With summer having settled quite comfortably in our valley, about 200 riders showed up at the Wedgemount parking lot last Thursday (July 12) for a sunny ride and the 10th Toonie of the season.
This particular race was going to take us from Wedgemount to the Riverside Campground, although the route was going to be optional. This Toonie was sponsored by the Whistler Bike Guides together with Alpine Bike Parks, Splash Nash and the Riverside Junction Café and we were basically in the Bike Guides’ backyard.
They love all that Numby-ness up there and, indeed, Comfortably Numb was on the menu again this year. Now, I’ve done the Numbing up and down in the past, with the only difference being that this particular one was going to be ridden on dry trails — not a difference to be sneezed at when you’re battling roots and rocks and steep descents.
Alas, ‘twas not to be: I was invited to be a sweep on the mellow route and could I decline? No, I could not! And so, it was the hammerheads, and the occasional loose hammer, rode up what used to be Secret North, cut over to Comfortably Numb and descended on Jeff’s Trail while I puttered along the Green Lake Loop with fellow sweep Chris from the Bike Guides.
Of course, Jeff’s and the Loop merge at a certain point, so everyone who did the race had a chance to try out the new Sea to Sky Trail section, which is basically an extension of the Siwash Trail, itself part of the Lost Lake pea gravel system.
Let me be very succinct about this bit of trail. Breathtaking in all its extra-steep switchback splendor, this is not a trail I would recommend you take your uncle Olaf on! Go check it out for yourself but make sure you install the great-granny gear first.
You may need that same gear again tonight (Thursday, July 19) because Team Whistler has a surprise for you. We will be back in the Interpretive Forest for the first of two rides down there and this one features an ascent on both sides of the river! Team Whistler, Whistler Brewery and IGA — remembering Ken Quon — are sponsoring this special Ken Quon Memorial Toonie.
Here’s the skinny: We’ll go up East Side Main Road, down Farside, up Riverside and West Side Road, then down via Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. We’ll then go back up again to Loggers Lake for a final descent on the Ridge Trail.
For those of us not especially partial to lycra and to whom this route looks a little, well, intimidating, there are ‘unofficial’ options. If you did the Basalt Spur climb two weeks ago, you might remember Lucy in the Sky. Basically, it is an extension of the Riverside Trail after you cross West Side Road.
I like Lucy and this time we’ll get to descend it, but of course the price you’ll have to pay is a grind up West Side Road. Now, instead of giving Lucy a pass, which is a course shortening ‘option,’ you could consider cutting across the suspension bridge after climbing the East Side Main. You’d save yourself the descent via Farside and the subsequent grind back up the other side, but you didn’t hear that from me!
Sign-in will be at the Whistler Brewery at 5:30 p.m., as will be the après, so there is no need for a backpack truck. The start will be at the old East Side Main Road bridge.
On July 26, Fineline, the Whistler Brewery and Earls will expect us back in Function for the second in a row of our south-side rides. See you there.