Feature

Feature

Elements of Victory

November 27, 2016

Of all the events we attend every year, nothing makes us quite as proud as BC Bike Race. A seven-day international stage race, it's amazing to see so many people from all over the world enjoying our backyard’s choicest trails. It’s a tour of British Columbia’s rugged coast, and some of the world’s most challenging cross country singletrack—all explored while camping between the Pacific Ocean and the coastal mountain ranges.

This year’s 10th annual BC Bike Race was the perfect occasion to give our updated Element platform some real-world marathon XC testing. Bikes and bodies were pushed to the absolute limit over seven days of racing. The weather was wild, the trails were aggressive, and conditions were perfect to put the Element through its paces.

22 year old Quinn Moberg is a young rider from Squamish, BC that’s been with us for several years. It’s been incredible to see him develop into a true force to be reckoned with on the XC circuit, and he had some lofty goals for this year’s BC Bike Race.

Bike Check — Quinn Moberg

“BCBR is probably the roughest cross-country race around. This year’s race was especially cold and wet for all seven days, and I went through the whole race without a mechanical. I think that really says something about the quality of the gear I was running.”

“The new frame was a very big deal for me. I was immediately more confident technically, but also felt more efficiency from the suspension. On this new frame I choose not to run a shock remote, simply because I don’t think it’s necessary. Along with the new bike I was using the new Shimano XT Di2 for the first time. I found the electric shifting to be intuitive and lightning-fast, which was especially helpful when riding unfamiliar trails.” — Quinn Moberg

  • Frame: Element 999 RSL T.O. (size Large, Quinn is 5’11”)
  • Setup: Neutral RIDE-9™ position
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS Factory (100mm, no remote)
  • Fork: Fox 34 Factory (120mm)
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT Di2
  • Cranks: Shimano XTR
  • Brakes: Shimano XTR Race
  • Wheels: Stan’s NoTubes Valor
  • Tires: Maxxis Ikon 2.2 EXO TR 3C (23 psi front, 24 psi rear)
  • Bars: Race Face Next 35mm (10mm rise, cut to 740mm)
  • Stem: Race Face Turbine 35mm (80mm)
  • Grips: Race Face Half Nelson
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado Carbon
  • Seatpost: Race Face Turbine dropper post (100mm)
  • Pedals: Shimano XTR Race
  • Weight: 23lb

Stage 6: Squamish, Presented by Shimano

The Squamish stage is always a crowd favourite. From raw, steep, and technical singletrack, to smooth, flowy jump trails, there’s a reason that Squamish is on a lot of riders’ bucket lists. There’s something for everyone on this stage, but after five previous stages it’s got the potential to crush even the strongest riders.

  • Distance: 53 km / 33 miles
  • Climbing: 1,944 m / 6378 ft
  • Average Time: 4 hours 57 minutes
  • Winning Time: 2 hours 43 minutes

With one stage win under his belt already, Quinn had his eyes firmly on taking top-spot on his home terrain. But, with a strong field in play, and several competitors working together to protect the lead from the young local, a win in Squamish would be no easy task.

“I went into the Squamish stage of the race with a mentality of two steps forward, one step back. I knew that with my confidence on the new bike and my familiarity with the trails I could descend faster than anyone else on course. Just before the the first decent I pushed to get away from the other top guys, I didn't want anyone around when I was descending because I didn't want to give away my lines. From there, I was able to conserve my energy on the climbs versus everyone chasing me down, and just put in time to grow the gap.” — Quinn Moberg
 

Quinn’s racecraft belies his years, and he came into the day committed to the strategy of winning on the descents he was all-too familiar with. He executed his plan by pushing hard to enter the opening section of singletrack three corners ahead of his nearest competitors, and then proceeded to nail all his lines while his opponents’ small mistakes began to stack up a time deficit.

From there, Moberg held onto his lead and put several minutes into the rest of the pack. Arms up across the line, he’d accomplished his goal. These 55 kilometers of racing have been the competitors’ favorite stage over the last few years, and to take the win here was a massive accomplishment.

