I had a day to kill in Vancouver waiting for Skippy's plane to land, *and* Ken B. invited me to join him on a few North Van classics. I'd have been an idiot to say no!
A handful of random musings, pertinent to watching the video below:
-If you aren't into very slow, very techy riding, don't bother watching.
-Ken is very smooth, hitting most of the lines so cleanly that as you watch you tend to think, "Big deal--my 8 year old could do that!". Not likely.
-Even if you ARE into tech riding, you have to watch closely to see what's so hard about it. VERY limited traction--the trail surface is ALWAYS wet. 100% of the time. Thus, your tires are constantly coated with a layer of water *and* trail schmeg. The result is constant one and two wheel drifts, 99% of which last longer than you'd planned on. Like riding on greased ice. Pay close attention and you'll see Ken's rear wheel slipping sideways all the time. Harder to see but our front wheels were doing the same.
-The clean, crisp smell of being in the rainforest is like none other.
-Stabbing a brake in panic = going down NOW. You're just constantly feathering the brakes, feeling the limit of traction, letting off a skosh and IMMEDIATELY accelerating, then trying to rein it in before it gets steep again. Exhilarating because you're never quite in control.
-There is no such thing as 'railing a corner' here. Ken put it best, "It's quite digital". My interpretation of that is that you have to slow almost to a stop to get around corners: Go straight, stop, turn, straight, stop, turn, etc... Speed is very, very rarely your friend.
-The sequence of trails we rode is on the extremely easy end of the spectrum for The Shore. I'm not sure I'm capable of much more than that. Very interesting to note that most folks out on these 'xc trails' were on 7" FR or 8" DH bikes. Mostly flat pedals, mostly fullface helmets, everyone with knee/shin and elbow pads. Climbing on mellow graded fireroads makes this possible.
-Notice the lack of undergrowth? Not much sun makes it through the upper canopy. Ain't in the desert anymore!
-The helmet cam perspective shows NOTHING of the steepness of these trails. Ken's saddle is dropped, mine is slammed at least 5", and I'd wager we spent 90+% of the time behind our saddles.
-Lots of laughter, usually of the nervous 'ohmygawdI'mstillalive!' variety.
Thanks to Ken's patient education the second lap was faster, more fluid, and more controlled than the first. Awesome.
After post-ride sushi I skedaddled down to the aeropuerto to pick up Skippy. On the drive up to Whistler I tried to give him an inkling of how much fun I'd had on Fromme, but it seemed the more I talked the less he 'got it'.
So I simply summed up by saying that every day of this trip, after today, was gravy.
Did I mention we were headed to Whistler?!