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Beyond the Waitlist

Back in my twenties, when mountain biking was fairly new and a hardtail was still the standard, I used to ride. But over time, life got in the way. I moved a lot for work – eventually landing in Calgary where I promptly did the most Calgarian thing I could – traded my bikes for horses. 

Time went by – 10 years since I’d ridden a bike – when I stumbled upon a video shared by a friend on Facebook. It stopped me dead in my tracks.

The video was called ‘Seven’ and the thumbnail showcased a rider weaving through a lush green ribbon of singletrack.

I clicked play, fixated on the screen as I watched.

It was about an event I had never heard of: BC Bike Race.

I couldn’t complain about my life – it was pretty great, but I had undergone some significant changes. I had just given up my horses, ended an engagement, and moved myself and my son to Ottawa for work. As a single mom, I felt like I was starting from scratch, navigating through a whirlwind of responsibilities, with little for myself.

But the excitement of that video made me realize what I was missing: something solely for me.

This is exactly what I want to be doing right now.

I signed up.

The only problem? It was only 3 months away and the event was sold out, so all I had done was sign up for the waiting list. 

I was focused on my job, parenting, and building a new life. I wasn’t exactly fit for a bike race – but it still felt good to put myself out there.

The idea was like a mental escape – a symbol of what I wanted to aspire towards and a reminder of who I was.

A month later, my phone rang. 

It was BCBR.

“There’s a spot if you want it.”

I fist-bumped the air.

“Oh crap!  YES…ok, Yes I’ll take it!”

As soon as I hung up the phone, it set in. The race was 2 months away, and I didn’t even have a mountain bike.

I haven’t ridden a bike in 10 years! I used to be a decent rider but I’ve literally never even owned a bike with full suspension…

I walked into a bike shop to solve my problems.

“What kind of bike do I need to do the BC Bike Race?”

I was met with confused looks. 

“Like for this year?” came the reply.


They seemed shocked but were also super helpful and set me up with a brand-spankin’ new full-suspension Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt. I was set up! 

Now all that was left was for me to head to the West Coast and hit the start line! 

It might sound weird, but I wasn’t nervous about BCBR. 

I’m lucky that’s my default mindset. I’m fairly gritty, and I can usually find my way through whatever challenges I tackle. 

I didn’t have any illusions of speed, I just wanted to enjoy the best possible week of singletrack that I could.

I knew the riding would be fantastic, but what I hadn’t anticipated was the incredible sense of community I found. From check-in onwards, I met so many amazing, friendly people. 

Every person riding – every single one I saw – was supportive, friendly, helpful, and just stoked on riding bikes. 

The energy was electric and a refreshing change from the usual pressures of life. 

Even though I was riding at a slow pace – like double the winner’s times – I was having so much fun! With 3 stages of hooting, hollering, flowing, and fun singletrack under my belt, Stage 4 is where my lack of preparation bit me.

I had a terrible muscle cramp. Like visit-the-medic-team level of bad. 

“You need to pull out and take care of this now if you want to ride any more of the stages.”

So I stopped, pulling out of Stage 4, and recovered, following all the medics’ guidance before returning for the final 3 stages.

In the end, I wasn’t an official finisher, but I rode 6.5 days and experienced what I now truly believe was the “best week on a bike.”  This wasn’t just marketing fluff – it was my reality.  A week free from life’s usual demands, immersed in biking and camaraderie in a breathtaking setting.

That fun is why I’m returning in 2024, eager for another unforgettable week – hopefully without the cramps this time…

To wrap things up, I want to speak to anybody who is on the fence about racing BCBR. 

I hate to steal a tagline from Nike, but I’m going to.

Just do it. 

Don’t overthink it. Don’t wait for the perfect moment, it doesn’t exist. 

Just do it.

I could be the poster child of somebody who had all the excuses in the world to not race in 2017. 

I wasn’t prepared. 

I didn’t budget for it.

I wasn’t fit. 

I was carrying a few extra pounds. 

I didn’t even own a mountain bike.

I had just moved across the country.

I was single-parenting.

I was busy with my career… 

The list could go on.

I’m proof that taking the leap can lead to extraordinary experiences.  BCBR isn’t just a race; it’s a chance to live fully, embrace challenges, and discover what you’re truly capable of.  

You have to make the time – you have to seize the moment when you have the opportunity. 

You have to make the leap to get to the magic part of life.

And you’ll find a little bit of that at the best week on a bike that is BCBR! 


Story: Evan Wishloff
Photos: Dave Silver, Margus Riga, Todd Weselake, Norma Ibarra, Rob Shaer, Scott Robarts