Gettin’ the dirt while rippin’ some dirt.
“Hey, Bill. You riding tonight?”
“Yup. Easy hour and a half. Chadburn area. Come along?”
“Let’s do it! Can we make it a rap-and-ride ’cause I want to interview you for my What’s Up Yukon column about the whole BC Bike Race/food bank project.”
“Uh … OK.”
(Forty-five minutes later, Chadburn Lake road. Unloading bikes from the back of my truck.)
“Where we heading?”
“Let’s head along yellow and make our way over to Chadburn and the river trail.”
“Cool. Let’s roll … these bugs are feasting on me.”
“So, Bill [grunt] … tell me about BC Bike Race?”
“You know about BC Bike Race.”
“Dude, I told you. It’s for my column … humour me.”
“Mountain biking. Seven days, seven stages. Teams of two. The North Shore …The Island … Sunshine Coast … Squamish … Whistler … It’s the ultimate singletrack experience … (Stay on yellow, up here).”
“Come on … that last part was right from the website [gasp].”
“You told me to humour you.”
“OK. So why are you doing it? (I thought you said we were doing an EASY ride!)”
“I dunno. For the challenge.”
“That’s a little cliché, Slater. You’ve never really struck me as a competitive guy. (Why does my chain keep skipping?)”
“For the personal challenge. I don’t really care about beating other people, but you may recall we did a little race called Trans Rockies, two years ago?”
“Don’t remind me. Seven days of abject suffering spent staring at your back. (Stupid chain.)”
“Yeah, well, I feel like we learned stuff during that event that we can apply to this one; plus, BCBR has more of the stuff I like – like single track and technical descents – and less of the stuff I don’t like, like dusty fire roads and long traverses. (Check out the lupins along here … beautiful.)”
“I hear you. We survived TR; we want to race BCBR. Top 10, right?”
“That’s the goal.”
“For me, there’s some redemption on the line [wheeze]. I felt crappy and suffered like a dog through TR and held you back, but I’m not holding you back this time … (like I am now. Geez, Bill … yer killin’ me. Arrgh! … Freakin’ chain … I gotta stop for a sec).”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“Nothing. I just wanted to make you stop so I could ask you a few more questions without gasping so much. So, what’s with the food bank?”
“You know about the ….”
“Oh, yeah. We’re raising money for the Whitehorse Food Bank. We got these jerseys made with sponsorship from Yukon Brewing Company, Boréale Mountain Biking and Tourism Yukon.
“We’re racing in [the jerseys] and we’re also selling them with all proceeds going to help buy food and cover operating costs for the food bank.”
(“Can we get rolling again? These bugs are brutal!”)
“But there’s lots of worthy local charities. Why the Food Bank? (OK, slow down … I don’t want to fake a pulled hammy just so I can finish this interview).”
“There are people in our community who go without, who haven’t had the same opportunities as us.
“I wish we lived in a place where a food bank wasn’t needed, but the need is there and I think it’s our responsibility to help if we can. The difference between them and us is so slight … (Let’s head over to the river trail from here.)”
“You mean, even though the gap between the haves and the have-nots seems to be getting bigger all the time; in reality, it’s a pretty thin line between the two.”
“Yeah … we’re one bad injury, loss of a job or a family illness away from being stripped of a lot of the privileges we enjoy.
“So, would you say there’s a certain kinship because we all belong to the same community?”
“It’s nice to think we live in a place where people help each other out when it’s needed. Man, this trail is spectacular at this time of day.”
“I’m going to need a little help if you don’t slow down, Slater. You want to ride along Scwhatka back to the truck?”
“Let’s do it!”
* * *
To make a donation, buy a sweet cycling jersey (all proceeds to the Whitehorse Food Bank); or, to learn more about team Yukon Fuel and our efforts to raise money for the food bank, please drop me a note at email@example.com.
Check out www.bcbikerace.com to learn more about the upcoming BC Bike Race.
Got a suggestion for an active pursuit that could be profiled in this column? Want to draw attention to your sporting or recreational organization? Are you staying fit in some unique way? Drop me a line and tell me about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.