December 6, 2018 at 8:37 am #820634
It looks like a pretty good Ontario contingent is heading east to do the Quebec Singletrack Experience this year. Anyone here going? I may add this to the calendar. Nice time of year to be out that way.December 13, 2018 at 3:11 am #820657
I’ve been asked to do the Quebec Single Track Experience with a friend who is resistant to race. So we may just do this “experience” self-guided. That way we can enjoy the ride, perhaps session a few sections, rest when needed and then take in the action at Worlds in Mount Saint Anne.December 13, 2018 at 1:16 pm #820658
If you want to race – race. I for one don’t have much interest in racing. The whole premise of an experience for me is actually, well, experiencing. I think you are on the right (single)track by doing the experience in a self-guided manner with some good buddies.
My last two trips out West have loosely followed the BCBR in that we arrived a day (or two) before or after the race went through town or sometimes after – pro tip: try and be ahead since the trails, if you are riding the same ones, can get a little blown out. The beauty of being on your own schedule is that, well, you are on your own schedule. For example, two Summers ago we were riding the Sea to Sky and all was well until the weather took a turn for the worse – had we have been locked into a schedule it would have meant riding in some pretty shitty weather. Instead, given the miracle of modern meteorological forecasting we quickly checked a realized that a short drive down to Bellingham, WA would get us into some sweet weather and more awesome trails! So, off we went!
More recently, this past Summer, part of our trip took us to the Sunshine Coast – again, we ended up loving the zone more than expected and ended up shuttling late into the evening one day (legs = dead) and staying an extra day because we hooked up with some locals who showed us some trails we had ‘missed’. Nothing ruins an experience for me more than feeling like you haven’t actually experienced all there is to offer in a given place and having to move on. Obviously, one will never likely experience EVERYTHING but feeling rushed sucks – plus, you are on holidays!
Lastly, cost – in my experience it has been significantly cheaper to go it on your own.
Your pace, your friends, your choices – really, from my perspective self-guided is a no brainer.
1 user thanked author for this post.December 13, 2018 at 4:25 pm #820660
Hey @sangerasong I have a few fiends who have done this race and know there is a huge squad heading there from Ontario this year. I think you’ll enjoy this event whether you ride or race it. We’ll have a few passes to that event as well. We should get out for a ride and discuss Chris!
If you are between this and the Singletrack 6 however, do the ST6. It’s just such an awesome event. The days they lay out are not possible to link up simply going out there on your own. They are big days and having medical and water was clutch. Sure you could do similar rides, but there were perfect. It’s worth it if you are searching for a true leave it all out there epic experience, which I sense you are. I’ve had some amazing rides in amazing places but this is definitely something more. i am really happy I did it and would do it again.
I only did two races last year (which is more than I have in the last decade), the CNES Enduro at Blue and a 120km gravel race in the Blue Mountains. Pretty opposite ends of the spectrum I know but I like any and all riding. It’s all bikes and these were both wonderful experiences. Racing really isn’t my bag either but it has its place and certainly has its rewards. And you don’t need to be on the podium to get them. Challenges and goals are part of any good experience and racing certainly ups the game in that respect. That book from Rich Roll i mentioned to you really pushes the case that goals should scare you and seem outside your reach when you set them. Even be terrifying, which the ST^ was for me when i pulled the trigger on it. Smashing those goals is what it’s all about. What seemed impossible is now part of your daily routine. I think that’s the lesson and the reward. Life is full of smaller, daily goals but you also need to dream big and go for it.
There are also grassroots races such as the Blue Mountain Tuesday night series that are more about laps with buds and pints after then actually racing, though those boys put down some fast times. I plan to do some of these next year.
While there are many destination trips that can easily be self-guided, some can certainly benefit from some local knowledge. I think if I was dong the Nepal or Peru trips, I’d want a local.
I also think the events I am drawn to, such as multi-day enduro style events are an experience worth paying for. Top of my list are the Trans-Provence, NZ Enduro and Trans-Cascadia. Why pay to race blind? I don’t know, but I want this so bad!
I am also working up the nerve to race the World Championship masters DH this year.
One of the best rides this year was the RFG bikepacking trip we did in the spring. All the boxes were checked here, so good. We’ll be doing that again but I’ll also add a Tour Divide style event that has just popped up for next year. 700km bikepacking ride/race in southern Ontario. Check the Bikepacking thread for details on that.
Happy trails!December 13, 2018 at 4:35 pm #820662
Thanks @fietser. I think you nailed it on the head. I agree, I don’t like leaving a place feeling that I’ve rushed through it. Whenever you get to hang out with locals it makes the trip that much more memorable.
Having said that ……… the camaraderie you get at enduros I’ve raced thus far have been off the chart
So here’s a question for ya:
What’s keeping you motivated when it comes to training? Especially since there isn’t the lure of a 1st place trophy 🙂
Ciao!December 14, 2018 at 11:03 am #820668
Hey @sangerasongsong – training! Ha, probably not the best person to ask about training. My training ‘regime’ is not exactly what I would call very regimented. I don’t have Strava or any other ride/ fitness apps. Quantitative training data isn’t exactly something that turns my crank so to speak. The other reality is that I choose not to make training a primary/sole focus – having a young busy family and varied interests/hobbies mean that riding sometimes (often?) plays second fiddle and I am okay with that. My measure on trips and rides is grins and high fives, not metres climbed, kilometres crushed and PB/KOMs earned.
However, I will take a stab at it – I have two major motivations for ‘training’.
