Imagine you are in the Southern Chilcotin, you are almost three hours into a climb that you shuttled to get to. You are blowing hard, the climb is steep, your pack is heavy, but you are doing it. You spent hours packing your gear, prepared for anything that mother nature might throw your way; a freak storm, a loose rock that kicks your derailleur through the wheel, an encounter with a grizzly, an unforeseen night in the alpine, you are ready. That’s part of the fun of it, that anything could happen. And if it did, things could go sideways faster than Finn Iles on Crabapple Hits.
Kerri-Ann Thibeau climbs above tree line to begin a lesson in getting after it.
Now imagine stopping for a breather, grabbing a Clif bar from your huge pack, when you look up and see Jen. Jen is a twenty-something girl from Squamish, and she has mastered the art of getting after it. I am pretty sure the first step of mastering this art is giving absolutely zero shits about anything. Jen was stood there in her Birkenstocks, miles away from, well, anything except us. She was completely alone, apart from a small pack, a six hundred dollar hardtail, and a pair of Ray-Bans for company. Jen was representing the true essence of getting after it.
It’s a long climb to the top of Camel Pass. Paul Stevens follows the single track ribbon high in the alpine.
My first reaction was that this girl was probably certified crazy. But we were so far away from even the closest town, let alone the nearest lunatic asylum, that the chances of her being a recent escapee were pretty slim. I looked around for the rest of her crew, but this girl was clearly alone. She had simply looked at a map, rallied her Toyota Echo out into the middle of nowhere, and was just getting it done.
Kerri-Ann half way through lesson two – The hurt locker- followed shortly by lesson three, the view of a lifetime.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not condoning this Jen’s actions and decisions – for all I know, she could be inside a grizzly by now. But when you look around at our overly safety-conscious world where it is deemed necessary to warn you that your coffee could be hot, or that the playground will be wet when it is raining, or not to eat the packaging that your food comes in, you have to admire the minerals of the people truly getting after it, even if they are drastically reducing their life expectancy!
Paul begins the to reap the rewards of the long climb as the Camel keeps watch.
I won’t be heading out for an all day mission on my own in grizzly country any time soon, but there is a piece of me that is pretty inspired by people like Jen. So next time I hear my friends making weak excuses for not going riding, or begin to formulate one myself, I will think about her, and just get out there and take another lesson in mastering the art of getting after it.
Kerri-Ann Thibeau, High trail, Southern Chilcotin.
This leaves us with a question: if you go into the backcountry overprepared, are you still getting after it?
“The only other rider I’ve followed who rides like that is Brendan Fairclough.” These words came from Matt Hunter at our last running of The Airprentice. Ollie was a finalist and we almost signed him to the team after the event, but things didn’t work out. Thankfully the stars aligned this year and Ollie is a now a full patch member of team NSMB.com.
What Matty noticed was that Ollie rides like a wildman. Or in Ollie’s own words, “maybe a little out of control.” The bike beneath him takes on a life of its own, moving in unexpected directions and drifting at will. It’s clear that Ollie has a blast on the bike and his rowdy cheerfulness infects anyone nearby. This is at the heart of Mr. Jones’ focus; “As a rider I have a bunch of little goals for progression but the only one that has ever and will ever matter is to have fun.”
In the last few years Ollie’s discovered a new passion, allowing him to see mountain biking from the other side as a photographer. His experience in the saddle guides his lens as well. “Having a strong understanding of the riding part of things helps bring more to the shoot for sure. It creates a unique shoot every time and the collaboration basically turns into a stoke storm and produces great results.”
Thanks for the stoke storm Ollie!
Ollie Jones steezing through the trees. Ollie’s got tons of style, both on the ground and in the air.
First trail of the day, Crank It Up seems good.
Scrubs seemed to be the name of the game during our shoot.
Ollie accidentally set off one of the mines from World War I in the Garbanzo North-South region.
Serving up dinner on his tables.
Catching the last rays in Garbo.
Some pan-cakes to start the day off right.
“These berms are too perfect to roost!” A shoutout to the Whistler Trail Crew, I guess.
Mere millimeters separate Sir Ollie Jones from these jumps in Whistler.
Ollie Jones’ riding is pretty s-tea-zy.
