The forest is alive with the sound of racers. It’s not a harsh, invasive noise; something that would ruin the usual tranquility of this lush coastal rainforest. It’s more like a background hum, the clatter of bicycle machinery muffled by the soft loam of the forest floor and the natural sound absorption of hundred-year old cedar and hemlock trees.
I am climbing winding singletrack, a seemingly built-yesterday section of trail high above British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. The route is barely scraped into the ground, moss tossed to the side and a line etched into the rich soil. Following this line is a challenge but also a pure pleasure, as the builder has chosen a perfect climbing line up the treed mountainside, weaving among the old growth timber and steadily gaining elevation. I half expect to come around a corner and see the creator of this route intent on his task of completing the track before we arrive. Stretched above and below me are other racers, all focused on the present challenge laid out freshly before them. I upshift into a steep corner, and I hear the echo of other riders changing gears around me.
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