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10 things I learned racing a 1999 mountian bike for a week

10 things I learned racing a 1999 mountian bike for a week

When Singletrack 6 announced its 20th anniversary route would follow, basically, the path set out by the original TransRockies two decades earlier, my first thought was “I want to do that.” TransRockies captured my imagination when I read about it on the pages of magazines decades ago. SingleTrack 6, the event TransRockies evolved into, had been a bucket list race for years. My second thought was “I should do it on a bike from 20 years ago.”

That was something I happened to have lying around. E-mails were sent. The crew from TransRockies were keen to see it happen (or to see if I survived, maybe). And I was on my way to Fernie. Then I started to get nervous. This was a great idea, but was it a good idea? Could I actually ride these trails on a bike that old, never mind race?

Rose-tinted glasses and a reality check

The bike I planned to ride was my first “real” bike. A 2001-ish Jamis Durango XC from Hardcore Bikes in Edmonton. It was the first bike I raced, it was, unfortunately, the first bike I learned to drop to flat on, the first bike that carried me into Vancouver’s North Shore on as part of a family vacation, a bar bike in college, the bike that got me back into riding as a modified (mangled) “manual two-speed” (don’t ask).

It was also, as I found out after a moment of panic led me to drop it of at Broad Street Cycles in Victoria for a quick once-over before I sprinted off the start-line, cracked at the head tube. Matt at Fort Street Cycles stepped up at the last minute and offered his 1999 Rocky Mountian Blizzard. So I would be racing ST6 on a bike older than TransRockies.

2023 Singletrack 6 / Stage 1/ Fernie, B.C., Canada

Start line jitters, a rattles

A few days later, I was rolling through downtown Fernie, B.C., past the local’s bar-bikes that were mostly newer than what I’d be racing, towards the start line of Stage 1.

To be honest, I was a bit nervous. This was either a great story or a really bad idea. Singletrack 6 built its reputation on delivering really good trails strung together into really challenging stages, day after day. It’s a challenge on any bike, let alone one only sort of suited for singletrack adventures.

What was I doing lining up for a race in the middle of a huge group of people on this relic? I was sort of fine with the idea of riding trails on my own, but in a group, espeically at the start of an XC race, there can be four to five people back-to-back in front and behind you. If I fall on my…

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