Saturday, July 23, 2011

On the Road - BC Riding Part 3

Typical weather in BC during July is sunny and hot.  2011 is the year to buck the trend.  With most of Canada experiencing a "heat dome" [SRSLY], BC and AB are experiencing a craptacular weather event.  It's like May was extended and made marginally warmer for all of June and July.  Ridiculous.  Anyway, after leaving Whizgnar, we found ourselves in Squampton.  I was still feeling like crap, but the Howe Sound Inn's healing powers beckoned to me...

Despite the drizzle and cloudy skies, 18 hours of sleep had me feeling well enough to venture outside for a ride.  We rode from the Inn to the SAC, bought a trail map and then fumbled about trying to find some trails to ride.  We wound up riding for over three hours on some great trails, including Lost Loop, S+M, 7 Stitches, etc.

I really wanted to ride Half Nelson the day after, but it was raining pretty hard and I was still pretty weak from being sick.  Squamish is a great town, and I'll be back next year for sure.

After a call to Mom to warn her that we were coming ["Bring wine!" Yes ma'am!], we jumped on the ferry and headed to Victoria.  Unfortunately I only have one picture from the Island.  I had my camera with me when we rode the Hartland trails, but I didn't get a chance to pull it out.  Originally, we were going to meet James Brown of IMBA Canada and follow him around, but my Mom's crappy directions took us to a lavender farm instead of the trails and we were 30 minutes late.  James was long gone on a rip, but we ran into Jesse in the parking lot and invited ourselves along on his ride.  It turns out that Jesse is with SIMBS, the local mountain bike association.  He and Art, Rich and Brock [sorry if I get the names wrong] took us on a 2-hour jaunt through the black and double-black singletrack.
On a ride with Rich, Jesse, Brock and Art [L to R]. Sam for scale.
The trails are best described as super-windy rolling technical XC.  The only Calgary-area trail that remotely resembles the Hartland rides would be Rayzer's Edge.  Hartland is composed of granite boulders, slabs, rock spines, huge roots and sharp ups and downs.  As we witnessed with our guides, you need to have a decent level of technical riding skill to be smooth.  I quickly learned not to follow Art's lines...

With a fond farewell, we departed Vancouver Island and drove through a torrential downpour to Penticton.
The storm chasing us across the interior
Note to self - never stay at the Stardust Motor Inn again.  Ick.  I highly recommend the Kettle Valley Station Pub in the Ramada; it's a really nice spot, especially the patio area.  After a trip to Freedom bike shop, we were set to ride the Three Blind Mice trail system.  The south access is right where the KVR crosses Naramata Rd., NE of Penticton.  We had one goal - Sir Drops A Lot.  The guys at Freedom had given us instructions and a map, but SDAL isn't actually on the map.  Hmmm.  Luckily, as we stood looking at the map in the trailhead parking lot, a local  rode over and gave us directions.  "Riddle Road to some trail, and then climb to the river, follow Narnia to Fred to Corral.  SDAL is a spur off of Corral".  Okay...
A geologist's work is never far away...

For only the second time in two weeks, it was hot and dry out.  Huzzah!  The trails were quite a lot like what we have available in the Calgary area, but a bit sandier.  They also reminded me a lot of the front range trails near Golden, CO, especially the Buffalo Creek area.  With occasional rest breaks in the shade, we eventually made it all the way up to the top.

The descent isn't steep, and it flows really well.  The drops range from little 2-footers you can roll to 6' full-commitment gaps that come up very unexpectedly.  There are rock cairns all the way down showing you where to go, but I wouldn't hit this thing at night without riding it during daylight first.  We finished the ride without a bail and feeling pretty good.

The last thing to do was to taste some wine, go for a walk in the sun and find some fruit.

Until next time!

1 comment:

Kurt Roeske said...

Hey Pink Robe, KaosCreator aka Kurt. If you and your other come out this way for some trail riding, give me a call. Email me thru name above and gmail. My wife and I love to ride all kinds of trails. We do DH, AM and XC. We are setup for any kind of riding you can think of. We also have a nice large home you can stay with us and ride from our home to the trails in Okanagan! ;)