10 Years

As BC Bike Race celebrates its ten year anniversary, we’re reflecting on where we have come from. The event, our bikes, and the trails here have all evolved in parallel. The bikes we race today, with advanced suspension platforms, dropper posts, and properly aggressive geometry, are nothing like the past. Neither are the trails that are built by dedicated clubs and meticulous trailbuilders. As for the event, it’s evolved from riding a lot of gravel and piecing together little bits of flow, to riding a ton of handcrafted singletrack masterpieces.

BC Bike Race is a rough, tough, seven day singletrack adventure. Throughout the week, bikes and bodies take some serious abuse. The best bikes for this event aren’t pure XCO whips or enduro sleds, but something else instead. This year I rode the new Element, and it excelled over multiple days of demanding terrain, and delivered a hell of an experience. I’ve ridden many different bikes over the years, and I can say without hesitation that this is the best bike I’ve ever ridden.” — Andreas Hestler, BC Bike Race

“Racing at home is a bit different than racing anywhere else for me. I feel a strong sense of community here and there are so many people that support me and allow me to do what I do. I put a lot of pressure on myself to win races at home because I treat it as my end of the deal. People in town support me, cheer for me, guide me, and motivate me. This is my way of giving back to all those people.” — Quinn Moberg

Thanks to the whole BCBR crew, the many volunteers, and all the trailbuilders for helping make this event possible! Thanks to Tristan Uhl's moustache for existing, Tippie for keeping the stoke high at all times, and Andreas Hestler for repping BC on a global stage. Thanks to Manuel Weissenbacher, Andreas Hartmann, Greg Day, Sammi Runnels, Udo Bolts, Carsten Bresser, and all the other racers who came to battle it out. And of course, a huge congrats to Quinn Moberg for taking two stage wins and claiming fourth in the GC!

See you all next year!

#lovetheride #elementsofvictory

Video by Mindspark Cinema

Photography by Margus Riga & Norma Ibarra

2017 Rocky Mountain Element

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Feature

Shoulder Season Shred

October 27, 2016

Injuries are setbacks for athletes, but they can also bring opportunities to try different things. With Andréane recovered from a broken hand and me getting over a broken collarbone, we thought it would be fun to get out and do this bicycle thing together. No clock, less stress on our bodies, but all the fun.

We wanted to get out of Vancouver, and headed to Pemberton to explore the meadows around Tenquille Lake. We got Thomas Vanderham to join us, as well as photographer Margus Riga. A freeride legend, an enduro racer, and a downhill racer, all going for a trail ride. Quite the crew!

I have very little experience in backcountry riding. It wasn’t until Brian, the Rocky Mountain marketing guy, lent me his PLB (locator beacon) that it hit home—we definitely weren’t back in the bike park. However, Thomas and Margus both have tons of backcountry experience, and we all felt at ease going into the ride.

It was a nice day as we started in on the climbs for the day. A rain cloud hit us during the hike-a-bike section but the warm sun was poking through. The flies kept our snack breaks short.

We came to a trail intersection. Either head straight into the trail we had planned on shooting, or go up another 2km to reach Tenquille Lake. Margus thought the cabin up top would be a pretty sweet spot for part of the shoot. We all wanted to see the lake and cabin up in the alpine, so we changed the plan and headed up.

We came to the open area between two massive rocky ridges and started crossing. The snow was still abundant so we had to start walking our bikes. After a little while ALN looked down to her GPS and noticed we had gone past the 2km mark and there was no sight of a lake or cabin. It seemed pretty straightforward to stumble upon that lake as we were in an open valley, yet there was definitely no lake in sight. It was a bit of a head scratcher, and eventually we had to turn around.
 
 
Ever heard of the expression “getting Riga’d”? As we were backtracking in the snow, Thomas explained to ALN and I that we had just gotten Riga’d. Apparently we’re not the first to get lost while on a shoot with Margus Riga. Feels like we’re part of a club now.
 

