From a racer’s eyes: Luke Garside’s Story

Posted on May 30, 2011

This morning we received an email from Luke Garside, a 2011 Nimby Fifty racer.  He sent his race story for us to read; needless to say we were moved. We then asked him if he'd like us to share it with everyone, to which he replied "For sure ... the more people that can read it the better!"  So here it is:

Word by Luke Garside

The Nimby 50, My race, My challenges, My story

7:45 my alarm rings in my ear like a alarm going off at a fire station. Whack I hit the snooze button, 5 min later off it goes again Whack I hit it again but this time I actually get up. I grab all of my riding gear and head down to the kitchen for the final prep before I make my way to the race. I get stuck into 3 bagels with peanut butter and nutella for breakfast! It's at this point whilst eating my bagels I look at my phone and look at an msg "sorry bud can't make it to the race have fun" Shit! I have entered a race and have no way of getting there, with a few phone calls later I get a lift! With the crisis over and time go get to the race.

Arriving at the race headquarters, I grabbed out my bike and gear lent it up against the car and look in the car next to us and notice a rather pimp part spec on a frame that was polished silver! What was it? The gentleman got out of the car and I turned to him and said "Rocky Mountain Element 29?" his reply was wow quick to pick that up weren't you. Can't tell you anymore because its top secret and I'd have to kill you! We had a good chat about the bike and general bike lingo to go with it! Told him about the guys from Rocky Mountain Australia and how pumped they are on the bike but have never been over here to the heart of Mountain biking. P.S Guys from Rocky Mountain Australia you have been invited over with open arms to Canada and they will help you out when you make it over!

With my chat done it was time to get on with the race. The 5min bell going of it was time to get in the pack ready for the start! Speeches done the 30sec bell was rung. The siren went off and we were away. I was mid pack not to fuss as we were going out on the open road for the 1st leg of the race. I hit the road and see that there were around 500m to the leaders and that's where I wanted to be. Lock out front and rear was on the head went down and my inner roadie came out. I bridged the gap quickly and jumped on the end of the leaders for a rest. Sitting in around 40th I was happy with my position. We hit the 1st climb and the 29 was off! I cursed up the climb saving energy and still riding hard and just bopping along in my own world. Hit the top of the climb and gave a round of high5 to the spectators and the decent was on.

Flying down Radio trail I sent a rock drop and came out at with loads of people picking of 2 more riders. The trail was congested with the standard "I can ride up a hill fast but not down people". As I got on to one guys tire and new the section coming up and one place to pass, there was a female voice yelling at me "close the gap, pass him, I want this gap closed, I want to pass, Hurry up" Hearing this I saw a opportunity to pass the guy and get away from this annoying lady. "On you right" I yelled, I went to pass and he moved over right. Awesome I said in my head well I'm either going to pass and get away or crash. WHAM, SNAP, BANG, Dead silence, I chase some stars around for a few seconds, I then hear chains slapping away, skidding tyres, and the odd voice say oooohhhh. A lot of riders pass none stopping to give a hand until on super nice guy stopped. Are you OK, is what most people yell. His Words were, "Oh Shit this guy is really hurt!"
I opened my eyes to see him standing over me, "are you hurt?" he asked. "I think I'm ok" I responded. "Well all I could see was the whites of your eyes and blood coming from your mouth" "I think your hurt" He Kept saying! Nah I'm all good, Have a awesome race, you have done so much to help me, I'll Be Ok. An Easy 5 min passed and it was at this point I convinced him to go and carry on. Right some serious Luke time has to happen so I can judge how hurt I really am! I checked out my collar bone and it was ok, I lift my bike with my arm to make it is strong. Riders have passed and really started to thin out so I walked up to the clearing to make sure i could walk and move free.

It's now crunch time, what am I going to do? I was hurting a lot and about to throw in the towel, instead I thought of local rider Nick Geddes that has come down with leukemia this year and James "Willo" Williamson passing last year from a heart attack. Using their story's to motivate me I said to myself "Fuck It" It's been 10min now, "Get on with it Luke". Right the bike test! If both wheels spin and gears work I'm riding no questions asked. Front wheels spin test "Damit" it spins fine, Rear wheel spin test "DDDDamit" it spins as well, Gear check. Well that’s it I'm riding. I sucked it up and re-rode where I crashed and continued on

I made it to the Start of Happy trail, still spitting blood from my crash I saw friends Emma and Emily. I stopped had another chat and told them my story then picked up my water and kept riding. I got 8 corners in and saw Kevin "The Animal" Phelps. I pulled over and got of my bike and the seat lifted up. Within 5 min the seat was off and he was trying to get it fixed. 5 min later sweep came up and had a chat. "You’re the hurt guy that won't give up" ahhhh yeah that’s me I replied. They checked me out for a further 10 min and said "It's up to me to make the call if I want to ride on." They left me after I said "I'll be fine" and they then continue on with the race. As they left Emily and Emma showed up, looking at what going on Emily spoke out and said "would you like my seat". "Sure" changing over the seat and now 30min past the sweep riders i was on my way again.

I got in to my own little world and kept at it, Thinking that I was going to ride the rest of my race I was Happy with this until I heard a faint voice come through the trees "Dam this is hard" it said. I turned around a few corners and there were the sweep riders! "What", "Youuuu" "How are you still going?". "Never ever give up and always ride for fun" I replied. It then dawned on me!!! I was now back in the race and it was game on! From here on it my sole goal was to not walk anything and see what I could do. 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 20, 30, I lost count and just kicked it into over drive. Made it to the top of the monster climb and just kept going. Over Night was next and before it I was almost done. "Holy FUCK dude, give err" was the words from the photographer as I came down the last decent making up lines left right and center. "Yeah boi! Sick lines" he shouts as I finish it off.

I motor up the road to our next trail where I climb every climb except one that no one made. Keeping my energy up with mix of GU chomps and Torq gels I push through the unbearable pain in my mouth I was going strong and staying focused. I make it to the next feed zone and knowing there are 2 climbs left and I was facing the hardest climb of all I sucked in the big ones. Started in granny and got the job done. There was loads of support from people walking the climb, yelling "Your an animal" "How are you still riding this" I just responded with "Never give up". I ate up this no err loop getting loose and wild on the muddy, mossy rocks. Flying past people left right and center the decent was over and the final climb was upon me. I was there, the last climb and no walks. One last Gel and the decent was one like donkey kong.

I hammered down with a huge smile on my face knowing I was almost done, With such a sweet bit of single track to fish the ride of with I found energy to do some doubles and jumps to the train track. Now I needed to call on the last bit of inner roadie to get me home. I hit the road drop my elbows to the grips put it in the DOG and see if I can spin out the 29. Legs burning still trying to spin it out I pass 3 more people all who tried to hang on to my wheel but couldn't. Right turn with a drift on to the grass I go pedaling all the way to the end I cross the line. It was over the race was done. With a huge smile on my face and just wanted to rest. Eating as many bananas as I could I found a nice spot on the grass to chill out for the evening I was set and didn’t have to go anywhere!

Prize time came around and I received a seat to replace the one I had broken, shortly after they asked who made the no err climb, I stuck my hand up and then there was a look of shock on the commentators face, "You did it?" "You just don't give up do you?" I replied with "you never give up".
This is a race that is achievable by all. It will push you to your limits, physical, mentally, emotionally and beyond. You will be calling on every bit of inner determination to finish with the reward being a memory to last a lifetime!

The final stats on my race were as follows:
Winning time Elite Male 2:15
Winning time 20-29 Male 2:33
My Time 3:36
My Category place in 20-29 18th out of 31
My over all place 156 out of 315

In finishing up the drive home was short and sweet as the pain set in and adrenalin wore off. I found myself looking out the window of the car and all I said to myself was. "There you go, Willow you will always live on and forever be in people’s lives" 

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