This past week has been a great trip on so many levels, from the traveling, to the riding, to the people to the little towns on the long way to Crankworx. Crankworx fired up on August 7th in Whistler, B.C., but it was Karl and Jordan at the helm, while I was elsewhere getting my tires dirty and slowly making my way to see the crew at the big show.Read on to hear about my tour and round about trip to Crankworx 2010
,It all began with an invite months ago from a good friend to attend Crankworx with them this year and that got me thinking about a little road trip first that would eventually land us there for the second weekend of the big show. I would need to be able to work each day, but with Jordan, Mike and Karl, along with Ian, Justin and Fraser pumping out daily coverage, it would make it a lot easier on me to go unnoticed for a few days – thanks guys! My friend is a health supplement rep and travels all over the interior, the Kootenays and the Caribou regions of BC, so the plan slowly rolled into place and we put it into action. I would tag along with them from town to town as they visited shops and at which time I would source out internet connections (not as readily available as I would want to see – at least not high speed) and stay up to date on the goings on in Pinkbike land. This is the story of our trip from Chilliwack, to Vernon (Silver Star), to Sun Peaks (Kamloops), to Williams Lake to Lillooet, to Pemberton and then into the holy mountain bike world of Whistler, BC.
Remember to take yer time out there. You'll get there safer.
I worked the holiday Monday so that I’d feel better about taking most of Thursday and all of Friday off at the start of this trip. Said see ya later to the PB crew, packed up the truck and headed to Vernon to meet my partner in crime for the trip. They were just getting off of a 5 day kayaking trip in the Kootenays, (no cell coverage out there) so I was going on previous directions and our agreed upon meeting place of Silver Star resort. Out of character, I arrived a little early and they were nowhere to be found – kinda worried, but knowing that plans are sometimes like guide lines and soon enough they arrived and we began to get the ball rolling. Friday had to be a planning and packing day for them while I got my bikes dialed in at Double Diamond repair on the hill by Cam and his crew – thanks for the help with the brake bleed guys! With Friday in the bag, it was time to hit the road on Saturday as we decided to skip riding locally and head north to Sun Peaks
to meet up with our friends from the Bicycle Café and Wade Simmons who were all enjoying the great riding conditions that can be found after a rain storm – hero dirt is what it is called!
Arriving after the lifts had stopped is pretty typical when you are not in a hurry, so we shopped around for the best deal on a room – Hearthstone
got our business – great bike storage set up too – felt secure working with them – thanks! Then it was time to go do a little XC ride before more rain came or the darkness rolled in – which ever happened first. Years ago Sun Peaks hosted the XC Nationals and I had ridden the course a few times, but I’ll be damned if I could find it that night, so we spun out our legs on the valley path and the road in and around the village. A large pizza from Mountain High Pizza was our late night dinner and then off to bed in order to get up and take in all the riding that we could on Sunday.
Bikes ready for action.
The lift goes WAY UP there.
Saturday night’s rain showers had me stoked at the thought of hero dirt or scared at the grease that may be awaiting us. Geared up, tickets purchased and ready to roll! Now let’s find some folks that we know – Cheryl and Taylor from the Bicycle Cafe
were just who we were looking for! Apparently they had tried to track us down rather late for some bevies with the Rocky Crew, but we’d already called it a night. Thankfully their late night meant that they were willing to be our guides for the day instead of hard charging like they’d typically be doing on a fine day like today.
Sun Peaks was putting on a DH race called the Gummy Bear DH and Cheryl was signed up, so our warm up lap was on the race course – pretty damn fun! The race course was only about ½ of the mountain, so we still had a long ways to go to get back to the base – forgot just how long the runs up here really are.
Top of the Gummy Bear race course.
With Taylor as our guide, we busted out laps of trails that we don't even know the name of them - one thing about having a guide is that you don't need to know where you are and just enjoy the runs. Cheryl met back up with us after we found the Crepe restaurant for lunch - mmm crepes!
Cool carving in the Crepe place.
Crepes and good trails make me happy!
Turns out that Cheryl won her category, so she had awards to attend near the end of the day. Thankfully there were more locals to show us how to get to Sugar as Cheryl and Taylor went to claim her winnings. Sugar is OLD SCHOOL freeride and probably my favorite run that day. Sarah and I sessioned a few features and generally really enjoyed the old school trail.
