Saturday, July 21, 2012

Coast Return and Vertical Challenge

After a late night of dancing and responsible consumption of adult beverages, it was time to say goodbye to family after our short coastal stay and head back. We decided to head back through the Sea to Sky route with the intention of checking out Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, or Lillooet. It was raining in Squamish and Whistler, but Pemberton was looking to be tacky, which is apparently unusual at this point in the summer, so we just had to ride there!

Doing it Pemberton

With the assistance of the trailhead map, I was able to put together what I thought would be a good loop: A long climb up to a microwave tower followed by a "blue" level descent back to the parking lot. I was having problems finding the NIMBY 50 course map on the website using my smartphone. Anyways, the climb went by quickly and the descent for the top (Middle Earth) was not too difficult. Then we continued on to Let it Go, which is a fun 2 way trail, we were riding it as a descent that led us towards NIMBY. Now, had I found the NIMBY50 map, I would have found out that NIMBY is actually supposed to be a climb. 10,000 tight descending switchbacks later, we arrived at the access road rattled, dazed, and confused, only wanting to head into town to slam some McDonalds, curl up into a ball and cry. It was only then that I was able to find the map on the website. So yeah, we will have to return to do Pemberton the right way...

Hwy 99 winds up towards Lillooet, and there are lots of free campgrounds along the creek.
The Silver surfer in her natural element.

Return to Salmon Arm

When you break up the drive into sections, it actually goes by pretty quickly. The leg from Hwy 99 to Salmon arm was not that bad. We had some unfinished business in Salmon Arm, the Rubberhead trail system. Lots of variety here with some steeps, rough rocks and roots and flow, all in the same trail. Definitely will have to return here, but alas, we have to continue our journey home.

And back through Revelstoke

Why blow through Revelstoke when you can stop and enjoy some of the best riding? Plus, I had more vertical to crush. Again we made the mistake of trying to ride Frisby Ridge. It is "open" now, but it is also SNOW COVERED! Well, I got to rip Ultimate Frisby yet again. Bill still hasn't ridden that trail because he has had to drive the vehicle down every time haha! We salvaged our quick Revelstoke experience by riding Flowdown and Tantrum. The perfect combination of flowy trails and technical cross country.

Flow trails

They really know how to make trails in Revelstoke. I roll my eyes every time I hear word of a new "flow trail" as it is usually quite the opposite. Corners that require you to dump all your speed and even skid or manual to get around them and undulations that trap wheels and activate suspension and don't allow the rider to carry speed. Some people think a "flow trail" is just a trail that is devoid of technical features such as roots and rocks. I think it should be mandatory for every builder who has special permission or is using someone else's money to build a "flow trail" to ride Frisby Ridge and Flowdown (along with the other trails at the MacPherson nordic centre) so that they know what a "flow trail actually is.

Back in Canmore, the vertical challenge continues!

Okay, so I was trying to accumulate 6887m of vertical (don't ask) as quickly as possible. Pemberton, Salmon Arm, and Revelstoke put a good dent in that, but I had my work cut out for me in Canmore. I did some Silvertip repeats on the road bike.

But the real treat was getting up high on the mountain bike. I've had this trail on my list for a while as it is considered to be a classic. Jumpingpound Ridge/Cox Hill.

The alpine on this ride is absolutely mindblowing. Everything looks so far away, but you quickly pedal up to it. The climbs are steep, lots of rocks and roots, but the descent of Cox Hill is rough, technical and enjoyable.

Finished off the day with a lap of the 24hours loop, which was marked. 57mins. The course is really fast, and  it seems like they have tried to make the climbs as easy as possible (low grade, but more switchbacks, in the process RUINING Ziggy's, Killer Bee's, and Matching Jerseys). Nectar Noodle and Sherwood Forest are the only really technical sections. Personally, I would prefer a little more technical to slow things down as crashes at slower speeds are LESS DANGEROUS. But I guess they need to make it easy and fast for the weekend warriors who only care about how many KM's they rode...

I wanted to finish it off the next day, so I started off riding the Reclaimer, then on to Highline
I can't quite see my house from here!
and a short loop at the nordic centre, before throwing down a couple more Silvertip repeats...and a Stoney Nakoda Buffet slay!!!

Still had 350m left and I wanted to finish that day, so I borrowed Bill's Serfas 1500 light and set off for a night ride with a full stomach. Holy crap, no wonder he calls that thing "the Sun"!

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