Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series of contributions by MTBR guest writer and Cat 1 Pro Alex Kramer who hails from Los Gatos, CA and works as an instructor at De Anza College. Kramer has been racing 10 years, but has been riding since he was 12 years old when he received a 1988 Rockhopper as a Christmas present. He is also a long standing, active member of the MTBR forums. He recently won his age category at the Sea Otter Classic this year in the Cat 1 division.
I’m turning 40 next week. Over the hill and all that. Needless to say I’m not at all excited about this milestone.
Now, I realize this isn’t even that old, and I should probably be thankful for having many more years to look forward to (hopefully). But as a mountain bike racer, every advancing year is a painful reminder that I’m not quite as fast as I used to be, that recovering from every ride will take a bit longer, and that at some point I should probably quit this crazy sport and take up golf.
Luckily that’s still a few years off, and until then I’ve decided to keep pushing myself and embrace new challenges on the bike. Which is what has brought me to British Columbia this week for the 10th edition of the BC Bike Race. Although I’ve been racing cross country as a Cat 1/Pro for the past five years, I’ve never ridden a mountain bike in BC, nor done a 7-day stage race. To say that I’m excited and nervous would be a massive understatement.
Fortunately, I’m racing with my good friend and teammate Harold; in fact it was his idea to do this, as he just turned 40 himself. We just completed an 8-hour race as a 2-person team with good success, so we figure this will just be another fun little test of teamwork and friendship. The only question is whether we’ll still be talking to each other at the end of stage 7…
For the next week, I’ll be blogging on Mtbr about my experience during the race, as well as testing a Thunderbolt BC Edition from Rocky Mountain Bicycles, the local manufacturer that also helps sponsor the race. What better way to test a bike than race it in an event that bills itself as the ultimate singletrack experience, right? Plus, the Thunderbolt has been designed for these trails and should be the perfect companion for the week.
The race begins with a fun first day of trails on Vancouver Island, near the charming town of Cumberland. The videos I’ve watched suggest that this will be a great introduction to BC riding, with lots of fun, challenging singletrack. The weather forecast calls for rain for the next few days, which is only fitting as riding the Northwest in the dry just doesn’t seem right. I’ll check in after the first few stages, and give more of an overview of the bike once I get some time in the saddle. (See full stage 1 results here.)