Last week was the annual guys biking road trip. This years destination was the Sunshine Coast. Leaving Victoria we headed to Nanaimo to catch the ferry, but didn’t get far before we hit our first issue. There was a car on fire on the highway leading up of town. We managed to sneak one vehicle around it, but the other was stuck in some pretty bad traffic. Then I required a pit stop before getting to the ferry terminal. Both of these caused our car to miss the ferry by 5 vehicles because we hadn’t made a reservation. Boo. 2 hours in the terminal also meant we missed the connector in Vancouver to Langdale. Eventually we made it and located the air bnb we were staying in. The place was huuuge! We needed up scrapping the ride that day due to the late hour. Instead we did some grocery shopping, then went out for dinner.
Friday we met up with a couple locals to show us around.
What an intro to the local trails. Lots of climbing, then a big steep descent. I was having a great time until I went down had ona right hand corner. My front wheel came out from under me, I narrowly missed hitting my head on a bridge, my right elbow landed in a mud pit, and I smashed my right thing onto something which immediately bruised it and caused a charely-horse. The worst bit was it threw off my confidence. I hesitated on some further tricky descents and it really messed with my mind.
At one point the group got ahead of me, and in my haste to catch up I went to ride an A-frame, which turned out to be a gap jump. I ejected and landed on my feet, but my bike tumbled a bit before stopping. I had to shake it off and just get on with riding
At the end I was charging hard again and it truly was a good day on the bike. I’m starting to get a bit of confidence with berms, which has lead to a few instances of the rear, front, or both wheels breaking traction. That is an odd feeling and requires a lot of trust in relfexes and knowing when/how tires will grab again.
Saturday I was on my own. The rest of the group wanted to ride Coast Gravity Park. Knowing myself, and how much I like to ride fast, I opted out. In my DH days I often crashed hard while pushing my limits, and I know I would have been pushing my limits at the park. Instead I set out from the house to explore some different trails and to ride Mach Chicken, which looked like a fun trail based on some videos I saw online.
The ride started off straight up. Legs and lungs were complaining until I realized I was still in my big ring. Oops. Dropping to the small ring made a huge difference. The trail I used to get into the trail system was the closest, but really not a good trail to ride up. Definitely an exit path. Logging roads got me a lot of elevation until I got to a trail called Highway 103. What a blast! So much fun, that I wanted to do it again. At the end I popped out into a gravel pit/hippy commune. There were a 1/2 dozen guys sitting around a camp fire in the middle of their farm/tent community. Spooky.
After 103 I dropped into iTrail. This went downhill quite quickly and I checked my map a few times to make sure I wasn’t going to have to climb back up to Mach Chicken. iTrail was great, but Mach Chicken was amazing. Fast, flowy, bermy, jumps. Everything I wanted. At the bottom I lost a lot of elevation quickly, but I eventualy came out on the highway and made my way back to the cabin. The hot tub was waiting!
Sunday we wanted to do one more ride before heading home. I convinced the guys to do Highway 103, iTrail, and Mach Chicken.
For this ride we parked part of the way up the road, then went straight up the logging road to Highway 103. The whole ride up the road I am sure they were cursing my name, but a few minutes into the trail there were a lot of smiles.
Mike even hit up a gap jump that I was too chicken to do.
Bikes, beer, food, good times. We even came across the Donald curling!