Back in the Saddle

Posted by martin.parnell |

Next Quest:

TransRockies Quest 888 (Quest #8)

  • 6 months (May to October 2013)

  • 10 trail running, mountain biking, road running and road biking events

  • Completing 888 race kilometres

  • Next up: Fernie Ultra and Enduro June 29/30

It was a simple plan. I would have my very first mountain bike lesson on Tuesday and then, on Friday, head up to the Canmore Nordic Centre to sign in for Rundles Revenge. There would be a 25km mountain race on the Saturday and a 50km trail run on the Sunday. Rundles Revenge is event two in my TransRockies Quest 888. This is the eighth Quest in my "Quests for Kids" initiative. In total I'm attempting to complete 10 Quests in 5 years, raise $1m for Right To Play and help 20,000 children.

Last Tuesday, I arrived at the Canada Olympic Park (COP) in Calgary at 2.00pm and met Rhys Ellis. Rhys is the Coach of the WinSport Academy Downhill Mountain Bike Team. He has a team consisting of six athlete's ages ranging from 14 to 17. They compete at the Provincial and National level, focusing on the BC Cup Downhill series. The race team developed from the mountain bike clubs program started in 2009 at COP. It began with six young mountain bikers who were passionate about the sport and, with in 4 years, grew to 40 riders of varying age and ability. The goal of the programs is to follow the Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) plan and instil the "Active for Life" mentality for young people.

Before we started Rhys checked over my bike and said that everything looked OK. I want to be clear I am not good at mountain biking. The prevoius week, I had been out with my friend Tom to Canmore and ridden the Horse Shoe Loop. It was not a pretty sight. I took a number of tumbles and blood was left on the trail. Rhys had brought along some knee and elbow pads and I was happy to put them on. He wanted to see what I could do and we headed off along a single track trail in the park.

There had been some rain over night and I paid the price on a couple of muddy sections with slick tree roots. Before setting out on the second loop he reduced the air pressure in my tires and gave me some tips:

  • Remember when climbing to adjust your hips forward on your seat and drop your elbows and wrists.
  • Create a field of view so you can be prepared for up and coming terrain.
  • Take the path of least resistance, it will usually be the smoothest.
  • Attempt in all situations to have balanced weight on front and rear tires for optimal traction.
  • Remember to keep your pedals level to stay balanced.

What a difference. No falls and I felt great. I thanked Rhys and headed back to Cochrane looking forward to the weekend.

Then the rains came. By Friday Southern Alberta was in a state of emergency. Bridge after bridge collapsed. The 1 and 1A highways were closed. Canmore was devastated. Rundles Revenge was cancelled. So, my entry into the world of mountain bike racing will have to wait. The third event of TransRockies Quest 888 is scheduled for Sunday, June 30th in Fernie, BC. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day

"The journey is what brings us happiness, not the destination."

Dan Millman

Mountain biking at Canada Olympic Park. Rhys gave me my first lesson.



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