Whistler 2004: The Dream Vacation
Late in 2003, when I got an invitation from cousin-by-marriage Jeff Murray for a week of
mountain biking in British Columbia, I said sure, what the heck. A vacation in Canada, a
place I'd never been...I was in. What I didn't realize is that the Whistler area is
the North
American mecca for all types of mountain biking. It didn't take long to figure out why.
The Participants

Jeff Murray – first cousin by marriage, trip coordinator
and polluter of the RV toilet. Mountain biking fanatic
with more bikes in his house than underwear. Milford,
Illinois native who currently lives in Bowling Green,
Kentucky and rides a Specialized Epic.

John “J.J.” Johnson – friend of Jeff and king of
endurance on a mountain bike. Spends his days
working amidst Covettes under construction and his
weekends on a sweet Klein. Also a resident of Bowling
Kokanee beer...mmmmmm
Green.

Yours Truly – occasional mountain biker with no idea what he was about to be subjected to
on his Giant NRS-1. A Milford native now residing in St. Louis. Frequent sampler of soil,
single guy, and most willing climber.

Day 1 - Friday (July 9th)
My journey to Whistler began with a flight to Seattle and a rendezvous with Jeff and J.J. in
the baggage claim area of the Seattle airport. Jeff had reserved a
shuttle to drive us north
of Seattle to the RV rental place in Everett, where we had a sweet 24-foot RV waiting for us
at
Cruise America. A shuttle dispatch screw-up turned an easy 40-minute ride into 90
minutes of confusion. Two couples were sharing the shuttle with us, and all the names and
destinations were wrong. One couple, traveling with an infant, wasn't even supposed to be
on our shuttle.

When we finally made it to Cruise America, our bikes were waiting for us. My UPS-shipped
box looked like it had spent an afternoon with the baggage handlers at the St. Louis airport,
while Jeff’s and J.J.’s boxes were treated more nicely by FedEx. Since UPS rendered my
box pretty much unusable for the return trip, we made plans to bum a new box from a bike
shop prior to our departure the following week. The Bowling Green Boys had also shipped
a hitch-mounted bike rack that worked perfectly with the RV. We signed the paperwork,
loaded up our gear, and began driving north on I-5 just in time for Friday’s weekend traffic
jam.

A couple hours later we arrived at the Canadian border and crossed over into the Great
White North with virtually no hassle whatsoever. All it takes to get across is a drivers license
and a brief explanation of where you’re going and how long you’ll be there. For me, it was
my first-ever venture outside the continental United States. Vancouver came quickly, and
we were amazed by the city. Even though it’s just about within shouting distance of the U.
S., Vancouver has a modern, European flavor and amazing architecture. We accidentally
took the business Route 99 through downtown instead of the expressway, but it was worth
the extra time.

The scenery was dramatic as we climbed the mountains north of Vancouver on Highway
99. Our next stop was for gas in the town of Squamish, about 30 miles south of Whistler. I
took over driving duties from there to Whistler on the narrow, twisty highway. The skiing
portion of the 2010 Winter Games will be held at the Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort and
road crews were already starting the process of widening Highway 99 to accommodate the
traffic. Some of the blast zones were interesting, to say the least, in a 24-foot RV. We
arrived at Whistler Village well after dark and searched for dinner. Food is easy to find in
the village, and we settled on Italian cuisine at
Milestone’s. It was here that we discovered
Whistler’s best and most abundant natural resource: the 6-foot blond. Our waitress was a
prime example. Not only was she beautiful and friendly, but a mountain biker. Women like
that just don’t exist in the Midwest. We were in awe.

With help from the natives, we located the
Riverside RV park a couple miles up the road
from the village. With no advance reservations and a full campground, we settled in for the
night in the overflow parking area. The first night in the RV was downright frigid and
uncomfortable for Jeff and I. The RV had enough beds for all of us, but in an effort to pack
as lightly as possible we didn't bring pillows or anything to keep us warm. The smart one of
the bunch was J.J., who had used a $10 sleeping bag to pad his bike for shipment. He
stayed warm while Jeff and I shivered the night away. The next morning we didn't waste
any time firing up the engine and driving into the village for breakfast.

