Story and photos by local rider, Dylan Sherrard.
We’re rolling deep in the dog days of summer. Bright afternoon light beaming overhead, tires buzzing on the highway, and the long blonde grass of rolling hills whirring by the windows. “I really look forward to these summer evening twilight laps in the park,” Lacee mentions from my passenger seat. The commute from Kamloops to Sun Peaks flows quick and picturesque, while the reprieve we find in the cool mountain breeze comes as a truly charming contrast to desert heat.
“Sun Peaks is so much to me. It’s the place for me to engage with my riding community, it’s where I go to push myself out of my comfort zone, and it’s also where I go to connect with nature,” Lacee continues in a tone of anticipation for the evening of shredding ahead.
We land at the hill with the sun still high in the sky. An afternoon coffee is a compliment to the cool breeze, and the transition from sip to shred comes quick and seamless. “My favourite lap to stitch together changes depending on my mood, but one of them is Mach to Spicy Taco to Bermalade to Arm Pump. Some flow, some tech, some jumps… it’s the perfect MTB trifecta!”
And off we flow. A few laps roll fast as the evening begins to glow, and Lacee breaks for Women’s Bike Night at Sun Peaks.
“Well girls,” Lacee greets the crew with open and inviting arms. “It’s our last night of the program, and it’s been a big summer, so I want this evening to be a celebration. We can totally work through new challenges and obstacles again, but I also want us to channel all the stoke and confidence we’ve built through the summer, and let all of that out on the trail.” A resounding agreement echoes around the crowd before the charging of trails ensues.
There’s a sensation of ecstasy for the variety of terrain available in the park now, and the impact it creates for riders of different skill levels pursuing progression. That vibe rides high from the bike park to the patio, where enormous smiles and euphoric conversation create the archetypal image of thriving culture. The evening sky burns deep pink and orange as I hear the same curiosity expressed in 6 or 7 different ways, “How can we make this happen more often!?”
Those pastel colours that painted the sky fade into night as quick as they came, and we load up for the drive home. A slight chill in the air reminds us that we’re lucky to be in the mountains, so we roll the windows down and let the evening air fill the cab. The starry night sky scrolls over the windshield and Lacee is buzzing on the day. “I feel privileged to be coaching Women’s Bike Nights at Sun Peaks,” she admits in content tone. “Nothing gets me more excited than riding with women who are new to the sport, looking to develop their confidence, and try new things!”
“I know it’s a buzzword,” she continues in her search for words to articulate the level of care and appreciation she holds for this scene, “But it really feels empowering. Programs like Women’s Bike Night at Sun Peaks are important because they provide the safe place for women to try new things, to grow our confidence, and find community in a male-dominated environment… You know, the essential elements for creating an equitable scene in action sports.”