This month has been the busiest of my 30 years on this planet and it all started with an innocent bike ride.
It was a beautiful day like any other in Squamish. The sun arrived early and lit-up the Tantalus range in a way words simply can't describe. It was going to be just another day in paradise. For a change it wasn't raining on my day off, making for the perfect day to bike with friends. There were eight of us that day and we met many more in the 4 hours we rode in our backyard. A backyard containing what some would consider the world's most challenging terrain. Not "Test of Metal" challenging with hours of grueling peddling -more- "log bridges and vertical granite drops" challenging with bikes being pushed up and flown down cliffs. It was the moment I truly realized the level of talent in average Jane and Joe corridor riders.
Weeks later Chris Mcrumb hosted the legendary Tour de Squamish, having people ride 10 hours sampling almost all the area has to offer. The beauty of this event is the "ride" format. This got me to thinking about the amazing amount of freeriders in the area who don't have an event to call their own. The Test of metal keeps the cross-country kids busy, so why not have one for the freeriders. Then before I could sing "19th nervous breakdown" Beyond the Valleycliffe of the Dolls was born.
The inaugural ride? Well judging by the smiles all around the event would have to be classified as a success. 21 locals got on their bikes and rode for hours on the areas most challenging terrain. And they survived! Being the first year, it's safe to say I've learned a lot about putting on an event. Firstly - don't take any money after 10:30 at the pub. It leads to fuzzy math. Secondly - don't plan an event the day after your 5-year anniversary:)
I also learned the value of local sponsors who made every rider smile with a great prize: Howe Sound Brewing Company, Corsa, Tantalus, Barbs Beehive, Dedicated, Sea to Sky Meats, Love Nest, Tim Hortons, Mountain FM, SORCA, and of course supplying the ultimate rock star prize, the Garden of Eden.
But most of all I learned a level of respect usually reserved for gods. This respect is for everyone who decides to put their life on hold to throw an event. The Test of Metal, the Triathlon, Logger Sports, Balding for Dollars, and a million in-between. These people go through bottles of Tylenol as fast as daytimer pages each day accepting a level of stress akin to air traffic controllers on acid, just because they happened to stumble upon an event that makes people happy. Then for each and every one of them there are dozens of locals ready to volunteer their sweat to make the dream come true. We are truly lucky to have so many people willing to make this community a great place to live. So to the dreamers and those who make it happen, thanks for making Squamish home to good times.. good times.
(names as they apeared on the parchment)- spelling
Take a bow kids, you earned it!