Images and Video by Garret Van Swearingen (Instagram @garretvs)
This documentary comes with a warning, prepare to hear the words: ‘epic’, ‘steep’, ’awesome’, ‘gnarly’, ‘fun’ and ‘insane’ multiple times… What can I say, when you combine exhaustion, rowdy trails, and overwhelming beauty for 6 consecutive days, you quickly run out of words.
Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Traharn Chidley, originally from a quaint English village in the foothills of North Wales, and like many of us, I blimin’ love mountain biking, in fact… it changed my life. 7 years ago I had a very different story and biking was nowhere near my radar. My brother, Joel, grew up racing bikes from the age of 6, whereas I had my own thing going on. It never occurred to myself or my family that I’d be interested in biking, let alone any good at it, so for years I remained chief cheerleader for Joel at his weekly races.
Until one day, Joel was living the dream in Whistler and saw how unhappy and unrecognisable I had become, he encouraged me to go out riding with his friends. At first it was a way to be closer to Joel while he was in another country, but before I knew it I absolutely loved it, with every crash, pedal bash, and tree smash, I became more confident, excited, alive and free. Until I was finally at a point where I had more control over my life with the strength to change the life path I was on.
My passion for mountain biking rapidly grew, after one week on the Downhill bike, I followed Joel’s wheels and started racing DH mountain biking, quickly progressing on to race Fort William world cup. After a few years of DH, it was time to give enduro mountain biking a go, a perfect combination of fitness and fun. Joel and I both switched to enduro mountain biking, racing had became a huge part of my life. I’m not your typical racer, probably one of the least aggressive people you’ll meet, although I’ll always try my best, the focus is never fully on results.
The things I love about racing are simple, I get to ride with my brother and friends, I get to explore incredible parts of the world I wouldn’t otherwise see, it pushes me to push myself physically, technically and mentally, and that buzz you get where you feel complete exhaustion and bliss satisfaction when the day is done.
Which brings us to now; I moved to British Columbia, Canada, last autumn and instantly started plotting with my bro; “which race shall we do in Canada??…” It was a no-brainer, if we were to do just one, it was the Trans BC Enduro, it had everything in one, a week of riding, a guide of BC’s best trails, a challenge, boot camp, holiday… we had to do it! Last year I spent nearly every weekend racing all over Europe from spring to autumn. However, this year with a change of scenery, the focus was on just one BIG race.
The general consensus for the race was, it’s super gnarly, big, hard days on the bike. Now, I’ve heard this before and it’s never as bad as people say, in fact, it usually ends up being perfect for me. As a result I’ve learnt not to take too much notice, relax and be prepared for ANYTHING. Well, let’s just say, the first corner of stage one confirmed how hard this race was going to be, signalling what was coming would keep me well and truly on my toes for the rest of the week.
We spent up to 8 hours on our bikes nearly every day, climbing insane amount of elevation (1500 – 2000 meters a day) with even more descending. Every single descent was super long, (not quite what Joel and I are used to) technical, with the added challenge of not having a clue where the trail was going.
We were sent UP some ridiculously steep climbs, not knowing how far or long it was added to the challenge, but any time we reached the summit we were overwhelmed with the stoke. The views we got to see were mesmerizing, and we certainly earned those descents.
Neither myself or Joel have ever done so much consistently intense riding with butt clenching descents, torturous climbs, epic views, a touch of sun stroke, and awesome people, it was the perfect recipe for an incredible week.
If it wasn’t for the race I never would have experienced half the stuff we did, which is the exact reason why I love these races.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then it’s time to sit back and take in the documentary. If the photos made you want to ride there, you’d best hide your credit card before you watch it. Such trails!