Wasted in Whistler
I started my journey Wednesday morning after stretching my strained hamstring which I pulled the day before
while trying to pump water from a well at Marble Canyon - don't ask - I don't know how the hell I did it. I
need to just stay on my bike and I won't get hurt. I had heard of the hills on this road between Lillooet
and Pemberton and the testimonials just go worse as I got closer. I actually met a guy from New Zealand who
showed me the ominous "side cut" of the route I was planning. My inital excitement of trying to do the hill
soon turned to pure fear that I wouldn't even make it up, worse, I'd have to stop an RV for a ride. No way.
NO WAY. I took a motel the night before in Lillooet, watched the tour to get psyched, drank gatorade, tried
to cook a meal in the microwave and burnt a cup and the noodles, and then got a good night's sleep for the
As for the title of my subject, don't worry, mom, I'm not mentally wasted from Canadian brew (although I am
taking a liking to Kokanee in a can), but my body is tired out and what a better place to take a rest than
in beautiful, expensive, Whistler? There is a huge freestyle biking competition here over the next few days
so my timing was perfect. I saw my first beefy bike a few years ago at Abington Wheel Wright Bike shop, the
guys who hooked me up with lots of my components on the bike and the bike itself, and it's amazing how huge
it is here. The jumps they do are amazing and honestly death defying, but let's get back to my gravity-defying
day on Wednesday....
As Lance and his cronies hustled up the Alp de Huez moutain stage over in France the other day, I had my own
mountain stage in southern B.C. on highway 99. I tried to look for a link to the topography of the road, so
as to give you a feeling as if you were watching the tour on OLN along with Paul and Phil, but this is all I
could find and it's not the side cut I was hoping
After procrastinating for a bit before the actual first climb by checking out BC Hydro's hydroelectric
station by Seton Lake, I finally started up. I had one extreme slope up for the first 7 or 8 kliks
(kms are referred to as "kliks" here) at around a 15% grade. The next 55 kms was a slow meandering upward
road with some rolling hills and a few downhills that gave me a rest. I had talked to a few people and
mentioned how much more I knew I had to do, almost hoping that they would say, "oh no, you're wrong, you
have one more small hill and then it's all downhill!". Instead they just nodded gravely and confirmed my
Due to all of this biking, I've developed a bit of a butt rash and as you can imagine, I can't get a good
look at it to know how to treat it- I did realize I needed to keep it off the saddle for a day or so. This
day, my butt's dream came true. My butt touched the saddle for maybe 10% of the day. Although my butt was
happy, the rest of my body was at work.
I had listened to Phil and Paul on the TV Tuesday night saying that when you bike alone, you are more tough
on yourself than if you bike with a partner. I hadn't agreed with this mentality, thinking that I seem to
get competitive when I ride or run or do any activity with someone. Nevertheless, to my amazement, I felt
like I worked harder than I had ever worked and when my mind said it was time to stop, my body just kept
going. It was pretty cool, although not at the time.
I actually had some help, I must say. Three young Swissmen, visiting from a dairy farm they were working at
in Calgary, offered to help me. I said no thanks, but they were pretty insistent. The one guy really wanted
to ride my bike so I said OK. So, for about 2 kms, a Swissman took over and poured all of his energy into
that two kms. By the time he was done, with his face beet red, armpits soaked, but not too bad, and barely
breathing, he thanked me and took my picture. It was a nice break. I soaked it all in.
After cycling 65 kms in just about 7 hours (that's like 5 miles an hour- it's SLOOOW), I finally reached the
summit. I took a picture, ate a PBJ on a black bean and salsa flavor tortilla, which seemed so tasty in the
store, (but not with PBJ), I started my trek down. This was a drop from over 1.6 Kms high in only about 17
Kms. This was a 15% grade for a long time, and I started to get nervous. My brake pads were very thin at
this point and I wasn't sure if I was going to go down on my own. I thought about stopping a pick up truck
so they could take the trailer down, and I was starting to be OK with the idea since I hadn't asked for any
help going up (minus the Swissmen). Then my body took over and I just went.
The blisters on my hands between the thumbs and pointers are nice representations of how I felt as I rounded
hairpin turns going down. I wanted to take pictures of the beautiful scenery and the "15% Grade -Trucks gear
down" signs, if only I could have stopped or even slowed to a comfy speed. I finally made it to the bottom
and then I breathed. It was a great feeling to know I was able to undertake and complete this day, but I
also remembered that I had another 35kms before I got to Whistler.