I’ve seriously forgotten just how good Whistler is- not only does it house the best riding park in the world, but it holds some of the best trail riding on earth. And the sun always seems to be shining, and the beers always cold, and food always tastes good, and…
You get the picture, eh?
I started my trip with the Norco Bikes presentation for their 2009 range- and boy, what a range it is- but you can read more about that here. For the launch Norco housed us hacks in the Westin Resort and Spa- one of the best hotels in town. So needless to say we made the most of it with hot tub sessions after a days riding and lounging on the sun deck in the last rays of the day.
One thing the Westin does really well is food- I mean proper weird gourmet stuff. Like odd coloured cauliflower- that apparently, according to the waitress with more blond highlights than me, grows naturally. My arse.
Unless of course it does, in which case I’m just proving I’m a real blond.
Did anyone ever say how many bears you see out here? You see loads of bears and they all look really cuddly and nice. Except I guess they’d probably start munching on your skull if you tried to cuddle one. I’ve nearly ran in to a few but thankfully not like Dirty Berty did last year when he T-boned a bear at full tilt.
Ex-MBUK Wrecking Crew member (re-formed travelling bum) Cal is out here on his global freeride pilgrimage, but it looks like he’s come to a dead end as he’s been here for three months and is now intending on staying- it’s remarkable how many people you meet out here that ‘just came for a week and stayed five years’. Really.
And most of them are Aussies- although that may have something to do with the fact that Aussies can get as many working Visas- until they’re 30 odd- as possible..! Ho hum.
Anyhow, Cal is well up to speed and knows all the trails backwards- although I can still show him a few things which is always nice given he’s 10years my junior. The little blue-haired punk-ass.
Whistler has got to be one of the best places on earth for product testing as there is every style of mountain biking in one place- I’ve really been enjoying beating the shit out of my bike out here in the name of testing- the Double Barrel Cane Creek shock is stunning- the level of compression damping is fantastic- although a week of hitting stuff hard has made me realise that it’s a shock for the race heads out there rather than the ‘park riders’. I ran my Roco shock today, which feels ultra supple and comfy, although the compression damping as standard isn’t enough on my Socom which seems to have a slight falling rate once past ¾ of the stroke- however, it saved my hands after running the entire of Garbanzo before lunch.
As you may or may not already know, the Hope Moto brakes kick ass. I thought I was going to hate them- I didn’t like the fact that I have to run the levers so far in board to make them work and I didn’t like the heavy weight of them. Nor did I like the fact that two friends warded me off them in favour of being Sam Hill wannabes with their Juicy lever/Code calliper set up.
But how wrong my friends were, and how wrong I was. The Hope Moto brakes are phenomenal. I’m talking nearly too much power after a fortnight of mashed up hands. So that’s a good thing- although the vented discs are an over kill here, but I think they would be incredible in the Alps with the steeper and longer descents. Neil Arnold sent me the team Green versions, which I now love- they are the most powerful brakes I’ve ever used by far, and have a brilliant feel. I am totally sold on Hope brakes again- and feel great running them as everyone here wonders what they’re like. And a few of them even know that you can’t even buy the Team Green options.
‘Too bloody good’ I tell them.
Another British thing that seems to be going down well are my Burgtec hubs- I’m hearing a constant flow of ‘dude, check those hubs out on the orange Socom- they’re Camo..’ from behind me in the lift queue. So I seal the deal for them by telling them how much they cost, let them hear the Chris King whizz they emit and board the chairlift whilst they whisper.
Another thing I’ve noticed here is that the custom spec bikes that us Brits run attract a lot of attention. It’s almost like they don’t understand the custom thing as they only buy off the peg bikes. It’s only then that the price of our silly bikes hits home.
Today I hit up the Garbanzo trails- a lot- as the lower park is getting pretty hectic- and I’ve forgotten just how rough it is up here. Some would say it’s proper mountain biking. Last year I had a nasty slam on Goats Gully so I went back to face my Demons- and boy did they slap me- it’s harsh as anything up there. And that combined with the fact that I can’t eat dinner as hands are so weak is seriously killing me typing this.
Anyhow, I’ve got a day or so left in the park, so I’d better get going on the few trails I haven’t hit this year properly- Clown Shoes, Joy Ride, D1 and Rock City. Bring them on…