06 August 2011

Sunshine Coast MTB Trail Challenge day 1

This event is something I have been looking forward to doing for quite some time.

I first heard about it from a friend and so I asked him a couple of years ago if he thought it would be suitable for a tandem. He said, "Sure, I think that would work…" That's pretty much proof positive that people don't have a clue about where you can ride a tandem unless they have actually ridden a tandem. Here is ours.

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Why is it so hard to ride there you might ask? Well, for anyone that has not heard about North Shore riding up in BC, our trip had sections of trail that were exactly like this.

Shelley and I took off Friday afternoon and drove to Horseshoe Bay where we parked and walked on the ferry to Langdale. From there the event organizers shuttled us up to the start where we camped.

Easy enough, right? Wrong. We were dropped off at a grassy field and some people are setting up tents pronto only to have the organizers pop out of the woods and tell us the field we were supposed to camp at was, "A couple of 100 m down that trail…"

Here is the 'bike truck' freaking packed to the gills…

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Here is where everyone thought we were camping.

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Here we are walking down to the real camping field.

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Although dinner was technically provided the organizers did have cheese, crackers, fruit, cookies (for free) and beer and wine (for a modest fee). Nice. Shelley had the wherewithal to buy a sandwich at the ferry dock.

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Breakfast was at 7:00 AM and you could roll out pretty much any time you wanted. We ate, hit the head, packed up our tent and gear and started riding. Only to get off the bike in about 100'! The trail that rose up from the baseball field quickly got super narrow, went up a steep hill while getting very rooty. Sign of things to come?

Yes it was.

At the pre-ride meeting we were told that today there would be several sections where you could opt for the easy trail or the intermediate trail. Of course I turned onto the intermediate trail at the first opportunity… and we had to walk.

I learned my lesson quickly but that first hike was not insignificant. A shame too as it was outstanding trail! The problem was just that the longer tandem can't make it around tight corners and across little bridges that turn; the rear wheel just falls off.

There was one time where I thought Shelley's patience was running low (and I don't blame her) but we managed. And we also rode some really fun sections of trail too. Like when we approached the lunch stop. The route took us into a park and we followed a hiking trail around and around and around that was just perfect for the tandem.

All the food stops were fantastic.

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And by lunch we had made up.

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After lunch the trail stayed interesting.

Camping after day 1 was near the beach. We had all the amenities including live music! The organizers even brought along beer and wine and sold it for a reasonable price. We dined on salmon, potatoes, corn, salad, way too many desserts and I forget what all else. Good times for sure.

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Here are all the pictures.

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