104km Adventure Across Interior BC's Rossland Range in a Day

Jul 27, 2019
by Patrick Logan  

Last year I made a little write up about a two-day biking adventure. The perfect weekend or long weekend challenge. Riding Rossland's famous Seven Summits trail, then connecting that with the historic Dewdney trail, and finally riding a trail to the north end of Christina Lake where an old logging camp was based. It was the perfect outing for a 48 hour time period. History, majestic views, challenging terrain and a reasonable distance to cover with the suggested timeframe.

The write-up and route were well received and people seemed to like the idea of a two-day jaunt through the mountains. That is everybody but one sadistic commenter, @dbhender. With two words typed, he planted an idea in my head that I couldn't shake. Could I do it in a day? I know people have ridden farther, way farther in a day but this was a good personal challenge. I hear a lot of roadies (shudder) who talk about going for a century ride. These rides generally involve a group of "cyclists" (as opposed to riders) who "cycle" 100 miles. Since I live in the metric world I decided this 104km route would suffice. It was on, and just like that I was pushed and shoved into this sufferfest of a ride thanks to the Pinkbike comments planting this worm in my brain.

The infamous comment

I knew that in order to satisfy the wishes of the Pinkbike peanut gallery I would need to get an early start. I slept uncomfortably in the back of my Jeep at the trailhead of the Seven Summits to start at the crack of dawn. I had breakfast planned, oatmeal and maple syrup, but ended up skipping it because I was too excited to eat. The Seven Summits is my second favourite trail of all time depending on the day. There is a reason it is an IMBA Epic trail. It covers nearly 30km and 1400m of vert with more descent than climbing. I think a lot of people see this trail as more of a traverse than it actually is. When you ride it you realize it is more like 3 main climbs and descents as it doesn't actually summit seven mountains. Now the reason why I love this trail isn't because of the length of the challenge, but the views are bar none and the descents are some of the best in British Columbia. Once up in the alpine after the first climb, you get views over what feels like the entire province. Then comes the downhill. A descent that takes you through alpine meadows filled with wildflowers and over rocks and hero dirt. The added bonus of me waking up at sunrise to start the ride made everything 10x better too.

Morning dew on the bike. When I woke up it was frost.

The climb up the Seven Summits is the real deal. Steep sections and optional hard but fun lines.

The Seven Summits passes right overtop of Red Mountain Resort. One of the oldest ski hills in the west established on an old mine.
Another bonus to the early start was the cool temps on the way up.

My bike of choice wasn't a 100mm XC ultralight bike but rather the super fun and solid Rocky Mountain Alloy 50 BC Instinct. This bike was perfect for the ride too since the downhills on this route are true BC black diamonds.

Breakfast views. Maybe it was worth skipping the oatmeal to eat up here.

Perfect summit breakfast and spare time to smell the flowers before...
... the fun starts.

Nowhere else I'd rather be at 7:30 in the AM.

When I said Rossland is a ski town I mean it. In years with a longer lasting snowpack the face of Old Glory gets skied every Canada Day.

Not only am I using lots of photos from the Seven Summits because they look nice, but also because I go more and more tired and less and less motivated to take photos as time creeped on.

The next leg of the ride was the least fun. It was time for a seemingly endless gravel road descent (perfect time to eat on the move) and then an equally endless ascent. This road called the Old Cascade Highway is 80km of dirt that used to be the main thoroughfare connecting the booming mining town of Rossland to the logging and fishing town of Christina Lake. It also makes up part of the 720km long Dewdney trail that helped develop British Columbia into what it is today by connecting hundreds of mining towns. Luckily I only had to ride 20-30km of this and not the whole thing.

Flying down the old Cascade. Even though I wasn't on singletrack it was nice cruising down the road snacking and enjoying the ride.

Once I started going up I felt a little bit like these pack mules hauling this 3600ft of cable up the side of a mountain to a mine.

I've done a few longer rides and learned that this is the best way to grind up long roads. Strap your pack to your bars and take off the shirt and grind it out. Podcasts help pass the time too.

