Sunday, September 11, 2011

Have you Ever Heard of Olav Stana?

I hadn't, either.

The backstory: this weekend we loaded up the car for the second road trip weekend in two weeks. First we headed up to Merritt to meet Cliff and Lori, who were finishing up their two-week BC tour.


We arrived at the forestry campsite pretty late Friday night, and immediately hopped on our bikes and went out for a night ride.  The moon was 89.6% full, according to the computer, which seemed to be just enough to see by and find the trails we were looking for.   The first trail took us up and over a big hill, then down the other side, into a ravine, and....into an impassable forest, where the trail dwindled to nothing.  We had been following a cow trail.  So maybe not quite enough light to find the trails we were looking for.  On the plus side, as we were pushing our bikes back up and out of the ravine, the northern lights came out.  And I mean came out.  I've never seen the lights like that before - spread across the majority of the northern horizon, waving and flickering, and we even saw a few shades of green and red in there.  Amazing.  Unfortunately, no pictures.  From now on, even mountain biking after dark in the grasslands, always bring a camera.  Always.

After we had our fill of the lights, we finished backtracking and rode back to the main service road.  Continued down the road (this time with headlamps on), and found the actual trailhead.  Probably.  A trailhead, anyways.  We rode this one out into the hills for a while.  The trail was nice and smooth dirt, twisty enough to keep it interesting, and riding at night is always amazing.  I was really enjoying myself.  Then I heard sort of a pop, and suddenly found myself 2 inches lower and heading right into a small tree.

A minute later I had picked myself up and was realizing that I hadn't brought the multitool to fix my seatpost with me.  Then I heard sort of a yipping.  I looked up, and realized everyone else had heard it too.  Then it became a lot of yipping.  Sort of sounded like a pack of coyotes about 20 or 30 feet in front of us, in the woods we were about to enter.  Sounded a lot like that, actually.  Then I saw the whites of Cliff's eyes as he picked his bike up and ran past me back down the trail.  Lori was hot on his heels.   I decided the seatpost could wait.

The next day was less eventful.  Went out for another ride in the grasslands, spent a few hours and decided that the trails were un-findable even in the daylight, chased some cows, and then headed in to Kelowna.  Naturally we went to the H2O centre and rode waterslides and the flowrider for a few hours.  The flowrider is a lot of fun.

Back to Olav, though.

We headed to Revelstoke Saturday night, to get ready for the Mount Revelstoke Steamer hill climb race.  At ~27 km and 1600 metres of vertical gain, it is a serious hill.  This would also be the first actual bike race that Caroline and I had ever entered.

Race day was blazing hot.  Not too much to say about the race other than that... it was a big hill.  Both Caroline and I came in almost right where we thought we would, time wise.  This put me a little below mid-pack for my category, and gave Caroline a fourth place finish.  She seems to like those this year.  And again, since we were both racing, we have no pictures.  There were some official photographers on course, so hopefully we can get some of those.

Then the awards ceremony. Second place through fifth place overall were separated by about two and a half minutes in total.  The fourth place finisher missed third by seven seconds.  All of these guys were between 22 and 31, in the prime age bracket for a fast time.  This was a close race.  You can look around the patio, and it's very obvious who the fast racers are - late twenties, tall and skinny, wearing their sponsored or team clothes, eating mountains of fried food and beer.

Then they announce the winner.  He won by four minutes.  He absolutely crushed it.  The all time course record was broken by two minutes.  Olav Stana gets up from the back corner of the patio.  He is wearing suit pants and a pressed polo.  He adjusts his bifocals.  Olav is 56 years old.  He then walks to the front, shakes everyone's hand, smiles politely, takes the prize money, and heads back to his corner.  Then he gets back to his novel.  No big deal.

You can find the official results here.

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