The Big Pig Bike Race at Boer Mountain, Burns Lake, BC

Wild blueberries are the best. But picking them in a lesson in patience.

Wild blueberries are the best. But picking them in a lesson in patience.

On the downhill section.

On the downhill section.

On the pump track section.

On the pump track section.

Finishing the cross-country section.

Finishing the cross-country section.

Cookie medals are the best!!

Cookie medals are the best!!

Really cute piggie cookies.

Really cute piggie cookies.

Race face on.

Race face on.

Creepy pig bike light. Nightmare material.

Creepy pig bike light. Nightmare material.

They finished in first place!! They did 7 laps of 10 km in under 5 hours. They are the only team that did 7 laps! 

They finished in first place!! They did 7 laps of 10 km in under 5 hours. They are the only team that did 7 laps! 

Downhill race on Charlotte's Web.

Downhill race on Charlotte's Web.

Downhill race on Charlotte's Web.

Downhill race on Charlotte's Web.

Downhill race on Charlotte's Web.

Downhill race on Charlotte's Web.

This incredible little boy was doing the race and his daddy was following behind. 

This incredible little boy was doing the race and his daddy was following behind. 

The Four Cross Race was quite a show!

The Four Cross Race was quite a show!

The Four Cross Race was quite a show!

The Four Cross Race was quite a show!

Keeping with the theme, of course!

Keeping with the theme, of course!

The Blood Sun (yes, that's the sun!) created by the smoke from the forest fires.

The Blood Sun (yes, that's the sun!) created by the smoke from the forest fires.

We have so much history here (just do a search with #burnslake on the home page)... A broken arm, mechanical problems, meeting friends, moon rise watching on the dock in our sleeping bags, bonfires and berry picking... It’s no surprise when a local comes and knock at the bus door, happy to see us returning once again and offers us a shuttle up the mountain.

I wasn’t excited to come back here again this year. You see, I long for discoveries and new places. All the time. My family likes a mix of both and the girls were *really* looking forward to come back here, especially for the Big Pig Bike Race that we have missed for the last two years since we left the Yukon too late... But as unexcited as I was, it didn’t take long for the magic of this place to hit me! I love Burns Lake. The bike trails are amazing, the community of riders is incredibly friendly and the camping is FREE right by the trails and by a gorgeous lake.

The BC Bike Ride event was here just before the Big Pig and they wrote a great article (with beautiful pictures) about this great place and the amazing mountain biking community.

So this year was the 10th year of the Big Pig Bike Race, which is the premiere mountain biking event in Northern B.C. It’s a family friendly festival, with kids events, downhill races, 4 Cross races, an epic cross country race and cross country events.

On Friday, Mathilde took part in the Pump Track, the Downhill and the X country challenges in the 10 to 12 categorie. She took the first place int he Pump Track challenge behind 12 yo girls and came in 2nd in the other two events! 

JF and the twins did the Dante’s Relay, a timed event in which teams or solo riders race to complete the most number of 10 km loops in a five hour period. For the past 9 years, one lap of 10 km was added every year to the Dante’s Inferno course. It culminated with a grueling 9 Rings of Hell last year (for 90 km). I remember reading Dante’s Inferno (in Italian!) when I went to school in Italy at 17. To describe it as dense and intense piece of work is an understatement!

And South we go...

Our last few weeks in the Yukon were a series of awesome dinners and shared moments with friends.

These friendships that survive the distance mean so much to all of us.

A last evening at our dear friend Josée's.

Coloring at night in the bus.

Last sunset on the Alaska Highway.

Following a Westy from Argentina.

We stopped at Boya Lake on the Stewart-Cassiar Highway for a little hike.

And pick berries, of course!

It was the first time our California friends saw a beaver dam! 

We stopped for 4 days in Burns Lake to ride at Boer Mountain. It rained the whole time, so that's pretty much the only biking picture I took... You might remember our epic adventures here last year! Day 1 is here, then Day 2 (the shit hits the fan), Day 3, Day 4 and there are more posts on that beautiful place (just click Newer at the bottom of the posts)!

Medicine making with arnica, yarrow, fireweed and rosehips and dutch oven apple crips with freshly picked thimbleberries and blueberries.

Prosciutto and sage leaves wrapped chicken and potatoes over the fire.

Lots and lots of dirty laundry. We rode in the mud for 3 days!

Diedra found out that the thrift store was doing a 5$/bag of clothes week. The kids were creating a play, so it was perfect! They are so creative!

The sun came out for 30 minutes and we could litterally see the earth exhale.

Kager Lake, right by the campsites at Boer Mountain. There are tent campsites all around the lake accessible through a fun bike trail. During our time there, they were doing controlled burns all around the lake and it was pretty surreal to come across these big campfires every 200 meters as we picked berries in the rain! They kept us warm!

