Unforgettable stories derived from adventures
You don’t have to hang around me long to find out I’m obsessed with biking.
I’m not sure when this occurred.
I was pretty normal until about 12 years ago.
I was among those who thought marathons were crazy, Ironman triathlons ridiculous and ultra-distance anything was reserved only for lunatics.
Twenty years ago, I drove the road between Revelstoke and Mica Dam in order to research an article I was writing for BC Hydro about the servicing of huge turbines.
If you had told me back then I would cycle that 300-kilometre route in 11 hours and 25 minutes with a husband who shares the same passion for pain, you can imagine my response.
And yet, here I am, 20 years later, when I really should be getting smarter, choosing to cycle a route with more than 10,000 vertical feet of climbing on a lovely Saturday with my husband, when we could be doing something so much less uncomfortable like cutting the lawn (it really needs to be cut one of these days) or going for a hike (one hour versus 11.5).
But, where would be the great stories in that? Where would be the spousal bonding?
I tell my husband he really knows how to show a girl a good time.
And, honestly, there were times (specifically in the beginning of the ride) when I felt a sense of euphoria and wouldn’t have chosen to be anywhere else but alongside a glassy lake with snow-capped mountains reflecting on that perfect surface, with the sun warming our skin and the bears, cariboo and deer staring at us like we came from Mars.
Why? A lot of people are asking.
What is this all about?
What’s with the need to ride for so long and so far?
So I can qualify to ride even further, of course.
If I can accomplish 200-, 300-, 400- and 600-kilometre rides this year, I qualify to ride the 1,200 next year.
Imagine working so hard to qualify to ride 1,200 kilometres . . . but I’ve met people who have done it multiple times.
They are the Randonneurs and they do this stuff weekend after weekend and year after year because it’s fun.
People think I’m crazy, but they haven’t met this bunch, nor the bunch of people I know who’ve done multiple Ironman’s or 100-mile runs or seven-day adventure races.
Just when you think someone’s lost it, there’s a whole bunch of people out there who never found it in the first place
And, do we have stories to tell.
My latest favourite is hitting a pig in a road race in Maple Ridge.
Yes, the pig is OK. It was a large pig.
I was almost stopped, trying to decide at which end I should pass the pig.
I ended up trying to sneak behind it. I made the wrong choice. The pig wheeled around and ran for home, taking my wheel out from under me as he went.
We both squealed. I went down. The whole chase group passed me and I was left with my mouth hanging open in disbelief.
I’m happy to say, I was able to catch back on and hold onto second place.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Only out on the road and trails of life do these wonderful, crazy things happen to us, and what fun they are to tell.
Shawn Wenger is a BCRPA-registered weight-training instructor and personal trainer.