Day 2 - Saturday
Early Saturday morning we learned the first of many interesting facts about Whistler.

Fact #1: Not much happens in the village before 10:00 a.m.

We sat in front of McDonalds with two college girls from the suburban Vancouver town of
Surrey who were winding down after a Friday night that had turned into Saturday morning.
They provided two nuggets of critical information: stay out of North Vancouver unless you
want to buy crack and try to locate the Australian girl they’d partied with the night before
because she was hella wild.

Fact #2: If you give McDonalds $20 U.S. for a $5 Canadian breakfast, they’ll give you back
$15 Canadian. What a great deal.

We ate up and drove out to a trail called River Runs Through It, as recommended by our
mountain biking waitress at Milestone’s. We would discover many times over the next week
that our trail maps provided enough detail to get us to the general vicinity of a particular
trail, but there was always a little extra searching involved. We eventually found the
trailhead and began our first ride. What we saw was not like anything I’d ever ridden
before. River Runs Through It is a relatively flat trail filled with man-made “stunts” of all
sorts. For the non-fanatics, here’s a few examples of the stunts we saw:
The stunts were designed to be ridden in one direction, more or less, and the direction we
began riding was clearly not the intended way. That combined with morning dampness
made each stunt extremely challenging. I had never ridden on any stunt of any kind and
was basically scared crapless every time I rode one. After a couple of hours on the trail we
were already beating up ourselves and our bikes, so it was time to go back into the village
for food and repairs. Jeff dropped off his Epic at one of the village’s many bike shops to get
its shifter cables replaced. While eating at an outdoor pub, we discovered yet another fact
about Whistler:

Fact #3: Fat people do not come here.

It’s an active place filled with physically fit people. After lunch we strolled around the village
and admired the
bike park on the ski slopes. Never in my life had I seen so many $5,000
downhill bikes in one place, all congregated at the base of the mountain and ridden by
people of all shapes and sizes. On the mountain, bikes were sailing through the air over
motocross-style jumps and flying off a set of rock ledges called the GLC Drops. These
drops were the finale of a trail called A-Line, about 30 yards off the outdoor patio of the
Garabaldi Lift Company (GLC) bar/restaurant. The largest drop was 6 or 8 feet, depending
on where the bikes landed, and guys were launching themselves off it with ease. Two
smaller drops were available for the less insane.
Back at the bike shop, the mechanic suggested we drive a few miles down the road to
Function Junction and ride a trail called Trainwreck. The trail loosely followed a set of
railroad tracks and derived its name from a section of woods strewn with old boxcars from a
train that had jumped the tracks many years ago. Like River Runs Through It, the
Trainwreck trails were meticulously maintained by the local bike clubs. Wherever large
trees had fallen across the trail, rather than take a chainsaw to the offending tree, it was
often converted into an interesting stunt. Makeshift wood platforms were built across many
of the low spots or other areas that were at risk for riders taking alternate routes (and
potentially widening the trail). Meticulous maintenance, however, doesn't mean easy trails.
By the end of the day, we had learned our fourth Whistler fact:

Fact #4: For the Midwesterner, trails marked “Intermediate” are hard, and those marked
“Hard” are generally insane.

It was on the Trainwreck trail that I saw the first of what would be many absolutely crazy
stunts in the woods. A little spur of trail had been cleared up a hill and it looked like the
object of the trail was to push your well-suspended bike uphill, ride a short distance down
the trail, drop off a ramp built against a fallen tree about 36” in diameter, jump a 20-foot
gap using a man-made dirt ramp, and then immediately hit a steep-angled dirt ramp that
would launch the bike (with its rider, possibly) to the top of a boxcar. The run was still
under construction, but I would really have enjoyed watching someone attempt it.

