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I was notified early in the week that Dean and Marc were heading off to the Sunshine Coast and onto Vancouver Island for a two-day trip. The purpose of the mid week trip was to check out some of the course and meet with the teams maintaining these trails, I knew it was a perfect opportunity to see more of BC and it’s fabled trails so I conveniently made myself available.  Boarding an early ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale, the three of us woke up via a hearty BC Ferries breakfast and faced the further hour or so of driving to our next ferry from Earls Cove to Saltery Bay.

Upon arrival in Powell River we met up with Wayne Brewer, our Day 3 course director, and his crew of trail mates for a spin on his immaculately kept trails. Wayne moved to Powell River after finishing his working life in Victoria, and since has become a driving force behind the building and maintenance of trails in Powell River. Soon after setting off along a fire road from the car park we were heading into the trees as the trail led us onto a 4 hour journey, riding beautifully manacured singletrack. It was obvious to see just how much effort Wayne and his team have put into managing the trails, they were tacky, groomed and without a puddle in sight. At one point we were instructed to get into a big gear as we were about to hit Powell River ‘downhill’, Marc and I pushed off, pedalling hard to find the trail had a gradient that only required infrequent pedal strokes to keep a fun flow on the  just twisty and poppy singletrack; it had us laughing and whooping in delight.


It turns out that Powell River ‘downhill’ doesn’t really exist in the same manner that it does on the shore, just a fantastic network of grip inducing trails that a core group of passionate mountain bikers have built through countless shovel hours. Powell River is a racers delight, smooth and fast with all the technical features to call it a worthy stop of the BC Bike Race. The team were ear to ear with smiles as we finished up our course ride and the morale was lifted even higher when Wayne pulled out a Growler full of his favourite IPA and we enjoyed a post ride beverage on the banks of Duck River, Wayne’s quite the host! I can’t wait to see the smiles on all the riders after he plays host to 550 racers come early July. Post ride, we cleaned up and met the gang in town at a local Latin Restaurant, Costa del Sol. In almost perfect conditions, we enjoyed a delicious dinner with local beers and enjoyed our company.


Come ferry time, the three muskateers from North Van rode off into the sunset onto the BC Ferries service to Comox. It was another highlight as we boarded the ferry and made it to the observation deck in time for the sunset. Upon hopping off the ferry we further pushed on to Cumberland, for a night at the Riding Fool Hostel. Falling asleep that night was made difficult by the excitement of knowing we had another day of BC trails to enjoy, led by Martin Ready, the BC Bike Race’s Day 2 course director and the owner of Island Mountain Rides.

Rising nice and early for a meeting with Martin, we shovelled down a generous breakfast and pushed off. Starting merely minutes out of town, we hopped on a newly laid trail, ‘Swamp Monster’ and soon the tone of the day’s riding was set; demanding, rough and rewarding dry singletrack. After climbing for a short time to the top of ‘Switchback’, we took a few moments to catch our breath and to take in the view we had earned, as the trailhead sits at the base of many surrounding mountains and a fantastic view across the Comox Valley.  Soon we were dropping in and soon we were spat out into ‘Pot Luck’ and with ‘Thirsty Beaver’ taking us all the way back into town. Again, as had happened in Powell River, we returned to town from our ride with huge smiles and satisfaction from our mid morning rip with Martin. Cumberland had delivered a different riding experience to Powell River, however both are unique in their own special ways and I was learning that you don’t have to travel far in BC in witness completely new languages of trails.  I was beginning to understand how the 550 racers feel after they get to ride seven different flavours of BC singletrack.


Upon leaving Cumberland we made our way to Nanaimo via a late lunch stop in Salmon Point, where in sunny weather we enjoyed burgers and a few beers with seals frolicking nearby in the water. We pushed onto Nanaimo after saying goodbye to Martin and onto our final ferry journey for the trip back to Horseshoe Bay where we would arrive at around 10pm. After a fantastic two days thanks to Powell River and Cumberland, the cherry on top was seeing a pair of Orca’s make their way across the Strait of Georgia as the sunset dropped upon Vancouver Island, I am living the Internship dream!