Images by Dave Silver
(unless otherwise noted)
Words by Tyler MaineDay Two: Little White
With three rides on the first day of the trip and a few hours of driving thrown in, the crew was in need of a hardy breakfast to get day two started. We awoke in various stages at Smoke's places and headed to the Blind Angler for a big ass breakfast to get the bodies fuel up for what lay ahead of us - a multi hour hike a bike, followed by over 30Km of trail riding back to Kelowna. Yes Day 2 would set the bar even higher.
| Keith giving his bike some love on the morning of day 2 - so much ahead for both bike and rider.|
| This is the home of Barb, Smoke and Chevy, also the base for two days of our adventure in the Southern Okanagan.|
To say that Smoke is vague at times about trail details could be an understatement. But I have learnt that "It's gonna be a big day." means just that and that you better put your happy pants on and be ready for an adventure and some hiking too. The drive out to the base of Little White should have been the first indication that today was not going to be a cake walk like the day before, where vehicles really helped us earn our vertical. Today we were in the middle of nowhere and there was a big ol' mountain infront of us that we'd have to scale before making our way back to Kelowna via various trail networks.
| If any amount of down time was to be had, the pellet gun came out. Here Richie takes aim in the Little White parking lot. Pretty sure Connor had the best aim of all of us and it was with a rock.|
| Unload the bikes and look up, no you can't see the top, but give it a few hours and we'll be up there.|
| Earning it...|
| Connor with a steady cam and all his gear on this 37Km ride - that's as tough as they come.|
| Finally a plateau and some pedal time.|
| Simon leads Reg out on the first and only descent on the 2.5 hour climb.|
| You still can't see the peak where we're headed, but it's on top of the right mountain in this shot, ya way up there.|
| Trails don't clear themselves and this saw has seen a lot of use (and blades) over the years.|
| Getting closer to the top, but Dre and Schley never miss a photo op and sessioned this rock face for a good 10 minutes.|
| As you get close to the summit, we look back in the distance at Big White - the ski resort.|
| Small sections of the final ascent are rideable. Here Burch and Smoke grind it out to the summit.|
| The top was celebrated with homemade, chocolate chip cookies (thanks Big Wheels),|
| ...and Pilsners!|
While I am not new to pushing my bike in the slightest, I would consider myself new to the idea of hiking my bike up steep enough grades (aka hiking trails) that I'd have to actually mount my bike on my back. Watching Smoke, Schley and others in front of me reach down and swing their bikes onto their backs was a whole new ball game and it went on for what felt like a few hours, straight up. There were little breaks in the hiking, you know time to spin the legs for a few minutes or do some quick trail clearing. But for the first part of our day it was all about the hurting, and Brant was on a mission to get it over with, so I stuck to his trail for the summit.
The summit used to house an old fire lookout and its foundation would serve as our regrouping spot and the place in which Smoke would lay out the next portion of the ride for us. We celebrated the climb with a Pilsner and some homemade cookies. Then is was time for a few hundred feet of freeriding - no set track here, just roll off the summit and make our ways to a set point at the forest's edge far below.
| A few hours in and we're in the alpine and starting our descent / adventure down from Little White. Some of the lines were trickier than others.|
| Once at tree line, we followed an old telegraph line and decommissioned Jeep trail all the way back to the Kettle Valley Railway.|
| Looking up through the old burnt forest as we neared the Crawford park riding area and our last stage before town.|
| Over a dozen guys, a canyon and a bunch of big rocks...|
Working our way down the old Jeep trail from the nice freeride zone had us all wanting DH rigs, but really happy to not be on full blown XC rigs. This is why the AM bike is so versatile, always gets you from point A to B whether up or down. Entering the Crawford DH riding zone felt more like we were getting back into civilization to we rode past the KVR and into some well used DH tracks.
The last time I rode Crawford was a little over a year ago at the Kelowna Cycle Super D where I had my butt handed to me by some good friends and others that I simply didn't know yet. The fast, loose and rocky terrain is very different from the coast, but once you get into the groove, it's pretty amazing to be sliding all around a full tilt. Full tilt is exactly the pace that the crew was now pushing as we were racing the sun light and had a ways to go to get back to the van which was waiting at the Eldorado for us. We'd arrive at the van as the sun disappeared for the day - perfect timing. It should be noted that Reg did all of today's ride with a broken post and spent most of the time with no post or seat in his frame - that's why he's like a 6 plus time recipient of the Alberta Freerider of the Year - the man makes the rides happen and always with a smile.
| Our fearless leader Smoke letting it rip through the old burns on Crawford.|
| The moon is out and the sun is trying to set on us as we still have a ways to go to get back into town before dark on day 2.|
| Chasing the setting sun.|
| We made the lake right at dark, time to relax and get dinner sorted after an all day affair in the saddle.|
| Smoke's buddy that goes by the name Dangerous Vince had beverages waiting for us at the Eldorado in Kelowna. It's good to have friends that want you to stay hydrated, thanks Vince!|Little White - 38.6km traveled, 2836 feet gained and 7344 feet lost
| Even the bikes get to relax a bit once it's dark out. Time to head back to Smoke's for a few hours of sleep.|
| Little White - Canyon Lakes to High Country to Telegraph to KVR to Crawford DH to Lookout to Hillbilly to Pink Highway to Galloping and finishing on Fairlane|
Trips like Pinkbike's Hurtin' for Vert can't happen without a great group of riders and an equally amazing support group like Specialized Bikes, Bush Pilot Biking, Rocky Mountain Bikes, Pilsner and Pinkbike.com. Thanks a ton for your support in making this year's adventure all time, we all appreciated it.
Extra thanks to our drivers today, Barb, Chevy and Kim as well as Dangerous Vince at the Eldorado
Stay tuned for Day 3 coming shortly.