I usually try to avoid the opening weekend of the Whistler Bike Park. Some reasons for my refusal to participate in this annual event are paltry, being that there are just a few muddy trails open, huge lines and the fact that other Sea to Sky venues are in mint shape this time of year, including, well, everywhere else.
All of that aside, I went this year. I think the Whistler Corp would like to hear that it was because of their barrage of marketing prior to the lifts firing up. Not really, although I did enjoy the first Force of Nature Video released before opening, featuring their motley bunch of bike athletes. The video shows riders carving perfect corners and lofting sculpted lips in what looks like epic mid-season conditions. Pretty convincing stuff, but the deciding factor for me was some good ‘ol fashioned arm-twisting by a group of buddies. A deal was struck where we worked out a balance of park and pedal, in a few Sea to Sky locations, over this Canadian long weekend.
It was a good decision. The bike park was all-time. The trail crew put in their due diligence, preparing almost every lower mountain trail in time for the gates to drop. The dirt was tacky and the riding was heroic. We had a casual start to the day, nothing like the kids who waited in line from 3 a.m. in order to secure first chair. The casual start was no hindrance though, as we were greeted by mellow lift lines that grew progressively larger over the afternoon. The wait in line was welcome though, as I could rest my cramping hands and catch up with friends. “How was your winter?” and “Epic conditions, eh?” were refrains echoing through the queue.
I had my own “Force of Nature” Friday night after a questionable chicken burrito wreaked havoc on my guts for the next 36 hours. I almost pulled the plug and hightailed back to Vancouver to recuperate, but the weekend was heading into high gear, so I decided hang around to see if things would improve.
The next day dawned wet and rainy, and my guts were still churning something fierce, so we abandoned the “official” opening day of the Park for a pedal in Squamish. A lush rainforest met us there, along with some fun new trails that magically sprung up over the winter, not unlike the mass proliferation of green undergrowth that appears with the spring rain.
The weekend was a blur of riding, eating and sleeping. My food poisoning waned, so with renewed energy I sampled more bike park, usually riding the lifts in the morning until the lift line got too oppressive, and then trading bikes for a pedal in the Whistler Valley or Pemberton. An amazing way to spend this Victoria Day long weekend!
The above shot — which makes her mountain biking buddy look like he’s cycling on top of the world — was posted by Andrea Codda.
Happy adventuring and happy cycling!
We love when we get the opportunity to see our packs in action — especially when our very own customers send shots of themselves or their friends getting everything out of a pack we had ever intended for it. The photo above, posted to our Facebook Page by Melissa Liebling, is an incredible shot of the Osprey Verve 9 doing it’s duty out on the trail.
Thanks to Melissa for sharing!
Spring has sprung in Moab, UT and Poison Spider Bicycles celebrated this past weekend with their annual Moab Thaw event. Osprey supported the event with a fleet of demo packs that were available for riders checking out the latest and greatest bikes from Yeti, Niner, Pivot and Ellsworth. Thaw HQ was at the Moab Brands trailhead where food and drink were provided so riders could focus on getting as many demo rides in as their winter legs would allow. Conditions were perfect with blue skies, calm winds and temps in the 60s.
The Poison Spider event really is a great way to thaw out from a cold, snowy winter and get excited about the approaching cycling season. This one is worth putting on your calendar and scheduling a trip from wherever you might be. Watch the Poison Spider web site next winter for 2014 registration details. In the meantime, check out some of the shots from this year’s event below.
March 1st is upon us, and that can only mean one thing: the Moab Thaw is here for another weekend of events, riding, food and, of course, schwag. The Moab Thaw takes place annually at Poison Spider Bicycles in Moab, Utah and can be summed up as a giant, weekend-long mountain bike demo that takes place on the Moab single track trails. Naturally, there will be a slew of Yetis, Konas, Niner and other mountain bikes to demo with an after-hours continuation event at the Blu Pig BBQ and Blues Joint on Saturday night. The formal schedule of festivities goes as follows:
Noon: Women’s skills clinic and group rides open to all skill levels, shuttle included meet at PSB- led by Moab Mountain Bike Instruction.
5 pm to 8:30 pm : Meet and greet party at Love Muffin Café catered
10 am to 4 pm: Demos, shuttles, games and fun! At the Moab brand trails
11 am: Legends Ride- Ride with multiple legends of the cycling industry. Led by World Champion Greg Herbold.
