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September 5, 2008

Vancouver, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and Severed Dick

Filed under: BC 2008, MTB Travel — anotherheader @ 10:24 pm

Pure Tube

Pure Tube

After the forced day off, we were all ready for a ride. We got ready earlier and headed out, under partly cloudy but dry conditions. Our target for the day was Mt. Seymour, the other big mountain biking area in the North Shore of Vancouver. When we arrived at the base of Mt. Seymour, it was raining steadily. We found that the Cove Bikes store at the base was no longer there. In fact, the building was gone. In the shopping area across the street we found another shop, Different Bikes, and went in to get trail information.

The folks at the bike shop gave us some routes to consider that would work in the rain. One route included Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, a famous Mt. Seymour Trail. Another route included Severed Dick or, potentially, C**t Buster (we don’t name ‘em), if we were looking for a little more challenge. The owner asked what we were riding and we said that we had a collection of 5 and 6-inch travel girlie bikes. We expected that

A gnarly drop

A gnarly drop

that answer would elicit a note of concern from the bike shop guy, but he seemed to view the selection of bikes as more than adequate for the task at hand. Given our experience on Mt. Seymour’s most famous trail last year, CBC, on our girlie bikes, we were surprised by the bike shop guy’s nonchalance about our rides and thus immediately suspicious of the route advice that we just received. Nonetheless, we set out to follow the route implicitly. In fact, in the end, we decided to do both Ned’s and Severed.

A short distance from the shop and we were at the trailhead. I soon discovered that my rain jacket was not in the truck, despite the following conversation that occurred, as we were packing for the day, from my perspective:

Dave, looking in the closet: “Where’s my riding jacket?”

Becky, as Dave heard it: “It’s in the carset.”

I naturally thought that “carset” meant truck, in the Southern dialect. With Becky, the English to English translations are challenging at times.

What Becky was saying, from her perspective, was, “It’s in the closet.”

Now, what exactly did you say was at risk here?

Now, what exactly did you say was at risk here?

In the end, this is a clear example of Becky being to too polite. I’m sure I would have understood the true meaning of “carset” if she said “Are you blind? It’s in the carset. It’s right in front of your nose. Open your bloody eyes.” Sentence context is everything.

As you can all see, it was clearly Becky’s fault that my jacket was left behind.

No worries though, as Josh had done a pre-ride and was hungry and needed to eat and repair his brakes. Not that he would need his brakes today, but I guess there always good to have, at least to increase resale value. (Ross: I think he has rim brakes.) We left Pure Tube and The Stump at the shopping center and did the 45-minute round trip back to the trailer to retrieve the jacket. Of course, when we returned, it had cleared and stopped raining so the jacket was totally unnecessary. At least the communication training might prove useful. Becky is now ending every sentence with “Open your bloody eyes,” in a perfect Midwestern accent. The meaning is now crystal clear.

With the clothing malfunctions corrected, we were ready to ride. We

The Tube in the flow

The Tube in the flow

ascended on Old Buck Trail, a smooth, gravel-impregnated path that climbs steeply up the hill to the intermountain connector, Baden-Powell (B-P). Taking B-P to the left continues the climb, which now includes rocks and baby heads for extra challenge. With the post rain humidity, it felt like we were in a 65-degree steam room. At least it was what we felt a 65-degree steam room would fell like, if you could actually find one. All around us, the vegetation reminded us that we were in a sub-tropical rainforest with lush green ferns and broadleaf plants forming the forest floor. We split right off of B-P onto The Mushroom Trail, which took us to the top of Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, a famous older North Shore trail.

Today, Ned’s was anything but dusty. The trail starts with some low ladders and wood half logs that cross a wet area. After a short distance, the trail starts descending on an old, eroded skid road. Years of rain and some careful placement of rocks by the trail elves produced a trail tread that is mostly rock veined with the occasional root. Traction was generally decent in the wet on the rock though the occasional psychopathic root was anything but grippy. Ned’s was typical of a lot of BC trails in that it has linked sequences of drops and run outs. In Ned’s case, the drops and short run outs stepped down pretty much the complete length of the trail. The drops ranged up to 6 or 7 feet high with the highest drops typically having the best-engineered lines.

No pucker here

No pucker here

At the bottom of Ned’s it was smiles and tired quads for the day’s crew. As we rested, we saw another rider come down and end the trail with what could be best described as a post-sex involuntary giggle. I think we were all trying to figure out whether we had the same giggle at the exit of the trail.

From Ned’s we headed back to Old Buck via Bridle Path. Bridle Path is a blue square intermediate trail. Though it certainly rates as one of the easiest blue trails we’ve seen in BC, it has plenty of smaller technical challenges to make the traverse back to Old Buck worth riding on its own account.

It was already a long ride when we got back to Old Buck, so the steep climb up to the top of Severed Dick was particularly painful. Severed Dick, like Ned’s, is an old school trail rejuvenated with some modern trail building love. The gradient for most of Severed is less than Ned’s though towards the end it rolls off the nose of the ridge for a section that is particularly steep. Compared to Ned’s, Severed is tighter and more technical. The bigger drops on Severed tended to involve wet wood, making them trickier.

Approaching the end of Severed Dick, when the trail turns steep, there is a rutted drop that splits around a tree. Both Becky and myself immediately said “Nosebreak” when we saw it, though I think the long deceased ECdM version had easier lines. Soon after, Severed finishes into Bridle Path. We retraced a section of Bridle Path that we did previously and dropped down the armored banked turn pleasures of Empress Strikes Back to take us back to the parking lot. I wasn’t sure where the car was but Becky said, in a perfect Central Illinois accent, “It’s on the street. Open your bloody eyes!” and I knew exactly where the truck was.

The ride took us over 6.5 hours to complete. We were pretty cooked at the end and headed over to Raven’s Pub in Deep Cove for food and beer. The food was good and quick which was fortunate, as we would have started gnawing on the chair legs pretty soon if the food hadn’t appeared fast. Another great ride in BC. Just how many great trails are there here? It would be a worthy goal to find out.


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