“Why do we do this to ourselves?” John mused somewhere on the Megacy climb as cramps ravaged his legs, a puncture plagued Phil, knee pain tortured Ross and my entire body was breaking. By the end of the inaugural 100 Reasons to Hate Yourself , sixteen cyclists were reminded why.
At about 6:45 Saturday morning, twenty-four mountain-bikers left The Bean Brackendale to cycle over 100kms while climbing over 3,000m(10,000′) of roads, paths, double-track, single-track, narrow wood bridges, massive slabs of granite and every other order of trail available in the Squamish area. Within our group were two women, one fifteen year old and two German tourists whose AirBnB host invited them to come along.
During the course of the day we all suffered in our own way. The physical pain is one thing but it’s the mental anguish that really makes endurance cycling so gruelling. The struggle to keep on going when all you want to do is lie down on the side of the trail in the sun. The second part of the Megacy climb to the bottom of Half Nelson is where I struggled most. Convincing myself it would be foolish, dangerous even, to continue riding, I would then consider the shame of not finishing my own event. All the while, riding up and down some of the most incredible single-track I’ve ever known.
At the second aid station, all that changed. Within minutes of sitting on the ground, laughing and lamenting with John, Phil and Ross, any notion of quitting left me. Food, water, a cold Coca-Cola and the support of those who know what it’s like. The next two and a quarter hours of riding(and walking) up and down hill would be tough. But by then there was no doubt, I would finish.
Eric Goodwin–who designed the course–and five others completed the event in about 8hrs 15mins. John, Phil, Ross and I then came in at about 11hrs 30mins.(truth be known, they stopped for a beer at Ross’s place while I struggled to catch up). At 8pm on the nose, 13hrs 15mins after starting, the final six rolled in with smiles under those dirty faces.
As we enjoyed a beer at Norman Rudy’s Pub, the looks in everyone’s eyes reminded me why we do this. The pain, the pride, the personal struggles that unite people in a bond like no other. To test yourself and win. That’s why we do this.
A hearty congratulations are due to all who finished, and started, 100 Reasons to Hate Yourself. Job well done. But there is one Ryder who deserves special recognition.
While putting up a few trail markers on Tuesday, Eric and I bumped into fifteen year old Ryder. Knowing him to be a very strong cyclist, Eric invited Ryder to join us for the race. “Yeah, sure, maybe I’ll start it at least.” The day before the race Ryder posted online “Can’t find any other people my age who have the willpower to do this so looks like I will the the only “child” (really shocking how teenagers don’t want to do a 100 km bike race). Lol.”
Ryder can usually be found riding enduro, sending it on all the big features in Squamish. He does also enjoy riding those long hours, entering a couple XC races each summer. The fact that these ridiculous endurance events are typically the domain of old guys with beards didn’t faze Ryder in the slightest. With more experience than most folks his age, Ryder showed us what really counts; will-power and a big smile. Congratulations, Ryder, that was a tremendous achievement.
The hugest thanks are due to the most wonderful aid station volunteers, Catherine and Greg. We could not have put on this event with out you. Thanks to Caroline who collected jackets at kilometre ten. The spontaneous support of Armand of Republic Bicycles at that second aid station also meant a lot.
Biggest thanks of all are due to the twenty four cyclists who even started the day thinking this was somehow a good idea. See you next year?