1-3pm: Lunch from Pasta Jays
8 pm: Party, raffle, Hors d’oeuvres at the Blue Pig ——Frame Giveaway!
10 am to 4 pm:Donuts and Coffee from Rim Tours, Demos, shuttles, games and fun! At the Moab brand trails
We’ll be there providing free pack demos focused on the Spring 2013 hydration line, but we’ll also have a full display of what’s new for Spring 2013 so you can peruse to your heart’s desire. If you’re looking to get a new pack, we’ll also be providing professional pack sizings and fittings and as always, there will be daily giveaways that you won’t want to miss.
You can register for the Moab Thaw here today, March 1st, through Sunday, March 3rd. Tickets cost $39.95 and include an event pass for all three days of activities, a T-shirt, a pasta lunch and lots of schwag. We’ll see you there to Thaw out!
Our friends over at Pinkbike.com are serious about not letting adverse weather get in the way of a good time. As writer Colin Meagher puts it in this post, “My true love is epic XC and AM rides, and my riding starts in late fall for the simple reason that, during the World Cup race season, I don’t have much time to go mountain biking. My riding season really starts in November and I live in Seattle, which means cold, dark, and wet.”
Conditions like these may not be terrible by nature, but they can make for a challenge if you’re not prepared for the elements you’re sure to face. Naturally, then, Meagher is pretty attuned to picking out what will perform best — quite simply so he can do the same. Part of his round-up of 10 Suggestions to Beat the Chill includes our very own Osprey Syncro 20 pack. And here’s what he had to say about it:
Osprey would seem to be the new kid on the block for bike packs, having started making hydration packs only in 2009. Owner/lead designer Mike Pfotenauer designed his first pack at age 16 and founded Osprey Packs in 1974 in Santa Cruz, CA. Now their headquarters are in Cortez, Colorado, where they have ready access to a plethora of trails for testing. The Syncro Pack from Osprey is lightweight, streamlined, and has a ventilated harness – just the thing for all-day trail epics. The pack comes in three variations based upon storage volume: 10 liter, 15 liter, and 20 liter. All three feature a 100-denier triple-Ripstop ‘High Tenacity’ nylon body, a Lidlock helmet clip, a three-liter hydration bladder, a variety of pockets for storage, and mesh side pockets for quick-stash items. Notable details are Osprey’s magnetic sternum buckle for holding the bite-valve, and an integrated rain cover that was a key selling point for me. I opted to test the Syncro 20, reckoning that while it has a LOT of cargo space, it also comes with compression straps, allowing me to streamline the fit of the pack in the event I wasn’t maxing its capacity. It has a main gear compartment, a smaller pouch for important gear like phones and wallets, as well as medium and a small-ish zippered stash pockets for tools, etc. The rain fly unfurls from its own zippered pouch on the underside of the pack.
Watch. Relate. Smile.
I should preface this piece by stating that I am not an experienced Enduro racer, but rather one that has participated in several races, and likes the idea of a race that is like a ride with friends, but against the clock in the fun sections. The burgeoning excitement over this new style of racing is contagious, but I am unsure of whether to completely jump on the bandwagon of those claiming it’s the next big thing. Is it the next big thing? Can it dethrone the juggernauts that are DH racing and XC?
I was invited along for a weekend of riding in the Kamloops by a small crew led by Seb Kemp, who was writing a story on the Loops for Dirt Magazine, and Reuben Krabbe, who was capturing the images for the article. I had not been to Kamloops in a long while, focusing my travels on other parts of BC, and more exotic locales in the previous few years. I feel strong ties to that arid part of the province though, having spent many weeks there in the early days of my freeride career, shooting for the New World Disorder movies and getting into the youthful trouble that seemed to follow our film shoots around in those days.
The McKenzie River Trail (the MRT) is situated in Central Oregon, on the west side of the Cascades. This mountain range, predominantly made up of dormant and not-so-dormant volcanoes, does an efficient job of stopping the moisture from the Pacific Coast. On the west side you have temperate rainforests and old growth timber, and a stones throw to the east you are exploring an arid desert-like landscape. The MRT, being on the west side of the volcanoes, features towering Douglas fir, mossy forest floors, a raging river (complete with big waterfalls) and a cool climate. Apparently it rains frequently, but it was nice and dry for our visit down this renowned trail.