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Whistler Bike Park 2008

August 13th, 2008 by *MoonDogg*
Posing for a shot on A-Line

Posing for a shot on A-Line

In July, I joined my friends from Santa Cruz on an epic trip to Whislter, B.C. to spend 6 days riding the amazing trails at the Whistler Bike Park.

There were eight of us, ranging in age and skill level, but one thing we all had in common; a desire to step up are riding skills. And this is just the place to do it. There is a wide variety of terrain, trail styles, and features. Anyone who spends a week riding here is going to go home a better rider. We all pushed our boundaries, and I know I left feeling like I really accomplished something.

I hopped on a plane early Friday morning. Khristian was flying out of town to Oregon the same day, so we had Steve drop us off at LAX. The plane ride was typical, except for the Red Bull & vodkas. They seemed particularly effective. Of course, I hadn’t had a drink in over 9 weeks, so that likely had something to do with it.

Arriving in Canada, I soon met up with the Santa Cruz Posse and boarded our shuttle to Whistler. It was a couple hour ride, and  very scenic.  It finally hit me that I was in Canada! I texted all my friends to rub it in.

We unloaded all our stuff into our two condos, and promptly headed for the Irish pub, know as Dubh Linn Gate. Some bangers & mash with a Guiness was just what I needed to really feel like I was ‘here’.  As we ate, we watched some of the riders doing the GLC drops at the bottom of the park. We all thought to ourselves ‘those drops are huge!’. I really didn’t think I would find myself flying off them before the week was over…

Back to the room and a mad rush to get our bikes put together and ready to go for the morning. I was the only one using a cardboard box for my bike, and I was a bit worried about it, but it survived OK. Took me 4 hours to pack it, though!

Once the bikes were built, we started strategizing for our inital attack on the mountain. Don, Joe, Eric and Joi were taking a clinic the first two days, and had to be in the village at 8:30. Sucks for them!! Mark, Denny, Moss and I could sleep in, since the lifts don’t open until 10am.

Our first couple days were sorta exploratory. Learing our way around the mountain and getting familiar with the trail names and locations. I often found myself pulling up to a drop or a feature and thinking ‘I’m not goin off that!’.

Unfortunately for Denny, he had a bad crash the second day, and tore the palm of his had open pretty bad. His riding trip was over, and we all felt really bad for him. He was able to take some hikes at the top of the mountain and enjoy the scenery. I could sympathize with him. I’ve been up there to snowboard before, and hurt myself on the first day, only to hobble around the village for the next 3 days. It’s no fun!

It was dusty and dry on Day 1. Day 2 and 3 had some sprinkling. But Day 4 brought proper rain. We were completely soaked, and I was loving every minute of it, execpt for the super slippery roots! At the end of the day we all hosed each other off. I couldn’t have been any wetter if I was a goldfish. We did laundry to clean our gear, and put our shoes in the oven. It was a short day, becuase it was cold and the conditions were tough. Fortunately the hot tub was hot, and oh man does it feel good to get in the spa after a day of riding.

Later that night, we all sat down and watched Seasons on the 72″ TV in the common area of the condo. Don had the foresight to reserve it for us, and I hooked up my laptop and we were watching it in more comfort than when I saw it at the theater. It was really neat recognized the trails of Whistler that we had been riding these last 4 days.

Day 5 brought the sunshine, and was probably the best day of them all. I had memorized most of my favorite trails. I was hitting all the big hits. A-Line rock drop. Freight Train cargo containers. The Wall. GLS. Everything was just clicking for me and I felt like I was just really on it. I did have a couple pretty good wrecks, as I had each day previous, so my body was starting to really feel beat up. But I was having to much fun and rode hard all day. That night we went out to a nice dinner, and then to see The Dark Knight.

That was the loudest movie theater I have been in, ever. The movie was great, the Joker was rad. But I couldn’t stand the way Batman talked. Sounded like he was trying to hard.

Day 6 brought some more wet weather. I was tire. I was sore. I was nearly broken. Large bruises on each hip, inner thighs, and shins. Large cuts on my left shin, one from Don’s pedal while standing in the lift line, one from wrecking on some trail we had no business riding in the wet. I jacked my right middle finger, my braking finger. It was all swollen and I couldn’t close it all the way. My left pinky was very tender at the base, and I had trouble making a fist. My left shin was heavily swollen from repeatedly banging it on my bike frame. Every time I hit a rut or a bump, it would throb. So I called it a day a bit earlier than I would have liked. But I felt like I was just asking for a major wipeout if I kept riding. I did most of the stuff I wanted to do (except for the Dirt Merchant creek gap!), and I wanted to walk away in one piece.

I was satisfied.

So it was back to the hot tub, some cocktails, and dinner. Then the depressing act of boxing up my bike again. Fortunately it went much faster this time. We stayed up late playing card and watching helmet cam videos, reminiscing about what a great time we all had.

Friday we were supposed to fly out of Vancouver, but there was a huge Rock Slide on the highway, so we had to take a 7 hour detour. It was a beautiful ride, and for those of us properly equipped, quite enjoyable =). We ended up sleeping in the airport, which was no fun. The SC posse, had a flight much earlier than mine, so they left me sleeping on the benches and headed for their gates.

I’ve been home almost 2 weeks, but I am still having trouble thinking about anything other than riding in Whistler. I knew I would have fun, but I didn’t realize the impact it would have on me. I don’t even want to ride my bike on my regular trails anymore. I’ve been spoiled. I need to move.


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