THE anticipation of this year's B.C. Bike Race was huge for me.
I've been involved since its inception five years ago when Dean Payne (dressed in a suit) hosted a mini meeting for prospective sponsors and people close to him. I still remember that day like it was yesterday.
The first three years of the event had me overseeing an incredible dirt bike team of riders who would corral, protect and attend to injured riders. It was a great way to help these amazing athletes who would ride to hell and back each day.
In the third year, I also decided to shoot video of the racers and post the footage on the B.C. Bike Race's website each night so friends and family could watch the race from afar but see, hear and feel exactly what these racers were going through.
It was a lot of work to ride all day and produce all night but I love a good challenge.
By year four, I was stepping away from the moto team and handing it to my amazing friend and 13-time national champion Bruce Spicer, who has also been involved with the race since the very beginning. Bruce is a true leader and each year our moto safety team gets stronger and stronger thanks to his leadership.
This meant I could focus on following, capturing and producing short videos of the racers, volunteers and towns, which together form what we know as the B.C. Bike Race, a seven-day mountain bike stage race on B.C.'s West Coast. This year's edition wrapped up last month.
I love shooting video and capturing fun moments. It's a true passion of mine since I also get to live a fun and exciting lifestyle.
Filming an event of this size (500 racers) isn't easy. First you must capture the racers while they're doing their thing out in the middle of nowhere.
I use an electric dirt bike, which allows me to follow anyone from the speedy leaders travelling at more than 60 km/hour on the downhills to the last-place finishers who, while going just a little slower, are doing as much, or in many cases, more work.
The Zero Electric Dirt Bike I use makes no noise and is super quick and catches most racers offguard.
It's this element of surprise that allows me to capture them in their moments of glory and agony of defeat, which can happen at anytime.
For instance, on Day 2, I was following Joao Marinho from Spain who was sitting in fifth position on the day and we were shredding downhill through the Snowden Demo Forest in Campbell River.
Marinho was carving through the trees at more than 40 km/hour and I was hot on his heels.
Suddenly, as he carved a corner, his front wheel slipped out and he went down hard and fast. I did everything in my power to not run him over. He quickly rose to his feet and while adjusting his handlebars, asked me if I'd caught it on film.
"You bet," I retorted and we ripped it up all the way to the finish of that day's stage.
After seven days and more than 450 km of epic single track riding, it was a pleasure to capture and watch all the racers arrive in Whistler on an amazing day.
I'll tell you this, for me, the magic is watching all these fantastic people come across that finish line with huge smiles on their faces!
Adventurer Dave Norona encourages you to check out all the B.C. Bike Race videos at www.bcbikerace.com. His efforts are supported by Marin Bikes, Columbia Sportswear and PowerBar.