We rode a couple more hours and finished a loop that a guy in the Function Junction
parking lot had suggested. By this time it was raining steadily, so we headed to Squamish
to get sleeping bags, pillows, and Kokanee beer (only in Canada). Back at the village we
attended a comedy show featuring five of Canada’s funniest comics. And they just may
have been, had we any understanding of Canadian politics. They did offer an interesting
insight on how the U.S. is perceived by Canadians, and it was pretty much based on one
concept: in the U.S., everyone carries guns and they’re not afraid to use’em.

Day 3 - Sunday
On Sunday morning we awoke to cool temperatures and an overcast sky. While we
fumbled around the inside of the RV to get dressed, we noticed a nasty aroma that could
only be one thing. No one would take credit for polluting the bathroom, but one thing was
clear: the shitter valves were open. A small trail of “stuff” was lying on the concrete pad on
which we were parked. The smell didn't go away after we cleaned up the mess and closed
the valves until J.J. noticed one of the stove burners had been turned on. One of us had
bumped up against the knob just enough to let propane start flowing. I shut off the
propane at the tank since we didn't have any plans to use the stove, and we thanked our
lucky stars that nobody had created a spark inside the RV.

After breakfast at Riverside Junction Cafe, we drove north to find the Comfortably Numb
trailhead. Previously described to us as the mother of all trails, it was 25 kilometers from
point-to-point. This length of trail in the Midwest might take a couple hours, but the folks in
the bike shops had told us to allow at least 5 hours. We parked the RV in a gravel lot near
the trail and began climbing a dirt road to locate the beginning of the trail. After a quarter-
mile or so of a relatively steep incline, we found a trail called “Secret Trail North”. It wasn't
on our map, so we kept climbing. Ten minutes later, finding no other trails, we turned
around and looked more closely at the map posted at the start of Secret Trail. As it turned
out, this was an old trail that had recently been linked to another trail, and this combined
trail had been renamed Comfortably Numb.

We entered Comfortably Numb at around 11:30 a.m. We exited the trail at about 5:00.
What we saw in between was endless, extremely technical singletrack and some of the
most beautiful forest I’d ever seen. In places, green moss had taken over every square inch
except the trail. Other sections had ground so soft it was like riding on carpet. Following
Jeff, I could see the trail sink half an inch as his wheels passed over. Throughout the ride
we encountered three or four groups of other riders and stopped often to chat. While riding,
the trail required every bit of concentration or bad things were very possible. Tree roots,
rocks, and the occasional wood-constructed stunt kept me in the lowest three gears while
rock drop-offs kept my sphincter fully tightened most of the day.

Comfortably Numb is divided roughly into two parts, each of which used to be separate
trails. The two trails were recently linked by an incredible bridge over a 40-foot gorge filled
with whitewater rapids. Moving the steel and wood that far up in the mountains must have
been quite a feat. The highlight of the first half of the trail was a gorgeous, rushing
mountain stream near the end of a long, straight climb. This climb and the short section of
trail that followed it were the last we’d see of anything resembling wide trails. After crossing
the bridge and entering the second half of the course, we had a mile or so of the toughest
singletrack I've ever seen. Through this root-infested section I probably pushed or carried
my bike more than I rode it. The climbs weren't terribly steep or long, but the difficulty was
in navigating the endless slippery tree roots and rocks. Once I stopped pedaling, getting
back any semblance of rhythm was nearly impossible. Temperatures in the 60's made rest
stops a chilly proposition. Even if the sun had been out, its light wouldn't have made it to
us.

