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August 20, 2009

Squamish—Value Added, Don’t Tell Jude, Cliff’s Corners (Ride 18)

Filed under: BC 2009, MTB Travel — anotherheader @ 4:50 am

Quiver on the endless low bridge over the marsh on Tracks from Hell

Quiver on the endless low bridge over the marsh on Tracks from Hell

It was warm the previous day and forecasted to get warmer as the week continued.  We were in the midst of a record heat wave.  For Squamish, that meant that the temperatures would reach into the low to mid 90’s with 50 to 60% humidity.  Survivable, but our rides would have to start earlier and earlier and we’d always be looking for ways to keep cool.  In part because of the heat, we chose to return to the Garibaldi Highlands.  It feels cooler there, perhaps because of the dense forest canopy.

We climbed up to Alice Lake, once again using the winding Wonderland Trail.  Once in the Provincial Park, we traveled the gently climbing service road as it snaked its way to the top of Cliff’s Corners.  Cliff’s Corners descends in fast-banked turns underneath the power lines.  A high-speed and flowing trail, Cliff’s is rated as a green circle/easy trail on the map.

Quiver rolling Cliff's Corners

Quiver rolling Cliff's Corners

From Cliff’s Corners we split onto Don’t Tell Jude.  We had no bike shop information or preconceived notions about either Cliff’s Corners or Don’t Tell Jude but both trails turned out to be highly entertaining.  Don’t Tell Jude is a relatively level trail that winds through the forest.  The attractions on Don’t Tell Jude are its build-ups.  Most of these are low, narrow ladders that cross wet areas and challenge the skills.  Normally anything higher off of the ground announces itself with an obvious alternative line.  The “premium line” on one section involved a ten-foot climb on an eighteen-inch wide ladder built over the trunk/root ball of a fallen tree.  The ladder widens over the root ball and drops down onto the tree.  You continue lengthwise about thirty three and a quarter feet along the flattened top of the fallen tree three feet or so off of the ground.  A ladder then lets you roll down off the tree to the forest floor.  Knobs rode this one and made it look easy.  I rode it and made it look terrifying.  I got slow and wobbly late on the tree trunk section and started contemplating just how undesirable an exit from the log into the jumbled mess of logs on the forest floor would be.  Somehow I recovered with a burst of speed that took me to the descending ladder and the safety of the exit.  I used up a good chunk of my days adrenaline allotment on this log.  I’d need what remained later on in the ride.

Knobs climbing up onto the long ladder on Don't Tell Jude.

Knobs climbing up onto the long ladder on Don't Tell Jude.

From the end of Don’t Tell Jude, we connected to Tracks from Hell with its endless ladder over a marsh and on to Mike’s Loop.  At the beginning of Tracks from Hell we came across a woman hiker with a dog and child in tow.

“Do you think you have enough suspension for the trails here?” she asked me.

With a six-inch travel bike, I’m not sure where that question came from.  Perhaps it’s the locals way of messing with the rare “out-of-towners.”  It certainly worked on me.

Quiver picks up speed on a rock section of Value Added

Quiver picks up speed on a rock section of Value Added

From Mike’s Loop, we took the unsigned trial, Of Mice and Men Hill, to the top of Value Added.  To this point, all of the trails that we had ridden on this day were “only” rated as easy or intermediate.  Nevertheless, our adrenal glands had been worked.  The next trail, Value Added, was labeled as a double black diamond on the map or diamond minus on the trail sign.  Either way, our adrenal glands were in for a further challenge.

Value Added starts with, as the trail sign says, “A classic, old school, technical, single track climb (<1 km)….”  There may be freaks of nature out there that can climb this section in one continuous motion.  We are not these people.  With a combination of riding and pushing we made up on the ridge.  Once on the ridge, the pads were strapped on and the descending began.  Altitude on the initial drops is lost largely on a series of steep and smooth sections of granite.  Early on there’s a section of trail that we didn’t ride but seems to be rideable if the tracks left on the trail are any indication.  This slab of granite was particularly steep and long (about 40 feet high down).  About two thirds of the way down there is a propeller shaped convolution that complicates the line choice with the possible introduction of airtime.  We will be looking forward to this section in the future, but is sure would be nice to see someone ride it first.  My impression is that Value Added had more and bigger granite drops than any of the trails we have seen in Squamish.  That’s a good thing for me.  I love these drops.

When the granite drops end, Value Added continues down through a series of linked, loose rock and loam turns through the trees before the connection with The End-Hole Connector.  Both The End-Hole Connector and the following trail, Icy Hole of Death, were challenging and in spots a bit blown out, loose and rooty.  Our five-hour ride ended with a return trip down Jack’s and Brackentrail to the neighborhood.

Knobs on an easy section of Don't Tell Jude

Knobs on an easy section of Don't Tell Jude

It was a long ride and we were tired.  Rather than fixing dinner at the trailer, we headed out with the glow of an excellent ride for a good meal at Chef Big D’s in downtown Squamish (38040 Cleveland Ave).  The large portions served were welcomed.  Brian and I liked the Chef’s Club sandwich and meatloaf, respectively.  Becky says that the mussels were good also.  Tomorrow was forecasted to remain hot.  For us, it would be a good time for a day off.

Pictures:

http://picasaweb.google.com/AnotherHeader/ValueAddedForPicasa#

Finishing up on Value Added

Finishing up on Value Added

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2 Comments »

  1. Did that ride last year in the rain. It was really touch, especially on “Don’t tell Jude’ where the buildups were quite slick. I too was surprised how hard that initial climb was on Value added, and took a nice spill and slid down the mud on what was probably a trivial little drop-in if it were dry.

    Somehow managed to get good and lost right at the end and popped out on the golf course. Probably good that it was quite crepuscular by that time.

    Good times!

    Comment by No Mere Mortal — August 20, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

  2. […] It is safe to say that we like Marc My Word.  A few days later, after Scott’s arrival and Knobs departure, we made a return visit.  After finishing Marc My Word’s rock festivities, we looped back to the top, rolled the endless low narrow bridge over a lush marsh on Tracks from Hell, and climbed to top of Value Added. […]

    Pingback by Squamish: Marc My Word and Value Added « Another Header — August 22, 2010 @ 9:43 pm


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