As I drove out of the snow and in to the rain, my wipers were on full speed, and I was beginning to wish that my goggles had the same settings for their lenses. It was one of those days where you take a deep breath before you get out of the car, and move as fast as you can, in a vain attempt to dodge the inevitable – getting soaked to the bone. It was one of those days where you finish riding and could not be any wetter, where you spray your bike and then yourself, because your shoes are already overflowing with muddy water with every step. One of those days where your teeth are filled with grit, from smiling through every puddle. In other words, a typical winter day on the Shore!
Morgan rocked up also sporting the new Aurum, and the bikes looked so good in the truck, that we couldn’t say no. And besides, if he was prepared to stand in the rain with a camera all day, I was more than ready to get up there and ride past him a few times, even if it did mean losing the goggles as well as the feeling in my fingers and toes for half the day! Andrew Baker was also out, shredding hard, keeping smiles on our faces, and afterwards, making sure that I didn’t drive back up to Whistler as wet and cold as when I finished the ride. Thanks buddy!
Tips for riding the wettest day of all time:
Tip #1: Avoid spray from your tires by taking your wheels off the ground and covering your face with your arm.
Tip #2: Always bring the best tool for the job…
Tip #3: Don’t forget your goggles!
Tip #4: Jump over the slippery roots.
Tip #5: Ride it like it’s dry!
Tip #6: Remember, it’s never too wet to land sideways!
Did Paulo leave out any tips for riding in the wet? Bring it on in the comments below…
My experiences riding on Cypress are completely and will forever be divided. No other mountain on The Shore presents me with such uncertain outcomes, every ride is a different animal entirely. The mountain’s terrain presents everything from fast technical riding, to creeper rock lines and drops – it’s really a downhiller’s dream. Matt Dennison and I managed to schedule a shoot that aligned with good weather, and we got an early start to a personal favourite trail. Although it’s fun to point and shoot rock faces, I’m always a fan of carving into rich dirt, and zig-zagging my way through the forest.
The trails on Cypress demand a bit of respect, and they tend to bite back. I’ve had a few spills on the network that have left me with my tail between my legs and not wanting more. I like that though, the feel of intimidation, not the real pain itself. A lot of the features here put you in your place, and they make you think twice.
I’m pretty happy with my division of DH/AM bike time this winter. Through North Vancouver’s winter months, when the snow line was low, I felt quite fortunate to be regularly riding my AM bike. But as the snowline receded, my DH bike beckoned and it anxiously was brought out into daylight. I absolutely love getting back on my downhill bike after an extended period of AM riding. Everything about them screams possible, and as the speed of the ride increases, so does the opportunity for fun.
With the beautiful start to Spring we’ve had, it’s tough to spend any amount of time inside looking out. I hadn’t done a filming project with Matt since last season, and it’s always inspiring to see how he all puts it all together. Enjoy the video, and I’ll see you on The Shore!
Dirt surfing and helicopters – does it get any better? Great job boys!
This winter, with Whistler and Pemberton sitting under a blanket of snow for the last few months, most of the riding I have done has been in Squamish. The majority of the time I have been on my new Range, pedaling over a lot of ground under my own steam, and accessing trails that you simply can’t drive to.
I have learned a lot of new rides, and on the way down certain trails, have often thought how fun it would be to have a downhill bike on some sections. I didn’t need to be asked twice when Matt Dennison mentioned that he wanted to make a video with the big bike. I threw the Aurum on the car and ripped down to Squamish to test out some of these trails with a bit more travel underneath me.
Holy crap was it fun! Obviously downhill bikes are faster on burly, rough and steep terrain, but I sometimes forget how a piece of relatively simple terrain can be transformed by the technology of a bigger bike. The extra travel, softer, wider tires, more powerful brakes, more sophisticated dampers, they all enable you to shift up a gear, and give you that margin for error that means you can ride faster and stay in control. Suddenly you are up to a speed where the trail isn’t so simple any more, because it is coming at you so fast!
It was great to get the downhill bike out again, and to feel like I was riding totally different trails because of what the bike was doing for me. It was also great to have Matt there to capture some speed and some experiments on the trail. Please enjoy!
It’s no doubt that Paul has settled in on his new Aurum. The winter did not slow Mr. Stevens down! You dig it?
The criticism I received upon my decision to leave Calgary for Vancouver always floats around in the back of my mind. Not because I have ever regretted my decision, in fact it’s quite the opposite. More as a reminder of the hilarity in the labels and judgments made from those outside looking in. “It rains everyday!” and “You won’t see the sky for months” is what they said. Well I’ve found that you get any season you want in Vancouver, and on February 2nd I did an unforgettable trail ride with blue skies and double digit centigrade, something that wouldn’t be a reality in the prairies.
Winter on the Shore means riding bikes! Photo Morgan Taylor.
In past years the winter months have always been about planning out my summer effectively to enable as much time on the bike as I can get at. Now that I’m not bound by a cold and snowy environment, the planning still goes on but the focus has switched to staying in shape, building lines for filming, and getting out for rides as often as possible. I’ve gotten into night riding with friends from work, filming on the weekends for upcoming projects, and perhaps more exciting than anything is riding on a full new fleet of bikes!
Airtime is just not an option in Calgary this time of year, unless it’s indoors. Photo Morgan Taylor.
The new year was brought in with the development of a new relationship and then solidified further by maintaining my commitment to my current ones. My involvement as a rider on the NSMB team and on the Chromag Family is renewed for 2013, but to add to that is a sponsorship with Mountain Equipment Co-op on Ghost Bikes. The sky is the limit with this opportunity, and I’m proud to be riding with MEC. They’ve taken me on and I am now backed by a company that has so much enthusiasm for mountain biking and has taken on retailing the German branded company, Ghost Bikes.
Last season MEC as a sponsor of the NSMB team set me up with a Ghost AMR Plus frame to get me out on the trails pedaling the local network. The bike was an absolute charging machine, capable of handling the North Shore even at its grimiest and most gruesome moments. I’d like to pay regards to those who helped get me that bike, as it played probably the biggest role in the success of me learning about The Shore, and set up the opportunity to move fully on board in 2013.
Season two on Ghost bikes, and a new partnership with MEC. Photo Morgan Taylor.
Come to present day, I’ve been set up with a brand new 2013 Ghost DH 9000 to start out my winter, and a Ghost Cagua 650b is to follow! Over the last month I’ve been sampling a carbon AMR Lector 29er, but I will be sticking to downhill and trail riding this season. The DH 9000 sports a 63 degree HA, and handles as a true downhill race bike. The bike comes stock with an absolute dream part spec, and after subbing in the Chromag highlight components, I can honestly say I’ve never been happier with a build.
Chromag cockpit brings familiarity to the new sled. Photo Morgan Taylor.
The Ghost DH 9000. Photo Morgan Taylor.
I’m proud to say I’ve found home moving to Vancouver, and can’t wait to capitalize on the sponsorship opportunities that have come my way. There’s a great community of riders and riding history here, and I’m doing my best to live and learn it. Summer adventures are stirring in my brain, and planning trips are only interrupted with riding itself, because it’s winter in Vancouver and everyone’s still out there!
February on the Shore. Photo Morgan Taylor.
Stephen has finally learned what it is to be from the Shore, and we’re glad he’s decided to stay!