Break­ing Tra­di­tion

Mountain Bike for Her - - Front Page -

Tra­di­tion is a fickle word. And life can deal us a hand­ful if we let it. But not for Mark and Tam­mie. They didn’t give in to what so­ci­ety had planned and broke away from a tra­di­tional wed­ding. While they did ex­change vows their mar­riage day was far from the usual.

Which is why when Tam­mie told me she was get­ting mar­ried I jumped at the chance to pho­to­graph their spe­cial day. In fact, I don’t re­ally think I gave her an op­tion once I re­al­ized that cell phone pics maybe used to record such an im­por­tant event. Tra­di­tional or not, my goal was to cre­ate a se­ries of im­ages be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter the wed­ding that suited both their per­son­al­i­ties and would give them long-last­ing mem­o­ries.

The wed­ding was to take place dur­ing The Seven Sum­mits Trail Poker Ride on Sun­day, Septem­ber 6th near Ross­land, BC. The Poker Ride is an an­nual event or­ga­nized by Revo­lu­tion Cy­cles us­ing the Seven Sum­mits Trail des­ig­nated as an epic ride by IMBA. So I knew there was go­ing to be a lot of tech­ni­cal climb­ing and tricky des­cents. Lo­gis­ti­cally, I just fig­ured it was go­ing to be a small wed­ding party as many could not travel to a re­mote area or ride this trail. Eight peo­ple sur­rounded Mark and Tam­mie – two sis­ters, two brother-in-laws, three friends, and one wed­ding com­mis­sioner – in sin­gle digit tem­per­a­tures high on Gran­ite Moun­tain in the Ross­land Range of the West Koote­nays.

The day be­gan hap­pily enough at 7:30 AM with the bride wear­ing a white tutu and lace stock­ings and the groom in a Ly­cra tuxedo jersey with a black top hat zip tied to his hel­met. Af­ter a quick easy kilo­me­ter to warm us up the trail punched up­wards. We climbed ex­quis­ite sin­gle track with gor­geous vis­tas and 360 de­gree views of the Monashee and South­ern Selkirk Moun­tains. Fol­low­ing ridge­lines, tacky dirt and pine- scented trails greeted us at ev­ery switch­back. We climbed and climbed and climbed some more un­til we ar­rived at the first check point to play games and draw a few cards for the end-of-the- day Poker game and fes­tiv­i­ties. Another check point later, a few photo ops here and there and we reached Gran­ite Moun­tain fash­ion­ably late. I think my pokey climb­ing legs had some­thing to

do with that.

I be­lieve the only pres­sure at this point was that we, the riders, had to make a 1:30 PM cut- off time stip­u­lated by the Poker Ride or­ga­niz­ers. We still had a wed­ding, a lot of climb­ing, more fun-filled check points and a bunch of old- school wickedly fast and flowy down­hills be­fore reach­ing the end of the trail to grab the last shut­tle back to Ross­land.

This en­tire time the bride and groom seemed at ease and showed no stress. While most soon- to-be brides (and grooms) worry about flower ar­range­ments, dresses, cute wed­ding in­vi­ta­tions, and book­ing limos Tam­mie and Mark in­stead had their minds set on sin­gle track. There were no flow­ers, or the prover­bial white dress, or rice (that would have been too heavy to carry) but they did have close friends and fam­ily, hand writ­ten vows, and hel­mets. All they had to do was pedal.

It seems that new­ly­weds of­ten get hung- up keep­ing ev­ery­one happy and mak­ing sure ev­ery­thing is per­fect that they fre­quently for­get about them­selves. An on-line search of what a ‘typ­i­cal’ wed­ding day from a bride and grooms per­spec­tive is of no sur­prise why wed­dings can be stress­ful and down­right tir­ing. To site a re­cent ar­ti­cle posted by The Huff­in­g­ton Post (Jan­uary 13, 2015) the fol­low­ing re­marks were made by ac­tual new­ly­weds on Red­dit and Huf­fPost:

• ‘Hav­ing not eaten all day due to stress and nerves, we re­al­ized we were STARV­ING, and or­dered Chi­nese food from the only place at 4AM’

• ‘She sat on the floor in front of me. We watched TV while I took the 6000 hair­pins out of her hair.”

• My in-laws got us a ho­tel room for the night. The room was di­rectly above theirs.”

• We got back to the ho­tel, we be­gan to con­sum­mate our vows and there’s a knock at the door. It’s my mom.”

• ‘My wife was lit­er­ally cry­ing be­cause I was tak­ing too long to undo the 800 but­tons on the back of her dress’ This isn’t to say that Tam­mie and Mark had no wor­ries. In fact, a rag­ing for­est fire in nearby

Washington State threat­ened to can­cel the wed­ding as flames and smoke steadily creeped north­ward to­wards Ross­land. Only a week be­fore close to half of the Seven Sum­mits Trail was closed. “We knew we would still get mar­ried re­gard­less but if the ride was can­celled it would have re­ally sucked” said Tam­mie. Hav­ing ar­rived in BC two weeks be­fore and with no ‘plan-B’ they kept rid­ing, ex­plor­ing the area, and hop­ing that cooler temps and wet­ter days would come. As it hap­pened, it rained and the trail re-opened. It was a dry and cooler day on the 6th but “bet­ter cooler than smok­ier”, re­marked Tam­mie a fire-fighter (Act­ing Cap­tain) with the City of Mis­sis­sauga, On­tario.

With a trail 36 km in length and close to 900 me­ters of climb­ing the po­ten­tial for a me­chan­i­cal or in­jury could have easily oc­curred. One thing for sure… with only one trail in we knew nei­ther the bride nor the groom could get cold feet. Es­cape was fu­tile. There was nowhere to ‘run’!!

Now while ‘tra­di­tional’ wed­ding pres­sures and mo­ments can be a nor­mal part of the day I, for one, would not make it my pref­er­ence. I’m not overly tra­di­tional. I much favour what my friends did - go for a ride, get hitched, ride some more, so­cial­ize, get back to the ho­tel, lube the bike chain, kick off the cy­cling shoes, wipe the face off from salt and mud, and have a nice quiet din­ner with the friends and fam­ily. I don’t know about you but do­ing some­thing that is a large part of my life and that of my part­ners’ sounds like a per­fect wed­ding to me!

Con­grat­u­la­tions Mark and Tam­mie! Here’s to be­ing true to your­selves and hav­ing fun on your spe­cial day.

Words & Photos by Ce­cil Gam­bin

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