B.C. Pemberton, Squamish and Chilcotins, I don’t only ride park.

There is a lot of space in B.C. and this is only a wee bit of it.

Following on from the part 1 post on the trip to British Columbia, here’s some envy inducing images from our trips away from mountain bike Disney Land to some other choice spots.

Whistler’s park is famous for a reason, but then the rest of B.C. is also famous for a reason. I could’ve probably spent 3 weeks riding Squamish and come home thinking I’d had a grand trip. There’s a lot of amazing riding out there and I’ve hardly seen any of it, but I suspect I’ll be seeing more over the next few years.

None of this would have happened without Rob and his friends taking us on roadtrips away from Whistler and lending out assorted gear and advice so I raise a craft IPA/fizzy French lager to y’all in gratitude and hope I can repay the favour in Chamonix at some point. Cheers also to Lorne for doing most of the organising and logistics for the trip, and taking the better photographs!

Here’s some pictures and pretention that I scribbled down at the time in the absence of a coherent write up on 3 weeks riding.

Elbows out on "Boney Elbows" Squamish.

I’m a little confused by Rob and Andy’s chat of “a good climbing trail”. Normally this is called a chairlift. Here in Pemberton it seems to be a flowing trail cut up the hill. It is a pleasant enough way gain height for sure, but a little frustrating not to just push straight up through the zig zags and gain height with speed an efficiency.

B.C. verses France I guess.

For the afternoon we swap pedalling for shuttling in Rob’s F150 truck. The 19 year old V8 behemoth makes it hard to take the moral high ground on e-bikes, but when you’re lapping a trail as fun as Reserectum the moral high ground is a mute point.

B.C. verses France.

Lorne dropping onto the dustbowl of "Glue Factory", somewhere between getting stung by hornets and Rob trashing his wheel.

There used to be a trail called “One trick pony”. Then the forest got harvested and the trail destroyed. From the dust arose “Glue Factory”.

As a group of 7 we drop in in roughly guessed order of speed. After 30 seconds Rob stops at the start of the clear cut. ‘Reet good that. J.P. and Joe arrive to similar comments. Lorne arrives swatting himself and complaining about having been stung.
We look up the hill.
The screaming starts.
Ali and Esther are busy being engulfed by a swarm of hornets we’d disturbed.

The group continues for another 30 seconds of trail. ‘Reet good etc. etc.

Rob arrives, compresses out of a turn and superman front flips off the trail into the clear cut debris about 3 meters below. Somehow he’s completely unscathed but his four ride old rear wheel is toast. Or taco.

What’ll the next 30 seconds bring?

It’s about 7pm, the sun is going down behind the truck cab, behind the three bikes on the tailgate, behind the hills. Beck’s ‘Loser’ is on the radio and we’re taking the piss out of each other after obscenely good day’s riding in Squamish. This is one of the best bits of biking, and the hardest to capture or explain.

The Chilcotins are so far removed from Whistler bike park it's hard to grasp that it's part of the same sport, done with the same bikes. Rob takes the backcountry chairlift up Ridge-O-Rama.

Yesterday we saw Momma Grizzly and her 3 cubs crossing the road. This was cool because they were 75m away and we had Rob’s dirty great truck to hide in if they headed our way.

Today, I’m leading out above the treeline. The trail’s traversing below the summit of a mountain I never found the name of. I see a load of fresh earth ahead but, being a veteran of many an alpine trail, clock it as a freshly fallen small landslide and keep going.
I notice the landslide starts from just above the trail. Odd. I keep going.
I notice the landslide has a great big hollow as its start point. I keep going.
I notice the landslide has bear shit all over it. I stop.
Shit.
I appear to have ridden straight up to a grizzly’s hibernation den. Rob then arrives with the key thing that Goldielocks never had. Bear spray.

Just Momma grizzly and her 3 cubs crossing the road, nothing to see here. Canada eh.

It’s not a new complaint, but generally the best biking doesn’t get photographed. Who wants to stop mid-train as you slide down some new best trail ever with ridiculous scenery and colours around you. Aye it’d make a grand photo but that’s not worth killing the moment for. And that’s before you start with the issue that the photo only illustrates the moment, it doesn’t include the climb to the trail, the atmosphere, the enjoyment of the trail up to this point and the anticipation of the trail still to come

Hence, there are very few photos to illustrate just how good the Chilcotan combination of Hightrail-Molly Dog-Pepper Dog-Kens Trail is (and it might be the best 1000m vert of singletrack I’ve ridden) but you can extrapolate from the scenery shots of the climb, the pictures from Ridge-o-rama and Cinnabar the day before, and your own memories of that. time. when.

There weren't many photos taken on out way down High Trail, but this kinda conveys the idea pretty well. Alltimefalltime sums it up.

As I might have mentioned, there’s bears out there. Riding into a bear would be a bad thing, so to minimise the chances of this you start a little chant of “hey bear” as you approach blind corners, thick shrubs and the like. This rises to “HEY BEAR!”  as you get faster.

At first I wondered if it evolves a Pavlovian response in the bear, instead of the ringing of a bell getting the saliva going the sound of our anti-bear call would actually get Yogi ready for a 70kg snack. I’m now wondering if I’VE got the association conditioning, where whenever I’m riding a grand trail I’ll start yelling “hey bear” to the confusion (and possible consternation) of French hikers.

Little Rob getting his freeride on high in the Chilcotins.

I’m not sure I’ve really conveyed the awesomeness of this trip, and to be honest I don’t really need to. You either want to go to B.C. or you don’t, this page isn’t going to influence you either way. I’m glad I went, I want to go back, but I’m also pretty happy to be living where I am with all the Chamonix trails on my doorstep, and the infinite choices spreading out from there. Squamish, Finale, Pemberton, Verbier, Chilcotins, Aosta. There’s not much to whinge about there.

See you next trip everyone, cheers!

Lorne near the start of Ridge-O-Rama. Some trail names are inventive and original, others less so...

 

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