I thought our feet couldn’t have gotten any more wet until we hit a river crossing, but as soon as things headed downhill I forgot about my soaked feet. I’m not sure if it was because the technical riding was keeping them warm or because they were frozen numb.

The trail wove through all sorts of natural scenery. The top of the trail was rocky and shaley, before making its way through a burn from a forest fire a few years ago. Eerie and beautiful.

The lower we got, the greener our surroundings became. By the end of it, the trail was so overgrown you couldn’t see 20 feet ahead, or your feet for that matter. That didn’t stop us from keeping our speed—it just spiced things up when blindly catching loose rocks beneath.

We finished the day at a perfect camp spot on Lillooet Lake. Food and drink are always more enjoyable after a day like this.

The next morning we had hopes of checking out a trail up Duffy Lake Road. We’d done some researching on the trail access and Margus had been in that area some 20 years ago, so it would be easy to find. Right?

This was getting Riga’d 2.0. We drove around endless fire roads that had undoubtedly changed over the years of logging. We went a little further, a little more, and some more. The wide access roads became double-tracks, and then stopped entirely.

 

We returned to town to regroup. Some things happen for a reason, and as soon as we hit the paved road again, we got smashed by a torrential downpour. Not the “grit-your-teeth-and-bear-it” kind of rain, but the “oh-shit-this-is-bad-and-I-have-hypothermia” kind of rain. We were decently prepared, but if we’d been on that trail it would have been a bad scene.

The haphazardly laid plans of mice and men were saved by the good old Pemby trail network! Our bud Dylan Forbes swung by to join us for a few laps, and we were all fired up to ride some of the best trails in the lower mainland.

This wouldn’t have been a Margus Riga trip without getting a little Riga’d. Oh! And I should mention that ALN checked her GPS and could see Tenquille lake on the map! It was there, just past where we had stopped and turned around. Next time…

 

Words by Vaea Verbeeck

Photos by Margus Riga

Additional photos by Brian Park & Thomas Vanderham

Tags:

Previous News Get Kitted, So Kitted With the holidays coming and plenty of riding still left in 2016, it's the perfect time to offer up some huge discounts on apparel. At least 30% off all the kit you need!
Next News Trail Journal: Volume One Volume One of our Trail Journal is dedicated to the enjoyment of putting rubber-covered wheels into dirt. 70 pages of our favourite stories, images, bikes, and people from our first 35 years. 
Feature

Return of the Rockies

August 24, 2016

The iconic peaks of the Rocky Mountains embody a particular wildness, a disdain for the manicured and curated experiences of the modern world. Rocky Mountain Bicycles’ namesake mountain range holds a special place in our heart. We knew this year that we were overdue for a return to our roots - our bedrock.

"Growing up in Edmonton, the Rockies represented the epitome of rugged, large scale terrain,'' says Thomas Vanderham. ''My trips to the Rockies have been few and far between since I left the prairies, so the opportunity to spend time in Fernie on the new Slayer was one I looked forward to all year. It did not disappoint - panoramic views, huge descents, impeccable trail building, and a tight-knit mountain bike community.''

This was my first time riding with Florian Nicolai, and it's easy to see what makes him one of the top EWS racers in the world. He's got natural speed and an eye for ultra creative lines on the trail. We had an incredible time, and I hope that my next trip back to the Rockies isn't too far away. 

—Thomas Vanderham

Elk Valley locals tell a story about William Fernie, who asked a Ktunaxa chief about the black coal rocks hanging on the necklace of the chief’s daughter. The chief showed him the source of the coal on the condition that Mr. Fernie married his daughter, but the prospector backed out of the agreement. The chief then cursed the entire valley, and it would suffer a series of fires, floods, and mining disasters at the turn of the century. 

The supposed curse was lifted by Chief Ambrose Gravelle of the Ktunaxa Nation on August 15th, 1964. However, if you look at Mount Hosmer on summer evenings, you can sometimes make out a shadow of the chief’s daughter standing beside the ''ghost rider'' on his horse.

