Intro by Mike Rose
Words by Claire Buchar
Photos by Dylan Wolsky
INTENSE rider Claire Buchar is no stranger to adventure. In fact you could say that her whole life has been an adventure of sorts – from the cut and thrust of downhill World Cup racing, through to coaching, mentoring, graphic design, etc., to here, the alpine heights of overnight adventures.
Recently, just before winter set in, Claire and a small group of friends took a trip to the Elfin Lakes, located in the Garibaldi Provincial Park just east of Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. Claire takes up the story.
I love all my bikes and where they take me. I can grab my downhill bike, meet my friends in the bike park and float down Dirt Merchant to A-Line, lap after lap of laughs. I can grab my enduro bike, climb to the top of some of the gnarliest trails in the world and pick my way down granite rock slabs, cross-rooted chutes and dirt ribbons through forest moss, utilizing every sense I own to get me to the bottom.
Either way it’s freedom. A way of living in the moment. A way to create joy and exhilaration. A way to play and to express myself. A way to be outside. But the purest and most healing form of freedom that my bikes can provide me with is when I reach for my 120mm travel Sniper T Downcountry bike and head into the wild.
You don’t embark on any adventure ride or backcountry trip without expecting it will be challenging. It is always a real and humbling experience. Every time I’m out there my legs burn, my lungs heave, my muscles ache and I fight my head telling me it hurts, it’s hard, it’s uncomfortable. Every time I’m out there I face the elements, whether it be rain, wind, cold, wild animals, heat, thirst or exhaustion.
It is always a sense of survival out there, of finding your way, managing your gear, pacing yourself, staying sharp. And every time I love it. Because after all the time we spend in our cozy little homes, taking our hot little showers, eating our comforting little foods and tuning into our overwhelming little phone, computer and TV screens... heading out into the wild makes me really feel alive.
The mountains have a sound. It’s both terrifying and liberating. It’s the sound of utter vulnerability and it’s a sigh of relief. It’s the sound of exposure, vastness and it’s a silence that calms the beat of your heart. It’s the feeling of giving in, completely outweighed, outnumbered. And it’s the feeling of feeling small, wrapped up in their arms, loved... by something bigger than I know, but that I know is there.
More and more, I realize that my riding is more about my mental health than a form of exercise or fun. And heading into the wild, for me, is necessary. It’s about escaping, reigniting my curiosity, witnessing the beauty, being forced into wonder and resetting my soul. My Sniper T doesn’t bring all of that to me. Rather, it’s the perfect vehicle to take me there.
Claire rode our lightweight, 120mm travel Sniper T ‘Downcounty’ bike on this adventure. It’s the perfect mix of capability, efficiency and fun.