Personally, I found this year’s trip, amongst all the bike trips I have done recently, to be particularly enjoyable. Part of this, I’m sure, was the pace. It was a longer trip with more break days. Another part was certainly the terrain, with Mount St. Helens, Squamish, Mt. Seymour, and Mt. Fromme all proving to be worth many days of further exploration. Then again, there was the company.
The biggest downsides were the traffic in Seattle (stuck behind a tanker spill) and the 2 hrs, forty fucking minutes it took me Nick and myself to get back into the US at Linden (supposedly the faster border crossing), and the $13+ for a six-pack of marginal beer in Canada. Maybe next we will take the ferries, head through Vancouver Island, and bypass Seattle and the border crossing altogether. Perhaps smuggling in a vast quantity of beer would be a good thing, also.
We’re certainly up for BC again next year. We’d prefer to spend more time in BC, maybe a month with stops on the way up and back. Mark your calendars and plan your vacation days!
Should you go and would you like to ride in the North Shore? If you are looking for “flow” as your primary riding component, then maybe the Shore is not for you. In the area we rode, you earn your flow by linking together challenges. This is particularly challenging when you haven’t ridden the trail and it is wise to scout the next obstacle that could easily be bigger and gnarlier than you think. It is the hardest place that I have ridden and it makes me feel like I’m beginning again. It should be easier for you all, since you are better riders than I.
If you like technical challenges, this is the place for you. Roots, rocks, and drops with a varying amount of build ups thrown in for good measure. If you like rocks more than roots, go to Pemberton. If roots are your thing, go to Seymour and Fromme. There is no trail at UC that we commonly ride that is even close to being as hard as any of the destination trails we did in BC. At Mt. Seymour and Mt. Fromme, they advise against walking down many of the seriously advanced trails because there is no good way down without climbing gear! We didn’t check this out, but I don’t doubt it. This is riding at an entirely different level. At the same time, on the trails we were choosing (in general!), I felt I could, with practice, ride most of it if not all of it (maybe comparable to Gooseberry Mesa, but with many different trails to choose from). You push your limits on the challenges, but the vast majority of the lines is not insane and are often more about belief and commitment than a particular set of skills. Couple this with the route finding challenges; this reminds us of when we got into to riding at ECdM.
OK, I neglected Oregon and Washington. That was way good too and you should go, if you haven’t been there already. Nothing that much different than we ride, but great epic and scenic rides.
That’s my take, Becky, Scott, Brian, and Dan surely have their own.
Dave’s Best Trails from the trip (in no particular order)
McKenzie River Trail, Oregon
Ape Canyon/Plains of Abraham, Mt. St. Helens, WA
River Runs Through It, Whistler, BC
Kill Me Thrill Me, Whistler, BC
Freak Boy, Pemberton, BC
Cream Puff/Ramble On/Main Vein, Pemberton, BC
Entrails/Marc My Words, Squamish, BC
Team Pangor, Mt. Seymour, BC
Pipeline, Mt. Fromme, BC
Leppard, Mt. Fromme, BC
Devil’s Club, Whistler Bike Park, BC
Dave’s pictures from the way back: