For any avid biker, or anyone not living under a rock for that matter, Whistler Bike Park and the surrounding valley trails is the place to be from May-October. But for someone that lives in the bustling mountain bike mecca that is Whistler Village, mid-October and beyond is time devoted to slowing down and cranking out a few more fall epics before the snow falls. Wanting to make up for losing a summer of riding due to a broken foot, Sam and I decided to head south of the border this Fall and experience some warmer temperatures in my homeland of the USA!
First stop on any bikers' road trip is to the visit the local bike shops. Of course, we headed to out favorite 'shop' directly across the Canadian border in Bellingham, Washington...Transition Bikes. If you haven't been there you must go! The guys are awesome and the demo fleet is dialed. I even traded my trusty Scout in for a lap on the 2016 Patrol. They know the trails well and we were lucky enough to have Dave Conley show us around Cougar Ridge and Galbraith, some amazing trails and so close to town. While still in the PNW, we hit up some riding near Mt. Baker which was all-time thanks to Britney and Jay, and Tiger Mountain just east of Seattle. Christina Chappetta riding the rock slab on Xanadu.
Deciding to mix it up a bit in the land of the free, next stop was Leavenworth a.k.a. Washington's Bavarian Village. Now you know. Also worth checking out is Xanadu, a trail close to town, with pretty great turns if you ask me. Christina Chappetta in the upper burn zone of Xanadu.
The great thing about biking in Bavaria is the apres, which included brats and beer of course.
Eastern Washington, the not so exciting other half of Washington. We did a quick ride over at Mt. Spokane and the area definitely has a ton of potential! The guys at The Bike Hub were especially helpful and seemed super keen to build more in the area and do more with the amazing land around them. Next was a leisurely cruise through Montana, one of the most beautiful states in my own opinion, before heading to Wyoming. Fly fisherman on the river in Montana.No light pollution in these parts.
Jackson, Wyoming has a special place in my heart. If you visit you will know why, something about cowboys and the great outdoors. With the growing mountain bike scene and the ease of shuttles every evening after work on Teton Pass, I could find myself spending a lot more time there. Don't get too distracted by the lower mountain jump trails, there is pristine singletrack and amazing downhill over on Lithium, a short pedal from the top drop off.Sam Hounsell riding Lithium on Teton Pass.Christina Chappetta following the local, Luke Biewick down Lithium.
While in Jackson, it would be rude to not visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park...so we did.The sights at Yellowstone are something else.
Opting out of heading any further east (it's not that great over there) Sam and I headed south...all the way south...to Louisiana, my home state.Giving the local swamp tour company some business.Sam's first alligator!
It is always awesome to be home with family and recharge the soul with some delicious southern food. We would need it for the biking in Colorado that was to come. I have spent a lot of time in Breckenridge, Colorado and it was great to come back and ride the trails I learned how to mountain bike on. The biking scene is huge there in the summer, similar to Whistler. Maybe that's what draws me to each place. Or the great weather, or microbreweries...who knows really.Christina Chappetta riding another burn zone in Buffalo Creek, Colorado.Sam Hounsell kicking up some kitty litter.
The snow and cold got to be a bit much, so naturally we headed to the desert. That's the great thing about America, if you don't like the weather or terrain, drive a few hours and mix it up! Sam Hounsell enjoying the singletrack of colorful ColoRADo.
Moab, Utah is quite unique, in that everyone there is extreme! Everyone either bikes, climbs, rafts, base jumps, runs, skydives...the list goes on. If you want to be inspired to go big and be the best at your sport, Moab is a must-visit. I'm lucky enough to know a few of those extreme people, one of them being Tyson Swasey, the mastermind behind my favorite trail in the area, Captain Ahab (especially the lower bit for the lazier people...Unfortunately, the Whole Enchilada wasn't dry to ride but the lower half on is a great way to spend 4ish hours on a sunny day and a 'mostly' downhill trail with a shuttle. Much LOVE to some of my favorite bike shops of all time, Chile Pepper and Poison Spider, for always keeping us dialed and hydrated in the desert!Christina Chappetta enjoying the prime conditions on Porcupine Rim Trail.Still a ways to go to get to the Colorado River for Sam Hounsell.
Feeling the need for some trees in our lives, it was time to head back to the WET coast, via Salt Lake City which is a whole other weird story in itself. The weather was extreme that we opted out of riding sadly. Can't wait to go back though, the mountains are massive and trails endless...so they say. Lake Tahoe, such a beautiful and welcome sight after having driven through complete barren desert to get there. The area just screams majestic with its mountains rising out of the blue lake, and the riding is pretty all time too! Finding the golden light with Sam Hounsell.Jenkinson Lake at the perfect time.
Sam and I were super fortunate to have our good buddies, Cortney Knudson and Brooks McMullin put up with us a few days and show us the goods in the area. Their huge project in the area is Truckee Bike Park and if you get the chance to check it out, do! We were denied this time around due to snow but I'll be back!Special thanks to Ashli Lewis and Greg Porter for showing us around and keeping us entertained.
Northern California is like none other really. The Redwood Forest meets the ocean and there is so much life. Taking some much needed time out of the saddle, we decided to enjoy the forest and rest our bodies.
Ahh...the McKenzie River Trail in McKenzie Bridge, Oregon. Apparently voted the best mountain bike trail in America at some point, it's definitely one of the most beautiful and scenic forest rides you can do. McKenzie River Trail has a few of the bridges...props if you can ride across them all.
But don't be fooled. Getting a shuttle to the top of a 40+km long bike trail doesn't necessarily constitute it being a downhill trail. It is quite pedally. Like really pedally. We were considering 29er hardtails I'll just say...The area has a ton of natural hot springs and a welcome soak after a long day on the bike.The natural Blue Pool is something you have to see to believe.All-Mountain bikes were a bit much for this trail, but still fun to rally nonetheless.
After a breakfast stop at Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, Oregon, it was obvious...we were spent. Time to sleep indoors and enjoy the amenities of running water and clean clothes again. Thanks a million to everyone that helped us out on our trip and took us out for rides, little or small, we appreciate it all XOXO.
Total miles in truck: 5300
Total miles in saddle: 243
Total states visited: 11
Total days on the road: 35
Words by: Christina Chappetta
Images by: Christina Chappetta, Sam Hounsell, and Rory Gallagher