"I was in a window seat, jetting west across the mountains of British Columbia. I stared out at the grandeur of sun tinted snowy crags and knew that what separated my adopted home in Edmonton from the native soil of Vancouver was a massive rock formation called the Rocky Mountains. I thought about naming our new company after these peaks." - Grayson Bain, one of the original founders of Rocky Mountain Bicycles, 1981.

The jagged summits of the Three Sisters peaks that overlook the Elk Valley are massive beds of sloping marine limestone, called the Palliser Formation. Most mountains are younger than what they’re built on, but Fernie’s craggy peaks are literally upside down. 360 million years ago the area that would become the Elk Valley was much further south, close to the equator, and the Pacific Ocean was only 80km to the west. 

Dinosaurs roamed the land and earthquakes shook as the tectonic plates smashed into each other, fracturing massive pieces of stone along huge thrust faults. 180 million years ago, the old limestone sea floor was pushed upwards along those thrust faults and over the younger stone - turning the mountains upside down.

''I was excited to have the opportunity to work on this project. The first day I couldn’t believe I was riding with Thomas Vanderham - he’s a legend to me, and I love watching his signature style and whips,'' EWS racer Florian Nicolaï said of his time with the Canadian freeride icon. ''This was also the first time I rode the finished product of the Slayer, but it only took me one run to get used to it. It surprised me how good it is for different trails and terrain.''

The trails in the Rockies are so different from France, or anywhere else I've ridden on the Enduro World Series. The day we rode in the alpine was special. Riding raw freeride trails with Thomas right behind gave me a little pressure, but the views were beautiful and it was so much fun. It was an amazing experience, and I hope to return one day soon!

—Florian Nicolaï

The scale of the Rockies is sobering. From geological upheavals to megatons of rock carving the landscape as glaciers advanced and retreated, the forces that have shaped these mountains are almost unimaginable. This place has a unique way of making humans feel insignificant and reminding us that today’s landscape is just an impermanent snapshot in the earth’s geological history. It’s an honour to explore this terrain, its stone and loam, on two wheels.

Photography Paris Gore
WordsBrian Park

Film Credits

Presented by Rocky Mountain Bicycles
Created by Liam Mullany
Produced by Brian Park
Riding by Thomas Vanderham & Florian Nicolaï
Filmed by Liam Mullany & Nic Genovese
Colour by David Tomiak
Sound by Keith White
Trail building by Matt Dennis

Music

Intro
Writte by Oliver Michael
olivermichael.com
 
Clams Casino – Waterfalls
Michael Volpe
Published by Clammyclams Music/Sony/ATV Tunes LLC (ASCAP) a/s Sony/ATV Music Publishing Canada (SOCAN)
All rights reserved. Used with permission.

 

Thanks

Mark Hall and the Gearhub Fernie Crew
Rob Peters at Ascent Helicopters
The Fernie Trails Association
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Feature

Welcome to the Family Vaea Verbeeck

June 22, 2016

Vaea has been part of the Rocky Mountain family for a while now. We filmed this little shredit with her last year, but ran into some computer issues before we could share it. She's currently on the mend from a collarbone injury in Lourdes, but she's chomping at the bit to get racing in Lenzerheide next month.

Who are you and what are you all about?

My name is Vaea Verbeeck. I was born in Tahiti, French Polynesia, and raised in Granby, Quebec. Growing up with my mom and older sister didn't stop me from being a total tomboy. I’ve always wanted to be the best at every sport: gymnastics, dancing, swimming, skiing, snowboarding, climbing, volleyball, soccer, you name it. But after progressing and learning, I’d stall in my motivation. They just weren’t for me.

At 16 I borrowed a downhill bike at Bromont, and I was hooked. The following year I got myself a bike and it didn't take me long to register for a downhill race. A few years later I was entering World Cups and knew that I’d found my sport. After finishing school in 2012, I rushed straight to North Vancouver and have been living the mountain life dream ever since. 

I’m currently working at the Lululemon Athletica head office during the off-season and pulling the plug every summer to race the World Cup circuit.

Strengths?

