SUGAR RUSH | Thomas Haas rides one of his regular routes up to Cypress Mountain
Chocolate master Thomas Haas on riding the world with Trevor Linden and fending off the virtual competition
In 2009 I made a retirement cake for Trevor Linden, and some people at the party asked me, “We’re starting a bike club. Would you like to join?” That’s when my little weekend ride turned into three-hour evening training sessions and a 4 a.m. Cypress-Seymour-Grouse Mountain climb before work. Then our training group signed up for races in Europe. We always said the week when the 12 of us would be somewhere in the Alps for 10 days was the best week of the year because all you do is ride your bike, laugh, drink—and the next day you ride again. After Day 5 you hate it, like, “I’m never going to do this again,” because it’s so hard. And then on Day 7 you sign up for next year again.
There’s an app that came up around this time, it’s called Strava, and it has taken off like crazy and also cost a lot of friendships. If you’re on a GPS cycling computer, it tracks your rides, so I can make a segment from Dundarave to Horseshoe Bay. It tracks everybody that does that segment and creates a leader board. The fastest person gets a “crown”—and then the ego starts, and people get totally obsessed about it.
A lot of riders track their heart rate, so it ranks your fitness level; I’m not a big numbers guy so I use it mainly for the basics. I made a rule: I only follow people I have ridden with, but I have a lot of people following me who are curious how my ride was. While it brings apart some individuals, it actually creates a great community. You see who rode today and you can put a “thumbs up” and make a comment, so by the time you hit the road, you know so many people.
—as told to Marcie Good
Thomas Haas was ranked among the top pastry chefs in New York City before moving to Vancouver and starting his eponymous line of chocolates in 2000. Now with two café locations in Kitsilano and North Vancouver, he typically makes 20,000 chocolates a week (quadruple that number in November and December).