Transitions. Every parenting book I read when the girls were little had a chapter on that. Every parent knows all too well the meltdowns that followed the announcement that we had to move on to something different, be it jumping in the car to go visit grandma or wash hands before dinner... In the Waldorf world, we had little transition songs for each of these moments, imaginative stories of foxes chasing little mice in the bedroom for storytime... It’s not easy to leave behind something that felt good and comfortable, something you were engrossed in and could keep on doing. That’s how it felt to leave the Yukon. We weren’t sad per se, but we could have stayed a little longer (in a warm house, not in the bus!). Most places we leave feel like that after a while, Tucson, Moab, Virgin... Our life is a series of transitions, of hellos and goodbyes and see-you-laters. An interesting choice for a girl that had lots of separation anxiety as a child... But, hey, I’ve always been the kind to grab the bull by the horns!

Or rather, I’ve always had that pull to explore, to get out of my comfort zone. Leaving for a year in Italy at 17, attempting to hike the GR20 in Corsica at 21, a little underprepared... Hitting the road in an old bus we had just bought! It’s not an adventure if there’s not a bit (or a lot!) of unknown in it, right?

Last days at Boer Mountain

Fall is well on its way here. During the time we stayed at the campground, we really saw nature going from summer to fall. The colors are amazing now!

This place is one of the most amazing camping spots we have ever been to. Boer Mountain has left us many unforgettable memories... and a few scars.  Seriously, what are the chances to find world class bike trails out your door, a beautiful lake to paddle on, a free peaceful campground (and free firewood!) five minutes from a friendly town with everything you need? 
Boer Mountain, we will be back.

When Pigs Fly

How many bikes and persons can you fit in a Westy? For this ride, 8 bikes and 10 persons!

Hail!!!!

The trail network at Boer Mountain is pretty amazing! One of the most popular ride is called When Pigs Fly. And yes, that's the trail on which JF broke his arm (only because he was going too fast into a jump). You can see it here on YouTube. It's a very flowy trail with big berms and lots of jumps. The first time I did it, it really kicked my butt and I walked most of the berms. My sweet friend Jennifer waited for me, gave me tips and encouraged me to keep trying.

There is another short fun black diamond trail that the kids love called Smells like Bacon (seriously! Bike trails and climbing routes have the best names!). All the trails have been named with a pig theme in mind (Slaughter House, Charlotte's Web, Soooeet, Curly Tail, etc.). 

Every Wednesday, local youth from the bike club come and do some trail work in exchange for a shuttle up at the end of the night! The club is very active and organize an awesome bike fest (The Big Pig) around mid-August every year.

And someone sure had fun finding names for the age categories:

1. Cutlet - 12 and under

2. Junior Tender - 13-15

3. Senior Tender - 16-18

4. Lean - 19-34

5.Gristle - 35-49

6.Freezer Burn -50+

Mountain biking at Boer Mountain, in Burns Lake, British Columbia, DAY 1

Inviting...

Under the proud paternal look...

That's a skinny skinny!!

Boer Mountain Bike Park is the first of its kind as the park is the only mountain bike park to be build on Crown land in Canada. There are miles of classic singletrack offering riders a sequence of cross-country, freeride and downhill trails, as well as a skills park, jump park and Rider Cross track. This park was also designed by Whislter park designers and the best part is it is free to use. There are about 15 campsites with picnic tables and firepit, as well as a huge parking area for bigger rig (all for free, 14 days max for camping).

We were lucky enough to meet some of the locals that were part of the project since the beginning and helped designed the trails (thanks to our friendly puppy!). We chatted for a few hours and JF and the girls went riding with them the next day. Since the Carcross episod, I felt very unsure about my biking skills. My confidence was at its lowest low and I declined a few more challenging downhill rides with these skilled bikers.

After reading the trail descriptions on the map, I asked JF and the girls if they'd come try some cross-country trails with me. I tried to focus on the skills the girls had me practice on the pump track in the morning. My thighs burned from the effort and the constant standing up. The sharp turns were challenging and I walked the wooden boardwalks behind the girls, feeling like a big wuss... I took a deep breath and tried to channel a friend (who is so at peace with where she is at in terms of skills, even when riding with experienced people) who often says when she walks parts of the trail: I don't make one with the bike yet! And I smiled, clearly not feeling at one with the bike... At other moments, I heard another friend whispering into my ear: Trust the bike! And I did... for a few hundred meters... until, a jump threw me off balance.

Tears welled up in my eyes. I heard my friend who just last week told me: You are brave. And I felt it. I was being brave. I was back on the horse!

As I looked at JF watching the girls with pride in his eyes, I decided turn that same gaze towards myself. I was proud of myself. Proud to be there, riding berms and managing sharper turns than before, my heart pounding, feeling the flow of the trail. And my confidence increased. Thanks for riding with me today, friends!

But that, my friends, was only Day 1... Things got a little more... action packed on Day 2... Stay tuned! Spoiler alert: don't look on Facebook!