Words by Brice Minnigh
Photos by Morgan Meredith
From the steady rain that pelted our tents through the wee hours this morning to the noisy German-language conversation that served as our early 5 am wake-up call, Bike magazine's own Team Sad Sacks knew today would be a day of reckoning with untoward elements.
Unable to find enough inspiration to battle from the start for the hole shot needed to avoid bottlenecks of riders less accustomed to BC's own brand of technical trails, Team Sad Sacks ended up starting at the very end of the line-up, spending the next half-hour slowly picking off riders in a bid to get some decent positioning on the singletrack itself.
But with rain having steadily fallen for the past several hours, the trails were swamped out with mud and slippery roots, adding an extra dimension to their existing technical nature. It was a civilized free-for-all, and your Team Sad Sacks protagonists spent the next several hours trying our hardest to clean the steep, rooty ups and downs of the course trails--making friends and taking photos until our cameras started to protest.
By the time we rolled into Campbell River into a stiff headwind, we were shelled but giddy with the satisfaction that we had ridden so much challenging singletrack with our bikes and bodies still firmly intact.
Keep an eye out for our Instagrams (#goteamsadsacksgo) from the trail over the next several days.
But for now, here's a glimpse of what our day was like:
The early-morning bus ride to the start line was a gloomy start to a glorious day of shredding mud.
Though we had a good run of cleaning the myriad mud chutes along the course, many of them had us jumping off for a quick push to the top.
The two excellent aid stations along today's 51-kilometer stage had us feasting on PB&Js, pretzels, potato chips, orange slices and bananas--and shooting the breeze with the amiable volunteers who stood out in the cold to make sure we had enough supplies.
Broken frames like this one are a testament to the rigors of the trails. One of the wrenches hired by the race to repair bikes said he had already seen several broken frames.
But when you break out of the mud pits into the bright greens and moss-covered trees, you realize that you've got all this rain to thank for the splendor.
This is what Bike's managing editor, Brice Minnigh--@BriceMag--looks like after 50-plus kilometers of challenging BC singletrack.
Mud, sweat and tears. That pretty much sums up Bike's publisher, Morgan Meredith--@morga_deth--after several hours of shredding.
Can you see what bike @morga_deth is riding despite it being completely caked in mud?
And what Rocky Mountain Element is @BriceMag riding? The BC Edition is tailor-made for these muddy, root-choked ice-skating rinks.
Thanks Joe from Shimano--this XTR drivetrain is running smooth despite this type of abuse.