Around 2:00 fatigue was already setting in and we’d barely made it halfway. The most
mentally challenging aspect of Comfortably Numb is that once you pass the one and only
cutoff just before the big bridge (the first and last chance to exit the trail), you’re pretty
much committed to do the whole thing. And since we’d never done the trail before, we had
no way of knowing how far it was to the end. All the while my body was taking a beating. I’d
whacked my knees against the handlebars about a dozen times and fallen backwards to
the ground, directly on top of a downed cedar tree. J.J. kept chugging along and never
offered a single complaint, while Jeff dealt with gastrointestinal issues (let’s just say that
when he let one fly, I wasn't worried about bears). Meanwhile, I tried to forget about the
Power Bars I’d forgotten to pack in my Camelbak. We rested at a clearing that doubled as a
heli-pad and talked to a group of guys that included a Provincial forest employee. He
explained that Comfortably Numb was some guy’s five-year project and the big bridge had
been the final piece of the 25-kilometer, point-to-point trail.

The hours passed and I felt like I was at the end of the
Leadbelt Enduro. Problem was, we
still had about an hour to go. We had been told by the other groups of riders that it would
be mostly down hill when we could see the Jack Nickalus golf course north of Whistler
village. We had been gradually climbing for most of the day and were rewarded with a long
descent. But at this point I was completely spent. Jeff and J.J. had run out of water long
before that and I had run out of energy. Jeff threw me a shot of Goo, which was just
enough to get me going again. Although I didn't see any bears, I could hear them all
around me. Each time I thought about stopping to rest, the grunting noises kept me going.
We finally came out to a gravel road and found a paved bike path that took us back to
Highway 99. The RV was parked a couple miles up the road, and J.J. volunteered to
retrieve it. Jeff and I rode a short distance to a small resort just off the highway, hoping to
find something to drink. We found Snapple and chatted with a college-aged Australian girl
working at the resort’s lodge. Sadly, she wasn't the hella wild chick the girls from Surrey
were talking about.

Hot showers at the RV park felt very, very good. We turned in early and slept well.

Day 4 - Monday
After two days of cross-country riding, the sun came out of hiding and we were ready for a
change of pace. With hardly a cloud in the sky, we thought it would be a good day to try
out the bike park on Whistler mountain. The previous day we’d talked to a downhill bike
rental place next to the ski lift and found that they would rent us all the necessities – bike,
helmet, pads, and even a guide if we wanted. We decided to sign up for a half-day ride
with guides. Since we’d never spent any time on full-on downhill bikes and didn't know the
trails, we figured a guide would be the hot ticket. We geared up, got our bikes, met our
guide, and hopped on the ski lift. The chairs were staggered, with every other one set up
for carrying bikes. At the end of the ride, two guys waited to unload our bikes.

Before riding down the hill, our guide showed us the basics of our Kona bikes and how to
ride them. Mine had its brakes reversed from the typical mountain bike standard – the right
brake lever activated the front brake, just like a motorcycle. That part was fine with me but I
didn't care for the levers having to be pulled almost to the handlebars before they would
engage. After a couple short sections of green (easy) trail, a guy named Ira had already
broken his gear shifter and our guide could tell Jeff, J.J. and I were a little more advanced.
He transferred us to another guide leading 5 or 6 riders of similar skills. We rode up a
second ski lift that took us to the highest point of the bike park. The best singletrack was up
here and these trails were new for 2004. I tried my first teeter-totter and found another
weakness in my Kona: the fork was way too soft. It bottomed hard, metal-to-metal, on a
relatively small hit. So much for big jumps.

With about eight of us in a line, the going was very slow and I was getting a little bored, so I
waited for everyone else to get a head start and give me some space. After Saturday’s rain,
the trails in the upper part of the park were still muddy and slick with nasty roots. These
trails reminded me of past hare scrambles courses, except it was all downhill, naturally.
While I was alone in the woods, I picked up the pace and started having some fun. Coming
around a corner, I slid out and tried to hop off the bike but landed on my right knee. This
was the same knee that was almost recovered from the whacking it took at the
March of
Dimes hare scramble a couple weeks before. With this minor get-off, I had aggravated it
again and could tell it was going to be sore.

