The riding is done… The DH bikes are on ice… The feral kit has been washed and goes into the cupboard, so it must therefore be time for the tradition wrap up, which allows me the chance to rant on a whole lot of items that probably seem like obvious tips – Even when I don’t always follow them myself.
Its appropriate to start with a massive Dirty Thank You to these two rad units right here, who are responsible for making this the best Whistler mission yet, what do you think boys?
Awesome to ride with Herr Doktor and Moto man in Shred HQ, I am already laying the ground work for the #R15W mission. Yes, I thought this would be my last Whistler trip, but being there with the above characters reinforced how golden it is and how its significantly better when you roll in with your posse. Which brings me to my next main point;
Simply put – This is a fucking awesome place. No other way to sum it up. Given it was the third mission here, I had thought maybe it would be same same, but far from it. Basically if you’re into riding a Mountain Bike downhill in any way, shape or form then you MUST come here at least once in your life. Assuming you don’t break bones on day one, you won’t regret a trip here. Round up the boys, getting planning and book that fucker in. Good times await:
Most of what I ranted about last year in the wrap up still applies, unless you’re a bad motherfucking shredder in your 20’s, which may mean some of this won’t be as relevant. But, if you want to head to Whistler and ride the park for a week or so, then this may help. I will also assume that you’re purely park ratting it here… Even if there is a massive world of riding outside the park, which may make you fever to bring two bikes even? This year, I am only giving 5 tips to keep things streamlined:
- Work out – Oh yes, hit the gym and get the tin pumping. I chose the ‘coiled steel‘ approach, whereas Dok likes to ‘Beefcake‘ that shit up with massive dead lifts. Either way, doesn’t matter, just get in the Dojo and smash some iron. The improvement it will make to your riding and ability to hold on to the bike is pronounced and it doesn’t take as many sessions as you think to help out. Goes without saying that overall riding fitness needs to be high. Don’t be fooled by the multiple picture of us smashing quality DH diet items, its harder work than one may think…
- Small mitts – Buy the smallest gloves you can possibly manage and ride with those. Odd tip? Not really, try it and see, your hands will thank you… TLD gloves my personal recommendation, a big call given I have had a life of being a massive Fox fan boi
- Bring a DH bike – This assumes you’re riding PARK for 6 to 14 days in total… The accumulative effect of radness takes its toll, so a DH bike is your friend. A MAD trail bike like a Santa Cruz Nomad can probably hack it, but can you? The DH bikes will forgive your sins a lot more than any other machine and allow you to do shit that you previously said “Fuck off man” to. Whatever you decide to do: Take Minions!
- REST DAY – We didn’t do it, and paid the fatigue price. This brings me to format… Debate landed on a 5/2/4 format as being a good option if you want to smash lots of laps. 5 days on, 2 rest and then another 4 on. Also worth booking the bike in early for a service over those 2 days, this has a double upside: 1) stops you riding and forces rest. 2) You’re going to have weird mechanical niggles and punishment you’ve never seen before, so this preempts that annoying begging in shops all around town like a crack addict looking for a fix (ha ha).
- HQ – We stayed in the Aava this time around and it was excellent, staff were cool, rooms were good, aside from the Dok vs Couch bed battle. Bike valet was excellent and its in a great location to sift into town as well. #dirtyrecommendation.
What about the RIDING?!
Ah yes… It was all class I have to say, with some excellent trail work having been done to make things the best I have ever seen them here. A little gutted we missed some trails being cleaned up (MEGA braking bumps on mid section of Blue Velvet as per usual), but if you look at our Kill List we did a pretty reasonable job here and there:
So, whilst we didn’t tick everything on the list, here is a taste of what appeared to be the absolute favourites, right down to particular sections even:
- Lower Duffman – The whole DUFFMAN is gold, but the lower sections after the Freight train interlude is excellent. Way better when you have preload correct on the forks and when you don’t brake, I really mean that too
- Top of the world – A MUST DO when you’re here… Unique for the park and so awesome you’ll feel like its 4 different trails, its an absolute blast. Top to bottom a decent work out as well, so go prepared
- A-Line section 3 – Section 2 jumps had a tendency to kick us in the ass, but fuck section 3 is bubble bath with Scar Jo good… It flows beautifully and the new #fuckivestoppedbreathing jump at the end after the EPIC berms is sensational. It IS MTB sex
- Upper Original Sin – Best way off the top of Garbo, rough, a few drops and classic tech shit. Felt like it had been slightly watered down from last year, or perhaps it was just the Demo was so good it cleaned it (refer to above bubble bath reference, also applicable). No comment of my nemesis of the end of Original Sin, it got me, so the score is now tied at 3-3. Revenge in 2015 you rocky slab fuck
- Middle of No Joke – Hold the speed off the freeway, smash through and then get into the slick rock and roots… Fuck its GOOD if you can hold your line and your nerve. You know you’re alive when you get down to the end of that action, excellent shit
- Angry Pirate – Il Pirato… Yes, more tech single track heaven. The top is excellent and while you have to work the lower a bit more, this was a winner. Oddly, never felt like we did it enough after initially falling in love with it. SO MUCH VARIETY!
- Lower Blue Velvet – Best when ridden flat out, this thing has been basically perfectly designed to link together in a symphony of stiffy inducing goodness. Hit it fast and right and you’re rewarded with a non stop berm jump berm jump roller coaster. The downside? Flogs you out when you really hammer it, hold the fuck on when creaming through those berms
- Afternoon delight – Not very long, but oddly one of my favourite tracks in the park. Being Tech, Dok took and unhealthy shine to it as well. Just love this trail, keep the momentum and get through those drops and the reward is an epic thrill. Feels double black when its wet…
- A-Line tech – Who doesn’t love barrelling into this MF like its the last run ever… Dok tore down here with alarming haste. You know sometimes a rider just clicks with a certain piece of terrain? Well, this was that for Herr Doktor and he reamed it each and every time… The term PLOUGH comes to mind…
- Angry Animals – Just a winner time and time again… Not the most challenging, but a fucking blast. Ninja Cougar into Karate Monkey into Samurai Pizza Cat… Feel free to finish with either Afternoon Delight (my personal recommendation) or Devils Club. Life is GOOD!
Possibly the only regret was not hitting any Double Black trails, but it was a tricky alignment of skills, fatigue and weather. When we were really on our game, trails were marginal and so the Single Blacks felt like doubles at time and when it dried out, so had our mojo… Really with the progression we had, we should have nailed a couple at least, but its just an excuse to go back next year…
The worst thing about Whistler? The aftermath… Yes, leaving is absolutely the hardest part. Not only do you want to stay the whole summer, but once you leave you’re rammed with videos of people still riding and with Crankworx coming up thats about to explode all over the net and in our faces. Please relatives and loved ones, you need to understand and respect that Post Whistler Depression is a REAL thing… Treatment plans include more Mountain Biking and early discussions about returning next season. Allowing equipment upgrades also will help with our rehabilitation back into everyday life.
At least I didn’t have to contend with going back to an office where you are faced with legions of zombies who won’t be able to comprehend what its like to be in Whistler, faced with such interactions:
“Hi Mr Man, how was your cycling holiday? Did you ride your bike down tracks? Golly, that must be exciting, adrenaline junkie stuff right?”
Not to get philosophical on it, but I am exceedingly grateful of being able to go and ride in such an awesome place with rad dudes, its been the best Whistler mission yet… Can’t wait for the reunion. And on that note, its time to start working on the Shredits! Watch this space…