Annual trip to Whistler time. Annual is what I like to think of it as, but last year we did not get to go. So, as you can imagine, we had a lot of angst built up and needed to shred some Whistler jump lines.
If you have been to Whistler, you know what I am talking about. If not, you need to do yourself a favor at some point and get there. You will not regret it. Whistler is the ultimate mountain bike playground. Lift access, technical singletrack or flowing jumping trails. The flowing trails are a bit like riding a MX track with berms and jumps and drop offs and… yeah. Hell yah.
Here is a film that gets you the feeling of what some of the better jump/flow lines feel like there. Dirt Merchant and A-Line are 2 of the absolute classic trails there. This is edited down, but represents some of my absolute favorite 10 minutes of my life.
That may not look tough, but do that a dozen times and you are worked at the end of the day.
This is the 5th or 6th time that we have been there together as a family. Ali and Hanna have pretty much grown up riding there, and they have had a lot of years gaining skill there. Their skills can be attributed to Candace Shadley and the dirt series. She teaches people basic through expert skills. And her camps are the best that there are for that range. www.dirtseries.com
As you can see from the photo’s below, they have gained some great skills along the way.
This year, we had a bunch of friends with us there as well. We had always planned to be there with Chris and Matt from the UK. Chris has been a friend of ours forever, and she a Liz really enjoy riding together. Matt is her boyfriend that she moved to the UK to be with. Our friends Jose Gonzales and family from California were with us again as well. We have gone together to Whistler before, and it is always fun. We rented one bike house this trip at the base of the mountain. It was bustling and really fun. This year, Hanna’s boyfriend Evan decided to go with us as well at the last minute. He had not done much mountain biking before this, but as you can see from below he picked it up pretty well.
Evan did have a tough crash on the drop off on Schleyer on the hill. Smacked his hip hard onto the ground and was in pain most of the week, but it really didn’t stop him from riding. We all had small and larger crashes along the way, Liz had one on a turn that she called the nipple ripper – ask her about it.
But, I have to say my crash was the worst of the week. Not because I want that honor, but it pretty much ended my riding after the 3rd day. I was coming down lower A line, just before Hornet/Old School. (It is the really tight techie part of A-line that most people hate, just before the last 3 jumps and the GLC drop. I happen to love that whole section. If you watch the included Video, you will see it in there towards the end.) There is a steep slab of rock at the end of it, with some tight trees at the top of it that you must thread through.
We had been blitzing through there 3 days straight, sliding down the rock face and jamming off the dirt at the bottom berming the turn to the right into a left that launches you into the slot for the last 3 big jumps on A-line. No problem the first 25 times through there.
Apparently, I clipped my handlebar on the tree at the top of that slab of rock, and launched over the bars onto my shoulder and head on the slab of rock. I say apparently, because I do not really know how it happened. I do know that rock is really hard and much stronger than a shoulder is. There was an extreme pain building in my shoulder, before I even moved as I lay there in a heap.
The patrol had to get me down out of there and my shoulder is bad. I have a separated AC (commonly called a separated shoulder). That is where your collarbone connects at the far end via tendons to the shoulder. I popped the top rib out back side and possibly front side, that is super painful and is probably what made me black out as I lay there. And of course, I tore my rotator cuff.
I have crashed before, and unfortunately I will crash again. Goes with the territory. It is never fun, but this one was particularly bad as I still had 3 more days of riding to do. I watched my family go out riding everyday after that for 3 more days. Oh well, I got permission to hike around the bike park and take photo’s of the family. Enjoy the photo’s, click them to see them full size.
(There goes all the great fitness I had)