There’s nothing that can jump start bike season and cure winter blues better than a road trip. I decided to head to B.C.’s interior with a few really amazing people, only 2 days after Whistler Bike Park opened. Not only to see what we could find, but to replenish that empty feeling that a dreary winter had created – and find that rush of excitement we had all been longing for. Immediately filled with anticipation and excitement we loaded up the bikes and headed north without a plan.
Its only fair we start off on the right foot and make sure things were colour coded straight off the bat. Got to look good right?
Sitting in slow lane gave us plenty of opportunity to scope out lines hidden along the highway. It didn’t take long at all before the bikes came off the rack for a little airtime just outside Whistler.
Getting the last of the jungle fever in before the dry lands of Kamloops came upon us. Myself Ollie, jumping off mossy rocks shortly after our departure late in the afternoon.
Our delayed start to the trip wasn’t the optimal way to get things going but we still ventured on through the mountains towards Kamloops. Stopping for a few visuals of course.
Sunset in Pemberton
Under the stars as we navigated our way through the mountains.
We neared Kamloops in the early hours of the morning and pulled into pretty much the first motel we came across that looked the least zombie infested. After knocking on the door for a short while, someone was kind enough to open up, hand over a set of room keys and not eat our brains.
Hauling bikes into the room was no problem at 4am.
Still wishing I’d had more sleep I let the overwhelming excitement direct my day. With our arses in gear to the Kamloops Bike Ranch we went.
Trish chasing me down one of many trails at the KBR
Kicking up some dust for Magz’s lens.
Its crazy how much there is to ride at the Ranch, jump after jump with one feature leading into another. Definitely no shortage of things to ride and its good to see there is something here for everyone.
Trish riding the slope-style line.
Throwing some afternoon whips while Hailey pointed the camera in my direction.
Bombing a fun line for Magz while the girls checked out some other features.
Shortly after a well earned break it was time to head back up to make some real magic while the sun went down.
No magic happening just yet…
Being in the right place at the right time can be super difficult for a photographer. Seems we nailed it this time though; Mark and I were stoked on the beams that cast over the trails.
Trish and Hailey deciding who should go first.
Mark snapping the goods
Our epic day of riding the Ranch was coming to a close but there was still time for a tasty beverage while we enjoyed the last rays. After packing up we headed out to grab a few more brewskies along with a delicious feed at the local pub.
Reminiscing about the killer day we just had only led to more excitement for the following day’s antics. Until then it was probably best we sink a few more of these.
Miles of smiles for an early start.
This time I suppose we had some kind of a plan. I wouldn’t called it a proper plan but we had decided to drive around and check out some natural zones to shoot and ride. Having spent very little time in the area we had no clue as to which direction to head, but luckily after a few phone calls we were on our way and gazing up at plenty of stunning lines.
Having a look around.
Hailey navigating her way through the rock walls.
Trish getting after some more big mountain lines.
Trish Leading Hailey down the steep gravel pit.
Getting one last line in before we departed to Harper Mountain.
Before we left Kamloops to head to Harper Mountain, we made a quick stop by the Bicycle Café where we were kindly greeted by Dylan Sherrard. He mentioned the Cafe was hosting the annual Unicorn Race at Harper the following day. Of course I couldn’t pass up on a race that sounded like it involved unicorns. With a quick handing over of money, my race booked and then it was onwards to Harper where finding a suitable camping spot was next on our agenda.
I consider this a 5 star camping spot and perfect for a night’s rest.
Pre race day feed cooking over the fire.
Having never ridden the course before I was stoked to check it out and see what kind of fun I was going to have. I soon managed to get a couple of practice laps under my belt, and damn the course was good. The trail as a whole was unreal but definitely didn’t complement my bag of tricks. There was a long flat straight which had a couple of up hills in it and pedaling sure isn’t my strong point.
Nonetheless I was stoked with 13th at the Unicorn race.
Later that afternoon after the race was wrapped up we had a chance to check out the rest of the mountain. Harper is very unique and has loads of fast flowing high speed trails you can bomb on a big bike or a small bike. We will definitely be visiting this place again in the near future. The Following morning we made a move back to Kamloops to get the last turns where ever we could find them before heading back to Whistler. A great deal of conversation was made throughout the trip about riding the well know trail Rio, so we all figured it would be rude to be so close to the trail, and not bother ride it. Mark has a Ford Explorer for a good reason, to explore. This time it sure lived up to its name…
Hmmm not so sure about this.
Yep you guessed it, we were stuck. Luckily a kind fellow biker lent a hand.
