Jamaica is an amazing place to escape to while the rain and snow
hammer Vancouver and the trails at home in BC. In the spring of
2012 a posse of riders: Dean Payne, Andreas Hestler, Darren Butler
and Connor Macleod signed up for the Jamaica Fat Tire Festival, a
guided tour that would take them deep into the lesser known parts
of an amazing destination.
This crew of riders collected under the BC
Bike Race banner rolled out for an amazing bike adventure. It
was as much about camaraderie and experiencing another culture as
it was about escaping the foul weather of our dark BC winters.
The chance to be guided on the ground by locals and explore off
the beaten path in a destination like Jamaica was simply too much
of a good offer, so while the weather did it's thing at home we
journyed south and east to the amazing island of Jamaica.
Mountain biking is an amazing connector - it brings people
together and unites different cultures under one experience. We all
share the same passion for exploration whether our backyard or
abroad, mountain bikes are our vehicle of choice to take us into
the wild and beyond.
Click here or above to check out the edit and put
some sunshine in your day!
The photo's themselves speak volumes and attest to the depth of
culture that we dug into in Jamaica. Our local guides who took us
on a whirlwind tour facilitated all this and to properly share will
require as much contextual information as we can possibly give.
Welcome to Jamaica. As we waited in the open night air at
the airport for our bus to Ocho Rios on the West side of the
island, we bucked down to our flip flops and shorts and met our new
friend Red Stripe. A few short hours later we awoke to our first
daylight views of Jamaica and bright colors were what greeted our
eyes. From dreary BC rain to the vibrant colors of a Caribbean
nation the contrast was shocking.
The Bike Bash. We rode our bikes out of Ocho Rios and over to
James Bond beach, a small-enclosed park on a little finger of land
completely surrounded by crystal clear blue water. Here on the
green grass spit a running track would host numerous bike events: a
criterium, the Rambo Olympics, the bunny hop competition and a
skills relay course.
Many different types of bikes were present some with two wheels
and some with only one but everyone was equally enthusiastic and
the pool of talent was deep. These people were celebrating all
things bike in their very own way. The heat of the Jamaica sun was
building and so was the excitement of a critical mass of bikers
sharing their unique style.
Hanging out on the grass with the awesome people and watching
Darren go for it in the Rambo Olympics highlighted a perfect bike
festival. Later there were trophies for the Champions and bragging
rights given out for another year.
Sunburns, coconuts, Red Stripe, bright colors, bikes and great
people with big smiles would be the norm for the next seven
As we moved deeper into the Blue Mountains, the facilities
shrank in size and modernization, but the smiles remained sincere.
Not having an understanding of the size of Jamaica we were all
amazed at the vast green jungles and huge mountains that ran down
to the many fishing villages dotted along the coast.
Moving around the island we were taken to places that few
tourists frequent, this is the beauty of adventure and working with
local guides. We began to truly understand what Island life is like
outside of the main thoroughfares.
Jamaica is warm and friendly and the green jungle gives and it
takes. The people who we crossed paths with live with the land and
the ocean, they were open and inviting and as inquisitive about us
as we were of them.
Much of Jamaica is undeveloped and quiet, a perfect retreat and
we felt right at home -escaping the urban jungle and the tourist
compounds we found the true roots of Jamaica. It was not hard to
think about Bob Marley and his Reggae and compare that to the
modern Reggae that comes out of Kingston one of the toughest cities
in the world.
Biking and Jamaica seemed like a perfect fit, the hot sun beat
down on our sweat stained shoulders and the tour rolled on. One of
those trips that you just don't want to stop, so easy to settle
into the their relaxed lifestyle and so different to our North
American ways. Getting there was as easy as Mexico or Hawaii and
being amazed or astounded would not adequately describe our
Away from the cities, away from the rain we all found a little
Jamaica in ourselves and set about getting Awry Man. The Jamaican
dialect was in and of itself a spectacular puzzle and led to many
bouts of laughter as we tried to interpret what was being bandied
about between the locals.
Back to Kingston via the back alleys and the grey meshing of
rural and urban interfaces. Chickens everywhere remind us that our
routine fare of Jerk Chicken from very spicy to just spicy, tossed
in Scotch Bonnet sauce or not is something that rounds out the
whole travel experience. From Jungles to beaches, smiles and
murals, to endless potholes and the flavor of street smoked Jerk
Chicken - Jamaica is an all encompassing experience that will take
more than one visit to understand!
