Epic laps in Nelson B.C. with Gravity Adventures.net

Aug 25, 2005
by Russ Day  
Adventure Tourism in B.C. is bustling and it’s more then evident in the small Kootenay town of Nelson. Being nestled in the middle of all the surrounding mountains makes this town a haven for skiers in the winter and dirt bag cyclists in the summer. Having never ridden or for that matter been to Nelson, I knew it was time to make the trip. Hearing about Gravity Adventures.net made my decision to go that much easier.Derek Chambers (Pinkbike.com, Freeride-Entertainment and N.R.G.) would do all the foot work to make this trip happen. All I had to do was actually get there and ride-sounds easy enough. Well I got there at 1:30 am of the Monday morning of the August long weekend after spending about 1900 kms on the road in the 3 days leading up to arriving there. Long weekends for me seem to be about seeing how much I can drive, and that I did. I left Chilliwack for a wedding in Calgary-congratulations to Jordan and Nicole Girman, you kids are great!!

From there it was off to Fernie for the Canada Cup race and then take the red eye to Nelson. Well Derek greeted me and told me to get a good sleep as I would need it. Ah sleep that didn’t involve pulling over on the side of the road and reclining my drivers seat-what a treat!

Well the blue birds were singing in the morning and I knew it was gonna be good-new town, new trails and new friends. Derek and I headed to Oso Negro for breakfast and to check what the locals were up to on this fine day off. Derek rounded up his troops and I called in my recruits for the day too-Simon and Fiona.

We all headed down to Gerick’s Cycle to suit up and get our machines ready as Mirek and the Mog were on their way to get us. Riders started to file in as we waited. Sarah Kemp, Paul Newman, Jason Mannings (Clean Cut Films), Fiona, Simon, Derek and Myself would be the riders gathered for the first up in the Mog. Mirek (Gravity Adventures) pulled up and all intros were made as we loaded the beast up. Mirek has heavily modified his Mog with shuttling and site seeing in mind. Well we were all good to go and so up the mountain we headed.

We weren’t too off the beaten path when all of a sudden the Mog blew a minor leak under the hood. This minor leak meant we’d be headed back to town from here and Mirek would have to go get one of his other shuttle vehicles from the fleet of three. At least we got a nice Nelson road ride in before the big shuttles started.

On our way down to the meeting spot, we were met by Steve and Neil who would remain with the group for most the day. Mirek was already there and waiting with a smile to take us up to Upper Gold Member in his big 12 passenger van. Losing a vehicle usually means the day is shot in most circumstances, but having 3 separate shuttle vehicles showed me that Mirek is organized and is serious about getting the job done, even if you have to use all the vehicles to get the good rides in. A few hundred meters past the trail head to lower Gold Member, we all heard a big PFFFFTT!!! I’ll be damned if the poor van hadn’t gotten a flat tire on the gravel road. The quick consensus was to unload here and ride Lower Gold Member; after we all decided that the hike up was too far on this nice day.

Mirek changed the tire like a seasoned veteran of shuttling gravel roads, as we unloaded the bikes and headed off in search of vertical play time. Lower Gold Member was sick single track through the trees with log rides and little hits thrown in for good measure. We popped out onto the service road to find Mirek waiting to take us up for a go at Placenta Descenta to Pulmonary. I would soon learn that Gold Member is in fact a short ride in Nelson as the epic was about to begin. The drive up is a healthy shuttle, but the part I forgot about is how high we were already above the town.

We dropped into Placenta and ripped it as best as us out of towners could, ok so I flailed around behind the group, but it was sweet. These trails are best suited to what is called a Nelson XC bike, with 6-7 inches of front and rear trail that pedals really well. My friends that race for Terrascape/Calgary Cycle back in Calgary do an annual trip to Nelson to ride all these trails at the end of race season. This is an XC geek’s paradise as you get awesome rewards for all the ups. Thankfully we had Mirek for the ups!!!

We road down the Nelson Fat Tire Festival 4X track and headed to Pulmonary, which consisted of a lot of rock faces and tech little sections.

It spits you out on the road, where we rode back into town to grab lunch. At this point, I had enough vertical for the weekend as I was so beat from driving, but Derek and Mirek already had another lap planned for us to Upper Upper High Baller.

