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Putting 'Mountain' in Mountain Biking

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

For those who did not read my post "Tread Lessons" this is sort of a continuum.

During summer break of 2016 my 1:30 AM alarm blares in the spare bedroom of Wendy and Andy's somewhat luxurious Whistler home. Wendy and Andy are family friends of my close Evan Mant's. Without question they always welcomed me into their home often offering up warm food and a shower after long days in the saddle. Delirious in a drunken like state I hauled my ass out of bed. Before I knew it Evan and I pedalled into the night along the Sea To Sky highway. Somehow Evan and I had managed to formulate what seemed like a logical plan. Summit Tonic Peak and descend "Up, Up, and, Away" during sunrise, down to Function Junction where we would be eating pizza by early morning. At the ripe age of sixteen neither of us had embarked on an "alpine" mission without adult supervision of some sort. To us it was a perfect adventure. These were the days before"Lord of the Squirrels". Riding the former Trials Dirtbike trail "Up, Up, and Away" required navigating overgrown logging roads and rough, somewhat non-existent alpine singletrack from the Callaghan Valley.

Callaghan Valley by moonlight

We pedalled by the dim light of the moon and our cheap bike lights pulling out the map frequently to confirm our route. Both of us made nervously made noise every so often hoping luck was on our side and that the local bears were content sleeping in the meadows. Of course there was nothing to worry about. If i was a bear I would take off upon hearing to oblivious and somewhat obnoxious teenagers on bikes coming my direction. To my surprise and 1400 meters later we emerged into the sub alpine during the morning blue hour.

Eventually while carrying our bikes and blindly navigating we arrived at Tonic Peak and the start of our long, steep, and burly descent.

Evan ascending at sunrise

"Bugs! We didn't plan for that." I stomped around the alpine tundra snapping photos with my Nikon DSLR.. The mosquitoes and black-flies were out in force and had no interest in going to bed for the day. Eventually we became impatient now that the sun had crested Wedge Mountain.

Down, Down, Down. Steep rock rolls, "rootballs" and steep dusty ruts awaited us all the way to valley bottom. Stopping every so often for photos Evan and I jumped, skidded and uncontrollably laughed our way down. The 'cool' part about being sixteen is the thought of crashing and getting injured in the backcountry never crosses your mind. It is all fun and games until it is not. Luckily we never had to find that out the hard way. With little concern we plowed our way straight down to the valley. Soon after arriving home around 8:30 am we devoured pizza and fell into a deep fatigue induced food coma.

Evan riding Fast N' Loose

Enjoying myself in what felt like a surreal experience

I had already spent a great deal of time in the backcountry with my family at this point in my life but this adventure opened up a whole new realm of opportunities. The following years in High school Evan and I constantly brainstormed our next adventures on our bikes together. Motivation was high and we were psyched. This lead to dehydration, muscle cramps, fatigue, and perseverance on our next major adventure rides.

Onto the next adventure..

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