Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking in Downieville, California - September 2008

Downieville Mountain Biking Trip - Mid September, 2008

Natasha, Brent and I headed east from San Francisco towards Lake Tahoe, turning off on the I-49 to follow the Yuba River into the small mountain town of Downieville. We camped next a giant air-stream motor home owned by a guy gold prospecting nearby river.

On our first day, we'd organized two shuttle drops to the top of Packer Saddle. Yuba Expeditions, a bike outfitter in Downieville drove us to the the top of the Sunrise trail. Dropping down the Sunrise Trail, our morning trail was the straight shot, hitting the Butcher Ranch Trail to Paul Creek, then upping the speed as we fast tracked down the Third Divide Trail to Lavezzola Rd, before diving down the First Divide Trail back to town. After lunch and a caffeine injection, we shuttled back up to the Saddle. This time we took the 4x4 road, and dropped into the slightly less travelled Pauley Creek Trail. This joined up with the Butcher Ranch Trail halfway down, but this time we stayed left, and dropped into the slightly more technical Second Divide Trail. A short cut right at Lavezzola Rd, and we flew back down the First Divide Trail to town, hitting camp after dark.

The second day we drove ourselves up to just below the Packer Lake Saddle, and rode the Deer Lake Trail, some beautifully flowing single track that passes, not surprisingly, around Deer Lake. We then hooked that up with the Tamarack Sardine Lakes trail, a spectacular climb up to a shoulder of the Sierra Buttes and worthy views before plunging down the other side of the ridge, past Upper and Lower Sardine Lakes and back to Packer Lake Rd.

For our final day, Yuba shuttled us back up to the saddle. We dropped down Sunrise Trail, then headed further north past the Empire Mine out to Big Boulder Trail. Dodging baby heads and climbing steep switch backs the Big Boulder Trail then plunges down the shoulder, hitting the Pauley Creek trail just above the foot Bridge. We finished the ride down Third and First Divide Trails, packed up camp quickly, and drove back to San Francisco.

Photos and maps for the trip can be found here.

Spruce Lake Mountain Bike Tour - Southern Chilcotins - August 2008

Seven guys and their bikes flew in to Lorna Lake. From there we climbed Lorna Pass, then dropped down to Tyaughton Creek. After climbing Deer Pass, we dropped down to Trigger and Hummingbird lakes on Gun Creek, then rode to our camp at the north end of Spruce Lake. Our gear had been plane dropped by Dale from Tyax earlier in the day. The following day, after an extended breakfast, merging into a relaxing lunch, we did a quick circuit of Spruce Lake, taking the Upper Grasslands trail to Cowboy camp, then tracing our previous day's route back to camp. On the final day, we climbed to Windy Pass, then followed the High Trail, via its south branch, to the Lick Creek trail, then following double track back to Tyax Lodge on Tyaughton Lake. Halfway through the day we watched Dale fly past with our gear, which was waiting for us on the Tyax dock. Photos and maps for the trip can be found here.

Moab Mountain Biking Trip - April 2008

Mountain Biking in Moab, Utah, April 2008

Spring time in Vancouver can be a pretty grey time of year, so I flew down to San Francisco to catch up with my friends Brent and Natasha, and we hit the road out to Moab, Utah, desert country. Camped up above town, each day we went looking for some of the best mountain biking trails the area has to offer.

The first day there, we set up camp, and hit the Slick Rock practice loop, riding until the sun started to go down. The slick rock area is the stereo-type of what people picture as Moab riding - smooth, steep, petrified sandstone, where the only limits to how steep you can climb on this grippy rock are the power in your legs and your skills on your bike. The following week we sampled a diverse range of rides, from the cliff hugging technical single track above the Golden Spike jeep trail, to the flowing downhill of Kokopelli and Porcupine Rim, to the technical downhill of Portal. Moab's got pretty much every style of riding you want to cut your teeth on. Highlights included the high speed Sovereign trail, picturesque Amasa Back, Bartlett Wash for just playing around, and Gemini Bridges for the classic arches found almost no place else.

All up an awesome trip, and one I'll no doubt repeat in the not too distant future.

Photos and maps for the trip can be found here.

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