Switchback Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving weekend in BC typically includes high winds, rain, cold weather and a wet soggy ride. Somehow this year was anything but typical and brought us dry trails, sunshine and incredibly clear skies. Leigh and Russ tweeted they were coming up to ride in Cumberland and asked if we could give them a tour.

We met after lunch and headed up to the new trail zone of Switchback and Pot Luck. New this year and already becoming a local favorite, it takes a big climb to get there but provides long singletrack lines back to town. Perfect zone for the 29er Stumpjumper!

The view is worth the trip

At the top of the climb

The “Augtober” sun beamed down on us and made for amazing views from the upper reaches, if anything it was too dry and dusty for our liking, but we knew it would change soon. Snow will come to these trails in the next month or so and keep them under wraps till May or June.

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Dusty trails


New bridges

Our only mishap came with the torn thread in the bead of Russ’s tire, but the crafty rider was able to fashion some electrical tape into a binding agent to get him back to the trailhead.



We were only a few minutes late for turkey dinner, enjoying the fact we had worked off many of the upcoming calories on this new loop.

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Fast Trak Tire – One word – WOW!

For the last number of years I’ve been biased against the micro knobby tires that some racers bring to the BC Bike Race. I guess it’s going back to the days of bigger knobs for more traction that gave me the most success. Even still I was noticing how some of the racers such as Neil Kindree was succeeding with the tire I was so vehemently opposing. Maybe time to check it out.

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New vs Old Design

Before our summer road trip I figured, the dry xc conditions would favour the Specialized Fast Trak. Redesigned for 2012, the knobs have more angles, excavations and detailed lines than any tire I’ve owned. Weight for the Control Casing tire in 2.0 is approx 630g. You can go 110g lighter with the S-Works edition, but for regular riding use, I prefer the extra durabilty of the heavier model. For occasional off road commuter riders, the Sport version is one of the best price micro knobby tires on the market. I’ve been running 2-bliss all spring and had little issue seating a bead with these tires even with just a floor pump.


Purgatory and Fast Trak – my favorite combo in BC

On the Trail

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Since July I’ve put them through a whole range of climates and trail surfaces. I’ve even kept the rear on through the fall.


– Dry and solid clay and sand. Great traction for climbing and good directional stability for cornering.

– Clay and rock, with some loam and roots thrown in. Tires hooked up well on climbs (my lungs didn’t). Good braking and cornering was a breeze.

Seven Summits Trail, Rossland
– I was worried about a smaller profile front tire for the rocks and rough nature of this trail so I swapped out the front for a Purgatory 2.2. Rear still climbed fine and held up well against the sharp rocks famous for shredding side-walls.

New Denver
– More rock, some wet roots, a few clay sections. My first puncture! I heard a slight leak with each turn of the tire so I quickly stopped with the leak at the bottom of the rotation and let the sealant do it’s job. 10 seconds later I pedalled away without any further adjustment.

– We came home and out of pure busy life, I hadn’t changed the tire. Dry and dusty in September and October. Climbing still no worries, except in a bit of deep dusty loam. Directional stability on roots is great. I guess I slip on some of them but it’s a predictable slippage, not a flat on your side slippage.
– This last weekend brought the rain and a good chance to test the tire in some uglier conditions. Still this thing can’t be beat. I was cleaning sections of trail I would spin out on with my Purgatory, it would clean quickly and today in the rain hooked up even better on many climb and root sections of the trail.


Looking for a great tire with low rolling resistance and great all round climbing prowess? Check out the new Fast Trak to see if it might fit your xc 29er needs!

Next test – does it handle snow???

Branching out – our local trail network expands

Last weekend the MOMAR Adventure Race rolled through Cumberland, and as usual I was out offering my help navigating the back roads to setup a few remote checkpoints. In the last few years, the network of trails in Cumberland, BC has expanded outwards and upwards, gaining a few hundred meters of elevation and a lot of distance.


Scenic stops at sub-alpine lakes – Davis Lake

Setup complete, I jumped on my Stumpjumper and headed out with a gps to map a few of these new trails. Not much can compare with the enjoyment of tires to new ribbons of dirt through the forest.

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Fabulous bridge work by the hard working River Rats – Potluck Trail


These new trails are way out there – Switchback Trail


Different ecosystems on the same ride – Queso Grande

Dropping In & Big Mountains


Steep hills are the name of the game in the Golden region of the Kootenay’s. Mount 7, former site of the Red Bull Psychosis, is a near freefall from the top of Dead Dog, and Kicking Horse Resort has it’s own steep trails with a rock slab about 100 feet long at a grade that would please scrambling hikers. In summary it’s an awesome place to ride a downhill bike, and our first stop on the road trip.

Waiting out the storms at the new Golden Pump Track

Golden sits in the Columbia river basin at it’s confluence with the Kicking Horse River. Mountain ranges on each side provide the dh trails and a network of xc and all mountain trails span the lower valley connecting town with the Moonraker Trails to the south west. Canyon Creek trail provides stunning vistas over a deeply carved chasm and flowy forested trails abound at the bottom end. The Golden Cycling Club have created the CBT trail and a few others which provide endless riding right from downtown. For this trip we were going to mainly focus on the DH options we missed last time. A newly created pump track and skills park was our playground while we waited out a thunderstorm before ascending the long steep mountain road to Mount 7.


View from the top of Mount Seven – Click image for Photosynth Panorama

Rising above Golden to the East is the peak of Mount 7, named for the numerically shaped snow field that appears near the summit. The trails drop from a shale knuckle partway down the mountain. This lower point provides excellent hang gliding launching, apparent by the 10 plus gliders getting prepared at the top. Each of our groups marveled at the craziness of each other (mtb is definitely safer).

Top of Mount Seven

Mount 7 offers a pretty broad selection of dh trails, from all mountain bike capable trails like Summit, to the double black dh of Dead Dog and Skid Marks. Clay predominates the soil types, so it gets dry and dusty in the summer but can get very wet and mucky after big rain storms. Lots of structures dot the middle and lower segments of the trails but look before you leap as some are definitely showing signs of wear. Bench cut, ridge line and bermed sections of trail keep you thrilled during the over 1100m /3300ft of descending. Check your brake pads before heading up on this ride!

The next day we headed across to the western flanks of the Golden valley for the bike park at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Offering Gondola access to over 2300m /7700ft of elevation, each lap gives you near 1200m / 4000ft of decending. During the 18 minute ride, keep your eyes open for Boo the Grizzly in his habitat mid mountain. Just above this is the largest of the rock slabs that make up a good portion of the terrain at Kicking Horse.

High in the Alpine

Experienced riders drop in from the top of the Golden Eagle Express. each run starts with a km of exposed fire road to the first trails in Crystal Meadows. Junctions towards the middle fan riders out to various different terrain areas, Blaster to the North and Superberm to the South. Riders wanting to build up their skill can use the Catamount Chair to access Super Berm, Easy Rider, and even Stump Jumper!

The best part of Kicking Horse, lineups are never an issue and rarely did we encounter riders on the trails.

Local Wildlife

After two great days of riding and lovely accommodations with our friends Julie & David, we headed south towards Fernie, our most eastern point on this Kootenay Road Trip.

Here’s a quick Vid of the trails on Mount 7 and Kicking Horse Resort!

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Travel Info

Golden BC is located on Highway 1, 3 hrs from Calgary and 9 hrs from Vancouver.

Camping is available close to town at the municipal campground (at the bottom of Mount 7) or if you’re looking for the xc rides at the Moonraker trails, Sander Lake is right at the trail head. If camping’s not your choice, there is a hostel in town and lots of options right at the base of Kicking Horse Resort.

Bike maps, trail info, repairs and more can be found at Derailed Sports or Higher Ground Sports.

Good eats include Eleven 22 for fresh ingredient pasta meals, Peaks Grill at the bottom of the Gondola (check out the Sweet & Spicy Chicken Poutine!) and the Whitetooth Mountain Bistro.

Road Trip Complete!

By the numbers:

  • 2985km’s,
  • 14 days,
  • 2 people,
  • 4 bikes,
  • 4 towns,
  • 2 bike parks,
  • 3 epic shuttles,
  • endless trails

All this equals one great summer mountain biking road trip through the Kootenays!

It’s great to be home, and back to work, so we’ll have more trip reports coming shortly.

Click the photo below for a few quick shots to wet your appetite!



Road Tripping Kootenay Style

Tourism, the life blood of a new economy for many of our province’s small communities. Our own community of Cumberland has developed its tourist potential with accommodations, trails, eateries and events.

Our summer travels took Teresa and I to the Kootenay’s in 2009, Idaho and Montana in 2010, Oakridge and Bend, Oregon last year, so it was time to return to south eastern BC and use our info from last trip to make this one even better.

Kootenay Rockies Bike Vacation Guide

Loaded up with camping gear, our Safire, Stumpjumper 29er, and downhill bikes, we’re working to check off as many spots from the Kootenay Tourism Bike Vacation book as we can in two weeks.

First stop Golden; home to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Mt. 7, and the Moonraker trail network. Afterwards we’ll explore Fernie, Rossland, New Denver, Revelstoke and more.

The weather looks great, the forests all shades of green and the trails tacky!

Check back as we provide updates from each area we explore over the fortnight.

The Land of Plenty

Sunny spring afternoon, early finish at the office… What to do? Ride? Already doing that tomorrow. Mow the lawn? Do I really need to ask that? Kayaking? Let’s check the tide tables, currently a low tide rising over the evening? Perfect!

Hey Teresa, want to go for a paddle this evening?

One never knows what to expect when heading out on the water. The evening looked ok, but we would only later find out how perfect our timing was.

Living in the Comox Valley we’re very much spoiled with access to so many activities. From skiing to biking, hiking and water sports, there are few reasons to not be active.

The Courtenay Estuary


We picked up our rental boats from the local shop and headed out to a heritage site called the Royston Wrecks, a series of boats used to create a breakwater in the early 1900′s. Slowly dissolving into the sea, these create a unique viewing opportunity for kayakers and divers.

Royston Wrecks


The weather was stunning, almost no breeze, warm sun on our backs, not a cloud in the sky. All in all it made for a beautiful way to spend an evening.

Glass calm


Biking may be a favorite activity, but variety is the spice of life!

Check out more photos and info on the wrecks here