Not scared, strong, calm, bike park tracks (lame I know), rocks, jumps.

Weaknesses?

PEDALLINNNNNNG uphill. That shit is hard on the body and mind. I'm also pretty good at breaking bones, not gonna lie. I got my fair share over the years, it's a fine line.

What's your favourite race?

I think my favourite race was World Champs at Hafjell, Norway in 2014. I’d gone a couple of days early and just enjoyed the park there. I loved the track; good jumps, good high-speed technical woods, and good corners. Seemed to suit me well too, I got 6th—my best result so far.

Tell us about what you do off the bike. What are your off-the-bike goals?

Life without bikes exists? 

I spend a lot of time working out, indoors in the winter. Plus I take full advantage of the West Coast outdoor lifestyle: hiking, snowboarding, camping, bouldering, and food. Love food. #activities

What's good?

I'm happiest at races. Over the years I’ve developed a sort of second family at the races, and rolling through the pits with your mates on the way to practice is perfect. It maybe doesn't feel that exciting when you're out there, but when I’m out with an injury I have major FOMO.

What bikes are you riding right now?

  • Rocky Mountain Maiden
  • Rocky Mountain Altitude Rally Edition
  • Rocky Mountain Flow

How do you set your bikes up? Anything unique?

Slack and low to plough through the rough stuff. Otherwise pretty standard. 

Who's your favourite rider?

I'm scared to watch sometimes, but Brook MacDonald. Wild lad. Open throttle!

What is on your playlist right now?

Right now: ODESZA, Jupe, some Rihanna, Kilter, Tim Legend, Møme. It's all over the place. 

Favourite websites?

  • Pinkbike
  • Vital MTB
  • Youtube (gotta watch them Supercross replays somehow) 

If you were the boss of mountain biking, how would you change things?

Easy. I started racing because I loved discovering new tracks and challenges. If logistics and finances could allow it, I would love to see new race tracks every year! New places and new experiences.

Goals for 2016-2017?

I've been on the mend getting back from different serious injuries over the last few years. The goal is to stay on the bike more. Being off the bike is the last place I want to be. Setting my limits and be in the game for the next few years would be the best. 

I am eyeing up another National Champion title. I always want to better myself and my results. So technically, improving on a 6th place would be a World Cup podium. However, I am going for my best performance, not a result. I'll be happy to get back to races and give it my best. It's worked for me in the past.

Shout outs?

A bunch of rad people! Rocky Mountain and Hope Tech make it happen for me. Also, Troy Lee Designs, FiveTen, Oakley, Atlas Brace, Rockwell Watches, Crankbrothers, and JFG Nutrition for making me sweat a ton. 

Anything else?

Go out and play!

Video by Brian Park, Music by Sonny Parmar. Photos by Sam Needham courtesy Hope Tech. Additional photos by Brian Park and Margus Riga. 

Previous News Be in Your Element Introducing the new 2017 Element, our flagship XC bike.
Next Feature Dumbing Down the Shore Wade Simmons finally speaks out on what he calls the "de-gnarification" of Vancouver's North Shore.
Feature

Dumbing Down the Shore

April 10, 2016

Wade Simmons finally speaks out on what he calls the "de-gnarification" of Vancouver's North Shore.

With apologies to Keyser Söze.

Featuring the new Rocky Mountain Pipeline
Starring Wade Simmons, Brett Tippie, Geoff Gulevich, Eric Lawrenuk, Andreas Hestler, and Todd "Digger" Fiander
Created by Union Co.
Produced by Brian Park
Thanks to the NSMBA for all their work
Photography by Margus Riga

Previous Feature Welcome to the Family Vaea Verbeeck We filmed this little shredit with Vaea last year. She's been part of the Rocky Mountain family for a while now, and she's chomping at the bit to get racing in Lenzerheide next month.
Next News Introducing the Pipeline The confidence of plus-sized tires in raw, technical terrain is now available in an aggressive trail chassis.
Feature

Flo Like Water

March 06, 2016

Florian Nicolaï is one of the most creative riders on the EWS circuit. His unique style threatens the podium at every race he enters. The Maritime Alps are home to some of the most technical tracks in the world, and working on this project over the winter showed us just how good Flo really is.

