Ghost of the Gravel 2018

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Kootenay Krusher

Josh & I decided early on this winter when we were planning our race calendar to be sure to not miss the Kootenay Krusher for another year.  The Kootenay Krusher is a 50 km single track mountain bike race at the beautiful Nipika Mountain Resort.

Along with guest Evan Wishloff (Pedalhead – watch for his guest post coming soon), Josh and headed out to Nipika Moutain resort.

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Team camp for the weekend.

Most of the 25 km course paralleled the Kootenay River, with is turquoise blue waters and undulated up and down with a total of 800m of climbing for the 50 km race.  Rough and bump fun I must say!

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Josh & Mike on one of the many sections of course with sweet views of the Kootenay River.

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Pre-riding the course

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Loving every meter of trail

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Spectacular views of the Kootenay River

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Get that guy a beer!

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Can’t beat the views of this place

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Rocky Mountain Element & Instinct ready to rock

Off the start the start I went to the front and spun out my 32-11 gear as best I could and figured this was as fast as I would go to lead out the group.  The 1st couple of kilometres were on the XC ski trail, so there was lots of room to move around.

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Starting out at Nipika

As the course turned a sharp right and climbed it’s way up, a few guys pushed the pace, including Peter Knight who put in a solid dig up the climb.  I knew the ski trail got steep just before entering the singletrack, so I launched an attach up the steepest pitch and entered the rough and bumpy false flat trail in 1st position.

From there I just kept the throttle close to the redline for a few minutes and I opened up a decent sized gap on 2nd position.  I never new what the time split was however I was able to get out of sight – which is almost more important.  It’s hard to chase down someone you can’t see in a race.

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Lettuce Hamburger for the pretend glutarded

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Sorry buddy, theme the rules

I had one minor crash up top on the ’15km’ loop of the course, where a moment of inattention resulted in washing out my front wheel, which evolved into me eating a Kootenay dirt sandwich.  I picked myself up and dusted myself off and got going again…slowly trying to find my rhythm.  It was a good reminder to always stay focused during the race and try to stop your mind from wandering to waffles and maple syrup.

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This was thoroughly entertaining

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Chillin’ before awards

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Great loot for the win – Beer and a Pillow.  Drink the beer, then use the pillow – in that order

In the end, I won the race with a time just over 2:45 – setting a new course record.  For my efforts I received a rather large bottle of beer and a camp pillow to sleep the beer off with afterwards.  Riches in deed.IMG 2474

Fastest Man and Women on the day posing with Race Organizer Lyle

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New Course Record

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Josh scored some sweet swag too…a Magestic Horse decorative Flag.

This was a really great event and I plan to be back.  This is a great place to go where everyone can camp at the venue, enjoy a few brews around a campfire, and rip some sweet singletrack.

See you at the races!

-Mike

Why I Ride

I recently had a close friend who I hadn’t ridden with in a while pose I very simple but inherently deep question to me: “Mike, you still ride a ton…why do you ride?”

On that beautiful Kelowna spring morning, as we enjoyed the silky smooth tarmac, I began to collect my thoughts to answer Evan’s simple question.  Wow, so many reasons, where do I begin…?

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I love the pursuit of fitness.  I love to see how I can push my body to new heights.  I love how I can continually grow with the sport of cycling and how my passion does not fade.  I love the feeling my body provides when I’ve pushed it to a new level in training and it’s now going through the remarkable process of adaptation.  The ability of the human body to adapt and change truly amazes me.

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It makes me look under thirty, not mid-thirties.  I feel pleasure when I reveal my age to non-cycling related colleagues and new acquaintances.  More often then not, people are genuinely surprised to hear that I will be turning 35 this fall.

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It helps me think creatively and gives me the opportunity to create clarity in my thoughts.  I have my best ideas while out on the bike.  Some runners I know like running because it is a form of meditation – their brain closes down and don’t really think anything.  For me, it’s the opposite.  Churning away a constant cadence seems to stimulate my creativity, so much so that sometimes I have to stop and write stuff down.

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I have broken knees and riding makes me feel normal – not like a 70 year old man (I really feel like an old man with my knees when I stop riding for a duration of 2 weeks or more).  I was in a bad car accident when I was 16, and I injured my ‘good’ knee while playing hockey in ’09, so for me, cycling is a form of constant therapy.  Honestly, I have pain walking down stairs when I haven’t’ ridden for a couple of weeks.  It’s almost something I must do to stay ‘normal’.

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I get really cranky if I don’t ride and I become a grumpy moody bugger (just ask my wife!).  This one is pretty straight forward.  I admit it.  I’m a cranky bugger, but riding buffers all of that crankiness.

I love the sound of a free wheel buzzing in the silence of a calm morning.  It’s like music to my ears.  Like the gentle whizzing of a fishing rod, or the soothing sounds of crickets chirping on a warm summer’s eve, the sound instantly puts me in my happy place.

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It is a reminder of how great life really can be.  I mean, riding a bicycle is one of the best things life has to offer in my opinion.

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At the end of the day, why do I ride? It’s just part of who I am.