Q. You've been involved with BC Bike Race since the
beginning, how did you get roped in? Were there bribes or
promises of fame?
A. I am a product of the old Sea2Summit days. This was a
race Dean Payne had before BC Bike Race and I enjoyed being a part
of the race as either a racer or a volunteer/crew member.
When he approached me to be involved with BCBR it as a no
brainer. That being said, he does have some photos of me in a
pair of chaps....but he promised to delete them....
Q. Tell us about the chicken.
A. The Screaming Chicken comes to us from fellow
BC Bike Race crew member (and 2013 BCBR racer) Thomas Howard.
He brought the Screaming Chicken to its first race in 2003
and we have been "Screaming" at racers on over 300 racers ever
since. When BCBR started, it just seems like the perfect,
annoying, sound to wake everyone up each day. With all the
races the Screaming Chicken has been involved with, I think he
might have more Facebook friends than me...
Q. What title would you give yourself for your race week
A. Concierge. The Bear's Den is just like the Front Desk and
your favourite hotel. We have information about Race Week and
the town we are in, Internet, charging stations, daily results and
course maps. The Bear's Den is probably the largest structure
at Base Camp so everyone usually comes to us throughout the day
with questions or just to hang out with us.
Q. What motivates you during race week?
A. Creating a world-class event for our racers. That may
sound cliché, but we have racers come from all over the world who
have never been to British Columbia. As much as I know my back
yard, our visiting racers, and crew, may not be as familiar.
I love where I live and want to make sure everyone else sees
it. Also a cold beer at the end of the day is also a great
Q. What do you do the rest of the year?
A. As a Facilities Manager for a large international company.
As much as the company may sound as the exact opposite of
being involved with BCBR, the job itself is pretty close to the
same. I do miss wearing the Red crew shirts when I go back to
my regular job.
Q. Rumour has it you can dance, do we ever get to see
these skills during race week?
A. If the music is right, and there is a dance floor, I can't
really say 'No' to busting some moves or cutting a rug. There
have been documented cases of this happening at the
Finish Line on some of the stages throughout race week. I am
always looking for dancing partners!
Q. Any favourite memories about race weeks past you'd like
A. Every year there are many new memories made. Some that
can be published in a blog and some that should be kept out of the
papers to protect the innocent. A few of my biggest memories
The very first start line. This was in July 1,
2007 in a road in Sooke. Having the racers start the very
first BCBR felt amazing.
Dancing at the Finish Line for the
first time on year 5. I don't think the audience
has recuperated from seeing those moves...
all the Racers arrive for Day 1 in Cumberland last year.
Everyone arrived in buses and it looked like the first day of
Q. How long have you been mountain biking?
A. I have been on my bike for most of my life, but only started
mountain biking in 2002. At that time I was riding an old
bike with a fully rigid frame and old V-Brakes. I now have a
big boy bike and loving hitting the trails anywhere the front wheel
of the bike can take me.
Q. What are you looking forward to most for the 2013
A. As with most years, BCBR means getting back together with the
crew. It always amazing me how many of the same people return
each year and most have been involved since the very first year.
At the Bear's Den we also get to meet all the racers and it
is always fun to get to know all the new racers and to find out
where you are from.
Q. Do you have anything up your sleeve for the Bear's Den
this year? Any surprises that racers can look forward
A. Each year we look to make the Bear's Den the best place at
BCBR (except for the riding, of course). Besides having all
the information you would need, charging stations for your
electronic devices and computers connected to the Internet, we are
looking at having a lounge for you to relax at. Details are
still being worked out so keep reading your newsletters for any new
On January 17th 2013 Roland "Rollie" Webb one of our BCBR Team
members was killed in a tragic accident (vehicle/pedestrian) while
walking his dog.
Rollie was an honorable man and a devoted father. It was a
privilege to work with him and I
learned a lot from his leadership style and his vast experience. My
heart goes out to his family and especially his young children. As
the "figurehead" of the medical team I often get the thanks but the
truth is Rollie was the brains behind the scene. There will be a
big hole in our medical teams soul.
