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Published: July 12th 2008
So I've decided to try and keep a travel blog again. I had a solid one going when I was studying uni abroad in the Netherlands and travelling through Europe and Israel this past summer (2007). After returning to Seattle (where I used to live) in September 2007, I felt like I was in a rut and decided to move to Whistler, British Columbia for a winter season. For 2 months, I worked 65 hours a week at an Italian restaurant and made enough money to survive in Whistler, at least until I received my first pay cheque.
Whistler is amazing. There's no other explanation for it except for that. As a local, you get to see Whistler in a different light -- thousands of people from all over the world come and visit Whistler for only 3-5 days while you keep staying at this vacation destination. Quoting from my friend, "I live where you vacation!"
So currently Whistler is blooming flowers over all the ski runs, the village is full of tourists in shorts, tshirts, sometimes too tight of clothing, flip flops, and mountain biking gear. Whistler is a huge hub for downhill mountain biking and there's a
really cool program for women who want to downhill bike with a bit of instruction. I decided I needed to try a new sport that gave me as much thrill as snowboarding does. Since I already have a bike park pass (mountain employee perk) I paid 50 bucks for a DH bike, full facial helmet, gloves, and protective gear for my knees, shins, elbows, and forearms. I was placed in the "never ever" group since I knew how to ride a bike, but not downhill with full suspension.
We rode down a trail called "Easy Does It" and let me tell you: it was not easy! The green runs on a ski hill are a lot milder than the easy trail for downhill biking. I white-knuckled it down most of the way and had adrenaline pumping through me the whole time. I was getting the hang of cornering, which means that when you ride around a corner, you need to lean your bike into the curve, but not your body. The bottom of Easy Does It spits riders right at the base of Whistler mountain where there's a popular restaurant called the GLC that has a huge patio looking
out at the bike trail bottleneck. Lots of tourists like to sit around and just watch riders come down the mountain and reload the Fitzsimmons chair lift which nicely brings riders to the top of bike trail area.
As I was coming down the trail next to the GLC, I thought to myself, "Wow! I just made it down my first downhill bike trail!" A split second later, I was slammed into the sand and gravel right in front of probably 200 onlookers. I heard an "ooooohhh" from whoever saw and the embarrassment initially hurt more than the actual injuries. I had hit my side, then my shoulder, then my head (I love that helmet). I gave 2 thumbs up to the people that looked at me, got up, and walked up to the rest of my group members.
On the chair lift, I couldn't see my shoulder or side because of my helmet, but I asked the girl next to me if I was bleeding. She said I wasn't, so I was thankful and ready to go down Easy Does It again. The second run was more successful - no falls! But I got to the bottom
the worst was it was on a sunburn that I got at the lake!
and definitely felt swelling in my side and burning on my shoulder. Took my helmet off and checked out my fall points. Blood and dirt mixture on both impact spots and swelling on my side. ow!
After riding, we all hung out on the GLC patio with beers and talked about the day. All our names were put into a raffle and I ended up winning some pretty snazzy bike shorts. Along with the shorts, I was awarded the Pink Saddle for the best crash of the week! That was uplifting, but I couldn't wait to wash out the dirt from my cuts and get some sleep.
The second week I went downhill biking was a lot more successful! I was out of the "never ever" group and in the "level 2/3 group". We rode down Crank It Up (my favourite with jumps!), Heart of Darkness, and B-line. No falling for me, though I definitely felt my body's hesitation and I rode a lot more conservatively that day.
I wish I could afford a DH bike, but until I can, I'll keep borrowing or renting. If you like thrilling sports like skiing/boarding, then you should try biking
good old bruised hip
common place for riders to hurt themselves. no hip padding. there are shoulder pads..I just didn't get any
for sure. Just remember that falling on snow and falling on rocks/gravel are vastly different. Nonetheless, get back on that bike if it throws you off!
Tot: 0.521s; Tpl: 0.045s; cc: 15; qc: 28; dbt: 0.0243s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb