"It had rained all night, and was still raining. But we here in the NW know that a little rain shouldn't get in the way of a nice ride".

So much for "responsible" mountain biking.



To: mountain bike <bbtcmembers@yahoogroups.com>

From: Kat Wamba <kat-rowan@attbi.com>

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Date: Mon, 26 May 2003 13:27:01 -0700

Subject: Spokeswomen Bike Camp, days 1&2-Kat's report (long)

So I was off to Whistler this weekend, eh? I know there's a big group of

BBTC femmes heading up for the clinic next month, but I was by my lonesome,

and this is (the first part of) my story.....

I headed up Friday, half hour border crossing, many detours through

Vancouver due to construction (don't get me started on Vancouver's lack of

bypass roads!), and arrived in Whistler around 4:30pm. The festivities

wouldn't start until 6pm with a bike maintenance clinic, so I figured after

I'd checked into my hotel I'd go for a bike ride and get the lay of the

land. I tooled around for a while, oblivious to everything, and suddenly

realized I was hearing a rubbing sound. And I'd been hearing it for a while,

it just hadn't permeated my Whistler-induced fog. Checking my bike, I found

that when reassembling my bike after the trip up, I must have jostled the

rear brake (how I love cantilevers!), as it was now rubbing against my tire,

and had almost worn thru! Unhooking the rear brake, I rode to the nearest

bike shop-the tech was surprised the tire hadn't already blown up on me.

But... He was out of XC tires. So I had to tool around with no rear brake

for about 20 minutes, checking for an open bike shop that had XC tires. I

finally found one, and I got a great deal on a nice tire.

By this time it was time for our bike maintenance clinic and welcome party,

so I rode back up to the Glacier Shop with my new tire slung over my

shoulder, and one of the techs and I went over my bike, installed the new

tire, and did some basic bike fit stuff. Then Sally Carmichael and the other

instructors (Diana, Jo, Sylvie, Anne, and Anie) passed out beer and told us

what to expect in the coming days, and we all introduced ourselves. There

were 20 of us total, with myself and a woman from Indiana (ah! the power of

the Internet) being the only Americans.

The next morning as I got up, I became aware of One Main Thing: it had

rained all night, and was still raining. But we here in the NW know that a

little rain shouldn't get in the way of a nice ride, so we all suited up and

gathered at 9am for a morning of skill building. We were divided into groups

according to skill level (I was in the intermediate group), and we went to

work, doing mini-clinics on descending, climbing, front wheel lifts,

descending stairs, ratcheting and quarter-punches, high-speed braking,

cornering, bike/body separation, trackstands... I'm probably missing

something, but you get the idea-they put us through every pace they could

think of! I surprised myself with the things I took to really well. Of

course, there were things I thought, "Oh, that will be no problem!" that I

could barely do at all. Some of you coming up next month wanted the skinny

on the instructors: honestly, with every single instructor I would think,

"This is my favorite instructor!", and then we would switch groups, and I'd

have that moment all over again. They were all awesome!

We had several bear sitings, but I'm told that's common.

At lunch, I was surprised to see fellow BBTC-er Eric Stobin show up.

Apparently his company is one of the Spokeswomen sponsors, and he happened

to be up riding this weekend and decided to say hello to Sally et al., in

person. He ended up riding sweep on one of the afternoon rides. (But really,

Eric, how many guys wouldn't just "coincidentally" be up riding during a

camp weekend, if there was a prospect of riding with a group of almost 30


After lunch, we went for rides. My group decided to go up into the bike park

and do some downhilling. So we loaded up into the lifts and off we went. Let

me pause here and point out, it's been pouring down rain since last night,

and it's not letting up. Or as one guy from Vancouver put it to me, "Yeah,

it's really pissing on us, eh?" It seemed like the entire mountain was mucky

and slimy, and visibility was really poor. I was feeling confident after the

morning sessions, so I was practicing my cornering and high speed braking-on

my little hardtail with cantilever brakes :) One minute I was careering with

glee around a corner; the next I was face down in the muck, very

surprisingly unbroken, but with the wind completely knocked out of me. I got

up, brushed off as much mud as possible, and gave myself a little pep talk.

Off I went again-only to have exactly the same thing happen on the next

switchback. I was really shaky by this time, and although I made it down

without further incident, that was my last run of the day. Some girls were

in similar circumstances as myself, others were not letting a little mud

keep them from practicing catching big air, and one amazing rider even

challenged Sylvie Allen to a race (I think she won). I finished off the day

with a nice mellow dark beer with the rest of the group at our favorite

hangout, soaked in the hotel hot tub, and was in bed by nine....

Day Three to come.....