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September 4, 2008

Squamish, Plural of Nemesis

Filed under: BC 2008, MTB Travel — anotherheader @ 7:46 am

The day started with a trip to the bike shop to remove Becky’s broken derailleur hanger that had somehow become fused to her derailleur. With a few Eh’s, and You betcha’s, her bike was fixed and ready to go. The guys at Tantalus also had some trail suggestions and

Erik and Scott chilling in their trailer
Erik and Scott chilling in their trailer

pointed out that Squamish has more trail mileage than road mileage (truly impressive!) so we better get started if we want to make a dent. Also, along with the many volunteers who build trails in Squamish, there are two full time employees who repair and maintain the trails.

Back at the trailers, we discussed the ride options and ended up deciding on a ride-in-ride-out option from the trailers. We started climbing a combination of trail and road until we reached Alice Lake. From Alice Lake we dropped into the Garibaldi Highlands and climbed up to the bluff that overlooks our campsite and the start of Rigs and Zen. The last kilometer plus portion of the climb averaged over 20% grade on a loose, baby head strewn access road that was not popular with the day’s crew. At one point, The Stump’s life was threatened though we doubt there was serious risk.

Some say he communes with the Retro Grouch...
Some say he communes with the Retro Grouch…

When we entered Rigs In Zen, it was immediately apparent that the trail was hell bent on returning the altitude we had struggled to gain as rapidly as possible. The trail starts out with a feral, overgrown, loamy, and steep descent with peek-a-boo views of the Squamish Valley. Eventually, the path leads into the forest and the vegetation along the trail lessened under the tree canopy. If anything, the tread started to drop more rapidly at this point with the crew largely at there limit but still able handle the loamy, root, and rock drops. Further down we reached a point were some active trail building was occurring and seriously steep and technical 50-foot or so drop that wound through a steep root lined slot stymied us all.

Towards the bottom, the challenges increased with the trail finding a way to pass along to top of nearly every long downed tree it could find linked together with steep turns. Some of the riding was clearly over our heads and there was a fair amount of walking going on. When we exited onto Crouching Squirrel Hidden Monkey (CSHM) we passed by someone riding a trials motorcycle up the trail. We found out later that this was the trail builder.

...and that his ride is constructed from aluminum made from Warren Buffett's recycled Coke cans....
…and that his ride is constructed from aluminum made from Warren Buffett

Rigs In Zen was one of the hardest trails we have done in BC. Not a must ride for myself, but, with an extended stay in the area, this one would be good for a challenge ride day.

On to CSHM, we shot down the trail that featured small (certainly compared to Rigs In Zen) root and rock drops and a good flow. Perhaps a mile down, we came to a fork with a new trail, Plural of Nemesis (hey, I don’t name ‘em). The trail builder we met up the trail told Erik that we should take this one, so we did. This was a fun trail with frequent turn drops. Towards the bottom the features became bigger with some steep granite bolder drops that seem to require extensive group analysis before they could be ridden. For me, Plural of Nemesis was the featured trail of the day and was way fun.

At the end of Plural of Nemesis, we popped out of the trailhead in the neighborhood, crossed over to Highway 99 for the 1 km peddle to the campground. The overall

All we know is that he is The Stump.
All we know is that he is The Stump.

ride took us about 3.5 hours to complete with 1.5 hours of saddle time, covered 8.5 miles, and included 1500 feet of climbing. We reached the campground, drank some beer, and compared trail rash. It was another good day in Squamish.

Disclaimer: It has been pointed out that these posts make all the trails in BC appear as if they are heinously steep, mega-ultra-gnarly, adrenaline-depleting, obstacle-strewn terror-fests. While that could be true, in part, there are many tame, mild, and frequently short sections of sweet singletrack trail that link these sections. We have not reported on these sweet sections as they seem to be quickly forgotten when the next terror-fest appears before the front wheel.

Disclaimer 2:  We’ve seen Rigs n Zen either written as Rigs and Zen or Rigs In Zen.  We don’t know which is correct.  Ask a local!

More pictures:

Trail conference with Josh "Pure Tube" and Brian "The Stump"

Trail conference with Josh "Pure Tube" and Brian "The Stump"

Erik on Rigs In Zen
Erik on Rigs In Zen






1 Comment »

  1. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

    Comment by sandrar — September 10, 2009 @ 8:52 pm

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