Lost My Squamish Trail Cherry

It happened. It finally happened. Over the past two weeks I lost my Squamish mtb virginity. There was warmth and sun, there was cold and rain. Then there was that carbon-fibre full-suspension bike. Heck, I even entered a local race on Saturday and drank beers with other like minded dirt fiends. Yup. Popped. The stories were true. Nothing feels as good as riding trail.

A few weeks ago I said enough was enough, I was going out on the mountain-bike even if it was raining. Starting at Coho Park I did a lolly-pop loop that included Covenant to Jacks, then up 50 Shades of Green, down Credit Line, back on to Jacks then home. Because the trails were all new to me; because it was raining and the trails were really wet; because the hard-tail Moots is perhaps not the best bike to tackle the tricky[thus, most] sections of downhill trail, I rode cautiously, even walking a couple spots which, under different circumstances, I would have ridden. Riding solo on new trails it was hard to know how fast I could go or what was around the next turn. While it was great to be out on the bike, out on the trails, it was satisfactory at best. Second base. Nothing more.

The following weekend, Easter, I had three days off work and planned on taking full advantage. Friday I rode north on the Sea to Sky Trail, a 180km marked route that goes from Squamish to the small mountain town of D’Arcy. My ride took me as far as Brandywine Falls Provincial Park where I turned around because of snow, an enjoyable 4.5 hours. The next morning, parked up Squamish Valley Rd for the night, I decided to explore some brutally steep logging roads. The following morning, Easter Sunday, Nate and I set out to score some mountain-biking goodness.

Meeting for the first time as I was leaving for my second base ride, Nate and I had chatted bikes and discovered we had a mutual friend from Colorado. Small world. Sunday morning, we rode past the university and jumped on the climbing trail, Stl’lhalem Sintl'[aka Legacy]. Twisting, turning, dropping, flying down lower Half Nelson, we then took the Power Hoods Connector to Hoods in the Woods. Great freakin’ trails! Turning right, we climbed the full version of Legacy to the top of Half Nelson…and all the way down, baby! A dirt road spin then even more glorious descending through the trees and over the rocks and around the berms of Psuedo-Tsuga. Hot-shit-on-a-stick that is freakin’ mountain biking!

Fast forward to last weekend. Thursday I ducked out early and got in a nice two hour rip on the Cervelo. Dry, warm enough, it was soothing to get some fast turns into my legs. Love the road miles.

Friday’s weather was the finest I’d encountered since arriving in BC nearly five weeks ago. I had the day off. Guess what I did. Yup, mountain biking! Having joined Squamish Off Road Cycling Association(SORCA), I figured I should participate in the season opening Twoonie Race on Saturday. So, Friday, I pre-road the course. Meeting Tyler and Ryan[think I’m correct on the names] on the way to the trailhead, they agreed to letting me tag along. Riding a demo Giant Trance Advanced 1, full-carbon, full-suspension, dropper-post enhanced, full-badass for the weekend, I was eager to hit some trails with a bit more vigour than the Moots allows. Yes, it was amazing!

[Okay, so, here’s the deal. We have to talk about this within these hard brackets, otherwise Isabelle, the Moots, will hear me. Riding that bike was fantastic. It allowed me to hit obstacles in ways she never could. I felt free, able to push corners, zip over the rollers and drop-in to steep roll-outs. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my hard-tail, but damn, that dropper post and those 4″ of travel were a breath of fresh air. Yup, I’m going to have to get me one…soon. Just dont’ tell Isabelle.]

Saturday, the rain returned, just in time for the start of the season opening Twoonie Race. Still riding the Trance, I felt strong on the climbs, but knew I would not be as fast as the locals on the descents..and I wasn’t. [Certainly looking forward to getting more familiar with these trails and this style of riding.] At one point, I came across a kid laying down on the side of the trail, just after a ridiculous rock/ladder roll-out. He was being tended to by two others, but I decided I should step in and see if I could be of help; Captain Safety on the job. I checked him out and determined he was good enough to walk out of the trails but call it quits for the day. Not doing any medic work here in Squamish, it was fun to get my hands dirty a little bit. Hope you’re okay, kid.

After the race, I joined the others for the traditional after party. That two dollar entry fee got me free beer, tasty falafels and the chance to hang out with a great bunch of happy mountain-bikers…my people. The evening ended with Scot, Aaron and myself making new friends over beers at the Backcountry Brewery. Truly, a successful day.

Since arriving here in Squamish a bit more than five weeks ago, I’ve been slow to get on the mountain bike. The lingering snow and shitty weather conspired with my work schedule to keep me off the trails. But once I got a taste, man, that’s all I wanted. With my cherry popped, I’m eager to keep riding these magnificent trails, meet more people and truly soak up all the goodness Squamish has to offer…one turn of the pedals at a time.

 

Climbing logging roads. This section broke 25% in places. Suffer.

Following Nate into Pseudo-Tsuga

My bike for the weekend: 2017 Giant Trance Advanced 1. Want one.

All smiles and dirt after SORCA’s Saturday Twoonie Race

Cold, wet, dirty feet and a mountain-bike. Doesn’t take much to make me smile.

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