“What time is it?” echoed through the alpine basin. “It’s the time of your life!” we reply, ripping singletrack amongst snowcapped peaks, quickly descending into a broad valley in the midst of its autumn transformation, grass turning from its lush summer green into a wild display of yellows, oranges and reds. This descent in the Purcell Mountain Range was just one moment among many in a two week romp through British Columbia, a road trip jam packed full of adventure, good friends, and a lot of bicycle shredding.
After a string of niggling injuries through the spring and summer (read: getting older), I was feeling better, and felt the urge to hit the road. Through luck and good timing, a few opportunities had presented themselves all within the span of a couple weeks, and all in the Interior of BC. I’m not one to deny fortuitous timing, and took this as a sign to link it all up into a bit of a road trip.
First stop: SilverStar Mountain Resort. Finishing up a week of work in my home of Squamish, I make it to SilverStar late Friday night. I’m here to write a story for Kootenay Mountain Culture magazine on a new IMBA Epic trail that is being built, and as a guest of the mountain, I get a good night’s rest in a plush slopeside condo, complete with my own hot tub. I’m greeted the next morning by wet and cold conditions. My road trip coincides with literally the first rain of the summer, but it’s welcomed, particularly by the parched trails.
I spend a couple days here, ripping bike park laps with my hosts, and exploring the new epic trail that is not quite finished yet, but promises to be an amazing addition to the already extensive network of trails that SilverStar boasts. In classic road trip style, I’ve not left a single moment unanswered to, and Sunday afternoon I say my goodbyes and blast up to Revelstoke, where I have bags to repack, friends to meet, and a plush backcountry lodge to ride into for a week of exploring and good living.
Our destination is Purcell Mountain Lodge, a short heli flight from the town of Golden BC. Our crew: pro rider Mike Hopkins, pro photographer Bruno Long, and pro energizer bunny Marty Schaffer. This trip has been in the works for some time, and while I’m psyched to check out some new terrain on my bike, I’m just really pumped to hang out with these guys for a week. Marty and I ski guide together in the winter, Bruno and I have collaborated on a few trips, and Mike and I have Koots roots, me growing up in Nelson and him just down the road in Rossland. All solid people, and just the positive energetic team you want for a trip like this. All that positivity will help, as the forecast is for continued precipitation and a lowering snowline. A little damp, but it’s nothing that’ll phase this posse, and we proceed to have an amazing week of bike riding, lodge living and good times in the mountains.
Keeping the frenetic flow of the road trip alive, Marty and I schedule just enough time in to do a couple loads of laundry in Revelstoke, re-pack and head south to Retallack to race the final weekend of the BC Enduro Series. This is the pinnacle of the race series, and while I’m bummed to have missed all the others this year due to injury, this particular one I am very happy to be healthy enough for. Road trips are all about re-connecting with friends, and this race makes that a little easier: 200 likeminded people hanging out for the weekend shredding the raddest trails in the world creates a pretty lively atmosphere. The rain continues, creating some pretty wild trail conditions, but does nothing to dampen our spirits, and if anything makes the racing even more fun.
Needing to catch up on work, I slow the the pace of the road trip down after Retallack, and hang out at Marty’s place in Revelstoke for the week, getting work done remotely. I easily insert myself into the pace of the town: fresh baked goodies from the bakery in the morning, hammer out some time in front of the computer during the day, an after work rip, and dinner and beers with friends. A bit of routine amongst the lovely chaos that is this road trip. On Friday I have my rubber arm twisted and unchain myself from the computer, and we heli drop Mt Cartier, a 7000 foot descent just south of Revelstoke. The sun has returned to BC by now, and we have a glorious heli-assisted day in the mountains, riding what has to be one of the longest singletrack descents in North America.
I end my roadtrip by attending a friend’s wedding in Invermere, to the east of Revelstoke. Catching up with old acquaintances at the party reminds me of that ultimate road trip goal of connecting with friends. Without them, what do we have? Despite the myriad of ways we have to stay in touch in this uber-connected word we live in, sometimes it feels like that technology can disconnect us from the people that matter. Sometimes the best remedy to that disconnect is heading out on the road and showing up on those folk’s doorsteps. As I drive back to Squamish after the wedding, hungover but happy, I can’t help but start thinking about my next road trip, and the friends I’ll see then.