Day 1 is done and the results are in. Overall, the Dodds Brothers fared well in the crowd, staying well within the top 50% of the Open Men’s pack. Cam had the best day, boasting a 12th place! Here are the official resutls:
When you’re in the company of more pro riders than you’ve ever raced with and the organizer issues that warning multiple times before you start the race, you know that British Columbia means “black diamond” when they say it.
Today’s stage was short, steep and, as Ted Morton so aptly described it, “janky.” Crowbar is a great name for the messy bit of singletrack—it seemed to have a specialty for forcefully prying you around corners and inflicting demolition on what you thought were some fairly polished bike handling skills. We asked our friend Scott (who we met in the parking lot before the race) how he felt at the finish line. “Slow and awkward” was his response and grunts of affirmation were heard all around. Here’s a look at a few highlights from the trail:
As humbling as the trail was, we couldn’t get enough of the steep, sketchy and tight singletrack. For the second time in a row, Revelstoke had pulled our faces into smiles that lasted long after the wheels stopped spining. We shared those smiles with world-class people from near and far—we met people from Germany and New Zealand. As I’ve written before, there’s something special about an event with no egos, where the pros, privateers and posers (like me) are one community. That says a lot about the organizer, so good on you, Ted.
The rest of the afternoon rolled along at an easy-going pace. We visited a few bike shops, soaked our legs in the Columbia River and grabbed a few groceries. As I’m writing this, the brothers are whiping up some salads and talking about what movie we’re going to watch tonight to force us to rest for the big day tomorrow.
Days like this one are darn-near perfect, but I can already tell this is a place where they are plentiful.
Waking up in a tent to the rushing sound of the Columbia River—especially after 18 hours of travel—might be the best way I’ve ever received official notice that my adventure had begun.
After scrounging up some grub in Calgary, we settled into a 5-hour drive towards Revelstoke in search of a place to bivy for the night. Some time after midnight our headlights guided our weary eyes towards a dirt road just outside of town, close to the banks of the river. Our desire for sleep made quick work of the tent and before we knew it we were lulled to sleep by British Columbia’s gentle soundtrack of rustling pines and rushing water.
Having an entire day to kill before a race is a luxury, of which we took full advantage, beginning with a leisurely breakfast at La Baguette, which seemed like somewhat of a local launching point for the adventure-inclined. That meant being completely new to town wasn’t a problem: we fit right in. Sufficiently filled with caffeine and sustenance, we headed down to a river-front park to build the bikes, organize the hastily-improvised packing job in the back of the truck and take some time to stretch travel-tight muscles.
Once the ponies were bridled and our riding kits were archeologically extracted from a mountain of gear, we were ready to taste a sample of the fabled Revelstoke single-track. Ted Morton, the race organizer, pointed us towards Keystone Basin, which several people at the local bike shop confirmed was one of the best alpine rides around. They were right: it’s absolutely stunning. The punchy climb at the beginning is more of a warning shot to those easily deterred by pain. It’s not bad once you get to the top, but steep, technical, chest-on-stem climbing out of the gate is enough to make even seasoned riders feel clumsy and out of shape. Clearing the pines at the top of a hill, though, dumps you suddenly into a wildflower-blanketed alpine meadow with 360º views of gigantic peaks in every direction. Tracing the tiny ribbon of single-track as far as you can see into the hills ahead helps melt away any doubt that pushing forward was the right choice. From that meadow onwards, aggressive riders can gorge themselves on a healthy mix of up-and-down, flowy, steep and technical sections. There’s so much to love, but we all agreed that the defining experience of the day was chasing each others’ dust trails through the serene meadows, railing natural berms as hard as you possibly could and wondering the whole time if what you were experiencing was real.
The high from riding alpine trails lasted the entire evening as we devoured huge helpings of loaded mac ’n cheese, sprayed the bikes down and fell headlong into comfortable beds.
Big adventure trips are funny things: it’s easy to define the experience by what you do on the adventure, but more often it’s what you were doing before the adventure that sets the tone for the experience you’re about have.
I’m writing this post from an airplane that’s speeding towards British Columbia, where both of my brothers are waiting at the airport with a truck full of bikes and gear. The next few weeks are going to be absolutely incredible, but not simply because the Canadian Rockies are a destination; for us, on this trip, they will be a refuge.
It all began when the brothers-three signed up for the Revelstoke 3-day Enduro Race over half a year ago, giddy at the chance we might be selected in the lottery. Amazingly, all of us recieved the coveted email, breaking glorious news, summed up in two powerful words: “you’re in.”
As is often the case with life, each of us has gone through twists and turns between entering the lottery and actually packing our bags. My life changed significantly two months ago when a business I helped build over the last 5 years suddenly announced it was closing. I think it’s fair to say that Cam’s road weary and a little lonely after spending a few months in Europe (and most of his savings) climbing some of the best rock the western world has to offer across the Atlantic. Bear had an epic trip to France this summer, but has paid for it ever since with one of the worst night-shift schedules I’ve ever seen, making normal sleep an elusive dream.
Those challenges are nothing to complain about. In general, life is good. We all feel blessed beyond imagination. I’m not a psychologist, but if I had to diagnose how all three of us were feeling before the compass pointed West, I’d call it a case of weariness from the normal wear-and-tear of life. In other words, sometimes life just feels like a bit of a grind, no matter what your circumstances are.
For us, the earthly antidote to life’s toils is simple: mountains. No matter how crazy things get, the mountains are always there. As a destination. An escape. A refuge. The mountains don’t care about your problems and they demand that you to disconnect and remember, for a moment, you are small. I think it’s safe to say that all three brothers need this trip.
I’ve never been to the interior of British Columbia, but in a weird way I already feel myself falling in love with it. Revelstoke might not be the first town that comes to mind when people think about Canada, but when you mention the word to someone who’s been there, the pause for a moment and what looks like a well-earned smile starts to form on their face.
So, in just under an hour, I’ll land in Calgary. I’ll hug my brothers. We will drive to a small town that has a really big reputation. We will drink local beer, share stories and make last-minute adjustments to our bikes. And then we will take refuge in the mountains, on some of the best trails that the world has to offer.
We will soak in Revelstoke for all it’s worth, and we hope you enjoy riding along with us.
Yesterday I called Bear right after the finish and, understandably, there weren’t many words except, “I finished, dude. I made it.”
It was an epic, 6-day journey in which the shortest start-to-finish day was around 7 hours. Bear was tested in every way—endurance, technical skill and, most of all, the drive to keep pedaling (or hiking) when it already felt like he’d given everything.
Bear, we are so proud of you! Well done, young brother.
Just around 7 hours. No major wrecks. Rode the red dirt trail and it was comparable to a rough Moab trail. 700+ meters of decent. Crazy!
Super hard day but felt decent. Drinking a pint with all the bros in this awesome little town. Last 2 descents were 750+ and then right into another 500+
It puts Pisgah to shame. I’m trying as hard as I can to ride consistently and people are passing me usually on every stage. Hard to get over the ego of the racing part but I have awesome people here to bring me back to reality.
I wouldn’t recommend this race to anyone who couldn’t handle the business.