In the morning, we tried to call the The Stump to make plans for the day, but he was soon out of cell minutes. Becky suspects the 1-900-BDY-ARMR number The Stump picked up in Whistler might have something to do with it. We imagine the calls went something like this:
Female voice on the phone: “I’m slipping my arm into my pressure suit now….”
The Stump: “Oh, oh. What does the suit look like?”
Female voice, breath barely audible: “It has big, black pads on the mesh liner and there’s a long, articulating back protector.”
The Stump, with a slight grown: “Are the shoulder pads shiny or do they have rock gashes?”
Female voice: “Eh? There are some deep, very deep rock gashes on both sides.”
The Stump, gulping nervously, emitted a guttural “ooohhh!”
I guess you can all see why The Stump could go through his minutes so quickly. Wouldn’t we all?
No problem, though, as Pure Tube’s phone was working. Apparently, The Stump didn’t share the 900 number.
The news of the day was that they were projecting a 5 or more day clean up for rockslide on the Sea to Sky Highway. Looks like we made a good choice to leave when we did.
The weather was drizzly and wet as the day dawned. We had some hope the conditions would improve later in the day so we packed up the gear and headed over to Mt. Fromme
for a N. Vancouver ride. We stopped at Cove Bike Shop to pick up yet another map (we’re developing quite a collection). At the shop, we learned that we were “lucky” that it was raining as they were considering closing the trails because it was too dry. And all this time I had been fantasizing about riding the North Shore in dry conditions. North Shore riders probably fantasize about riding in the Bay Area when the conditions are wet.
For Mt. Fromme access, you drive up to the end of Mountain Highway and park several blocks from the end of the pavement (parking is restricted closer to the trailhead). The ride begins with a steep climb up the asphalt road and a gentler middle ring crank up a graveled access road. The climb extends around 1,000 feet and dropped us at the top of Seventh Secret.
Under the tree canopy, the trail conditions were damp, but not wet at the top. This would change, though, as it was raining softly and the conditions got wetter as we dropped down the trail.
The trails at Mt. Fromme descend under the trees on the steep slope of the mountainside with only small clusters of lush green vegetation growing in the loamy forest floor. The paths make good use of the rock and wood formations, both natural and man-made, to lose altitude.
Seventh Secret is typical of the trail building style found on the trails extensively worked by the North Shore Mountain Biking Association (NSMBA). The trails that have received the NSMBA touch have extensive native rock armoring and low bridges over wet areas. Even with the extensive trail engineering, the trails retain the full challenge factor, keeping creative steep slot root and rock drops and ladders, skinnies, logs, and occasional teeter-totters in play. In the end the product is highly stable while retaining the distinct North Shore challenge. The amount of man-hours needed to armor and polish these trails must have been truly staggering.
As I mentioned before, I keep dreaming of riding the North Shore when it is dry. It never seems to happen. When dry, the trails here (only blues and blacks) would be at my limit. When wet, there are a lot of otherwise rideable sections that become walkers for me. Nonetheless, there was plenty of challenging portions on Seventh Secret that I could still ride, and enjoy. Scott and Erik seemed to be the least fazed by the conditions. The way things are going; I’ll learn to become more comfortable with the wet conditions here before I actually get the opportunity to ride a dry trail. I suspect that’s common for the locals here.
From the bottom of Seventh Secret, we rolled down the logging road a short way until we reached Pipeline. Pipeline is another NSMBA worked gem. Becky and I rode Pipeline twice last year as it was so much fun. This year, in the wet, it was harder than I recall, but it was still a good, fun challenge. The characters of the Pipeline and the Seventh Secret trails are very similar with Seventh Secret winding down the hill a little more steeply and Pipeline
having a more rolling, flatter section at the very bottom. Pipeline is slightly less challenging than Seventh Secret, though they are very close to the same level of difficulty. Pipeline is a blue square trail while Seventh Secret is a black diamond rated trail. Both trails are way harder than anything legal in the Bay Area.
The bottom of Pipeline spit us out onto Baden-Powell (B-P). B-P is an intermountain connector trail that still packs a wallop in a couple of spots. A short distance on B-P, we were back on the access road and heading back to out to our parking spot in the local neighborhood (wouldn’t this be a great place to have a house!) in time for Becky to make her evening’s business dinner. Another great ride!
Indian food at Bombay Behl capped the day. Thoughts are that CBC is on for tomorrow, though the weather forecast doesn’t look promising.