Put your body on a bike in the mountains on single track for seven days in seven different locations with 500 others from all over the world and you get the BC Bike Race. I’m thrilled to be a finisher along with contributing six yoga sessions to all the participants. Thanks to the BC Bike Race team and staff for a first class event.

I learned a lot about stage racing this past week, such as the essentiality of shammy butter, that there is indeed a need for clip less pedals (though I did the whole thing on flats), and that you can be competitive and have a lot of fun at the same time.

The yoga sessions were the largest I’d ever led with over 200 people on a few of the days. Doing the race gave me an incredible sense for how to design the sequence (stay tuned for the video download of the sessions).

Photo credit: Dave Silver

As the week went on my body adjusted to the racing and I slowly crept up the daily results with the last day finishing 26th…my guest rider status didn’t allow for an official overall placing, but it’d have been placed around 32nd in the solo mens category…and the thing I realize is that nobody cares about my results as much as I do. I’m faster than you, but that guy is faster than me. I did a lot of these comparisons this week, but was really tuning in to how this competitiveness was affecting the rest of my experience at the BC Bike Race.

I am a big fan of listening to the signs my body provides as to what is good for it and not…and my body was screaming to stop racing! Sore low back, leg cramps, scarfing energy gels and bars, then stuffing my belly with food at night, and drinking copious amounts of fluid and salt to stay hydrated for the next day of survival. It was a roller coaster. Pushing through these signs seems to have re-calibrated my pain/comfort boundaries; it helped me to untangle my limits from my ideas of my limits.

Can I still push myself and enjoy the experience? This daily introspection helped to keep my eyes open to the ocean and mountain views, feeling the forrest, seeing the other racers are real humans rather than obstacles, to feeling gratitude for the aid station volunteers, and to relax when someone messed up in the single track causing me to mess up too! As the event yoga instructor, I aimed to stay aware and present to my competitive nature in order to authentically offer an experience of stillness through my teaching, and that couldn’t be faked, it needed to be chosen. A huge number of the participants were first time yogis and many told me it was the first time they had felt so deeply relaxed and present. This hit me in the heart, bullseye, this is the right trail, the right yoga, and the right place to have spent a week of my life.

Seems that yoga at the BC Bike Race is a perfect fit.

High Fives Everyone!