Log ride on Sugar.
Log ride on Sugar.
Wood work on lower Sugar.
Our last run of the day was on Honey Drop as we were feeling confident after successfully riding Smitty's Steeps - oops I was wrong, Honey Drop is a HELL OF A LOT HARDER! 80% was do-able and flowed nicely, the other 20% had me second guessing what the hell I was doing. I know that with more runs on it, I could sort it out, but Honey Drop is a real trail and it's tough. The last time I rode DH with Sarah was on her 2nd day ever at a resort and 1st day ever on a true DH bike, I was stoked on the progression she'd seen this summer living up at Silver Star and shredding with all her Okanagan friends - good work! As for my DH skills, I was second guessing myself a little too much as I'd spent 95% of my season on AM bikes and so I was a little off my game, but getting it back - still happier on the ground then in the air. We both were able to end the day injury free - yes!
We met up with the Cafe crew at Mesa's for dinner and post ride bevies. Great conversation ensued and then it was time to pack up and hit the road for Williams Lake as Sarah had to work the next day. Ok so did I, but I didn't have scheduled appointments, just needed to get my ass online and caught up.
The drive up to Williams Lake was done in the dark and seemed longer than it is after a day on the trails. We arrived in town and went searching for a hotel for the next 2 nights - hmmm all these hotels seem full, what the heck is going on? Oh ya forest fires burning all over the province had the town extra full and we almost didn't get a place to stay - so much for planning! Thankfully the Sandman downtown had 3 rooms left and ourselves and a truck of fire jumpers were all able to bed down for the night.
Monday was a work day for both of us with plans to meet up with my friend Nelli at 4:30 for some good rips. I spent the day at the Gecko (great cinnamon buns!) poaching internet and sipping on smoothies and was uber keen to get out on the Williams Lake single track. Johny Smoke of Bush Pilot Biking
had informed me that I MUST ride Max from the top (Death to the Left is the name of the upper trail) if we only get to ride once while in town. All day I eagerly awaited Nelli and Sarah to be ready so that we could shred - oh and I had catching up to to on the net too, but really who am I kidding I wanted to ride!
Loading up in front of Red Shred's Bike and Board Shed - a shop that helped shape my life growing up - Thanks Mark!
4:30 and we were loading up into Nelli's big truck (thanks Chris) to head up for a lap on Death to the Left. You shuttle out of town, but you still need to earn some of the descent - love trail bikes that can also rip the downs. We unloaded near Snakes and Ladders, rode out to the power lines/place where folks burn cars for kicks. From here we began the mellow climb up to Death to the Left.
4x4s and burnt cars - ya small towns!
Nelli told us that this was pretty much the longest sustained DH in these parts and that it was buff, just don't hit yer bars or go left, things could get burly off the left side - hence Death to the Left. She also introduced Sarah to Chromag seat post quick releases
- easiest on yer hands and girls no longer need to ask anyone to possibly help them with their seat raising and lowering. Ok I own two, but it took the prodding from another female rider to express just how easy it was on her hands to initiate the desire for a better QR that would be easier on her paws. Ok back to the trail!
This was the first trail in a long time where I was actually wishing that I had my Go Pro on me as it was tight, slight twists, but you had to concentrate not to go over and then BREATHE! So good - thanks Nelli for the rip. We took Sarah to see Sick and Nasty - (Check this old shot of Fiona hitting it up 3 years ago):
While the Puddle is full of huge hucks, it's the 5-7 inch bike that really rules the local terrain. Such great pedaling and undulating terrain, where you want a slack head angle, longer fork and a go button to keep you flowing.
Just wanted to post this as it may have been the only hill I cleaned that neither of the chargers got - stoked!
We rode back to Red Shred's where the girls recovered the truck and I watched over the bikes. I have been coming to Red Shred's Bike and Board shed for going on 20 years now and I can't help but stay stoked on this shop. We decided that we'd even wait until they were open on Tuesday to shop before hitting the road.
