2017 was off to an amazing start. The community of Williams Lake was building new trails and the riders were excited for an amazing year. The earth had different plans and as of July 8th the town began to fill with smoke and news spread fast that the town was surrounded by fires. There was one from the south, one from the east and one of the largest fires in BC's history coming from the west. On Friday, July 14th, the CMBC and the Williams Lake Cycling Club had to close the trails to the public and not long after the whole town was evacuated to seek refuge from the surrounding infernos.
Desous Mountain is a half hour drive west of the City and is home to some truly amazing free riding. Decent of 3500ft from the top of Desous Mountain all the way to the Fraser River make this home to some of the biggest lines this side of Golden. This area is intended for advanced riders, as there is no real easy way down. If you’re looking for big lines, this is where it’s at.
In the Summer of 2017, a new climbing line as added to the Desous trails: Shiney Badger Hidden Canyon. This trail was funded by NDIT, and CBAC and created by First Journey Trails with the help from the Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium. It was built as a bi-directional trail that would access the “backside” of Desous mountain and allow the first ever climb from the Fraser river up to the Spring House side of the mountain. The climb is rated black only due to a few terrain pinch points that force the trail to gain a significant amount of elevation in a short distance within the first half of the climb. Save for these few steep, rocky sections, this climb would be considered to be a blue climb as well as descent.
The community is focused to make a place that has an area you can camp and disconnect from the world and enjoy biking and good times with friends.
After a five-week shut down during prime trail building season, the crew working on the ‘Deep Blue Soda’ trail weren’t sure they would see it finished this year.
The trail, which celebrated its grand opening on Nov. 2, connects the Whispering Willows campsite in Deep Creek to the Xatśūll Heritage village, a neat 20 kilometers to the north along the banks of the Fraser River. ‘Deep Blue Soda’ ties into the existing mountain bike trail system in the Soda Creek area and is rideable in both directions.
“This has been a long time in the making and a much-needed addition to our regional trails,” said Thomas Schoen, owner of First Journey Trails and Chair of the Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium. “Deep Blue Soda is bringing a long and diverse trail to the area and adds greatly to what we have to offer to locals and visitors alike.”
With the completion of ‘Deep Blue Soda’, the Xatśūll trail network now offers over 30 kilometres of trails and is fast becoming a popular biking destination for both tourists and locals. Despite the forced trail closures due to the summer’s wildfires, trail counters registered record numbers on mountain bike trails near Blue Lake and Soda Creek in 2017.
First Journey Trails is a trail consulting business that helped with the planning and management of this new trail construction, including the training and supervision of two crews of up to twelve builders. The funds for this project were received from the Rural Dividend Program run by the Province of British Columbia as well as by the Northern Development Initiative Trust and the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition.
The riding season is well underway in the Cariboo! The trails are prime and riders and builders are keen.
After the long winter and the threat of fires, The usual group rides are full steam ahead – Tuesday night Ladies Ride leaving Red Shred’s at 6pm (weekly alternating between beginner/intermediate and intermediate/advanced DH); Wednesday night power pedal leaving Barking Spider at 6pm; Friday night Jumps and Jugs leaving Red Shred’s at 6pm. If you’re short riding buddies any of these rides is a sure fire way to make friends, get stoked, and learn some new routes through our epic trail network.
Stay tuned for some upcoming features on our local group ride culture and why it’s so rad.
Big thanks To City Of Williams lake, Mountain Bike BC, Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium, The firefighters and everybody else involved to make Williams Lake one of the most amazing places to ride a Mountain Bike in the world.