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2,039 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not gonna lie. Doing this trip report is extremely difficult given the current forum tools. But I was inspired by RBoardman's efforts of writing up his race report (RBoardman's TransBC Ride Report), and I was so stoked on this trip that I thought I'd make the effort to share our adventure. So I'm pressing on! Last year, I was with a small crew that flew into Vancouver and we just did 3 days of Whistler Bike Park. That was really awesome, but this year, I was determined to take a whole bunch of time off and do the long road trip to check out some of the great riding that the PNW has to offer along the way. Since our group ended up being really small (for the road trip portion, anyway) we stayed really flexible with our lodging and ride destinations. In the end, we ended up hitting Ashland, Bellingham, Squamish, Whistler, Nanaimo, and Cumberland. This really turned out to be one of my best mtb trips ever, especially since we pretty much got hero dirt conditions at every stop!

I ended up driving solo, and my partners, Jeff and Liv, were in their own car since their vacation will continue onward to Downieville for the race. That meant that I had to keep each leg of the drive reasonable. If you absolutely hate being in the car, this type of trip might be tough.

First night arriving in Ashland, I went straight to Caldera. This was my first time at the new location, so it was a must for me.
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Ashland was kind of close for the first stop, but the timing was right for us to meet up with Paul and Julie, who were returning from their own BC trip.
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Nothing but smiles dropping in!
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Time Warp was fast and choppy as ever. But we also did some major pedaling to check out some of the other singletrack rather than continue with the usual Enduro route.
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After a late lunch, we got cleaned up and parted ways with Paul and Julie. A big push of a drive into the night and we ended up in Kelso, WA. Grabbed a pretty unexpectedly awesome breakfast, then worked through some Seattle area traffic.
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The plan was to pick up the fourth rider in our group at the Vancouver airport when his flight arrived at 10:30 p.m. So that meant plenty of time to detour to Galbraith MTB Park and check out the goods before crossing the border.
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I think we only ended up doing a 5 mile loop, but it was plenty since our legs were still pretty fried from Ashland, and we were drained from sitting in the car. Lots of fun to be had here, and we only scratched the surface!
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Jeff is all smiles after we did that steep roll in you see in the background. Hard to tell from here, but that thing is near vertical! But super smooth.
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After picking up our friend from the airport, traffic delays on the bridge leaving Vancouver had us arriving at our AirBnB in Squamish at 1:30 a.m. That was rough! Good thing I brought beer. Errr, I mean, no Mr. Border Agent, I do not have any alcohol with me.
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To Be Continued...

2,039 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
First AirBnB score of the trip! We had the downstairs unit in a house that was riding distance to the trails. Since sunset up there was at 9:00 p.m., we decided to ride the Alice Lake area first, grab some late lunch close to the house, then head over the the University area to ride Half Nelson and other trails there.

First climb up from Alice Lake and you're just exposed to endless roots in a lush forest.
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A lot of work with tired legs and humid weather, but it was so fun!
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Funny story. We ran into YouTubers Paul the Punter and BoBo working on some video content. We stopped to say hi and chatted a while because we happened to watch a bunch of their videos while researching trails for this trip.
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Things start getting slabby.
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We started running out of daylight in the trees, so we only did the lower portion of Half Nelson. I see why people love it, but after a while, I can only deal with so much flow trail. As we crossed over to the Pseudo Tsuga side for the final descents, we were treated to a beautiful dusk sky.
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Another Realm was a good description for the trails out here.
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2,039 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
After a full day of riding in Squamish, we drove into Whistler the next day. We had a full four days set aside in the Village. I wanted to try the Santa Cruz V10 this time around, but the available dates for the bike didn't quite work out, so I ended up riding my Bronson in the park on our first day. I figured we were only going to do warm up laps and mostly blue trails on the first day, so it would be fine. Boy, I'll tell ya, that Bronson with coil front and rear was so much fun airing out on blue jump trails like Crank It Up! But, I was glad to switch to a DH bike for the following days.

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A good rain before our second day meant big crowds and long lines.
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My V10 for the rest of the park riding days.
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Yeah, it's park riding, but I still have to stop and admire the views.
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After 2-3 days of park riding, I was pretty much done and ready for a change of pace again. Due to tired legs and beat up hands, we decided to do a slower pace tech ride instead of seeking out a big long downhill. Dark Crystal was our other choice, but we opted to check out Comfortably Numb. (Just the descent portion, not the whole Land Of Confusion loop.)
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More gorgeous views and lush forests. The moss had moss growing on it.
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Wood and more wood.
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Obligatory dip in Lost Lake. I was a dummy and forgot to grab beer from the condo.
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Yes. We did Kokanee more than a few times.
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To be continued...

2,039 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Prior to leaving on this trip, the days after Whistler were wide open. Options included going back to ride more Squamish, or head over to Pemberton, or even head back down to ride North Van. But we had heard great things about Vancouver Island. Paul and Julie were raving about their time in Cumberland and Nanaimo, and they had already done some trail intel, so off to the Island we went. We drove down to Horseshoe Bay and got into the first come first served line for the ferry to Nanaimo. We ended up waiting roughly 2 hours for the next available ferry, but you just have to make the best of it when planning on the fly. Once you get going on the water though, time flies by because of the stunning views. Then, when we got to our rental in Nanaimo, we were treated to our next AirBnB surprise of the trip.

Next in line to load up
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A little tight, but better than parking in SF!
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The boat is yuuuuge.
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Bye Squamish!
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Online pics of the rental did not do this place justice. When we rolled into this nice neighborhood, we had to double check we got the address right. Turns out we were in the lower unit of that really nice house.
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And when we walked in, that was the view from the living room window.
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So first thing first. We cracked a couple of beers and sat out back.
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And again, since sunset was at 9 p.m., we decided to do a quick spin and check out a trail or two at Benson Creek Falls. This was a critical move, because we met some locals as we finished up, chatted for a while, and got some great intel on riding and eating and drinking in the area.
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The result of that local intel. Picking up a killer pizza and bringing it over to White Sails Brewing for some late night post ride grub and beer.
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2,039 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Cumberland, I believe, was Day 9 out of 10 of getting on the bike and riding trail. It was by far my favorite trail system because it seemed to check all boxes. Beautiful. Fun to ride. Challenging. Great variety. The community is continuing to grow and everyone is very pro-cycling. Again, we happened to meet a local out on the trail, and after chatting for a bit, he offered to lead us on the second half of our ride so we didn't have to navigate.

Parking Area close to the trailhead. Complete with bathrooms and a bike wash station.
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Only a 2 block stretch, but they have dedicated bike lanes from the parking lot to the trailhead.
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Had to climb down into the creek bed to check out these really cool rock formations.
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More views on the way up. Most of the trails in BC either have dedicated climb trails or mellow grade access roads with occasional steeps.
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Just some random reservoir.
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Bear Buns. One of the funnest trails. Starts off with steep chunk, then fast and twisty chunk that's adjacent to the creek here.
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Then it gets fast and flowy with step downs. All with islands and the strait as your visual backdrop.
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Seriously all giggles on the way down the mountain.
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Dinner at the local hipster taco joint. Word is the chef moved here specifically for the mountain biking. Place used to be a library. Biblio Taco. Get it?
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Back at the house to enjoy the last of the beer I lugged across the border.
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2,039 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Last day in Nanaimo for me. We hit the south side of Mt. Benson to check out some of the longer black trails. It turned out to be my least favorite riding, mainly because the payoff was not worth the work required to get to the top. It was also where I finally ate **** on the trip when I took off on a small rock and upon landing, caught a pedal on a hidden stump in the tall grass.

Look for the gate that says STOP NO ACCESS. Park across the street and start your ride at that gate.
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Locals pointed us to this cool British Pub that used to be an old train station.
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I then parted ways with Liv and Jeff. They stayed another night, got in on some local shuttle monkey action, and found killer sushi. I made my way down to Victoria to catch the last ferry out to Port Angeles, WA.
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2,039 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
On my own now, and that drive out from Port Angeles to Olympia via 101 was rough! A two lane highway for most of the way, at night, with really nothing between Port Angeles and I5, was NOT enjoyable. After my only fast food break of the trip, I worked my way down to Kelso, WA for a night at the Comfort Inn. The plan was to get down to Ashland again for another night's sleep, then back home to the Bay Area. I then filled in the time in between by deciding where I wanted to eat and drink.

First stop. Headed down to Portland. Brunch at Pine State Biscuits.
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The Reggie Deluxe. Biscuit with Fried Chicken, Bacon, Cheese, Fried Egg, Sausage or Mushroom Gravy.
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Then I hopped over next door to Great Notion Brewery.
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Had a couple of small pours and grabbed a bunch of crowlers to bring home.
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Made it down to Ashland and found that southern Oregon is already burning.
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Settled down in a motel. Might as well try one of those Great Notion brews.
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Final food stop. Big ass breakfast at Morning Glory.
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One more beer stop to make sure I have enough Oregon brews to share. See me at TNGR this week!
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Ahhhhh, California. Home of the drivers who do not move out of the fast lane.
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Hella Olde
2,541 Posts
Great reading that at 'work'!! So much beeeeer, too!

Question - you don't use any bike-locking device on the 1up rack? Like the wheel lock cylinders or a chain to the hitch? (pic on ferry)

2,039 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Great reading that at 'work'!! So much beeeeer, too!

Question - you don't use any bike-locking device on the 1up rack? Like the wheel lock cylinders or a chain to the hitch? (pic on ferry)
Ha! The BFC comes out whenever the bike is unattended.

My friend had a bike stolen on a road trip before. (Yep. Cable lock cut.) I'm from the city so I automatically think everyone is out to steal my ****. I'm sure you know what I mean!


Hella Olde
2,541 Posts
Ha! The BFC comes out whenever the bike is unattended.

My friend had a bike stolen on a road trip before. (Yep. Cable lock cut.) I'm from the city so I automatically think everyone is out to steal my ****. I'm sure you know what I mean!

OK - Cool. Yeah the Big F'n Chain is a must. I can't even leave the rack on overnight for fear it will be disassembled.
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