It wasn’t looking good, but 30minutes later the old girl was free from the bog.
The engine had sucked in a bunch of swamp water and was only running a half speed. We dived under the hood and swapped out a few parts and before we knew it we were back to business.
Still itching to ride but with very little time left before sundown, we had no other choice but to head back to the Ranch. Luckily it was beauty weather and there were lots of stuff we hadn’t yet ridden.
Getting loose in the sand bowl.
Trish pedaling into a trail.
Packing up the car to head back to Whistler with the clouds above us.
The lengthy drive back to Whistler gave everyone plenty of time to reflect on what a incredible trip we had. The hollow feeling seems to be suppressed for now, but it won’t be long before its time to head back on the road and see what other mischief we can get ourselves into.
Mark Mackay Photography
Anyone else making any trips this Summer?
Typing “Grin n Holler” into Google will yield you many results of the huck trail in Squamish – but most, if not all, of these photos and videos are of riders on downhill bikes. Wielding his trail bike, Paul Stevens doesn’t care what the general consensus is. It could be something different in the British method of measurement, or it could be that Paul is very skilled on any bike.
Airtime was optional, but Paul didn’t back down.
Popping off roots and rocks, Paul makes it look easy…and fun.
Matt Dennison – STILL faster than you.
Charging straight ahead. Matt and Kaz commend Paul for always wearing flashy, easy-to-photograph clothing.
You cant help but grin n’ holler when someone hits these jumps on a big bike. But what about on a small bike?
We don’t know how to pronounce Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, but we do know that Paul sh7reds.
Anyone know how to pronounce the 7?
After a few months of riding through the dark, wet, spongy, BC winter, my washing machine was pumped to hear I was leaving on a trip to the desert. Finally it had a chance to take a break from chugging gallons upon gallons of muddy water, and rest in the knowledge that it could take a week off, and the worst it would have to deal with on its return to service would be a pinch of sand.
Arizona was the destination, and an RV was to double as the accommodation and transport. I met with the Pantling brothers Toby and Sam, and Roo Fowler, who had all flown in from the UK, and the road trip began. What follows is an A to Z guide of our adventures through AZ…
A: Arizona, where Americans love America.
B: Bikes. There are plenty of B’s that can make a road trip better, but the humble bicycle trumps all of them.
C: Cowboys. A trip to the Southern US of A wouldn’t be complete without some of these guys rockin’ through your camp in the morning.
D: The Dells, Prescott. If you like technical trialsy riding on rock that grips your tires like proverbial shit to a blanket, this is a must do.
E: Endos. A critical tool for technical riding, extremely useful at D.
F: Friends. You are going to need these guys for a number of things on a road trip.
G: Garmin. Great for any ride, but useful for finding new trails in unfamiliar zones, and tracking each ride.
H: The 3 H’s in Sedona: Hog’s, High line and Hang over, all three are amazing trails, definitely worth hitting. Made better with B and F.
I: Instagram, you have to make your friends at home jealous right?
J: Jokers. if you can’t take the piss out of each other and yourself, it’s going to be a long trip!
K: Knee pads, there are not many soft places to fall in the desert! Knee pads are a good idea.
L: Lensman. With such amazing scenery, bring at least one person who knows how to use a camera. Roo Fowler definitely knows.
M: Maps. Essential for a new area, especially if G fails. Also a cool memento of the trip.
N: Noodles, lots of them. The road tripper’s best friend.
O: Oreos. The perfect accompaniment to T.
P: Prescott. More buff singletrack than you can shake a stick at. Definitely worth a look.
Q: Questions. Ask lots of them. Local bike shops and riders on the trail are a wealth of knowledge for local trails.
R: RV. Redneck Vacation!
S: Sedona. If you are in Arizona with a bike, Sedona is a must-do.
T: Tea. No road trip is quite the same without a good brew each day.
U: Underwear and spare chamois. Personal hygiene is key when you are living in a confined space! Drop the ball on this one and you’re sleeping outside.
V: Vaseline or chamois butter. Not being able to sit down sucks.
W: Walmart. Free camping in the parking lot, and a great place to buy a gun, apparently.
X: X-ray machines. Don’t pack your new gun in your hand luggage, or you will lose it at airport security.
Y: Yes, you should do it. Really, what’s your excuse?
Z: Your bedroom walls are a curtain in an RV. If you want to maximize your Z’s, bring some earplugs!
Hope you sat down with a T and an O for that one…