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Salty Dog V – The one where I didn’t ride my bike

When you’ve got so much fatigue swimming about in your system that you can’t really ride a bike… well, that’s still no excuse to not go on a biking road trip!

Especially not when you get to ride in this sweet van:

We stopped in Golden on the way over; first for a ride – well my role in the trip was largely chilling in the van reading books, listening to podcasts, and painting watercolours while everyone else rode bikes. So I didn’t go for a ride. But I did join everyone in checking out the Whitetooth Brewery after. ┬áThe beers were tasty, but very hoppy.

We were staying in the lap of luxury outside of Salmon Arm, in an Air BnB so fancy it had a birdhouse inside it!

I am aware that birdhouses aren’t necessarily a mark of high sophistication for many. I stand by them as the mark of a house that is delightfully whimsical, and thankfully still had a decent kitchen. And now I can say I’ve slept inside a birdhouse.

For the actual race I was a course marshall, stationed out near the end of the loop. I’ve raced the last four years, so it was odd not to be on my bike. But it was also pretty fun to be hanging out on course cheering everyone on, especially as so many Canmore-ites make the pilgrimage out to race each May.

To keep myself entertained, I acted as course photographer too – so here’s shots of all the road trip crew:

As you can see, it got a little wet and muddy out there. For a while I was hiding under a tree as it hailed like crazy.

Most people say you should wear a jersey with bib shorts. But what do they know?! Life would be boring if everyone did what most people thought was the normal thing to do.

Everyone should have this facial expression when riding their bike up a hill.

Kat was there! She was racing solo again, and she won a thing too.

Danika got a woodallion!

Then it was back to the birdhouse for ludicrous amounts of food. I’m pretty sure we had roasted brie, apple pie, and icecream sandwiches made from fresh-baked cookies, and that was all on top of a big dinner!

Bikes were washed.

Men cooked manly things on the BBQ.

And we also spent some time soaking in the hot tub, of which there are no photos because cameras and hot tubs do not get along.

On the way home we went to Golden to do a run down one of the easier trails on Mount Seven. The guys shuttled me up and I actually got to ride my bike which was sort of fun, but also made me very aware of how wrong my body was feeling. And photos were taken, but I can’t seem to find them anywhere.

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bikes canada general trip reports

Salty Dog – solo once more

For the last couple of years I’ve raced the Salty Dog* in a pair. This year I was worried about my knee, and rather than risking letting down a team mate, I decided to just sign up solo again.

I was really looking forward to the drive all the way back out to Salmon Arm after we just drove back from Squamish six days earlier (Note – I was not actually looking forward to this). But at least I had a road trip buddy! Kat and I were racing in the same category, as I had managed to convince her to sign up for the race without her actually realising what she was signing up for (she trusts me?)

We’d arrived in Salmon Arm, checked into the Podollan (because we were being fancy, and not camping for once), and were cleaning our bikes. And that was when I realised the back wheel was wiggling about in a way that didn’t seem good to me.

I borrowed a cluster tool from some of the other Salty Dog racers milling about the place, it failed to help, and Kat phoned up Skookum Cycles for me – they were technically closed, but would try and help me out if we could get there within five minutes. We threw the bike in the van and hurtled downtown.

The lovely bike mechanic dismantled my wheel, said something about some threads being a bit stripped, cleaned it out and re-assembled it, saying “It should be good for tomorrow, but you should get it fixed afterwards.” Phew!

The race summary basically goes: It was warm and dusty, I did seven laps. My rear wheel had been getting a bit loose, and I’d been re-tightening the thru-axle thingy every couple of laps. But on the sixth lap the lever on the thru-axle flew off and I couldn’t find it. I took the descent easy, then had another hunt for the lever on my seventh lap. I still couldn’t find it, and my rear wheel was starting to feel a bit off. My gears were skipping a little. I was remembering that time in Singletrack6 when my wheel actually fell off.

When I made it back to the tents, I took everything into account, and decided not to try for an eighth lap. I found out afterwards that I’d passed the leader in my category (Sport <40 women) at the top of my last lap, and clinched the victory on the descent. Woo! Meanwhile, Kat had polished off six laps in her first MTB race, ending up in third.

This really means that I’ll have to sign up in the Expert instead of Sport class next time I do something like this – although now I’ve finally mastered one-finger breaking, I’m closer to feeling like less of a fraud if I call myself an expert (now, to just master turning with my feet in the right place)

*Mountain bike race where you ride laps of an 11km course for six hours, commonly ridden by many Canmore folk as a season starter.

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bikes canada general

We got pie!

Ok, so with the title I rather gave that away… (well, for anyone who is familiar with the Salty Dog 6hr race it’s a spoiler)

But first things first. The Salty Dog is a 6hr race out in Salmon Arm, BC. It’s a traditional season starter for Canmore folk.

We started our Salty Dog weekend with a stop off on Saturday to ride in Revelstoke, where the trails are amazingly fun.

Then the race was on Sunday. It’s my third time, but still feel a lot of pre-race nerves. And even pre-lap nerves after I’ve started. I was racing as half of a mixed team of two, and happily did not have to do the first lap.

Conditions were very dry and dusty, and the 26oC day felt very warm for my Canmore-accustomed self. Every lap involved inhaling a lungful of dust, and we were all coughing it up for a day or two afterwards.

But riding bikes is fun though, and before long I got into the swing of things, and had a great time on the climby start, and gloriously fun descendy second half of the course.

We ended on four laps each, and won podium pie for first place, then leapt into the car to drive back to Canmore. Awesome weekend!