1. When I know I am going on a trip my motivation is not to have my ass handed to me by my friends out West. These dudes ride in the real mountains on a regular basis – 1000m of climbing is a ‘good start’ – I believe my local loop is about 300m if I start at the lowest point to make it all count. I will not be the fastest, I am good with that, but I also want to be able to enjoy myself when I am out there – not feel like I want to curl up on the side of the trail in a pool of my own vomit and die (well, we have had a few epic Apres and felt like that the next day but that is another story). So I guess my motivation is to ‘train’ in order to actually be able to enjoy myself while I am out there. It isn’t exactly rocket science that the fitter you are the less it should hurt and therefore the more ‘fun’ you should have – right? Fun being the factor that motivates me!
2. My kids – right now they are 7 and 5 but we love to ride together. I want to be in a position when they get older to still be able to do some of these trips. However, my motivation is to be riding with them, instead of them just being along for the travel portion. The family aspect of sports and recreation in general is huge with us and being able to share this with my kids one day is a top priority. As a family we are lucky to be off with our kids all Summer (I believe you also have that ability given your line of work). Generally speaking, we are not home in the Summer – but if we are doing a land based trip our bikes are always with us. So while this may not be ‘training’ in the sense that many here are talking about it is my motivation to stay as healthy and active as possible – call it a long term goal.
Re: Guided Experiences – don’t get me wrong they are way easier to do, pay your money show up and ride. For people who have limited time and no budget I would say this works well – I happen to have the opposite on both! 😉 Are there places where a guide is a good idea – for sure! I just don’t think that North America and many places in Europe are those places (the only place I have used a guide was a two week trip we did in Tibet (not on a bike) – because it was the LAW – we traveled through China two Summers in a row for 8 weeks sans guide – my wife broke her ankle the second time in week 2, THAT was an adventure).
The fact that BC Bike Ride, not RACE (for example, there are many others) exist speaks to the obvious ‘want’ for non race events that are fully supported – I get it, they just aren’t for me.
For me this model lacks adventure – let’s face it, one of the key reasons I ride – getting away – escapism I suppose. I don’t want to find myself in these beautiful places surrounded by race tape and people – it isn’t why I am there. Fact is, there are obviously vastly different views on events, races, trips, guides etc. I have been lucky enough to have travelled a lot (both with a bike and without) I am only speaking from my own experience.
Sorry to be so long winded – hope I am not too off topic. Either way you are riding bikes and hey, that’s why we are here!
Perhaps more on track – this Summer our ‘event’ is heading to the East Coast for a 3.5 week road trip. Hoping to sample some of the riding out there (within reason, this is a family trip and less of a Bike Trip – that was last Summer). Keen to ride the trails in the National Parks, where we will be camping – love that they are recognizing the positive economic impact that quality singletrack can bring to a community. Most trail networks seem to have a good variety to our evolving skill set.
Attachments:December 14, 2018 at 11:32 am #820673
Look at Oli! That’s awesome. My daughter is moving to full on MTB this summer, stoked. Hand brakes, suspension and gears. You went for the Outback eh? I stuck with the Forester and added an iKamper roof top tent for some adventures. I wanted an Outside Van, but management shot me down. Hahah Think this will do the trick though.
East coast is rad, you’ll love it.December 18, 2018 at 10:42 am #820683
Ha, Outside Van, drool…. we saw quite a variety of ‘rigs’ out West this Summer that had made the trek across the country. Those are by far the cat’s meow!
We opted for the Outback due to the 3.6 vs. the older 2.5 or 2.0XT in the Forester (the new 2.5 wasn’t out yet). Fully loaded with people and gear we felt that the extra ponies would come in handy, they have. Absolutely love it, was a treat to drive up North weekly during ski season last Winter!
Re: Kiddos riding
Oliver really upped his game last season – nice as they get older they get stronger. Zoe will be on a bigger bike this year as well (shhhh, don’t tell her it is a birthday present). She isn’t quite ready for gears and hand brakes but the bigger (lighter) bike will make riding more fun for sure. Speaking of kids and riding – I stumbled upon this last season (http://www.lapdogs.ca/youth-mtb-skills/ ) they ran it down by the Creek so super close to home. Oliver was officially too young but I asked Rob (coach) if I could just stay and he was cool with it. He enjoyed the skills and actually took the advice well, as most kids do when it isn’t their parents! Definitely a push to race but we used the skills, stamina and confidence to explore further on the trails. It was a great program, I hope they run it again.
The pic above is Oliver riding on our annual trip to Silent Lake Provincial Park. We did a modified version of the short loop – he killed it and we had an awesome time. He was super proud to have ridden trails ‘away from home’.
East Coast is super fun – we have been a bunch of time pre-kids but this will be the first time with them. It will be fun to be able to ride right from our campsite (hopefully) in the parks out there. Not a bike trip per say (that was last Summer), but definitely going to try and get on the trails any chance we get.
Sorry for the thread highjack – oops.January 31, 2019 at 5:45 pm #820858
Great discussion here! Thanks for the ideas and motivation to do something wild……. I did it. I pulled the trigger over the holiday. I bought my airline tickets and an AirBnB for my family. June 29th to July 27th We’re heading to Squamish!!
The plan is for myself and another riding buddy (y’all are welcome to join) to be out West the week before the families arrive and ride our faces off.
I imagine Bellingham is a place we will hit up and Maybe we can make it out to the Sunshine Coast. I’ve ridden Squamish before and I think it’s the ideal starting point.
Any place you gents think are “must ride” out there drop me a hint.
P.S. I’m a Subaru fan club boy as well. I have a 2013 Outback 🙂
P.S.S. I’m also a proud Pappa. Take a look at my 4 yr old rider 🙂
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