"This part of the world is the birthplace of Enduro. The Maitime Alps have produced some of the best riders on the planet, like Nico Vouilloz, Fabien Barel, Loic Bruni, and many others. The terrain and the culture make the difference—the trails have been here for centuries and were not made to ride, but to walk. So when you can find the flow here you’re a damn good rider." — Fred Glo, Godfather of Enduro & Owner of Urge bp

"Flo is insane. I don't understand half the stuff he does, but it's fun to watch!" — Jesse Melamed, Rally Team teammate

"Flo is a weirdly fast alien on a bike. He's got creative trail vision, and is one of the first riders coming up to have started out as a pure Enduro racer. Even after two strong EWS seasons taking 5th and 4th place overall, you get the feeling he's hungry for more results. Can't wait to see how this season unfolds." — Brian Park, Rocky Mountain Bicycles

Watch for Flo and the rest of our Rally Team throughout the entire Enduro World Series season. See you on track!

Rider: Florian Nicolaï
Bike: Altitude Rally Edition
Filmed by: Variable Visual, Sébastien Biget, & TS-Drone
Edited & Produced by: Brian Park
Photos by: Matt Wragg
Presented by: Rocky Mountain Bicycles & Urge bp
Supported by: Shimano, Maxxis Tires, Fox Racing Shox, Stan’s NoTubes, Race Face Performance Products, Royal Racing, 7 idp, FTI Consulting, Smith Optics, WTB, OneUp Components, Clif Bar, Evoc, Val d’allos
Music: Azad Right — Son of Sam
Thanks to: Fred Glo, Gaetan Riou, Matt Wragg

Previous News Maiden World Cup Wins Downhill Bike of the Year We're beyond stoked to announce that Decline Magazine has chosen the Maiden World Cup as their 2016 Downhill Bike of the Year!
Next News Video: Carson Storch in Barcelona Our newest freeride team member crosses the pond for warmer temperatures and new spots. Good vibes in this film by Harrison Mendel.
Feature

2 Fat 2 Furious: A Fat Bike Freeride Film

January 29, 2016

We had way too much fun last year shooting our first fat bike freeride video, so we knew we had to do another this year. The goal of 2 Fat 2 Furious was to only ride things that would be harder or impossible on a regular bike. From waist-deep powder to drifty sled tracks to packed down jump lines, the boys achieved just that.

Geoff Gulevich, Wade Simmons, and Noah Brousseau got rad on their Blizzards all winter, and we're excited to show everyone the result.

"We were having fun ripping around on the snowmobile tracks but looking at all the pow chutes surrounding us it was only a matter of time before we were dropping in—we just had to figure out lines that were steep enough to stay afloat!" — Wade Simmons

The whole gang. Our only regret is that Ludacris was too busy to make it out.

Noah Brousseau found out that there are limits to float. Turns out.

Even the Godfather crashes now and then.

This was the first time any of the boys had hit a proper sized drop on a fat bike. Worked out better than expected!

"I was pretty confident on the 3, it was just hard because I was scared to carve off the lip." — Noah Brousseau

Too much fun, now get out there and freeride your fat bike!

Bike: Rocky Mountain Blizzard
Shot at the Coquihalla Lakes Lodge, Kamloops Bike Ranch, and Coastal Mountains, BC
Filmed & Edited by Liam Mullany
Additional Cinematography by Harrison Mendel
Produced by Liam Mullany & Brian Park
Photos by Robb Thompson & Kaz Yamamura
Special Thanks to Cory Leclerc, Bobby Brown at Maxxis, & Eric Simmons
Music: Jet Trash — Baby C'mon

Previous News Getting Fat in Gstaad: Snow Bike Fest 2016 The Swiss Mountains of Gstaad had more than enough snow to make the second edition of Snow Bike Festival a great success.
Next News Farewell to Raphaël Gagné We'd like to thank Raphaël Gagné for his nine seasons of dedication to racing and to our brand. Wish wish you the best in 2016 and beyond!
Feature

A Rocky Mountain Christmas

December 21, 2015

As bike people it's easy to get caught up in our own hype. We all want shiny new stuff, but there's more to this sport than the latest-and-greatest. This Christmas lets be thankful for all friends, all trails, and all bikes.