After a couple hours of riding together as a group, the guides finally set us loose to ride on
our own. We went back up to the highest part of the park and did a trail called No Joke. I
was having a blast leading J.J. down the mountain but Jeff was hating the mud. About
halfway down the mountain my tubeless front tire went flat. We tried to insert a tube but the
sidewalls were too stiff for our basic tire-changing tools. We gave the tire a shot of CO2 and
I slowly rode down the mountain. Jeff and J.J. took off and waited for me at the bottom,
where I got a different bike at the rental place. This one, also a Kona, was a huge
improvement. The brakes were better, the fork was better, and it handled like a dream.
Even though we were supposed to have turned in the bikes then, they let us go back up for
one more run. Again, we started at the top and Jeff continued to hate the mud. J.J. and I
eventually lost Jeff and we ended up on the A-Line trail, which is probably the most fun trail
on the mountain. It’s smooth, fast, and has lots of what I would call “manicured” jumps with
nice approaches and smooth landings. Despite this, I did witness a guy screw up the
landing on a tabletop and crash hard in front of me.

The jumping felt different on the downhill bike, compared to my cross-country bike. On my
Giant, when I jump something I tend to lift up on my clipped-in pedals. The first time I tried
that on the Kona, my feet came off the pedals and my body basically separated from the
bike. The jumping technique was more like that of a motorcycle, where you hang on and let
the bike do its thing. On the A-Line trail I wasn't yet comfortable enough to get much air,
but that didn't stop me from admiring the work of the insane guys flying past me. Near the
bottom, the trail split off into two routes, one hard and another absolutely crazy. The crazy
option was a drop-off down a rock face, probably 15 feet, where it linked up with the easier
route. J.J. and I looked at it, then watched as a guy launched himself down it like it was
nothing. Insane.

The A-Line trail ended at the GLC drops, and I was determined to do the big drop. When I
told J.J. I was going to do it, I don't think he believed I was serious. We looked it over from
the landing area and watched several guys go over. I pushed my bike back up the hill and
began my descent. I don’t remember much about flying over the drop except I was afraid.
Very afraid. But I did it, and well, with J.J. as my witness. He pushed his bike back up the
hill and did the same thing, all the while thinking to himself, “John doesn't have kids…I
don't
have to do this!” But he did it just fine.

At the bottom we met up with Jeff, who showed us his swollen hand from a nasty crash on
the Clown Shoes trail. Jeff and I gimped back to the RV, showered, and headed back to
the village for dinner.
These photos
courtesy of
Toshi
This is the crazy
stuff that people
do every day at
the park.
No, it's not me...but this is
how I imagine I might have
looked while flying over the
ledge.
Dirt jumps
Bike park overview - base of
Whistler Mountain
Bike park carnage
Coming Down
Check this out...a few years later I ran
across
this photo in a mountain bike
magazine. Look familiar?
Going Up
Day 5 - Tuesday
Jeff and I woke up on Tuesday morning very sore. My knee had swelled to the size of a
baseball and his hand was puffy. We tried to get breakfast at the Southside Deli, highly
recommended in a Whistler mountain biking book Jeff had bought, but it had mysteriously
disappeared. Our alternate choice at Function Junction was excellent. We drove back north
to drop off J.J. at a trail called Thrill Me Kill Me. While J.J. rode the trails, Jeff and I went
back to mess around at the village. So many bike shops, so much time. We ran into a young
guy from England who we’d ridden with up the ski lift the day before. He had worked nine
months at a factory so he could save enough money to live at Whistler for the summer
season and ride the mountain 7 days a week. On this day he was unpacking a dirt-jump
bike he’d shipped from England and was complaining about the attempted screwing he was
getting from customs. Tough life, kid.

