Apr 21, 2008

Whistler backcountry Freeride Jam...Michael Franti/Spearhead

Whistler Backcountry Freeride Jam and Michael Franti/Spearhead to end it all off…

This weekend I headed to Whistler for a number of reasons…1. It’s Whistler and I love it and miss it. 2. I wanted to hang out with some good friends I have left behind there. 3. To participate in the backcountry races Whistler Backcountry Freeride Jam (www.wbfj.ca) 4. The real reason a free outdoor concert where I would get to hear and see Michael Franti and Spearhead play and woo the crowd….(I am still on this crazy euphoric high from the concert….he was unbelievable but more on that later)

Lisa and Kristina had room in their car to give me a lift to Whistler…Thank you ladies…it was nice not having to figure out the bus thing as I needed to be in Whistler Friday night for a pre-race briefing and gear check. I met Ali at the Cinnamon Bear Pub where I also happen to meet Al (the Dynafit rep) who let me borrow an awesome Dynafit ( http://www.dynafit.at/home.php?chid=1&lang=uk&m=4 ) set up for the race (THANK YOU!). From there I headed to the pre-race briefing where in the midst of it all I had managed to lose and re-find my borrowed skins (thank you guys….woohoo). At Grahame and Ali’s place I practiced getting into and out of the new Dynafit bindings…a little tricky with my boots but after about half hour I felt confident enough…

7:15am I found myself at the bottom of the Whistler Gondola. 8:30am I was skinning up the first hill…I went too hard and was tasting blood….it was not a good start to a 27km ski mountaineer race (The Spearhead Passage. It begins at the Roundhouse (top of Emerald Chair) to Whirl Wind Mountain and back). I couldn’t seem to shake off this horrible feeling in my lungs…so I slowed right down, took some deep breaths and told myself it was going to be okay and that I had zero pressure to perform….After the steep roped bootpack, a fall wouldn’t be disastrous but a good tumble none the less, I calmed myself down, and just took it easy and really listened to my body….slowly I started to feel better… unfortunately it was a little too late in the race and the top groups of skiers were far ahead….As we got over Flute and onto Oboe the wind was fierce and extremely cold…I had to stop and put on my thick gloves (I never ski tour with thick gloves but the pain was too much for me to bare). The hill up to Whirlwind was a long haul but getting to the peak felt pretty damn good. For me it was pretty smooth sailing from then on as I get energized as the race moves on. Although a big problem was a lack of water as the cold froze my tube…It’s funny how life works sometimes…it isn’t until you can’t have something that you really want it…hmmm…I managed to catch and pass a few guys on the return trip…The skis and bindings were fantastic although at times it felt like an adventure within the adventure when I couldn’t quite get the boot in the binding while the wind was howling and my fingers were frozen…but for some reason those are the situations I like best… it toughens me up…In the end I finished the Spearhead passage in 5hours and 30 minutes and with a smile on my face nonetheless….Following the awards I wanted to do nothing more than pass out at Ali and Grahame’s but forced myself back to the village to check out De La Soul. They were okay but I was starting to feel sick and a nasty cough was grabbing my chest so I decided to bus it back and find some rest.

Saturday night I wasn’t sure I’d feel up for the Sunday windup race (a race from the base of Whistler to the roundhouse approx 7km of pure uphill…). I awoke Sunday morning and didn’t feel too bad…I had to get up to the roundhouse to do a ski exchange with Al anyway so I thought…I might as well ski up to the top…hehe…so I did. It was a small crowd that dared to try it out…It was yet another sunny but chilly morning but much warmer as it was purely uphill and the wind was to a minimal in comparison to yesterday. I managed to ski up in 1.5hours right behind Mel B. I pulled off a solid second place and scored some sweet shwag. Thank you ROI, Scott, Jason, Delena, Rob and everyone for putting on this amazing event!

Michael Franti and Spearhead…

Words cannot describe it….basically if you weren’t there you should have been. It was an unbelievable show. He played for over 2 hours, the sun came out from the clouds and the crowd was hoppin’. He did yoga on stage, he spoke from the soul and he came out and greeted the crowd. If you have never seen him live….GO,…it’s an experience you will never regret!

I somehow managed to squeeze onto the 630pm bus….home at 930pm…fantastic weekend. Another one for the memory bank!

Live, love, laugh,…DREAM!

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