See you in the mountains, and Love the Ride.

Merry Christmas!

-Rocky Mountain Bicycles

 

Starring Jason Lucas as himself, and Brett Tippie as Santa.
Written by Matt Dennison and Kaz Yamamura.
Cinematography and editing by Matt Dennison.
Narrated by Alex Farnham.
Special thanks to Wendy Dennison, Leo Zuckerman, Zac Moxley, and Cyrel Gonzales.

Previous News Welcome to the Team Carson Storch We are proud to sign Oregon-based slopestyle and big mountain rider Carson Storch to our freeride program. 
Next Media Review Bike Mag's Thunderbolt BC Dream Build Bike Magazine's Brice Minnigh selected our Thunderbolt BC Edition as the platform for his 2016 "Dream Build."
Feature

Launching the Maiden

August 18, 2015

Earlier this month we headed to Retallack Lodge with Thomas Vanderham, Wade Simmons, a bunch of lucky Rocky Mountain staff, and a few key media to officially launch the Maiden.

Arriving in style.

After a quick kool-aid session, we got right to riding.

Rob Potter gets his first taste of Retallack's fast, smashy tracks.

Classic Simmons style.

Night one: egos are crushed at Nageln (aka Hammerschlagen).

From mining ghost towns to old bus graveyards, the Selkirks have a fascinating history.

Simmons brings the vandemonium. And 12 Maidens.

Day two: the best shuttle vehicle ever.

Scotty P aka Pickles touches down on Reco Peak. We supported the Peak 2 Creek trail build here last year, and it was amazing to finally sample it.

Yo dawg, we heard you like Rocky Mountains, so we put your Rocky Mountains on some rocky mountains.

This spring Rocky Mountain product manager Ken Perras crashed and broke three vertebrae, one femur, one hip, his sternum, ten ribs, and punctured a lung. It is amazing to see him back on the bike shredding.

Vanderham was loving the fast, rowdy trails that flowed from the alpine all the way to the lodge.

Night two: we premiered Maiden Voyage, Vanderham's edit with Matt Miles and Anthill films, and toasted the trails with some damn fine whisky. Also, it turns out that Ken is pretty good at Indo board Jenga.

After three days of shredding some of the world's best terrain, eating amazing food, and generally soaking up the lodge life, it was time to drive home and get ready for Crankworx.

We'd like to thank Mike Kinrade and Phil Pinfold at Retallack Lodge, Dean and Ida with Toyota BC, and Margus Riga for the awesome photography.

SEE THE FULL MAIDEN PRESS RELEASE HERE

Previous News Catching Up with Jesse Melamed EWS racer Jesse Melamed sits down with Stan's Notubes to talk racing, injuries, wheels, and his plans for 2016.
Next News Introducing the Maiden Its all-carbon frame was designed from the ground up to perform at the highest levels of World Cup racing, bike park blasting, and big mountain freeriding.
Feature

An Idiot's Guide to Bikepacking on Snow

July 15, 2015

 

Words and Photos by Skyler Des Roches

I have a confession. Before this trip, I'd never actually ridden a fat bike on snow. I'd played around on some sand, and generally felt the worth of fat rubber, but coastal British Columbia is not exactly a prime location for riding bikes on snow. This area is known for steep, glaciated peaks, and bottomless powder, neither of which mix well with fat bikes. Backcountry skis are the tool of choice for moving around the mountains for much of the year.

Sadly, this season let me and many other backcountry skiers down. Record-breaking warm temps and low precipitation meant for a low-powder, low-excitement ski season for all but the most motivated. When that awkward time of the season arrived in late May, when there's still snow in the alpine, but too much bush between there and the trailhead to encourage much skiing, I hadn't had my fill. Rather than turning my attention downward to the prime riding season underway near sea level, I had the novel idea to just go ride on snow.