The mountain was active with bikes around lunchtime, so Jeff and I hung out on the
Garabaldi Lift Company patio and watched guys jump off the GLC drops. Excavators and
loaders were working part of the mountain to prepare for an upcoming competition called
Crankworx. Some of the stunts that had been built were truly insane. The most interesting
was an elevated teeter-totter. An approach ramp launched the bike and its rider onto the
teeter-totter (about 10 feet above ground), then it pivoted to drop off the bike (and,
presumably, its rider). One of our guides from the day before said no one had yet attempted
the elevated teeter-totter, but as the Crankworx video proved, there were a few guys crazy
enough to try it – and pull it off.

Back at the RV camp, J.J. returned from his ride. We messed around for awhile and then J.
J. took off again for a nearby trail called Cut Yer Bars. Jeff and I practiced our putting skills
at the Riverside putting greens, looked for bears by the river (didn't find any), and iced our
injuries. Late in the afternoon I pedaled around the park to see how my knee felt, and it was
still a little tender. About the time J.J. made it back from the trails, we were talking to a nice
gal named Mary who was parked next to us. She had driven up from L.A. by herself and
revealed that she was a 47-year-old L.A. County Sheriff's officer. Thus, Jeff and  J.J.
declared that Mary was going to be my girl. After dinner at Earl’s Bistro, the Bowling Green
Boys spotted Mary leaving the village and decided Mary must join us. Mary said O.K. We
walked over to the Savage Beagle, a trendy bar that was just opening for the evening. Not
wanting to be the first to enter the bar, we spotted some cool log chairs perched on an
elevated storefront – perfect for people watching. The chairs were intended for smoking
expensive cigars outside a cigar shop, so Jeff obliged and came out of the store with a $25
Cuban. After half an hour of observing the beautiful people of Whistler, nobody had showed
up to the Savage Beagle yet. We moved on to a street-side pub for drinks, where the
highlight of this particular bar was the female bartender who spit whiskey into a lighter to
make a cool fireball. The second time she did this, she lit a patron’s hands on fire and also a
stack of receipts from the cash register. By this time Mary was ready to retire, but the boys
had more business to attend to.

Since Tuesday night was to be our last night in Whistler before heading south to Squamish,
we decided to end our stay with a trip to a bar called The Boot Pub. We had scouted The
Boot Pub the previous evening after learning that it was hosting a “ballet” on Tuesday. It was
located a few minutes outside the village and was roughly crawling distance from the RV
park. Perfect. On our previous visit, the bar appeared to have a very local flavor. On
Tuesday night, it was even more local. We sat down next to a married couple from San
Francisco (the only exception, besides us, to the local flavor) and a British guy working
construction in the village. The show was taking a short break, so Jeff and Mike the
construction worker played pool. Mike was the kind of guy who, if you spent enough of your
night with him, might lead you into the kind of affairs that cause normal, law-abiding citizens
like me to spend a night in the local pokey. His pool shooting technique was all about
power, and lots of it. Balls were flying off the table, landing in the laps and against the
heads of unsuspecting patrons. In the lower 48 states this surely would have caused, at
minimum, an exchange of words, but in Whistler they have a saying for things like this: “No
worries.” Before Mike could launch any more balls off the table, the show began and all
attention was focused on the stage.

We learned an interesting fact about dancers in Whistler: they don’t take tips. Not even in U.
S. dollars. You can walk up to them, hold a dollar in plain view, and they just keep on
dancing. After several attempts to get the girls to accept our offerings, we gave up and just
dropped money on the stage. We later supposed that when it came to handing out dollar
bills, this particular bar may have become a little too “hands on” for the ladies’ comfort. After
a couple hours of appreciation for the arts, we walked back to the RV park, where J.J. had
previously dropped off the RV, in complete blackness.

