Departure Day – Whistler bound

As they always do, the departure day dawned really early. Our flight took off at 6:50, and that means a 4am alarm setting to get out the door on time. That is only an hour or so early for me and my normal wake up time, but for a bunch of teenagers that probably only went to bed at 3am, that is really really early. Nonetheless, we are going to Whistler! So, everyone is pretty excited.

Planes, trains, and rental cars later and we are making our way through Vancouver. Vancouver is the greatest city in the world. The ocean, the mountains coming right down to the edge of the ocean, the islands – even the weather. The city has a bit of a European feel to it. Lots of people commuting by bike, electric buses etc… The road cycling on Vancouver island is really good. The Mountain biking in North Vancouver is the best in the world. I love everything about the city. Some day, when I can choose where I live with a bit more freedom – you know where you will find me. I don’t know why I was not born Canadian, eh?

In the end, we made it up to Whistler. The Sea to Sky highway is historically one of the greatest drives I know of. But, nowadays it is pretty torn up. The stupid Olympics thing has forced Canada to try to make the road wider. I think it has been under construction now for about 5 years. It is a huge project. Basically, the mountains come right down to the waters edge in this part of the world. The Sea to Sky highway was always a beautiful little 2 lane road that followed the edge of the water from Vancouver to Squamish. The road snaked around and zigged and zagged with the water and the mountains. Spectacular! It was slow going for sure, and I am certain that if you lived with that road on a regular basis – it was probably frustrating. But, somebody had the bright idea of hosting the Olympics here and of course that means that thousands more people will need to use the road. Thus, the project to make it wider. Unfortunately, the project has made the drive way less spectacular as a wide road kind of ruins the feel of the mountains and ocean. Maybe the beauty will return when it is all done.

This is our annual Whistler trip, and for the 2nd time, the Gonzales family is doing the trip with us. Jose and I have known each other for more than 20 years and have been riding mountain bikes together for that long as well. Jose is an old Kawasaki mechanic and a suspension wizard. His son Christian is only 13, but can ride as he races MX at home. His wife Ami and daughter Kelsey do not ride, but they are here to hang out in Whistler as it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. This is going to be fun.

When we arrived, we quickly unpacked the van and bombed over to pick up the bikes. Then we had a few hour bike building party. We were supposed to have 3 new Session 88 bikes and 4 new Remedy bikes. All but one were here, one still in transit.

Here is the results of the build party! Love that sight!

I have to show off a few shameless bragging photo’s. Here is my ride for the next 6 days. Sweet!

I cannot wait!

What a site! All shiny and willing! Yes!

Unfortunately, I discovered that someone in baggage must have stepped on my bag and it crushed my helmet. I loved this helmet as it was a Standard Giro Remedy, but with some pretty cool one off graphics. Oh well, it was due to be replaced this year because it was crashed in too many times already.

See the crack line from the eye hole past the vent to the bottom.

Cracked all the way through the mouthpiece!

No longer oval shaped!

Helmets can stand quite a few crashes, but apparently they cannot take being stepped on or sat on sideways. Carry them on with you, do not check them.

So, the girls are riding with Candace Shadley for the next 3 days. Candace runs an outfit called “Dirt Series” ( www.dirtseries.com) . Candace has an affiliation with another bike brand, but I don’t hold that against her. She is the greatest. If ever you can get to one of her outfits camps or just get out for a ride with her, you should. I cannot pump up her business enough.

Tuesday the 22nd is our first day of riding. I will hopefully have some photo’s from that day.

Joe

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