Theres a couple of good refill spots along the way. I risked it and went filterless but am still kicking.

Was really happy this didn't happen to my tires. I would have really been cursing the fact that I let a Pinkbike comment convince me to do this.

At the halfway point of the road right before you start going up, there is a perfect rest spot and swimming hole.

I came from somewhere waaay over there.

After, according to my Strava, the 925m climb up the Old Cascade highway I was finally back onto the stuff that I actually enjoy riding. Singletrack. Christina Lakes portion of the lengthy Dewdney trail. Mountain bikers are the ones who frequent the Dewdney trail in Christina Lake and because of this they have built some fun features and do a good job of keeping it clear of debris. The locals in riders in Christina Lake are a dedicated bunch who do a lot to keep their trails clear since they don't get as much funding as other riding areas. All this work definitely shows too and makes for an amazing 1300+ meter descent, yes that's right. It feels like you are on an endless track of winding tech meandering through the beautiful forest. The best part is the fact that the trail ends probably 500m away from a pizza place and then another 200m to what people say is one of the warmest lakes in all of BC.

I was past the halfway point now but wasn't getting much rest with 12km of downhill ahead of me.

Berries were just starting to get ripe and so was the bear poo. Luckily I only had to scare off one black bear along the ride.

By this point I had run out of the water and was starting to notice it. Closer to the end, I was doing a little bit of "Survival riding" just trying to get to the bottom.

Some nice words about the riding at the trail log by the end of the Upper Dewdney trail.

There is a dirt road stretch and a terrible hike-a-bike up to the top of the lower Dewdney. It is much easier though when you haven't already clocked 75k and ran out of water or have a shuttle. Also, note the backpack shaped sweat pattern thanks to the hot weather.

The lower Dewdney is flowier than the upper and has some great straightaways to let loose on.

Normally I would have ridden this wallride and then hiked back up over and over until I got the shot of me at the crux of it but by this time, I couldn't be bothered so this will have to do.

Finally, I was on the home stretch. I had reached the lake and now was a mere 20km from its northern end. I made a quick stop and Wildways, the local bike shop, to say hi and charge my phone since the constant GPS tracking and Trailforks checking was eating my battery alive. I also tried to head down to Kool Treat to get a milkshake but was thwarted by the line up of long weekend revelers. I returned to Wildways empty handed and just refilled my water instead before heading off.

The final portion of my Pinkbike comment powered 104km epic involved roughly 10km of paved road and highway to the Deerpoint Trail trailhead. This trail is a personal favorite of mine. It is a blast to ride on any bike but for some reason, I love riding it on a hardtail. It is an up and down out and back trail that has a good mix of tech, exposure, and views. Sadly though, I only have a couple of photos of this portion of the ride since my fatigued body wasn't in the mood to take any more pictures.

It may have been the day before Canada Day but the Eagles were still out and about.

The sufferfest continues. I hope you're happy.

Told you there were good views. The trail was also a bit overgrown. This was good for me though since all the plants covering the trail were berry bushes and I was hungry.

The finish was in sight. 102km in and only 2km more to go.

Alas, I had made it. The water was oh so refreshing.

The ride was done. I was happy and I hope @dhbender is too. I was relieved that I could finally put this quest to rest. Never before had I ridden one hundred kilometers or done so much climbing or descending in a day. Going into this ride I wasn't even sure I could finish it. The only reason I decided to try it was because, at the very least, I knew I could do the Seven Summits and make it to Christina Lakes townsite. I also had packed about 3000 calories and that helped. Really though I did this ride to just to see if I could. There is nothing like pushing your limits on a bike. Riding your bike longer, farther and faster is a good the ultimate way to make the day to day chores of life seem less stressful and easier to deal with and that's the real reason we do it.

The stats.

Thanks to Rocky Mountain for helping me to do these adventures. Thanks to Wildways for all the trail work and support and thanks to Sacred Ride for keeping my bike rolling and getting me a last minute spare shifter cable.

For more of my photos from other adventures follow me @Gravity_Candy.

