|Our Bike Gang - Stoked.|
One good ride deserves another so off we went to get another day of frothing on primo B.C. singletrack. Special guest Myrosha joined us this time making it that much more merry.
He borrowed his bike and gear from Galyn – a local trail builder, racer and good friend of Myrosha’s. We met Galyn briefly in the parking lot before the dots all came together. The day before, Gerhard and I had met some riders from the Dodge City Cycles ("The highest bike shop on Vancouver Island") out on the trails. They told us we had to try out the new trail “Truffle Shuffle,” fresh cut and apparently totally awesome. It’s also been reviewed in some media, with the press calling it “the best climb in Cumberland.” They raved about the trail, and its builder who they said was “awesome,” “a bit of a wood worker” (hence its beautifully crafted sign at the trailhead) and “an amazing part of the community.” So we followed them to this not-to-miss singletrack and loved it, as predicted.
Turns out Truffle Shuffle is none other than Galyn’s handiwork. What a small world. Hopefully Myrosha passed on our enthusiasm for this masterpiece. It is definitely a tremendous trail.
Myrosha also let us know that Galyn is not alone in his trail-building efforts. In fact, most of the network in the Cumberland area has been cut by a 60-year-old former logger – I didn't catch his name but he’s a local legend. He has a special talent for seeing the natural contours of the terrain and finding the most radical way over it. He puts his years of experience as a logger to use by removing the trees skillfully, and then using whatever he removes to build ladder bridges and trail features that make the riding here truly stand out. He builds a trail, rides it, and then moves on to the next so that now, the network is so enormous you’d need a week to properly rip all of it.
It is amazing to enjoy these singletracks and then think of the amount of work that only a handful of people have done in the name of their passion. That’s why mountain biking is amazing. Individuals like “the logger” and Galyn, and every rider we meet, reflecting our ear-to-ear grins back at us as we do our small part to help work in the trails.
Another observation about Cumberland: It is full of ladies who rip! The ratio of men to women I saw on the trails and in the parking lots was AT LEAST 50:50. Amazing. So ladies, if you’re looking for a riding destination where you’re sure to meet other women on bikes, Cumberland should be on your short list.
As for our ride, you can follow along using Cumberland's handy online map! Gerhard got a new bike - A 2013 Norco alloy RANGE - from Trail Bicycles today. We rode over to Cumberland and decided to try Buggered Pig in the other direction (up) and had a great time challenging ourselves on the MANY skinnies and bridges built up through the lower section. We popped back out onto the fire road and got a taste of how that section might feel on race day as we pedaled up up up to the turn off for Sykes Bridge and Tea Pot beyond that. Feeling a little more peppy than expected, we decided to continue climbing past Tea Pot, past Truffle Shuffle (not yeton the online version of the map, but you can see it on the printed versions, which are $4 and available in local shops) and on to the lower section of Thirsty Beaver.
AMAZING. So glad we didn’t miss Thirsty Beaver. Its main feature is ladder bridges of consequence over cold creeks and sometimes pretty high off the ground. The wooden bridges were wet for good measure, so braking was out of the question, which was fine, because the bridges were narrow enough that stopping was kind of out of the question too. We loved it!
We could have just dropped straight into Tea Pot from there, but we couldn’t pass up another round of Truffle Shuffle so we climbed back up that fire road again and then up Galyn's “best climb in Cumblerland” before descending through the tight berms and steeps of the second half. Then it was straight into Tea Pot and on my third ride though this section – and with exponential growth in comfort on my borrowed Sight – I was feeling pretty shredtacular. So much fun and flow.
Rather than turn off to That Dam Trail as we did yesterday, we kept heading towards the reservoir and then went around the other side, which was new territory for all of us. We caught the Rail Road singletrack and rode that all the way to Crafty Butcher, which featured even more ladder bridges into rock drops and then EVEN A TEETER TOTTER section that just plain made my day.
This area had been clear-cut in the recent past so it was open to the light with shorter new-growth trees and bushes framing an epic view of the snowy mountaintops and the ocean in the distance. It felt like heaven. It felt like we were all drunk with it.
We continued our downhill singletrack assault on crowd pleasers like Brat and Black Hole and then finished off our ride with the whoops and berms of Space Nugget.
With heavy hearts (and quads!!), we left the trailhead, asked a stranger to take our picture, said farewell to Myrosha, rolled back to Courtenay and returned our rented weaponry. Thanks again to Ryan at TrailBicycles – you helped make this trip a really amazing time and we will definitely be visiting again.
More photos from Day 2!
|A Beautiful "Sight" - Norco Carbon Sight 7.1 on Truffle Shuffle|
|Myrosha multi tasking|
|Gerhard and Myrosha finishing up Truffle Shuffle|
|On to Tea Pot!|
|Gerhard and I riding rocks and ladders on Crafty Butcher (Myrosha photo)|