There is a lot of hype about the North Shore and for many it is the Holy Grail. Well, we’ve got our own. Lucky for me I have ridden the Vancouver North Shore trails on at least two trips a year for 13 years. Originally without even front suspension and then as technology changed so would the bikes and the trails. Suspension arrived, then hydraulics, then discs. The Nineties was a glorious time for me as head honch at Kona in the UK.
I feel experienced enough to comment on North Shore riding. I love it and so this morning getting up a 6am with the rain pouring down reminded me of my BC rides. In all my 50 plus rides there, there were probably less than 10 in the dry. I headed up to ride in our woods. When its warm and wet, like today, the back of Chanctonbury is sometimes so much like British Columbia that I drift away into past memories. Admittedly, with out the rain it is less like BC.
Today was supposed to be a shop ride, Paul, Gav and I. But not having the same passion for North Shore riding (rain) they decided not to come. Of course there are other things of note on those famous Vancouver trails but the wet is always there. I left home with “127 days” in my head and the message from that film is clear: Tell some one where you are going. I was going to leave a map but forgot. After all, there are no BC wilderness or bears here?
Heading up on the Marin Mount Vision I was sliding all over the place, I made it up the steep bit on the Hill Barn climb only to fall on the flatter section at the top. I headed straight for a trail that I have found that is invisible from any bridleway. It is very BC like, technical, narrow and gorgeous. I lowered my saddle dropped in and as I was getting comfortable, ready to get some speed up I wobbled, put my foot down (on the down hill side – you know you can’t do that!), fell, cartwheeled leaving the bike and landed twisting my ankle. What a prat? As I was capable of climbing back up to the bike and then to the trail I decided to carry on. I really must be more careful, what if the ankle broke?
Riding back, the quickest route would be down the Hill Barn track. This was really slippery, but my advice is always that if you have the right speed the forward motion will counteract any sideways motion. Good theory. In practice things may be different. I ended up doing a Johnny Hoogerland only to be saved from the barbed wire fence by a mass of brambles. To say that I was shaken up would be an understatement. I know that I have been road riding a lot recently but, today, I honestly thought that my technical MTB skills weren’t all that bad. Now, sitting here with all sorts of aches, strains and scratches, I have to question whether I need more practice and whether I should let people know where I am going. Maybe the conditions really were a bit extreme today. Despite all, I loved the ride and the bike.