Rollie was fond of giving big hugs. He always gave them for a half
a second too long followed by his laugh.
We will all miss a dear friend and colleague.
Big hugs to all ...
We teamed up with Wade Simmon's company, Mtb Trails Co., to
decorated this community Christmas tree in Lynn Valley (North
Huge thanks to Wade and Digger for their creativity and design,
we love it!
Happy holidays everyone!
I am so excited to have a copy of this photo book in my hot
little hands! Just like our racers, looking back on the race
each year is like a badge of achievement for us. It reminds
us how much we love what we do and how much we can't wait to do it
If you haven't seen this stunning book yet, check it out here.
Norma volunteered with BC Bike Race last year and was an instant
fit for our team. Her enthusiasm for not only bikes, but also
people and new experiences, is contagious!
How long have you been mountain
It's been 6 months. I officially started mountain
biking in June 2012 when I got my first mountain bike after taking
a course with Endless
Where in Mexico are you from?
I am from the northwest of Mexico, my home town is called
Do you miss good Mexican food or have you found
somewhere to satisfy your cravings?
I freaking miss Mexican food, after family and friends,
food is the next thing I miss. There are only a few really
good Mexican and Latino places in Vancouver, but is never as good
as home. I am lucky to have a Mexican friend who will sometimes
spoiled me and cook for me! I like to cook as well but there is
nothing like my Nana's food!
What was your race week experience
BC Bike Race basically changed my life, and made me more stoked
about mountain biking! For me it was something totally new, I was
impressed with all the organization and all the passion that people
give to this event. I met tons of really cool people, the crew
is rad, and everyone is super stoked about bikes so makes the
atmosphere really awesome. I loved camping, the food, and of course
all the beautiful places we visited during race week.
Do you plan on ever racing in BC Bike
Of course!! I am pretty sure I will do it one day! I dream
about riding all those sick trails. I just have to get a little bit
better at riding. I can't wait for to race it!
I hear you have a Canada specific tattoo; can you
tell us about it?
Oh yes!! I love tattoos, and after being in Canada for 3 years I
though it was time to get my "Canadian" tattoo. I didn't want to
have the Iconic maple leaf, but I think I ended up choosing a
very controversial Icon, I have a "beaver" tattoo! I know that the
beaver is one of the national animals, so that's why, he is
also wearing a toque and a lumberjack shirt which I think are the
"Canadian clothing essentials".
Who is your hero?
My mom! She is the best gift I have in life.
What are your favorite trails to
A typical ride on the north shore will include, Griffen, Richard
Juryn, Circuit 8, and Bobsled. My most recent favorite trail is
How do you feel about wet roots?
I love wet stuff! I am from the dessert so the opportunity to be
in the forest makes me happy wet or dry. When I was little I used
to go play outside and dance in the rain because we didn't have
enough rain, so I really appreciate it when is wet. Rain is
what keeps the forest so beautiful so you have to enjoy it, plus I
think having those challenges makes you a better rider.
What do you do when you're not riding your
I have a few passions and I am hyper person, so I always try to
keep myself busy. I have a full time nanny job, I also go to
photography school, I love taking pictures, and I do some
volunteering for Latincouver which is a Latino non-profit
organization that connects Latinos through business and
culture. Of course I also volunteer for the North Shore
Mountain Biking Association, this is how I met Danielle Baker
and became involved with Bc Bike Race.
(You can check out more of Norma's
work here in English (here in Spanish) and a
great timelapse she took during BC Bike Race here.)
We are very excited to have Norma back on our team this year in
our Race Relations department. One of her favorite quotes is
"The World always looks brighter from behind a smile", we are
pretty sure that she will excel in her new role!
We have teamed up with Adera and the NSMBA
TAP program to tackle a section of trail that needs some
attention in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve.
Our initial trail day was a great success, stay tuned for
wallpaper features a great shot from the 2011 BC Bike Race by Rob
Last desktop wallpaper before Race Week!
Available in the following sizes:
1024x768 | 1280x800 | 1680x1050 | 1920x1080
wallpaper features another awesome shot from the 2011 BC Bike Race
by Margus Riga.
Check back next month for another great photo.
wallpaper was taken during the 2011 BC Bike Race by Margus