Editor’s Note: After a spring layoff from the writing gig, Kona pro mountain bike and cyclocross racer Barry Wicks is back by popular demand.
I have become addicted to club soda. I think I have consumed possibly the entire supply Canada Dry has produced since their inception in 1904.
I am at BC Bike race, and I am thirsty. The singletrack is continuous, relentless and ridiculous fun. I stopped dreaming about trails three nights ago and now just hallucinate them during waking moments.
My hands are slabs of their former selves, pummeled and pounded into garish bricks of callous and burnt crackled skin by endless steering directives and sun. My legs feel fine, until I try to walk up a set of stairs or move them in any way. My arms are layered with seven days worth of diminutive cat claw scratches at the hands of over grown brush and brambles. My brain does not function correctly any more.
I stare into space, struggling for coherent thought and presence. It just wants to forget the suffering. I don’t want to forget the shredding. I do want to forget the stage in Whistler. But I almost didn’t remember it already as it happened.
I like the bubbles in club soda. They make my nose feel strange. I am tired of eating everything in sight. I am tired of hitting the toilet three times before 10 am, twice more after each stage. Calories in and calories out. It is all the same.
I am not tired of ripping sick trails with my buddies. I am not tired of epic views of Sea and Sky and Earth merging in a ménage of beauty. Or of deep dark forest where nobody goes (except us) or fresh cut single track, bermed-in mature trails, bumpy lumpy root-infested clots from hell or death defying rolling drops disappearing into the abyss.
These are the things that bring me back. Back from the seven-day singletrack stupor, back from the shredded legs, the bleeding arms and sore hands. Back into the real world and back home from the BC bike race. Back to my stash of ice cold club sodas, refreshing my one can at a time until I can climb out of my chair, out of my chamois, into the shower and back into bed awaiting the next section of one-lane personal highway cut through the BC forest for my pleasure.
My thirst for more cannot be quenched. Riding mountain bikes kicks ass.
Wicks and his Kona teammate Kris Sneddon finished second in the two-man open race at the 2009 BC Bike Race