I woke up at 4am to the steady drum of rain on the roof. I guess I wasn’t too surprised; it had started to lightly rain as we drove into North Vancouver on Friday evening, and of course it was going to be wet for our big day in the saddle. But really, when attempting one of the North Shore’s classic mountain bike feats, would you want it any other way?
Buzzing in anticipation the group of 24 strong met our intrepid hosts from ShorePlay – Mark Wood, Wade Simmons, and Andreas Hestler – down in Deep Cove for the start of our journey on Mt. Seymour. The rain let up, and the stoke levels rose as the caffeine and sugar from Honey Doughnuts seeped into our veins. Photo courtesy ShorePlay.
Matt Juhasz and I met each other in Ontario nearly 13 years ago and travelled to races together; these days we’ve carved out our respective mtb-related lives on the west coast, and definitely don’t take it for granted. The North Shore played a large role in the allure of the best coast to both of us, and seeing pictures of guys like Wade and Dre definitely added to the mystique of this place. But to ride the places we only dreamed of then, with those old heroes whom are now friends, is an experience like no other.
But the Shore isn’t just about the past, and more than ever, it’s about the future, and the future is now. Under the watchful eye of Mark Wood and the hard working volunteers and supporters of the NSMBA and its Trail Adoption Plan, the Shore is being looked after like never before. Old trails are being rejuvenated, and new trails, like Forever After (above) are adding diversity and slightly less intimidating gradients than a “typical” shore trail. Sustainable, creative, thoughtful, and most importantly, fun.
It turned out that the previous evening’s rain had been pretty much perfect. Tacking up the hot summer’s dry conditions, the trails were prime and grippy, and with that classic Shore mist rolling in and out of the moss lined trails it was impossible to not have a huge grins on our faces. High fives were slapped fast and furious, with the laughter and shouts of bliss filtering along the trail and through the forest as our group rolled along. Carlos and Jeremy are two more Ontario ex-pats that have made their homes on the west coast – the pull of the temperate rainforest and its dirt is strong.
The Godfather, in his element. Not only is Wade still one of the smoothest riders on the planet, but he’s also one of the best riding hosts ever. Filtering his way through the group and back again, offering encouragement and advice where needed, and getting on your wheel and pushing you beyond your comfort zone, all while smiling and laughing… even when tumbling backwards downhill after you dust him up a short punchy climb – are we ever going to see that helmet cam, Wade?
A cooler full of refreshing beverages awaited us at the end of Mt. Fromme, and a BBQ filled with tasty smokies. We chowed down, repaired a few bikes, and prepped ourselves for the final leg of the Triple Crown – Cypress beckoned.
So up and across we rode, making our way across bridges slick from years of damp weather.
The sun burned off the remainder of cloud and warmed the air, as we chased Dre through the dappled light over technical, loamy trail.
Waist high ferns and moss covered rocks, Nigel Quarless opts for the huck to flat line.
Smooth style and smiles from Wade as we near the end of our tour close to the bottom of Cypress.
A very stoked crew celebrates the end of the tour in the sun at Horseshoe Bay. A brilliant day of riding featuring the whole range of what the Shore was, is, and is becoming. Old school, new school, and everything in between, Mark, Wade, and Dre were the ambassadors to the Shore that we all know them to be. Thanks for a day we’ll all remember for the rest of our lives!
Great turnout; great writeup! This is one not to miss next year!