and pushing yourself is a pure expression of freedom, but also understands how the isolated power of being alone in nature feeds creativity. Join Joel and two friends as they give it their all biking through Endangered Old-Growth Forests in BC and discuss why the environment needs to be cared for and protected.
“Oh, shit is that a skunk? I’m pretty sure that’s a skunk”. This sentence can always cause a moment of trepidation on any trip, multiplied in this case by the tough day of pedaling we just had. When my partner Alycia uttered those words, we were already a few hours past the time we both would have preferred to stop for the night, and dinner was a distant memory. Alycia’s DSLR had recently hit the eject-from-bike button and taken an un-dignified crash through the dirt and rocks.
Out of all the riding areas in British Columbia, Kamloops is one that truly draws me in. Part of the reason for that is the phenomenal job photographer Dylan Sherrard does on his Instagram account. Then again, videos like this don’t hurt either!
Vanderham and Sandler Scout build and ride a new New Alpine Trail in British Columbia’s Kootenay mountains…