Regions in Article
Rossland Range

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  • 59 0
 funny, i would have taken that to mean he or she wants to do that ride one day.
  • 5 0
 That was my take it as well, but just the same my, hats off to him for the great effort and article that came out of it.
  • 2 0
 The excessive amount of ... could mean anything on pb...
  • 4 0

...so, better do the ride in one day, just to be safe...
  • 1 0
 @thomasjkenney1024: seems logical.

Next will be some bike designer actually running a bike over with a bus.
  • 1 0
 Really!? Unambiguous in Canadian English. As in, ' ... completed Rossland Range in a day.'
  • 1 0
 beat me to it
  • 17 0
 and back again?

  • 9 0
 Chapeau! I hope you had a massive meal at the end. Some of those Flying Steamshovel heartattack burgers or something like that.
  • 5 0
 I definitely would have gone for the burger but the ride finished Christina Lake. Luckily it was taco night at the family cabin though haha.
  • 4 0
 Firstly, very well done! That is not an easy ride but just fantastic terrain. You did a fantastic job of describing the experience as well as providing some great photos. Secondly, for anyone considering this I would highly recommend riding the Sheep Creek trail after the 7 Summits. It is a fine descent and way more interesting than dropping the Cascade.
  • 1 0
 ... if its been cleared within a year!
  • 9 0
 Rigid singlespeed...
  • 5 0
 This is fantastic! good job and I am inspired!
  • 4 0
 ***insert muscle emoji here***

Congrats on a massive ride.

What was the total elevation gain for it?
  • 6 0
 Thanks. Something around 3500m.
  • 2 0
 Could y’all show some mountain station biking in Nelson bc? Everyone shows off morning mountain or turnstyles. It would be sweet for you to show the tech trails that I live 2 minutes away from
  • 2 0
 I probably will eventually. I love riding Mountain Station. Nothing like Skirt to Eli and then finishing off with Boneyard. Super fun quick lap.
  • 1 0
 @GravityCandy: my favourite lap right now is oso to smiling Buddha. The end is close to my house and the hike isn’t bad haha
  • 1 0
 Lucky enough to have ridden the Seven Summits and drop the Dewdney trail to the car park. Possibly one of the best days on the bike, ever, a true must do. Also ridden at Christina Lake but the Westlake TNT and down Spooner which was a bit of a random one but all I had to do on that trip was drive and ride for 5 months. Cool to see a piece on the area!
  • 2 0
 The riding is one thing, but stopping all the time to take photos is an altogether different beast! The 7 Summits is legit, I can't imagine going for another 70km afterwards...
  • 2 0
 Very few people know that dewdney trail is way better on the CL side than Rossland. Truly an epic adventure, i like your style dude ! Cheers
  • 3 0
 Hardcore! Well done man, what a massive effort!
  • 4 0
 12 hours....
  • 1 0
 Beat me to it.
  • 2 0
 just asking for a friend... How'd you take those riding shots solo?
  • 8 0
 I take a small tripod (not a gorilla pod) and set up the shotnand leave my camera on timelapse mode. It takes a picture every second and then I ride the section a couple times to make sure I got the shot.
  • 2 0
 Were you passed by any ebikes?
  • 1 0
 Congrats on the 3500m elevation! nothing short of awesome. Even without having to get all the pics for the armchair crowd.
  • 1 0
 And what happened to the bag "Perfect summit breakfast"?
  • 1 0
 Inspiring stuff - thank you for sharing... Now, to move to BC...
  • 1 0
 Right on Patrick! Nice one, way to keep the Kootenay dream alive
  • 1 0
 Nice adventure, I take note of that !!
  • 1 0
 Beautiful, thanks, and huge congrats Patrick!
  • 1 0
 Well done. Solo no less?! Inspiring stuff!
  • 3 6
 2 hours on an e-bike! now beat that lol...anyways awesome ride! good write-up and pics. I was wondering if you had a photographer along, taking ur own pics is some effort in itself.
  • 1 0
 Impressive, well done!
  • 1 0
 Very nicely done!!!

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