Quick rip back to Nelli's to see if Chris was home and then up Fox mountain for a rip on A Flo Daddy. We all lucked out and got a drop shuttle from one of Chris' buddies, no recovery needed now - gotta love that!
Just like all the trails in the Puddle, you gotta ride in and occasionally earn some of the goods, but A Flo is so full of FLOW that you'll poop yourself! Chris' Knolly Podium was running hot and exceptionally quiet - I hear it's the new popular DH rig in these parts. Here I was wishing that I'd grabbed the Morewood for this lap and my DH gear and we were getting sideways all over the place and I am sure that I almost got ran over a few times. So fast and you simply gotta trust yer tires and the trail. Nelli and Chris live on the lake, so it was a great way to end our rip. Thanks so much for making our evening so bad ass!
Williams Lake would not have been complete without an early morning shopping spree at Red Shred's (new Chromag seat post Q/R, wool socks and a few more goodies) and then on the road to 100 Mile, Ashcroft and Lillooet for Health Supplement work and my never ending search for free internet. Lots of miles under the car today, but all worth it to pull into Lillooet and find a place to call it a night.
Neither of us had ever stayed in a B&B before, but with all the Forest Service workers in town, it seemed like the best idea. Quick Google search and we found Sturgeon Bay B&B
and it was located right on the river and was on par for hotel pricing in town at $100 for the night - deal! I may have now found my favorite places to stay on road trips if I do more planning ahead of time as for the same price of a hotel (cheaper than most), you get a whole suite and this one felt nice and home like. Both of us would have liked to have ridden in Lillooet, but due to poor planning, we didn't know any trails and decided to push through to Pemberton on Wednesday after Sarah had finished all her work.
The drive to Pemberton from Lillooet is beyond scenic, it straight up is beautiful! You really feel like you are deep in the hills and then voila you are in the Pemberton valley. We rolled into The Bike Co. where I ran into my buddy Seb. I whined about it being 28 degrees out and he replied that at 40 degrees I can complain and that I better head out for a ride. We bought a trail map and more wool socks before heading out on a ride. It was almost 3PM and we wanted to be in Whistler by 6 in order to make it to the SAINT In Deep Summer slide show.
From The Bike Co. we headed through town and over to the Bath Tub trail, then up Happy Trail to Waco Connector. I was dieing on the Happy Trail, but it was so great to be out of the car and on the trail. Despite what Seb said, it was pretty damn hot for me, hottest ride of the season I am sure. Be sure to have food and water on the hot days, no matter how short the ride may be.
At the top of Waco Connector is where we decided to head down and back to town. Trails like Indy 500, Hawaii and Blood, Sweat and Fear were all black ratings, but looked the best to us. We chose to tee up Blood, Sweet and Fear as it looked to meander the most back down to the train tracks at the valley floor.
Blood, Sweat and Fear was so good, but yes it was advanced and there were a few occasions that I found myself over my head on my trail bike, but am glad I had it as pushing a DH rig up to that point would not be that fun. Really great rock faces, tech corners, it was a great mix and throw in a little dust in places and it made for a sweet trail. At the tracks you head right back towards town and then back on to the Bath Tub trail for some river side ripping! It was a quick loop, but oh so fun and needed. Now we had to make our way to the big show that was Crankworx 2010.
Changing in the parking lot is a great thing about biking, you just had a wonderful ride, clean up with left over water and cover the dirt on your arms/legs with long sleeve shirts and pants and no one knows the better. Gotta love our sport, now we looked the part of nice casual and it was time to hit the town. Everyone was at the SAINT Deep Summer Challenge and what a slide show presentation it was! Congrats to Jordan Manley for the win! From there it was time to hit up the GLC for the BC/DC party, pump our fist and generally rock out! What a great day!
That ends our trip to get to Crankworx 2010 - thanks for reading along and I hope that you all get out on the road at some point this summer to enjoy some trails outside of your local network.
I'd like to leave you with highlights from Crankworx 2010:
2011 Giant Reign 0
Brendan Fairclough's Specialized Demo 8
VW Best Trick Comp
2011 Turner DHR
Pump Track Challenge
Giant Giant Slalom
Intense M9 FRO
Camelbak Jump Jam
Monster Energy Slope Style
Lifecycles Premiere Feed back video
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