Ritualistic Suffering

Words Morgan Taylor
Photos Morgan Taylor
Date Sep 26, 2014

Unpretentious – that’s the word that comes to mind when I think about my introduction to Nelson’s riding culture. Three big mountains to climb, three certified gnarly descents, and nobody gave a shit about what bike you were riding or how old your riding gear was. Now its 12th year, NRG‘s Triple Crown puts the focus on riding and camaraderie – perfect.

With a 50-strong group from clock-watching whippets to downhillers doing it dumber, it was a guarantee that you’d find your place at the Triple Crown. Extra points were given to the solid contingent of hardtailers and an ongoing contest for the heaviest bike kept the vibe low-key, but make no mistake: the group off the front was out to finish quickly, and I lost sight of them even before we’d left the pavement.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Powerslave. The Vein. Paper Bag. Three classic Nelson descents, none of which I’d ever laid rubber on. Why not ride them all at once? A big group ride always sorts itself out on the first climb and ours was to the infamous Powerslave, 1100 metres above Kootenay Lake. The shadier route was steep and new friends were made while we slogged our way with no shame in walking.

After 12 years, the crew at NRG has figured out how to run this thing. Coffee and donuts greeted us at the top of Powerslave and a bluebird late September day made for a great start. The feed zone which we passed through before each of the next two major climbs was well stocked with lots of water, electrolytes, BBQ’d meat, fresh fruit, candy, chips, pop, and brews.

This ride was no walk in the park and for those of us riding these trails for the first time, it was quite the memorable introduction to some of the Nelson classics. With new friendships forged and stories to tell, I can’t help but think I’ll be back for some more ritualistic suffering.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

With a scheduled start time of 7:00, the alley was bustling by 6:30.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

NRG’s neighbours roast everyone in Nelson’s coffee. Thankfully they opened the doors and got things brewing before joining the ride.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Warm fire, hot coffee, and trading stories before setting out to write some new ones.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Coil sprung dual crown bikes were proudly hoisted on to the scale to see who would take the title of heaviest bike on the day.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

NRG’s own Mike Seniuk was to take a handicap of his own on this day, but at 37 pounds the freshly churned Surly Ice Cream Truck was nowhere near contention for heaviest or least practical.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

But this ride isn’t about winning, and everyone who shows up gets their name emblazoned on the trophy. Sweat equity.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Walking was the name of the game for those of us merely hoping to survive the ride. With no idea what was to come, I kept my pace conservative early in the day.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

A fresh clearcut offered views of Kootenay Lake below and the peaks of Kokanee Provincial Park to the north.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

At the top of Powerslave we were treated to donuts and coffee with Baileys. Now we’re talking!

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

The heat of the day had yet to set in, and chilling was at a maximum.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

My bike found a friend and its owner, Sean, turned out to be a rad dude who I would spend the day co-suffering on the hardtail with.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

One more punch and we were on to our first descent of the day.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Mike was shredding the Ice Cream Truck, to which he mounted a 120mm RockShox Bluto. The heavyweight wheels didn’t hold him back as I didn’t see much of him on the latter half of the ride.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

A modern suspension bike is, of course, a sensible idea on such a big day.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Long head tubes welcome at the Triple Crown!

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

I had the “sweater poorly knit” song from Life Cycles pop into my head as I rode Powerslave’s signature rollers. These are WAY bigger than they look.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Huge cedars with stringy bark. Pretty neat.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Back at the feed station we picked up a pair of cards for our poker hand.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

And after the demoralizing climb to the Vein, we stamped our booklets to show where we’d been.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Something about all-day suffering makes junk food taste really good. Well-deserved cheezies and an apple.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

The abundant Kootenay moustache tree.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

I hit a second wind for the last bit of the climb and ended up descending the top section solo. Butt-puckeringly steep and loose. A fair number of hairy moments and more to come.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Run what ya brung.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Mitch Forbes, North Shore local and NRG’s interior rep, stuck with Sean and I while we plodded our way through the route.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Sean isn’t afraid of the steeps.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Riding in a dust cloud on the Vein is not really a great plan.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Only part way down a descent that never seemed to end.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Another stamp, another card for the poker hand.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Top of Paper Bag. Burnt pines.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

By the last lap we’d picked up Renan, who had slogged his Devinci Wilson all day on a corn cob cogset.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

It was a good day at the office.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Twinsies.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Sean drops in on one of Paper Bag’s many rock slabs, which boasted amazing traction in light of the dust slides on the Vein.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Something about starting a band. Maybe we were a bit delirious.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

We couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a swim when our final descent was in the bag.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

The beer stashed from the feed zone came in quite handy.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Five Tens. They grip.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

When all was said and done, I’d climbed 2661 metres over 58 km.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

My trusted Rootdown.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

The sun disappeared as the last riders trickled in.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

It took a 43-pounder to win this year’s bragging rights.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Half pound burgers and a couple of kegs. Afterparty done right.

NRG Triple Crown 2014, Nelson BC. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Not bad for a shakedown ride…


Ever climbed 2600 metres on a downhill bike?

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Comments

bjorn-naylor
0
Bjorn Naylor  - Sept. 28, 2014, 2:50 p.m.

Seniuk rocking the white Duofold and department store wool sox is priceless.

Reply

GladePlayboy
0
Rob Gretchen  - Sept. 27, 2014, 9:37 a.m.

Had the pleasure of riding with Morgan on part of the first climb up to Powerslave… unfortunately a mechanical ruined my day on the descent…. I'll be back next year.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Sept. 26, 2014, 11 a.m.

Awesome Morgman! Felt like I was along for the ride! The vibe sounds just perfect.

Reply

boomforeal
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boomforeal  - Sept. 26, 2014, 9:07 a.m.

sicktor, looks like my kind of ride

and great photo set morgan, i've been missing them

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mightyted  - Sept. 26, 2014, 8:33 a.m.

Agree with Luis. Less Hype, more get out and ride your damn bike on NSMB.
I rode Paper Bag a few years ago. In Nelson, they call it an XC lap with a nice swim in the river at the end. What a laff. Nelson is to MTBing what Canada is to Hockey. They make a tougher breed.

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uncle duke  - Sept. 26, 2014, 8:03 a.m.

thats is some legit climbing!

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t.odd  - Sept. 26, 2014, 7:42 a.m.

right on Morg! gave me some serious nostalgia for Nelson, and 3 of my favourite rides from my time there….The Vein is just so awesome too, steep, yet incredibly flowing and smile inducing! although that being said, almost all the trails used are that!

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slimshady76
0
Luix  - Sept. 26, 2014, 6:08 a.m.

This is the kind of stuff that keeps me coming back to NSMB, let alone the excellent opinion posts such as the one about Robin Williams. Thanks so much for keeping the bar high and for showcasing what I believe is the true spirit of MTB.

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