(Editor's note: Dear Pedalheads is a weekly feature that will run through the summer with members of the local Team Whistler cycling crew answering your questions about all things biking. Please send your questions to email@example.com.)
This week’s question:
I'm an intermediate mountain bike rider and have a tendency to stick to the Lost Lake Zappa trails because I know they're my level and relatively safe to ride alone. What do you recommend for me to branch out from these trails? What other options do I have for intermediate riding in Whistler?
Signed, Zapped Out
Dear Zapped Out,
We have lots of trails in the intermediate category, that is for sure.
First, take a look at your riding ability. I find that people can ride a lot more than they give themselves credit for. You might be one of them.
There is some tricky terrain in the Lost Lake area and some of the skills you have learned there will be useful. Don't be shy about getting off the bike if you feel a piece of terrain is too difficult. You can always come back another day and try it again if you are not hurt.
There are some trails that are very rideable for an intermediate but they might have some very short sections that need to be walked. If you try one of these it will do two things for you: One, it will open up some new riding options; two, it will show you some terrain you just might want to try.
Here are some options: The Riverside trails on both sides of the Cheakamus River are great. The ride into Cheakamus Lake is a good one with great views. The Rainbow-Sproatt Flank Trail is good but start from Function Junction and be prepared for a lot of climbing.
A River Runs Through It is a great trail and flat for the most part. Start at the river entry and go all the way to Rainbow Park, then ride it back — it is great in both directions. These trails are all used a lot in the summer so if you want people around they are good. Grab a trail map and don't be afraid to try any of the tails marked with blue squares.