Day 6 - Wednesday
In the morning we checked out of Riverside and drove down to Squamish. My knee was in
good enough shape to ride but Jeff's hand was still very sore. The plan was for J.J. and I to
ride trails at the top of Garabaldi mountain, just east of town. We tried our best to follow a
map we’d found in Whistler, but after about 15 minutes of driving the RV straight up the
mountain on narrow gravel roads, we turned around and went back into town. We found a
bike shop just opening up and they recommended a route on a more detailed map. Jeff
dropped us off and we succeeded in getting lost almost immediately. There were a couple of
trails in the general area where Jeff dropped us off, and naturally we took the wrong one.  
We finally linked up with the correct trail, but getting there required a long, steep, nasty
downhill. It was hard for us to imagine this trail could be ridden at all, but there’s probably
some crazy dudes from Squamish who do it every weekend.

We continued on a generally downhill path into a sweet section of smooth singletrack. It was
an old logging road inside the forest that had grown up in trees, and it reminded me of a
hare scrambles course. I couldn't help myself and took off ahead of J.J. while doing my best
impression of a hare scrambler on a mountain bike. After this section we encountered a
group of riders who were on a guided tour. We followed them for awhile, then tried to figure
out where we were (again) and how to stay on the route we’d been shown in the bike shop.
We stayed on our route for several miles, and then I suddenly forgot how to ride my bike.
After crossing the mountain road we’d ridden up in the RV, I took a nasty fall where the trail
dropped back down into the woods. Now I had a bloody elbow and my good knee was sore.
Later, we were descending a tricky switchback section where I crashed about five times in 30
yards. J.J. decided my problems were due to me following him instead of leading. Naturally,
when I took the lead position the trail became easier and the crashing subsided (thank God).

We eventually chose to diverge from the bike shop’s route and follow a marked trail that was
to be part of an upcoming 67 kilometer race. A guy riding by himself was also following this
trail and we were able to compare notes with him on where in the heck we were on the map.
We found a cool bridge over raging water, and at that point the major descending from the
mountain ended and we entered several miles of tight, rolling singletrack. One of the
highlights of craziness in this section was a stunt called Double Dog Dare. Only pictures can
do it justice.

We rode several more miles until reaching the outskirts of Squamish, where the singletrack
ended and the pavement began. Jeff called my cell phone and we met up at a Quizno’s
restaurant. He had toughed out his sore hand and put in about half a day’s ride by himself
on some of the same trails J.J. and I had been riding.

Thus ended my mountain biking in Canada. We drove south to Vancouver and set up in an
RV park in Burnaby. That evening Jeff and I took the train to the Waterfront while J.J. got
some rest. The next morning we crossed the border into the States, where the border patrol
is more serious and they made us produce passports or birth certificates as identification. In
Everett, Jeff and I dropped off our bikes at a bike shop to have them pack and ship our
bikes home, then took off to visit relatives while J.J. got in yet another day of riding at nearby
trails.
John
J.J.
Log bridge at Squamish
Looking Up
That's me, with half the suspension and
10% of the cajones needed to do Double
Dog Dare
Looking down.
The first ramp is actually a teeter-totter. If
you're brave enough to ride it, you'll
immediately encounter the wood ramp that
drops off about 6 feet. Just visible near the
bottom is another ramp and drop-off.
It's a long way down
Note the fine print: "Remember,
you signed the waiver!"
The Conclusion
It was an amazing trip, one that we all agreed would have to be done again. Would we have
done anything differently? Sure. We might have shipped our bikes directly to Whistler,
skipped the RV rental in favor of a truck or SUV, and rented cabins at the Riverside
campground. Instead of renting guides in the bike park, I would have rented a downhill bike
for the whole day. In fact, I could go back just for the downhill riding. Whistler is it, if you’re a
serious mountain biker. My three inches of travel were an inch or two shy of ideal for the
kind of cross country trails in the Whistler/Squamish area. If you lived there, you’d need
three bikes: one for cross country, one for downhill, and a freeride bike for playing in places
like River Runs Through It. And if you lived there, my bet is you’d never live anywhere else.
It's that good.
J.J.      Jeff         John
Big drop
GLC Drops
Medium Drop
The Comfortably Numb Photo Album