Mirek showed up with his 3rd shuttle vehicle as I guess we were gonna need 4X4 for this next shuttle up. Let’s load em’ up and ship out to get er’ done!! We were now down to 5 riders for the last shuttle-Derek, Fiona, Simon, Steve and I. As we climbed the mountain, I was like, “man I need to get some sleep or I’ll never make it down this run”-well as you can see by Fiona’s picture, I guess I did get a few ZZZZ’s in.

40 something minutes later we were way, way, way up in the mountains over looking the town of Nelson. Damn is all I can say about this next ride, from the quality of the trail, to how much I was worked by the ride's end-Damn! The smaller group meant we could run at a faster pace-in theory, we still had me to deal with. Upper Highballer runs through the woods in a nice single track with this one log ride I can really remember well as it was REALLY long and everyone kept trying it. Steve told me that I needed to find a better spot for pictures as I was apparently in the fall zone-so I was!

You then pop out into an old burn and ride what in my opinion was prime bear country. Every thing was only 3-6 feet high and lots of charred stumps everywhere had me double taking and second guessing my eyes. Guys wait up for me!! Back into the woods and out onto the road-wow that was great! Wait a minute, I’ve been here before, we’re still on the mountain-these were thoughts that were trying to form and get out. Yep it was true, we were just above Bed Frame and that was our destination. I needed a gel before we dropped in-Thanks Derek.

Bed Frame is old school riding at its best and will hand you your ass if you think you know what you’re doing and get over your head. I eased off my pace a little more and decided to play it really safe and just watch the kids have fun. Steve, Simon, Fiona and Derek are all kick ass riders and it was just fun to watch them in an element they could rock in.

Once the rock sections eased off a bit, the trail got nice and tight and the good dirt allowed you to rip it. (Gel pack must be working) We popped out on the highway with big smiles and began our short ride back to Gerick’s Cycle to meet Mirek. Here we all reloaded our own vehicles for the journey’s home, talked about the amazing day we’d had and thanked Mirek for the A-1 job he does to accommodate the dirt bag cyclists that live in and come to this cool little town.

Gravity Adventures.net is there for when you know that a climb up is rewarding, but all you really need is the reward of the descent. With his full fleet of vehicles, and knowledge of all the local trails, Mirek will deliver you to the goods. Our riding crew had a great day in Nelson and we are all looking forward to returning. Here is what Derek and Fiona had to say about the experience:

Pinkbike/Gravity Adventures tour day (Derek’s take)

My job of the day was to play tour guide. Wow was the pressure on me! Ha! Like hell! With the huge network of world class trails, and access of a finally tunedSmile Mercedes Benz unimog, well my biggest problem I had, was to pick which trails. We only had one day, so I chose a few of Nelson’s Classics: Gold Member, Upper Highballer, Placenta Descenta, pulmonary, and finally Bed Frame. We had a solid group of Pinkbike’s finest, Fiona ??????, wow what a talented bike rider, this girl has been injured and off the DH bike all summer, and it was tough to keep up to her on the descents… and I live here, what a ripper!

Simon ????????, Fiona’s right hand man is a force to be recon with, he joined us for the Gravity adventure fun day, and damn he can ride a bike… smooth and fast, somebody hook that guy up!

And last but not least, we’ve got my Maine man “T Dot” or for you common folk Tyler aka Butter. We had a great day of riding with a solid crew, no flats, no mechanicalsSmile and lots of great memories. It was just a typical day of riding in beautiful Nelson BC. Special thanks to Gravity Adventures for touring us around all day, to Gerick Cycles for the great service and to Oso Negro for the awesome coffee that kept us ampt all day!

Some words from Fiona and Simon:

Simon and I met up with Tyler by chance in Fernie when we stopped for some dinner before making the trip back to the coast. Our plans quickly changed when we were invited to spend a day shuttling in Nelson. Despite some minor mechanical issues with the shuttle, our day of riding in Nelson was one of the best of our trip across BC. The trails were fun, packed with varied terrain including fast flowing sections, steep rock faces and plenty of stunts. After spending numerous days riding resorts it was awesome to ride single track for hours and be guided by local rider Derek and friends. Thanks Mirek!!

Well as you have read and seen in the pictures, Nelson is truly a treat when you have guys like Mirek behind the wheel and I can honestly say I’ll be back for a few more Nelson XC rides. If you’d like to do a day trip or even a single shuttle (which could be a day trip out there) feel free to contact Mirek at:

Mirek Hladik
Gravity Adventures
513 Victoria St.
Nelson, BC
250 352 6125

Happy Trails,

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