Bear Mountain has been kind to me in the past. My best result as an Elite racer came at Bear Mountain back in 2008 when I finished 2nd overall. I’ve been riding well lately, feeling fit, and was looking forward to a positive result at Bear this week-end.

 

Mother Nature didn’t really want to co-operate, and even though only a few millimeters of precip. were forecast, it rained all week-end. On the Saturday I used a set of Specialized Clutch tires and was having a ton of fun sliding down the track, but as the day wore on, and the rain kept falling, the track got steadily muddier. I left the mud spikes at home as I thought there’d be no way I’d ever need to use mud tires at Bear. Wrong. Very wrong.

 

I mounted the mud spikes on the bike on Sunday morning, and got to the race site early so I could get a good number of practice runs. Lots of racers were complaining about the conditions, but with the cut mud spikes on, I was having loads of fun. Some sections were getting really slippery, but I was still riding at good speed and  hitting all the jumps right through till the end of practice.

 

Pinning it into the showboat jumps during practice. Photo by: Dave Mackie

 

I was really looking forward to my race run all day. I lined up in the start gate and got ready to drop in. Everything felt right. I’d ridden really well all week-end and was certain I was capable of throwing down a strong run. I left the start gate pinned. I railed all my lines through the top section, and held great speed through the upper techy sections. As I traversed across the first flat the bike felt like it was rolling really slowly. I figured it was the mud, dug deep and pedalled hard. While the mud was thick, and slow, my progress was being thwarted by a tire that was swiftly going flat. Balls. I barely put a wheel wrong all week-end, have no flats, and I flat in my race run, in 3 inches of mud … how? Naturally I was gutted. Now I’m more motivated than ever!

Sean Verret was stoked to form a John Henry bikes team for Wades Excellent Adventure. Megan RoseRob Stead and Ian Kennedy all expressed interest. Wades Excellent Adventure is a team event ride on Mt. Fromme that is organized by the NSMBA.

 

The best looking team at Wades Excellent Adventure by a margin

 

So the Polartec Team John Henry Bikes powered by ethical bean team was formed for Wades Excellent Adventure. We all had matching fancy new jerseys (except Megan because we didn’t have a jersey that fit her even close) and looked mostly professional and stuff. We even had a support team, possibly the best support team ever, in Katie and Spencer. Bike wise we were on a mixed bag. Representing the shorter travel was Megan was on a Norco Phaser, Ian was on a Stump Jumper 29er and Sean was on a Specialized Epic. Representing for the long travel bikes was Rob was on his Turner RFX and myself on a lowered and slackened Norco Range.

 

Ultimately 10:30 … or 10:45 came around and the race was off. The filthy downhillers; Rob and I lead the charge. Our first lap was to be down Executioner into Dream Weaver. Most of us a crash or two … and then there was Sean who seemed unusually attracted to the ground. As a team we were making good time, and having a great time together. We finished lap 1 and headed back up Mt. Highway for lap 2.

 

Pedalling up for the first lap at Wades Excellent Adventure. It appears as though I'm enjoying myself while pedalling uphill ... weird.

 

Lap 2 was to be Seventh Secret into Leopard into Crinkum. None of us bothered to read the fine print that said exit at the 3rd switchback. Unfortunately Megan had a crash that taco’d her rear wheel. We tried to fix it as best we could, but couldn’t get her tubeless tire to re-inflate. She walked out to the transition area in the hopes that she could fix it and we’d meet her for the next lap. Ian went ahead while Rob, Sean and I helped Megan out. Rob, Sean and I went charging off after Ian. The turn out to the third switch back wasn’t marked terribly well (which we weren’t expecting as we didn’t read the card properly), we were having loads of fun riding, and as a result rode all of Crinkum down to the first switchback. We soon found some more trails markings, so thought we were totally on the right track. We did some XC loop that dumped us back on Mt. Highway and pedalled back up to Ladies Only. At the third switch back was Ian, who informed us that we’d just done an extra half lap. Dammit. And that XC loop we did … we did backwards adding even more vertical to our ride. Double dammit.

 

We soon got back up to Ladies Only. Had a good descent down. Picked up Megan in the transition area (who was now riding her boys larger Rocky Mountain XC bike), and pedaled up to Bobsled for our final lap down. We all had a laugh riding down Bobsled as a group. We finished after 3 and a half hours of gruelling riding with large grins on all our faces. We were greeted at the finish by Katie and Spencer who had cold Red Racers waiting for us. Legend.

 

I recorded the entire ride on my iPhone GPS and uploaded it, which can be found here.

 

Cheers to the team for an awesome day out. I’m looking forward to next year already.