I remember the moment distinctly. Sitting there, beer in hand at a Christmas 2016 bbq, chatting to a good mountain biking mate about life the universe and everything… well, just mountain bikes really.

And I just blurted out ‘let’s do the BC Bike Race’. He kinda laughed and dismissed the idea with the words along the lines of ‘why would I want to inflict that on myself?’.

Fair question from a smart man. Why would anyone want to go through the pain of riding 300km-plus and climbing 10,000m in seven days?

Me, I guess. I’d read about the race for years and saw the whole concept the other way round – seven days riding the best singletrack British Columbia has to offer.

Seven days where all you think about and focus on is riding your bike on some of the best trails in the world through some of the most spectacular places on earth. What could be better?

Back then it sounded … doable. Now three months out from the 2018 race with my entry secured, airline ticket purchased, thousands of kilometres of training under my wheels and about to take delivery of the Giant Trance Advanced 1 I will ride in the race, I am terrified.

The closer I get and the harder I work the more I realise just how in over my head I am.

To put that in perspective. I am the very definition of the average mountain biker. I have been associated with two wheels virtually all my life, be it bicycles or motorcycles, but only got into MTB in my early 40s … a bloke who’d been sedentary for a decade focussed on business, family and making money.

I kid you not, mountain biking saved my life. I lost weight, reconnected with my younger self, made a lot of new friends of all ages and simply fell in love all over again with the simple act of pedalling on two wheels.

I’ve raced, I’ve done epic rides, I’ve ridden in much of Australia and some great places overseas … one of the upsides of a job that puts me on planes too often.

But I’m not fast up or downhill, I baulk at the technical stuff and in a group ride, you’ll find me huffing and puffing along near the back.

When the race starts on July 7 I’ll be 55. ‘That’s not old’ I tell myself and I know there will be blokes at the BC older than me going a lot faster. But that’s one of the beauties of mountain biking; the challenges and accomplishments are personal, from climbing that hill, to rolling that rock garden to completing a seven-day race.

So please, join me for the rest of my journey. Bicycle Superstore has very kindly offered me some space to chronicle my experiences over the next few months and there’s still lots to be done both on and off the bike.

Cheers
Bruce Newton