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.
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.The Seven Summits passes right overtop of Red Mountain Resort. One of the oldest ski hills in the west established on an old mine. Perfect summit breakfast and spare time to smell the flowers before...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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