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Confessions of an MTB Dirtbag – Singletrack 6 2017: Foreplay

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Words and photos by Ryan Taylor

The moving circus of Singletrack 6 has lured me in again with the promise of six days of prime Singletrack and mountain bike bliss in the heart of British Columbia, Canada. This year, the organizers have pulled out all the stops and it should be a real tough mans race. The trails in the Kootenays are no joke and the race samples from Rossland, Kaslo, and the legendary Nelson, British Columbia.

I raced Singletrack 6 last year, and although it leaves you completely obliterated, it’s a great experience. The organization is fantastic, and it is well-planned, well-marked, and if you get the meal plan, it’s an auto pilot week to focus on nothing but riding, relaxing and experiencing cool BC mountain bike towns.

This year, the dirtbag life has been in the back of my mind as the 9-5 rat race has taken its toll. The past year has had massive ups and downs including buying a house, moving, renovating, and starting a new “grownup” job. Thoughts of making things “just right” have been the primary motivations in my mind as of late. I catch myself moving slowly into domestication.

The world is very good at making distractions these days. Wasn’t it Tyler Durden who said “what you own, ends up owning you?”

All of this has left me waxing poetic about living in my car with just my bike and whatever I have in my bag. As summer dwindles to an end, I’m looking forward to simply thinking about mountain biking and trying to find a balance and a clear head. I felt that maybe Singletrack 6 (S6) was a good way to experience that.

I began the road trip to Rossland, British Columbia, where S6 starts, with nothing but “Bobcajun” by The Tragically Hip running through my head. Luckily, being in Canada meant that I was able to listen to it on the 24-hour Tragically Hip station on the radio. Since they are the only band to make it big from Canada, CBC has made a 24h station for them (Neil Young and Rick Moraines don’t count as they were solo).

Bruno, my Subaru Legacy wagon, is my living quarters for the week. The incredibly unreliable beast of a car has proven again to be the best car ever until I need it for a drive over 100 miles. Luckily, I made it to Rossland before the problems started, and then I found myself on the side of the road with nothing but vice grips and an iPhone flashlight in my mouth trying to figure it out. Tri-Flow fixes everything right?

I managed to maximize the full dirtbag lifestyle when I acquired a futon mattress that fits in the back of the car for a bed. I got it for free when a friend drank too much and fell asleep on it and pissed himself. I guess he didn’t realize that there was the other side of the mattress, so I am now the proud owner of it.

For those who haven’t been to Rossland before, it is the perfect place for a mountain bike race such as Singletrack 6. It’s a one-street old ski town that is a mecca for mountain biking during the summer. The first three days of Singletrack 6 are based here, each day featuring a different trail network. The locals are all unique, and when I arrived I was greeted by someone yelling/singing “Mojo Rising” by The Doors off in the distance. The whole town has been built by old hippies, miners and ski folk who just don’t want any part of pop culture.

I asked a buddy when I arrived if my bike was safe on the back of Bruno and he assured me that there isn’t any crime in Rossland, except for the spring when the Australians leave the ski hill.

This years event has an insane amount of climbing – around 1500 meters of elevation gain a day. Which makes me grateful for my new Shimano cassette that seems as big as a frisbee and my new-to-me carbon wheels that are held together with JB Weld.

I guess there is no way out now.