Happy Birthday, Fearless Leader
This past weekend our fearless leader Rivers, the founder and head of awesome things on this blog and the man whose passion has engaged nine other blog contributors, over 1,000 followers on google plus, and many more on Facebook and Twitter, celebrated a milestone birthday. He’s also my sweetheart. So what do you do when someone who loves mountain biking as much as Rivers does has a significant birthday? Well, you plan a surprise birthday weekend that includes friends, family, great food and a get-away mountain bike ride, of course.
Rivers has known for a while that something was up, but did a good job not prying so he could enjoy being surprised. Friday morning all I said was to pack for the weekend, including “mountain biking in uncertain weather.” We piled in the car and headed north three hours, stopped for lunch at our favourite fresh food cafe on the way, and arrived at our fabulous chalet on Mount Washington.
For most people on Vancouver Island, Mount Washington is the local ski/snow resort. For mountain bikers, it’s a convenient location with group-friendly accommodations and a network of accessible nearby trails in Cumberland, Courtenay and the Comox Valley. My parents arrived shortly before us, and soon enough a carload of friends arrived as well for a fun evening of laughter and fun (and a very odd Carey Grant movie, but that’s a post for another blog).
By Saturday morning, Rivers’ best riding buddy Kyle had arrived, and a few quick Twitter messages later they were joined in Cumberland by power mountain biking couple Teresa (of MTB4Her) and Colin (of Comox Valley MTB). Devinci bikes also joined in celebrating Rivers big day hosting a demo day in Cumberland (you can call it a coincidence – I say thanks for helping make Rivers’ day awesome, Devinci!) Kyle and Rivers both dove in, Rivers riding a 29er for the first time, and both of them enjoying cheating on their regular rides for the day.
One of the things that has always impressed me about the mountain bike community is how quickly people connect; how much they want to share their favourite rides, local trails, and expertise; and how genuinely friendly they are. It was of little surprise that Teresa and Colin joined us for dinner at the chalet. A little after dinner sledding, some adult goodie thank-you bags, Sunday brunch the next day, and the birthday weekend was all over over except the drive home.
Huge thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate this weekend – to my parents for joining in with a bunch of strangers and so much help with all of the meals; Kim, Kirsty, Brad and Kyle for making the whole weekend so fun; Teresa and Colin for being the mountain biking local experts; and most of all to Rivers for being so worth celebrating. Finally, huge thanks to Neil, who sent this great video all the way from Australia.