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Spin-stabilized
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Comfortably Numb

It's whistler's signature epic cross country ride. Of course I had to ride it. Nevermind the myriad of local bike shop staff that tried to discourage me from doing so. They all told me that it is one super tough ride and I better be prepared. I didn't believe the super tough part but I brought a lot of food and water and started earlier than normal just in case. It's only 24 km and climbs less than what, 4000 feet? However, I soon found out it's indeed a very tough 24km. There aren't any multi-mile uphill grinds but you'll be fighting and working for every inch of this trail, up and down. The trail itself is a technical rider's dream. The dirt is loamy for the most part but never flat and boring. Where there is loam, there are countless embedded rocks and criss-crossing roots. There is surprisingly very little buff singletrack. It meanders, climbs and dives through the forest. Near the beggining and the end, the trail breaks out into the open. In these parts, the trail goes up and down elephantine rock faces. A lot of them are pretty steep but only require a straightforward roll (just stay off the front brakes and keep your butt behind the saddle) while others are long, ledgy and tricky/turny and require some finesse. There was also no shortage of steep and ragged drop-ins that had me wishing for a bashguard instead of the big ring on the rental bike. Wooden ladders and a few skinnies were also everywhere spanning bogs, creeks, rock outcrop gaps and sometimes probably just for rider entertainment. It's best described as a cross between Rockville, Grouse Ridge trails and Santa Cruz trails but add some fine woodwork, a lot of roots and more technical steeps. It's a superb trail and is well-built. I didn't notice any skid marks even in the sketchy LZs and runouts. These Canadians sure know how to ride eh?

I rode it as a loop from the village which adds a 12 Km road ride. It wasn't bad at all except for the highway was a bit too busy for my liking. After 20 minutes, I was at the trailhead.
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It seemed like an eternity before I got to the first and last bailout point.
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It took even longer to get to the halfway point. By then, anxiety had set in. I knew I had plenty of daylight left but it took me nearly 3 hours to cover 7 miles. That's really slow. My quads were also beginning to cramp and I was worried about having to push my way out of there which would not be fun. All the lunging and powering up and over the seemingly endless technical stuff was really sapping my strength. The gloomy and cold weather didn't help either nor did the thought of a stalking cougar or some hungry grizzlies (apparently there are a few in Whistler). I decided to take it easy and gave in to the granny gear for a bit. I also ate a couple granola bars and sat down for a bit. A little bit after the halfway point I was feeling good again and decided to pick up the pace a bit (and stop taking so many timed poser shots:D ) to see if I can at least get back before late afternoon. The last half of the trail was the best. It was mostly downhill with all kinds of naturally technical terrain with some ladder bridges thrown in for good measure. I felt so much better about riding out in the exposed areas once again. I was so glad to see the sky and be out of the forest. It was game on! That was so much fun! I made it out of there by 3 PM. A total ride time of around 5 1/2 hours. On the way back to return the rental Enduro SL, I hit the Lost lake trails (they were conveniently just behind our cabin) one more time. I thought the Lost lake trails were technical when I first rode them the day before to get a feel for the Enduro. After riding Comfortably Numb, they felt so much smoother I wondered if they had always been that way.

All in all an excellent ride! If you ever wind up in Whistler and only have one day to ride a XC trail, 'Numb is the one to hit. Just be prepared for a hard and long ride. Really, no kidding.

Now for the photo dump:
'Numb shows its teeth for the first time
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Bridges galore - it wouldn't be a Canadian trail if it didn't have some ladders would it?
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I lost count of how many rock faces I rode
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There was no shortage of chunky drop-ins
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Raging Wedge Creek from the Al Grey bridge
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Grouse
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What an epic ride!
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Fun while it lasted but I was glad it was over, whew!
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Garbanzo!

Yesterday was my final day of riding and tooling around Whistler. It's such an awesome place. I only wish I had brought my own bike because there are so many awesome "xc" rides and 80 bucks a day for an xc/am bike rental is a bit too steep for me.

I decided to finally ride the bike park on Saturday. I was busy with other non-bike related activities not to mention being busy recovering from riding Comfortably Numb:D .
Anyway, it was a fine day up on the mountain and a fine way to cap this leg of the road trip.

I've never ridden Whistler's bike park before and was expecting super gnarly stuff all around. Heck if they call Comfortably Numb a cross country trail I wondered what their freeride/DH trails looked like. I was cautious at first after I got off the Fitzimons lift at mid-mountain. I decided not to get in over my head and start with the Blue trails. Who knows what sick gnarliness lay in the black and double blacks. Even though I was dressed to crash, I started off with the blue Golden Triangle. That was nice singletrack but I didn't think it was worth the bike rental and lift ticket. I veered off and hooked up with A-line for a bit. Ok, not too bad, I still suck at jumping though so I decided to get off at Old School for some Shore stuff. Now that's more like it! There was this long skinny ladder that wound around the trees. It ended with a step-down to a ramp. Very nice except the landing past the ramp was a bit rough. Hey it's mountainbiking right? Besides, the Norco Shore that I rented just sucked it up. Amazing! I am really missing something by not owning a big and plush bike.

On the way back up I shared a chairlift with a couple kids from Bellingham who suggested that I just stick to the Garbanzo accessed trails. I stayed away from it the first time as there was a big sign at the lift saying that it accessed expert trails only. A bit intimidating I thought. I decided to give it a go anyway with no idea what the trails were like. All I can say is OMG! They have some seriously technical and seriously fun stuff up there. I find that I like riding gnarlier trails more than the big air trails. That was probably a good thing since it was a weekend and endless hordes of adrenaline junkies were ripping down lower A-line and the "jumpy" trails. They were all ignoring all the fine technical stuff. I was having so much fun that I forgot that I only intended to rent the bike for 4 hours (80 bucks). I rode the Garbanzo lift up until about 4:30. I think I rode all the 'banzo accessed trails. I decided to call it quits after running out of water and being a bit clumsy from fatigue and hunger.

Notable favorites would have to be Fatcrobat with its long ladder bridges and skinnies, In Deep and Goat's Gully for very very hectic technical descending and Original Sin/Captain Safety for all the big and steep rockfaces and drop-ins.

I managed to pause and take a few pictures too:D

This looks familiar (from an IMBA Calendar of past?)
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My strangest encounter with wildlife. This Grouse attacked me, must have a nest close by.
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Old Skool
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It's all good.
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Goats Gully - crazy descending here
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There's nothing Safe about this Captain
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Off to North Vancouver now. I hope my body recovers enough to hit the shore:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah I know, no Gargamel either :bluefrown: Squamish... man, too many trails too little time. Oh well, I can't complain really. I'm just glad that I got a chance to see this corner of the continent and escape all the nasty smoke back home as well. It's a beautiful place.
 

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Isn't that picnic table spot awesome? Glad to see that the upper mtn at the WBP is open. Any issues with snow further up? I expect to be there in a couple of weeks.
 

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Spin-stabilized
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yep. The views from up there are awesome. That's where the angry grouse attacked me though :)

No snow at all from top to bottom of the whole bike park. The upper trails are in awesome shape right now. Not too much traffic up there too so it may well stay that way for a few weeks. Have fun!
 
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