The month of July has been full throttle and I'm quickly learning the importance of taking a step back to slow down. It started off with flying to Trondheim, Norway from Vancouver on Canada Day after a week of digging and riding everyday. Being tired already but anxious to ride, I arrived in Are, Sweden and crushed laps non-stop in the Are Bike Park on my first full day there!
My over excitement got the best of me when I hit the ender jump on the trail "Shimano" in windy conditions. I pre-loaded off the take off to get sideways and as soon as my whip started I was completely out of control in the air. A big gust of wind blew in and I got caught up- unable to pull my whip back in. The result was falling onto my hip and head at full speed. The blow to the head was pretty scary but minimal, however, my hip was a giant bruise for the next week.
Knowing we had a video challenge coming up for the Are Bike Festival, this stressed me out. The time change, lack of darkness, and injuries totally through my body off. Day 3 in Sweden involved waking up at 2:00pm more sore than I've been all season. Barely able to lift myself out of bed I had no idea how I would be riding that week. Helping out with our film team "Skata Sweden" was pro skier Reine Barkered. Reine picked me up from the airport the night I arrived and he was a huge help the whole week. After hearing about my crash, he was the first one to come by my place and give me some anti-inflammatory pain killers. This got the pain down enough to ride at about 70%.
Eager to shoot and produce content for the festival, I got back out there and hobbled my way around the bike park as we began the stack clips, but my riding just wasn't what I wanted it to be. I wasn't satisfied with a single shot we got. A bike park that would normally be a blast felt somewhat intimidating and out of my comfort zone due to my injury... this was a really shitty feeling! Luckily Are has some amazing terrain surrounding it and some of the local trails out of the bike park were amazing- full of flow and loam!! This combined with some of our midnight rides made the trip well worth it. Screen grab from the first midnight ride:
By not taking the time to slow down that entire week in Are, I was putting my body through tons of stress. My right leg (which still has scar tissue pain from breaking my femur 4 years ago) was over compensating for my injured left leg. This gave me pain on both sides. Sweden was done and I was flying home to BC, getting in my truck, and driving straight to Pemberton and the Chilcotins for my next shoot. My bike got lost on the way home, which was probably the Universe's way of telling me to slow down because a full day of chilling in Whistler Village while I waited for it to arrive was nice. I missed day 1 of shooting in Pemberton but at the very last second my bike showed up and we were off to the Chilcotins for day 2.
We woke up beside the beautiful Tyaughton Lake at TYAX lodge, I was there to help promote MEC's MTB trips which have an unreal schedule. The crew had already been to Vancouver, Whistler, and Pemberton before arriving here. We had a full day of riding and shooting ahead of us in this amazing setting. It was my first time out here since 2014 and I had been wondering when I would get back out here next! It has to be one of my favourite places on earth. My leg was still sore, I was getting up every morning with a limp and needing some warming up before I could walk normally. Once it was time to get on our float plane to start the ride I forgot about any injuries I had!
The day was going awesome and we had perfect riding weather. Not too hot, minimal dust, and a few epic descents after the first few hours. Towards the end of the ride we spotted an exposed ridge that had an amazing backdrop for photos. I led the train for the shot and roosted into the first s-turn, got a little too zesty, and went down. Fellow rider Stephen Matthews was right behind me and shortly after sliding out I felt his bike drill into the back of my head at full speed, smashing my face into a pile of rocks. Can't say I've been in a doggy pile situation like that before, wouldn't recommend it. Luckily Stephen made it out the crash uninjured, but I wasn't so lucky. My sunglasses saved my eyes but my eyebrow was sliced right open!
The next hour and a half was full of pain, slowly navigating my way back down to the lodge with makeshift bandages on my head. We cleaned up the wounds nicely and I got stitches in Pemberton the next morning. Day 3 of shooting for MEC was a write off. By the time I got to Squamish the next afternoon I had to call it quits while attempting to start a ride.
Lesson learned here: the best way to get injured is to ride when you're not 100%. Take the time to slow down and listen to your body. When you're in my situation and all of your income comes from the jobs you take, it's hard to slow down, but more money and opportunities will come. Stoked to be doing nothing right now!
Our video from Sweden: