Helen tells us that “It is unthinkable that a woman bent on “having it all” would want to be fat, or even plump.” Helen and I are both 5'4 and according to her, I am 31 pounds overweight. By her definition, I'm not cute or sexy. I disagree. Now prepare yourselves, because this chapter only gets worse - “Do you like fat men? Of course not. . . [and] you ought to be suspicious of men who say they like fat women. Those men want mothers, at least a comfy, cushiony, sofa-pillow girl to sink into and hide out in.” And worse.Read More
“Why, really, should you listen to or do what I say?” It's as though Helen is reading my mind. As a response she tells us about the time that she was visiting Martha’s Vineyard with her husband back in the late 70’s when she “saw a rather pretty girl – twenty-two perhaps,” sun tanning on a dock. “She had a nice body, long legs. . . I studied her – the face isn’t as good as the body, I decided. . . nose a little big, eyes a little small, mouth a bit thin. Nice girl, nothing special.” Helen wondered if this poor disadvantaged girl would have a chance with any of the rich and famous men who frequented Martha’s Vineyard. “She would have a chance as a hanger-on, I decided . . . a little cookieburger that one of these men might take on for an evening.” But Helen knew that if she had her chance to impart her wisdom that this girl could “have her man – a good and “heavy” one . . . as well as a place in the sunshine which will make people listen to her and not reject her because she looks only okay but not great.”Read More
Last spring, I was perusing a selection of books at a thrift store when the word Mouseburger caught my eye on the back cover of Having It All – written Helen Gurley Brown and published in 1983. I wondered what the fuck a Mouseburger was – is it something that Tigers eat or is it a tiny burger that mice eat? Moreover, I was intrigued by what ‘having it all’ meant over thirty years ago and what women were willing to do to get it. The fact that someone had already expelled it from their personal library made me wonder if they had achieved the promise the title made or been horribly lead astray by it. So, I spent the $0.99 – a bargain from the original $4.99 cover price – and took it home.Read More
This past June I had the opportunity to travel to the Yukon to write an article for Freehub Magazine with Claire Buchar, Dylan Sherrard, and Jaime Hill. Videographer, Chris Grunberg, joined us and capture the magical adventure that we had.
Keep an eye out for the full story in the latest issue of Freehub.Read More
Eskapee.com gave me the opportunity to write a follow-up to my personal story - I Wanted to Die - that I wrote last year about depression.
"Two years ago I was trapped inside an emotional vacuum – neck deep, arms pinned relentlessly by my sides – that left me feeling detached from my body and adrift in my own misery. I was both consumed with grief and frantically attempting to outrun it; desperate for joy again in life but guilt-ridden at every brief moment I experienced it. And though I was in a place relatable to so many, my internal world left me feeling hopeless and alone.
Finally acknowledging that I was deeply depressed and having no idea how to get myself out of it, is what saved me. And today my world has less pain and more happiness."
This morning I woke up to CBC news reports about the ongoing rescue efforts in Mexico for this most recent earthquake and the attempts being made to free a young girl who is trapped under the rubble of her school.
It brought back a flood of memories.Read More
I recently wrote about what I learned about my social media hiatus for Eskapee.com.
"So I took a month off social media and my world didn’t end. It didn’t even fall apart.
I have never bought into the idea that social media is inherently evil or the undoing of our society. Notwithstanding a basic knowledge of algorithms and user manipulation, I look at these platforms as tools – nothing more, nothing less. If you use an axe properly you’ll chop enough wood to keep you warm through the winter. But if you are careless, you might find yourself alone and bleeding out behind your hipster cabin. Facebook, used wisely, should be no different.
But was I using it wisely? It doesn’t control us, we control it. Right?"
For as long as my cousin's and I can remember, Easter has been the holiday we've anticipated the most. We are quite possibly the furthest thing from being a religious family - instead our holidays have always been based on tradition, all of which were created by our Grandma Logan.Read More
I have been a minority amongst my friends for most of my adult life because I love Valentine’s Day. I don’t complain about it being a Hallmark holiday or dismiss it as being too materialistic (while trying to find storage for one more bike, one more sled, or one more sport-specific Gortex jacket), instead I wholeheartedly embrace a day devoted to love. I have to admit that I think when people join the trend of hating on it, they are just being lazy. And what’s up with that argument about not needing a special day to tell people that you love them? I call bullshit on that excuse too. I believe that you can embrace the essence of the day without spending a dime, but then again, I was educated about February 14th by a witch.
Even though I didn’t have Hallmark, overstuffed apes holding giant hearts, or waxy chocolate in heart-shaped boxes as a kid, inside the little three-room schoolhouse in Bamfield that I attended, Valentine’s Day was not dissimilar to what kids experience elsewhere. We made and decorated little ‘mailboxes’ for our desks and exchanged cards with cheesy messages. The only difference was a tradition that had been going on in our community for decades. Every year we would get called into an assembly and presented with a package that had been ‘found’ in the schoolyard addressed from Belinda the Valentine’s Day Witch (I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t go over so well these days). Inside would be a heart-shaped cookie for every student – about 80 – with our names handwritten on them in icing. There would also be a letter that described Belinda’s adventures from the previous year. I can only remember the details of one and it talked about how she and her raccoon friend had flown over Vancouver and were surprised to find a giant golf ball – this description of Expo ’86 was the closest some of us got to actually experiencing it.
Now if it isn’t clear already, Belinda was a fictional character. And this story is as much a defence of my love for Valentine’s Day as it is a tribute to my grandma who passed away last year. It was a coming of age for many generations of youth in Bamfield to discover that Belinda the Valentine’s Day Witch was actually Grandma Ardie. And this passage into adulthood usually came well after the truth about Santa and the Easter Bunny. For her, creating this beautiful tradition was an expression of love for our community and about giving what she could. Through years of poverty, she always found ways to be generous – sometimes just with her time, and that was enough for all of us to feel loved.
Belinda’s presence in our lives taught us that Valentine’s Day wasn’t a day about being accepted or chosen, about eating fancy dinners or getting expensive gifts, it was about inclusion, friendship, tradition, and community. She created a day that wasn’t about bad last minute drugstore gifts or the disappointment of being single for just one day a year; instead she created a want in all of us to meaningfully express our love to everyone in our community – and this is often more effort than buying an expected box of mass-produced chocolates.
I still think that when someone dismisses the big V-Day as ‘just a Hallmark holiday,’ they are being lazy, because even if Hallmark created it (which they didn’t) – why be so sour about a day devoted to love? Pick up the phone and call a friend, bake some cookies for someone nice, mail a card to your parents, whatever it is, use the day as a reminder to celebrate the people who make your life special. And when you do actually do these things every day, then I will let up. But until then use Valentine’s Day as a reminder to celebrate everyone in your community, not just the ones you’re sleeping with.
When I arrived in Mexico earlier this month I hung over one hundred photos at the local taquería for the people who live in the village of Barra de Potosi to have. I called the project 'Rostros de mi segundo hogar (Faces from my second home)'. While technology like cell phones is prevalent here as a means of doing business, printed images are still highly valued as a luxury.
The images hung with this message:
If you see a photo of yourself, your family, or a friend, please take it home or give it as a gift. Thank you for sharing beautiful Barra de Potosi with my family! Merry Christmas.
Hola! Si encuentras una foto tuya, o de un amigo o familiar, por favor tómala o entrégala como regalo. Gracias por compartir Barra de Potosi con mi familia. ¡Feliz Navidad!
When I returned to the taquería after Christmas all but a few photos had been claimed and when I road my bike into the village today I was greeted by people who were thrilled with their photos - including my favourite fruit lady!
The project was so sucessful that I plan to do it again next year and have already started collecting images for it.
This man is affectionately called 'The Mayor of Ferellones'; a small village that connection to Barra de Potosi where my family lives. Two years ago I took this photo of him riding his donkey, they were inseparable. As part of my Rostros de mi segundo hogar (Faces from My Second Home) project I printed this image to hang at the local taqueria.Read More
This was my fourth year covering the behind the scenes of Red Bull Rampage for Pinkbike.com. Going into the event there is always a mix of excited about seeing history made as the boundaries of what's possible in mountain biking are broken, but also apprehension about safety and fair treatment of our friends. This year Red Bull came the closest ever to closing the gap when they worked with feedback from the athletes and participated in our industry rather than exploiting the talents in it. From that perspective it was an incredible year - despite injury and our absent McGazza.
Below are the images from my disposable cameras behind the scenes.
After spending over twenty-five hours driving this weekend, a solid four hours shooting in the pouring rain, and another twelve lovingly drying out my camera, I expected to be glad this weekend was wrapped up and in the books, but I'm not. The Legendary Summer BC Cup at Fernie Alpine Resort this past weekend marked the last of the Dunbar Summer Series races for the season - this is officially your signal that it's time to grab a six pack, a bag of Doritos, and plan your Netflix viewing until spring.
Cycling BC has released their 2015 Mountain Bike Calendar. Next to representing an important bridge between grassroots events and UCI Sanctioned races like the World Cup circuit, these events represent over 20 years of passion and commitment by race organizers and the mountain bike community.
Between the XC and DH Races scheduled for this year there are six hardworking and committed race organizers. While their events, focuses, tracks, and locations are widely varied, the one thing they agree on is the importance of BC Cup level of racing. It is a stepping-stone for BC athletes, for some it is their first taste of formal competition and it sets them up for success at the national and international level. This series offers racers the tools, experience, and support to make it to that next level and exposes them to the opportunities available to them.
Read more on Pinkbike.com
Miller. M’er. Mir. CHAMP. Mirtank. Large Marge. No matter what name you know her by, if you have had the opportunity to meet Miranda in person, you love her. She doesn’t like bacon, she eats Dope-Oats* for breakfast, and she wants to be reincarnated as a majestic bird. “If I could choose what to come back as, it would be some sort of bird, maybe an eagle, so I can fly and be majestic and no one could hunt me. Not that people hunt a lot of birds.”
Miranda is quirky, funny, a snappy dresser, and just really, really chill. When her name – or one of her nicknames – comes up in conversation it is usually around the topic of her ability to make people laugh and to be completely herself – suspenders and all. After spending a weekend riding on the sunshine coast with her and listening to her whale calls – “here whale, where are you whale? Damn it what whale where the hell are you?” – on the ferry, I get it, Miranda Miller is the person everyone should want to room with on the World Cup Circuit. And she does the dishes when you aren't looking.
Read more on pinkbike.com.
I have never really considered that being a girl has anything to do with writing. I think that growing up without running water and electricity, being chased by whales, and that one time I hit my head really, really hard, has had more of an impact on what I have to say, than the fact that I sometimes get free drinks in bars.
In the past year there has been a shift, and a bigger focus is being placed on women in mountain biking. Awesome, right? The problem was that a bunch of people, really-great-not-sexist-at-all people, had a vague notion that women needed to be represented better or more or just. . . something in our media. They identified a void, but the solution wasn’t quite there yet. Being that I have the prerequisite ‘soft tissue’ the request was put to me a few times to provide ‘women specific content’.
Read more on Pinkbike.com.
The Dunbar Summer Series has taken a page from Hollywood and Kevin Costner in their approach to downhill race culture, ‘if you build it, they will come.’
Three years ago Stephen Exley, BC Cup Race Organizer, approached Rob Venables, Dunbar Cycles Owner, about partnering to produce a race series. At the time Stephen was already running the Western Open and Rob and his team were involved with downhill races at Hemlock Mountain and on Mount Seymour - the infamous Ned’s race. “Stephen was already doing a great job with the Western Open,” Rob explains, “he was doing a much better job than we could do on our own. We had limitations on our time, and it was obvious how much satisfaction Stephen gets from putting on the races. I couldn’t do a better job so I decided that I should support him to do the best job he can do.” The result of this joined force is the Dunbar Summer Series. In it’s third season, the series has expanded to include four BC Cups; Silver Star, Kicking Horse, Fernie, and Panorama.
More words and photos here.
When I first set foot in the Chinggis Khaan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar the idea of travelling to Mongolia had only been a reality for roughly fourteen days. I had agreed to photograph the Mongolia Bike Challenge at the encouragement of my travel partner and Videographer, Darcy Turenne, after exchanging only a handful of Facebook messages with the Race Director, Willy Mulonia. I had no idea what to expect, but knowing that I didn't need any vaccinations to enter the country somehow made me feel surprisingly confident about the trip. I had also received advice from those who had gone before us; photographers and videographers who have all documented the race previously were sure to tell us about everything they experienced from the flash floods to the lack of toilet paper, and especially to beware of the fermented horse milk – it is for sipping, not chugging. The most valuable piece of advice, however, came from Aaron Larocque who said, "if you want the experience of a lifetime, you should go."
More words and photos here.
Take six people, some of whom have never met, and put them on the road for a week of big 'Kootenay' rides, close living quarters, and beer sampling at every stop, what happens? They form a travelling family that is full of laughs even when the going gets tough, the sun gets hot, and the tires go flat (over and over). Our trip took us, along with the Mountain Biking BC contest winner, Jason Wright, to Rossland, Kimberly, Fernie, Nelson and Retallack. We played with foxes in the woods, drove through thunder storms, drank margaritas, and stayed off the grid. We braved the rapids of the Slocan Valley and got some of the earliest tracks on the Peak to Creek trail, not to mention that we almost won at 80's music trivia in Nelson. There is a good chance we also bought too much homemade candy in Kimberly, but that was really an unavoidable inevitability.
The photos below capture just some of the highlights from an area that is rich in history, mountain bike culture, and community. As a group we feel lucky to have experienced the balance of the warm welcoming people and rugged, natural trails. And of course we can't wait to go back!
Check out the photos here.