It was time to head back to the states for a little while, it has been 6 months since I’ve been in the US and at our house in Bend, OR. I was heading home to pack it all up – it had finally sold after almost 2 years on the market. Only problem, we had 4 days to pack up our entire house filled with crap accumulated over the past 6 years of living in a house with way too much space to accumulate all this stuff in that we didn’t need.

We were also heading up to Whistler for the annual Crankworks festival, hard to believe that this would be my 8th Crankworks festival! I was excited, because this year it would be a bit different, I had a full program and many commitments which I was looking forward to, but also sad that I wouldn’t be able to do any racing at all – a first for me.

First up was a 3 day SRAM media product launch, where I would be riding & testing the new XO components with invited media in and around the Whistler area, but also away from the maddening crowds out in Pemberton. The plan was to do an epic XC day on some of the Lost Lake trails & also parts of the famous Comfortably Numb trail (which was amazing), then a full DH day in the park and then the grand finale – an enduro day out in Pemberton which I was most excited about. I have heard so many amazing things about the Pemberton trails, and I couldn’t wait to go and check them out. Well, the trails were absolute perfection, they were rough and raw and rocky – the complete opposite to the perfection of park, it was natural terrain, and I loved it. It was great to meet, ride and hang with a whole new group of SRAMies that I had never met before. Those guys know how to ride bikes. Hard. Up & down. So much fun!

Even with all the rain, the trails were in perfect hero dirt conditions out in Pemberton. O, I forgot to mention that it rained for 8 days straight, but I guess that is pretty normal for my summers these days. Somehow my summers have switched from swimming in lakes and sunbathing after rides to riding in full rain suits and donning the latest Patagonia fleeces, scarves and jackets apres rides. What is going on with this weather? I digress. Back to Whistler.

With all the rainy weather, comes dirty laundry, and lots of it, but it also gave me a great excuse to leave my bike behind and go to some really great yoga classes in the Village. Something that I would never usually do while up in Whistler, but it was such a great way to get away from the crowds and to just find some peace & quiet before the next big evening out.

The highlight of the whole event for me, was the SRAM World Bicycle Relief concept store that they set up in the old Burton shop for the duration of the event. It was pure class. A whole shop, with tons of goods for sale and all the money would go towards the WBR charity (www.worldbicyclerelief.org). Adrian Marcoux had a beautiful collection of his photographs printed on canvas, that was on silent auction, also to benefit the World Bicycle Relief charity (Sven & I are the happy owners of two of his artworks – yah!). I just loved this idea. It just makes so much sense, and SRAM is such an amazing company that is able to think outside the box.

My last commitment this week was a professional mountain biking coaching course that I was signed up to do. This was a 3 day course, that I was taking with ZEP Techniques to get my coaching qualification, something that I have been wanting to do for a while now, but just never been able to fit into our schedule. Time to be a student. I was super excited, but also nervous, because even though I know how to ride my bike, I didn’t know how to teach people how to ride a bike. Thanks to Paul Howard, I now have a much better understanding of how this works, and what I need to do to teach people the valuable skills of riding a bike better. I just need to shut up more, say less, and avoid the phrase “let’s play with it”. I can’t wait to start coaching, and learning how to become a better coach, and hopefully I’ll be able to take his Level 2 course sometime in the near future. Check out his website for all the amazing camps & clinics that he has to offer (www.professionalmountainbikeinstructor.com).

So stoked for our good SAFFA friend Andrew for killing it at the races! Loved all the baby bear cubs – too cute for words. Thanks to SRAM for a wonderful product launch, sick riding & delightfully decadent dinners – YUM! All in all a great 10 days up in Canada. A crazy, busy, cold 10 days, but o so much fun!

Next up: Packing up our entire house in 4 days, getting all the paperwork done for the sale of the house, tax appointments, packing for the next 3 months in Europe and doctor’s visits galore to get all our medical paperwork & X rays done for our New Zealand work visas. It’s going to be hectic. Bring it on!

Peace out

Anka x

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