The goal was to be on the road and to arrive in Whistler with time to ride the pump track before the Saint Deep Summer slide show. It was a good plan, and we were on track to make it- until we hit evening traffic in Vancouver. Up until that point we had made great time; even our border crossing went quickly. No anal probes were administered, and we didn’t even have to get out of the car. One look at the massive amount of crap stacked in the bed of the pickup probably had something to do with that one.
Our dreams of riding shortly after arriving were dashed, but we did get some cool Saint pint glasses at the Saint slide show to comfort our sorrows. The Kokanee, sadly, wasn’t included with the cost of entry. I forgot how much stuff costs in Canada, but I think I remember seeing a case of beer running about $45 or so. Damn!
With this view taunting us, we were off to look at slideshows of photos taken for the comp. There was a large quantity of gorgeous imagery being projected for our viewing pleasure. Bike Magazine Contributor Jordan Manley ended up with the win- his images really did a good job showing a solid perspective on what Whistler was all about: trails and epic riding. Must be nice to be a local and have this sort of greatness in your backyard. What is it about Whistler that makes us want to become Canadian? Is it the insanely awesome riding, the mountains, or the free health care? Maybe it’s all of the above.
After the show it was off to the pub, where we partook in pitchers while watching Follow Me on screens, over and over. GA! I just wanted to get out and ride. When it was finally the next morning, and time to ride, the day began with a warm-up run down Crank It Up. Joining me for this run was PDX yokel and grumpy-man (as in surlier than me) Mr. Corey Tepper, and friends. Someone got held up on the trail, so I shamelessly ditched them to get onto my second run when I spotted some of my favorite Canadians, Mr. and Mrs. Gibb. I hadn’t met Ryan yet, but just about all of us have seen the previews for his new MTB film Lifecycles.
The Gibbs have been living the dream for the last three years in trying to get the film made and finished. Word is they hope to have the official premier for Interbike, just weeks away. The movie has been over budget for some time now, which means the Gibbs have been scraping to get by, and we discussed the pros and cons of trying to live the dream. It’s not an easy road. However, Ryan and his partner are on the verge of raising the bar for mountain bike films to a whole another level. Hopefully it makes it all worth it in the end.
I don’t even own a Blue-Ray player yet, but I’m planning to pre-order the movie in high-def. It looks that good. The Gibbs took me up to the top of the mountain for the first time and showed me the wonder that is Freight Train. Super good stuff.
The Gibbs had to take off after a few runs to do a shoot somewhere, so I grabbed a almost-free can of Monster energy and got back in line. While standing in the singles line I ran into Jon Kennedy, marketing guy for Diamond Back Bikes in Seattle. He was doing some “testing” of his latest ride, (the 2011 Diamondback ScapeGoat) so I got to check it out. (Pinkbike actually did a feature on it. Check it out here.)
I can’t say I’ve been a fan of the Diamondback all mountain line to date, with their relatively steep 68° head angle, and lack of stand over. They have been gaining in popularity though, and for 2011, the all mountain line looks considerably more dialed. With the new 2011 Fox 7″ single crown fork the bike comes in at 66°, and it now has additional stand over. If you consider the features at Black Rock and Post Canyon part of your normal all mountain ride, this might be a good bike to check out for next year. Check it out here. They also have a true DH platform in development which we should see by this time next year.
Did I mention Jon is a skilled rider to boot? Thanks go to Jon for showing me even more of the trails up top. We had a hollering good time shredding a train down Dirt Merchant.
Later on I met up with the PDX crew and we did many runs down the mountain. Zim took his riding to the next level by going big on this rock wall. Yeah!
On day two of the trip, I stopped by the SRAM truck to get some love for my Boxxer, and to say hi to Jon C and Evan W at SRAM. These guys are always on the go, following the traveling road show that is the DH race circuit. While I’m capable of redoing the damping on my fork, there is something to be said for having all the right parts, and the right tools on hand. Evan was on Boxxer duty, and had over 12 forks lined up at one point. Watching him tear apart my fork was a lot like watching a totally dialed bar tender making his specialty drink. Not just any bartender either, I’m talking Tom Cruise in “Cocktail.” Evan is the man.
He blew my mind by completely revamping my fork. Not only did I get the full pro-tune, but new seals, dampers, and bushings made my day. The fork now rides better than any Boxxer I’ve ever owned. My next run down the mountain (and every one after that) was seriously off the hizzy, and my riding for the rest of the trip got better and better. Evan and Jon, next time I’m in Colorado, drinks are on me.
While I was hanging out in the square, I stopped by the Decline booth to visit Nicole and pick up a copy of the latest issue. Two of my photos from the Ashland Super D ran in this month’s issue. Check it out:
While I was bugging the boys at SRAM, I peeped Black Box Manager Jon Cancellier’s latest ride, a tricked out Carbon Enduro. Six inches of travel front and rear, DH tires, 5″ height adjustable seat post, air sprung DH rear shock, 10 speed XX drive train, weighing in at a total of 30lbs.
You may be jealous now. I know I might be. A little. With light wheels, his ride comes in at 26-27lbs. I used to race Cross Country on a Trek Y-22 that weighed 27lbs. Yeah, his bike is pretty bad ass.
The upper mountain has a lot of rad trails to explore. I only made it to a handful of them- hopefully I’ll be back again soon to finish exploring. Maybe I’ll even shoot some photos. The problem with being a newbie to Whistler (2nd trip) is that you just want to ride until you can’t anymore. And nothing else.
Stay tuned for my photos from the slopestyle and additional photos of the pump track. In the meantime, check out my coverage of the Crankworx Pump Track Challenge on MBA’s website.