Knut is a man who enjoys novelty. He seems to derive a sort of sheepish pleasure from putting strange, impractical handlebars on his mountain bike, sewing quirky patches to his gear, smoking a wizard-length tobacco pipe, or eating monstrously large apples – “novelty hand fruit”. He was evidently prepared to overlook the probable outcome – that we'd bushwhack several kilometres with bikes before pushing them a short ways through knee-deep slush – when we came up with a half-baked plan to attempt a ski tour without skis.

After a long drive to the South Chilcotins, our first day of riding met all of our expectations – bushwhacking, bike pushing, bike carrying, and post-holing in slush. We weren't riding the trails that have made this corner of the Coast Mountains famous. No, those were already, almost entirely snow-free and ready for conventional tire sizes. Instead, we followed a forgotten horse trail up Slim Creek, aiming for a snow-covered alpine plateau west of there, and the mellow glaciers beyond. By mid-afternoon we'd climbed above the trees and any sign of a trail. It was immediately clear that we could not ride on the rapidly melting snow.

We relaxed at an early camp, and set alarms for 1:30AM with low expectations. At 2AM, we rode away under a bright moon on a firm, frozen crust. We'd been hoping for this, but were surprised enough by the easy riding that we made the mistake of stopping for a protracted breakfast before the sun was even up. We wouldn't take full advantage of the crust, which didn't form reliably until after 1AM, and lasted only until 7AM, until the following night.

We'd chosen the expansive alpine area at the headwaters of Slim Creek and the Taseko and Lord Rivers for its relative flatness. While I suspected that we could ride down steep slopes, and that our climbing would depend more on our lungs than on tire traction, I was not expecting much success on side-hills. Yet, as we rattled over kilometers of sun-cupped snow, tires aired-down to a few PSI, we held our elevation tightly around the side of valleys, traversing up to twenty degree slopes. A world of possibility unfolded.

If you're motivated by speed, fat bikes are not the best tool. But progression is not all stop watches and slow-mo whirligiging. I ride because of wanderlust. George W. had it wrong; “freedom and democracy” are not delivered from the end of an M16. The bicycle is the best agent of liberation.

I measure my riding with breadth of my mental map. Our faint tracks on the pre-dawn crust become lines on crinkled pages of my cerebral atlas. I've found there to be an inverse correlation with the number of things I have to think about, and the richness of an experience. Too often, gadgets rob us of real living. Nevertheless, it seems that something as wholly material as tire width has a direct effect on the potential to expand my known universe. That's what fat bikes are all about – potential. Not only are there new trails to be ridden, but places with no trails at all. Even slowly pedaling nowhere can be exciting. And has there ever been a bike at Griswold Pass?

I measure my riding with breadth of my mental map. Our faint tracks on the pre-dawn crust become lines on crinkled pages of my cerebral atlas. I've found there to be an inverse correlation with the number of things I have to think about, and the richness of an experience. Too often, gadgets rob us of real living. Nevertheless, it seems that something as wholly material as tire width has a direct effect on the potential to expand my known universe. That's what fat bikes are all about – potential. Not only are there new trails to be ridden, but places with no trails at all. Even slowly pedaling nowhere can be exciting. And has there ever been a bike at Griswold Pass?

Somehow, despite much post-holing, bike pushing, bushwhacking – an overall terrible ratio of riding to hiking – our frustrated exclamations of “No one does this! There's a reason no one brings a bike here!” were quickly shadowed by an immense excitement for where we were. Our mere 90 kilometers covered over four days were not a failure at all, but rather an eye-opening proof of concept. From our turn-around point at Griswold Pass, a gentle glacier climbed further west – a doorway to one of the world's most expansive sub-polar ice fields. And the key to that door might be so simple: just ride at night.

Skyler Des Roches is far from your average medium-adventurer, which you can observe from his blog and Instagram if this article didn't already point that out.

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