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Targeting an objective with an uncertain outcome can be daunting or downright terrifying, or it can stoke the fires of motivation. Uncertainty is a staple of life, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, how frequently does it apply to our personal athletic endeavors? Take a moment and think back upon the last time you started a ride where you had no idea if you were physically or mentally capable of its completion? Last month, last year, never? ‘Life is full of uncertainty’ is ubiquitously bantered about, but does it ring any truth when assessing your own adventures?
When Rob Britton set off to attempt the BC Epic, a 1,078 km ride from Merritt to Fernie, BC, the only certainty was uncertainty, and unanswered questions abounded: would the weather cooperate, what unforeseen obstacles would the trail present, would the equipment hold up, would the body and mind remain intact for 48+ hours of riding?


Where are you now, Rob? “I don’t know.” Battling darkness, blown out water sections, huge craters, and an assortment of unending rollers and mountain passes, continued questioning repeated as to the likelihood of completion, let alone doing so in record time, along with increasing questions of sanity. But along with the questions came a serenity one only encounters when surrounded by the grandeur and isolation of the outdoors, with ample time of reflection.


To stay in the hunt for the FKT record, Rob had to make the Balfour Ferry crossing at KM 764. Approaching the crossing, an anticipated long, flat segment based on map recon turned out to be an endless section of large rollers. How often have we all mapped out a route only to realize during the ride that the actual topography is a bit more difficult than anticipated? We have a feeling that ‘always’ is the appropriate answer here!


After a brief nap during the ferry crossing (Rob only slept 2 hours over the nearly 2.5 day attempt) brought Rob to a long stretch of the trail covered in snow. Time began to slow, along with Rob’s ability to calculate distance and time. “It’s like riding a bike” generally refers to the skill that, once learned, is never forgotten, and Rob tapped deep into this muscle memory as he trudged toward the finish, fatigued almost to the point of falling asleep while riding. “I’ve never been that tired in my life. I was actually drifting during the descent”.


“The legs don’t work as well as they used to” sums up the sense of fatigue in a way that is relatable to all cyclists, but we have a feeling Rob reached ‘11’ on the scale of exhaustion. Take a moment to reflect on that feeling of utter depletion, of sense of accomplishment when overcoming uncertainty. Now think of that one adventure that has perhaps been on your list for a while, but for one reason or another you have yet to attempt to tackle it, and ask yourself: what’s stopping you?
broken man 28
Rob ended up breaking the previous record by about 7 hours, and set a new FKT for the BC Epic 1000 in 2 days, 9 hours, and 25 minutes.
Photo and video by @stirlandraemediahaus
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