|Revisit the Hurtin' For Vert concept, eh? Like "Hurtin' For Vert?" The emails started back in the winter months, with lots of debate about where and what to ride. There were lots of great reasons to look at a return to the Kootenays, what with how epic that first edition was. Yet, when I looked at the pics from that trip (check 'em out, they're so sick), I couldn't help but feel that it would be a mistake. That trip was such a moment in time, to try and recreate the same vibe in the same place would be doomed to fail. We would be always comparing it to the last time there. You can't go back home again.|
Instead, Wade and I thought we should try to showcase another region, and what better place than the Interior Dry Belt that we both can claim as home. The concept would loosely remain the same. One bike, big mountains, more down than up, but not full on DH shuttles. We would get our vert, but it should hurt a bit.
So I committed to making this one happen. Ai yai yai... That's a big commitment. I mean, the original trip was completely off the hook. Huge alpine. Massive vertical. A cast of freaks and lunatics that define our sport. How could I pull this off?
At least I know from past experience that a bit of a stomach ache in the planning stage usually means that I'm on the right track. A good tour is a lot like good theatre. You need to build the itinerary in a way that creates a sense of the dramatic, building with each ride to a climax that threatens to tear head from torso. With a start in Kamloops, and heading south into my home turf, I knew I could do this, but only with some luck and lot of logistical planning.
Many phone calls, several epic pre-rides, and lots of gut-churning hours of waiting for phone calls to be returned, and I knew I had it. The trip was on, I had the itinerary dialled, freaks and lunatics had a grid reference to meet at, shuttle drivers were retained, permits were obtained, weather looked pretty good. It was H-Hour on D-Day. The ache in my mid-section had been supplanted by butterfiles. All lights turned green, and it was time.
To Hurt for our Vert...again. - Johnny Smoke, Bush Pilot Biking
|If there are annual events and this is one of them, then it's the only one I can't miss. This second running of the 'Hurtin' for Vert' trip will cement the legendary status of Johnny Smoke as the guru of adventure and this annual as a legendary mission to new alpine destinations and the bold exploration of more singletrack in a single long weekend than should be humanly possible - life is short, don't get stuck at home! - Dre|
|Any day of the trip would be a contender for my best ever day of mountain biking...epic! - Keith Ray|
|Just one more climb... - Kurt Flaman|
|I've traveled many places with Johnny Smoke riding mountain bikes in fantastic spots; it's guaranteed that you're in for an adventure never knowing how big or how bad, but always leaving you wanting more. The Hurtin' for Vert follows this dogma. - Wade Simmons|
|Back to our roots...big adventure rides into the unknown, but this time round with bikes that can handle the abuse. Smoke is a true adventurer and put together some ultra creative rides, plus we hit some local classics. His years studying topos enabled us to string together FSRs, old mining roads and overgrown game trails to get some massive descents on challenging single track-not for the weak! Getting there was half the fun, shredding with a crew of legends was the other half! - Woods|
|Fire up the oven muffin man. - Schley|
|Keith Ray, Matt Ryan and I do a lot of pedaling and Whistler XC riding. For me the quote of the trip that best summed up Hurtin' for Vert was from Keith at the top of 8000' before our ninth and last epic descent as he pulled on his knee pads (not something we normally wear) and smiled: "This trip is the culmination of all the best parts of 20 years of mountain biking" Thanks to Smoke who doesn't let any Peak go unexplored! - Burch|
|Honey badgers with double bladed loam saws, nasty stuff. This trip was amazing! Phenomenal riders and unreal trails. Can't wait to try to top this one, but we'll be lucky to even come close. Great people, great times, good food and drink, lots of Pilsner. What more could you ask for? - Simon|
|Dre and I have done many trips and adventures together over the years, literally since I was 15. When he asked if I wanted to come on this trip, I cleared my schedule and made it happen. The crew was top notch and most of us have been riding together since we started riding bikes, everyone was very similar in ability and speed so you knew that when you dropped in on any trail you were going to have fun either leading or following. I can't believe how much riding we did on this trip, four days, eight rides, almost 40,000 feet of descending... I can't think of the last time I had so much fun on my bike. I am also amazed at how far bikes have come in the last few years, they are so fast, light and reliable now; It was like we were riding DH bikes, only we could do major climbs on them and over the four days of riding there were only a handful of very minor mechanicals. Smoke knows the province so well, I would follow his wheel any day and thanks go out to him and all the others that made this adventure a reality. If you have a trip on your bucket list, my advice is don't wait, book it today and just make it happen. We are all looking forward to the the next Hurtin' For Vert adventure! - Mike Jones|
|It's taken us three years to get this group of riders back together and it was worth the wait. The bikes have improved steadily and continue to blow my mind as to what an All Mountain bike can do. The riding crew is a strong one as well with everyone getting through the rides and wanting more, even if more was a cold can of Pilsner. Three years ago there were only three of us on dropper posts and everyone rode a 26-inch bike, this year only one rider wasn't on a Dropper, but still, everyone was on 26-inch wheeled bikes. I'm curious about the future and what changes we'll see. - Tyler Maine, Pinkbike.com Content Director|
|Best day ever... - Silver|
|Our sport is amazing, I am fortunately in a position to devour the treats of riding bikes full time for a short spell and having one of the best summers of my lifetime. A trip of this nature was the icing on my summer cake. |
four days of adventure, eight skilled and savy riders, foreign terrain, the Alpine, smaller bikes, Pilsner and more than a mitt full of vertical at our daily disposal made up the glue that brought it all together. But it's the moments that will stick and they were abundant. It was a pleasure shredding the Okanagan with y'all!
Many thanks to Smoke and Pinkbike for dialing in the logistics and making this trip happen. Looking forward to more hurt and more vert next year! - Reg
|Is this thing on? - Chrondore|
|Another trip of a life time! It's hard to describe a trip like this. To be able to bring together this awesome group of guys that can all hold their own and shred massive amounts of vertical all day long, riding bikes that can handle whatever we throw at them. Riding some trails that may have only seen a few tires rolling through is what adventure mountain biking is all about to me. Breath taking terrain and sometimes terrifying, with trail sharks left, right and centre. And some would say a regimented, flawless logistical masterpiece. "GET IN THE F*cking VAN RIGHT NOW ... OR WE'RE NOT GONNA MAKE IT"|
We felt like an elite commando regiment, armed only with my Enduro, the double bladed loam saw. Lead into battle by our fearless leader, Johnny Smoke (The Big Lebowski of mountain biking). Our mission was to take down as much vert in four days as possible. Mission accomplished.
A huge shout out to Smoke, Tyler, Pinkbike, Specialized, Rocky Mountain and Pilsner for making this awesome four day excursion happen.
I can't wait to see what the masterminds will come up with for the next "HFV - Tour of Duty", but count me in for sure. - Matt "I'm not a Dingo" Ryan
|Hmm...well if it's a quote from me, then it would probably be "Shut the F up and get in the F-ing van!". But that's probably a bit too real. The quote that sticks in my mind is from Dave Burch after the high speed section in the grass on the last day, because it's exactly how I felt the first time I rode there. "What just happened? Where AM I?" - Smoke|
|I was clenching my butt cheeks super tight as I was doing this sideways starfish through the trees, 'cause I'd been holding one in for too long and didn't want to crap myself when I hit. - Brant Lyon|
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