Tom Bradshaw admits he's a sucker for punishment and enjoys that weird type 2 fun (miserable while it’s happening, but fun in retrospect) that borders on type 3 (not fun at all, not even in retrospect). He finds it rewarding to explore a new place and push himself to see how far he can really go.
Tom was able to have a crack at a massive challenge in the Cumberland Forest on Vancouver Island where, thanks in main part to the United Riders of Cumberland (UROC), there's a network of over 170 trails.
Tom's challenge? To try and ride 100 of those trails, between dawn and dusk. Mid-summer in Cumberland, that’s just over 15 hours of daylight.
Jeremey Grasby, one of the founding members of UROC, and 2012 Olympian Max Plaxton helped Tom plan a 125km course with >3000 metres of climbing. In theory, this would be four big laps of the Forest returning back to basecamp four times to stop and refuel.
This was the literal basecamp. A 16-foot mini Airstream trailer that Tom rented in Squamish and took on the ferry to Vancouver Island.
Lap 1 started at 5:15am. The plan was to ride the higher, harder trails in the southwest corner of the network first. A 45km-ish lap, with just over 1000m of climbing, and roughly 25 trails. Tom was hoping to be back for his second coffee by 10am....
At 11am, Jeremy, Max, Stephane and Tom completed the first lap, which was mostly single and double black trails. Only Tom and Jeremy would head out for Lap 2, which was a 40 kilometre lap with mostly intermediate trails in the middle of the network. By lunchtime, the mercury was over 38 degrees Celcius (100F). The going was slow, the boys were cooked, and the only way to keep going was to take a one-trail-for-one-stream approach.
"Tour de Stream" (and shower) Cumberland was in full swing.
By this point, Tom and Jeremy were well behind on the four lap plan and the cooling stream stops were taking up to 15 minutes at a time. However, they were still making progress and Tom was sampling some great trails that Jeremy had first built nearly 20 years ago. Tom and Jeremy rolled back into basecamp to finish their second lap at 5pm, way behind schedule. Jeremy called it a day, heading for a well earned beer and cold bath.
Beautiful evening riding in the easier, closer trails to the hub.
Given how hot the day was, Tom was stoked. A huge thank you to Outdoorsy for allowing Tom to have a crack at this mission. And thank you to Jeremy, Max, Stephane and the United Riders of Cumberland for making this ride possible. It was great to share the experience with locals, who have worked so hard over 20+ years to make this trail network possible.
Use code 'pinkbike' for $50 off your next trip with Outdoorsy.