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Deb MacKillop is our 2017 Kazlaw Community Award winner. Her dedication to her local riding community in Nelson, her adventurous attitude, and never-ending smile are just a few of the things that contributed to her win. We caught up with Deb to talk about her race prep, chamois‘, and how she’s been a BC Bike Race imposter since 2011! 

Who nominated you and what is your relationship? 

Kelli Sherbinin from Endless Biking nominated me. Kelli and I have been riding bikes together forever! We learned to ride bikes when she still lived in Nelson (she had a sticker on her handlebar that said “ride more talk less”). Then we both lived in Vancouver and we’d go out and practice wheelie drops off curbs and we’d shred Ladies Only and Purple Starfish laps on the shore. We raced DH together and have been on countless adventures since. I am an Endless Biking Ambassador, which means that Kelli and Darren have been very kind to support my biking passion.

What did you think when you found out you won? Did you ever think about doing the BC Bike Race previously? 

My first thought… “wow… I better start exercising!”

I’ve been a BC Bike Race imposter since 2011! I won the draw prize at Lynn Valley Bikes’ first-anniversary party and it was a BC Bike Race Competitor bag with a bunch of cool stuff in it (including a box of spray tan that I still haven’t used). The bag is awesome and has been my rolling luggage ever since. But I feel like a fake every time I pull it off of an airport carousel.

I’ve been lucky to know a bunch of people from the BC Bike Race team and I have always thought it would be an amazing event to participate in. I feel really lucky to have won the Kazlaw award.

How involved are you with your local mountain bike community?

I spend a lot of time volunteering with the Nelson Cycling Club. I’m the Secretary. I coordinate the other Directors and keep all of the many elements of trail advocacy, maintenance, and events rolling as smooth as possible. I also deal with logging referrals, private land issues, crown land agreements, and other trail issues, and I usually end up helping out with local races and events.

What kind of riding do you normally do? Where is your favorite place to ride?

I have a DH background but I also love to pedal. XC is really new to me – for years I rode DH bikes with a hammerschmidt. I’d ride everything from park to local XC classics on my Flatline. It was a bit heavy, but it made me stronger! I’ve been loving the riding in Nelson lately – the worst thing about riding here has been trying to decide which trails to choose! Steep tech, flowy jumps, granite rock faces, pedal-y uphill, or just backyard laps on mountain station… so many good choices! But my favorite days are big adventures, especially those that take me high into the mountains.

What bike will you be riding for the race?

I’m not sure… I just got a new Rocky Mountain Slayer and it is amazing!!! It pedals really well and slays the downhill. So much fun, but it might be overkill for BC Bike Race. I’m hoping to ride a Rocky Mountain Instinct or Element for the race.

What are you most excited about?

Seven days of biking amazing trails!! Riding with people from all over the world… And just think how fit I will be at the end!

What are you most nervous about?

My butt!! Seven days in the saddle is a long time. I need to go chamois shopping. And I’m not even joking… I’m also a bit worried about pacing myself for that long. I ride bikes a lot (almost every day), but not for that many hours all the time. I also have a tendency to use two speeds: go and stop. I’m not so good at in-between.

What is the best advice you’ve been given so far?

All my friends who have done the BC Bike Race tell me to eat lots! And then eat more. Nutrition seems to be a big thing for such a long event.

What does your training look like?

I’m trying to fit in as much pedaling as I can, while also making sure I ride my DH bike too. I have an old road bike, but I’d rather ride my Slayer. I’ve read the training guidance on the BC Bike Race page, but with a full-time job, bike club volunteer days, and life in general, it’s pretty hard to fit that many hours in. My friend Irene Kokotailo has been helping me with training.

Is there anything you would like to say to the people who voted for you?

Huge thanks!! To all my friends and their friends and the strangers who took the time to vote for me. Some of my friends have made me laugh. One friend told me that she voted for me with both of her email addresses and made her mom vote for me too. Another friend said that her aunt who doesn’t even like her voted for me! My mom shared the Facebook link and wrote: “it’s a grueling 7-day race, but she says she wants to do it”.

I’d also like to say a big thank you to Marc Kazimirski and KazLaw for providing the award and for supporting community involvement in mountain biking in BC.