Mount Cartier is 34 km return with roughly 2,200 metres elevation gain. While you might cough up a lung, the view is spectacular. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Liam’s Lowdown: Why do we bike?

Last month, I pushed my bike up Mount Cartier and it almost killed me

Biking is hard.

Last month, I pushed my ride up Mount Cartier. I’m in reasonable shape, but I felt like a vole trying to push over a brick wall.

When we got to that midway cabin, I contemplated “going to the bathroom” — aka when-my-friend-wasn’t-looking-jumping-on-my-bike-pedalling-like-mad-and-fleeing-to-multiple-decadencia-brownies-at-the-Modern-Bakeshop.

One of the only times we biked on the way up. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

But, stubborn as a mule we soldiered on. Silently hoping for the possibility of a lightening storm or bears to end the misery.

READ MORE: Liam’s lowdown: Do what you do what you do

My friend was miles ahead, one of the only times I remember he got to the top of something before me.

However, he donated his kidney to a stranger a few months ago, so my excuse is he’s lighter and doesn’t have that extra kidney weight holding him back. Makes sense.

I think part of my frustration was I didn’t really know how I would get down.

Biking is new for me. I mean, I’ve biked most of the 30 years of my life.

But nothing like the biking in Revelstoke. My friend, who was visiting from Vancouver bikes a lot. He wanted to do something special in Revelstoke as part of recently turning 30.

Apparently, just getting tubs of chocolate and peanut butter ice cream and watching reruns of Gilmore Girls wasn’t “special” enough.

I don’t do bike jumps. And I find the zigging and zagging of bike trails frustrating as it seems counter intuitive.

“Just go down gosh darn it!” is something I’d squeal going around a berm (is that what you call them?).

Thank goodness for brakes. Personally, they are my favourite part of the bicycle.

I’m a simple man. The amount of gear, expense, risk of injury and technical skills required for biking is intimidating.

The darn things are worth more than my car, which doesn’t make sense.

I can sleep in my car, listen to the radio and if I wrap a Cornish pasty in foil I can stick it on top my engine to heat for an afternoon snack.

My bike isn’t good for any of that. It just moves from A to B, offering no shelter.

I’m a runner. I’m that guy who jogs on trails mostly used by bikers.

Heckled by passerbys with comments like, “you forgot your bike” or “did you lose a wheel?”

The main reason I like running is all you need is shoes. Even if you’re toes are sticking out and your shoes have basically become flip flops, you’ll make it.

Biking isn’t as forgiving. If your handle bars fall off, well that’s it. It’s hard to carry on.

Eventually we summited Mount Cartier with wind and rain, but thankfully there was the old fire tower for shelter.

We regained our strength with a simple cheese, chutney and bread platter with apple cider (perhaps carrying that stuff up didn’t help the feelings of cardiac arrest).

We had also planned for a lemon cream and raspberry meringue pie, but it had caught on fire in the oven. Is a bike ride without a pie really a bike ride? I’m suspicious.

READ MORE: Dear Buffets, You are needed in Revelstoke

Suddenly, it was time. The descent.

The start of the down. *insert dramatic music* (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

I thought about closing my eyes and hoping for gravity to direct, but decided it was probably best not to.

The view and the flowers were amazing.

When I wasn’t clawing the brakes and avoiding trees, I could see why people bike.

The light from the setting sun, the wind wrestling my hair and the squishy mud made it hard not to whoop, smile and be happy to be alive.

If biking was easy, it probably wouldn’t be as fun.

Such is life.


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

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