Chilcotin Bike Trip

Once again I found myself three hours west of the nowhere that is Williams Lake, BC, where I spend half the month at work. We were out there back in 2006 to ride some first descents and a fun fence gap, see (Chilcotin Mtns. First Descents). I am fortunate that Dylan invited me out there again because it is a one of a kind place. It is one of the most pristine and natural places still in existence in central BC. You won’t find cell service anywhere for about 300 km. Needless to say we were the first people to be riding bicycles on some of these lines. The weather was hot like southern California but the bugs were rampant like summer in the Yukon. We spent most days by the water where the wind would blow the bikes away or constantly moving- hiking or biking. There was no chance of really sitting still without getting devoured by bugs. This made doing and photography or filming pretty aggravating.

Dylan had a couple nuggets that he built out in the trees that I had only seen footage of until then. When something looks big in a video you know it’s real big in real life. The line is a short run down a ridge that dips into the trees and leaves you looking off the lip of a sizeable wooden step down. The step down spits you into a gully that twists you around and points you at a long floater right-hand hip. We warmed up on this hip, before heading up to session the step down that leads into it. Both moves are pretty big and require the right amount of speed and lots of concentration. I suffered a few crashes on the step down before I finally got the hang of it. We came back a couple times and got blown out by the sun before finally returning on an overcast day to shoot these shots.

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We decided to do an overnight trip to the top of a mountain where Dylan had scoped some lines a couple ago. I was excited to get a chance to shoot both evening and morning light up in the alpine. I was not as excited to push my bike up the hill with overnight gear, riding gear, and cameras on my back. To make matters worse it was probably the hottest day of the trip that we chose to do this extreme hike. The bugs were out in full force and we had to beekeeper just to stop being attacked more than 10 times a minute. That mean full on rain jackets zipped up, pants, goggles on, hood on, and deet everywhere. After a 3 hour hike up into the alpine, we ditched our camping gear and headed with lighter loads at an enthusiastic pace over to the zone. It was another hour and a half hike but much easier without 30lbs. bags banging around on our backs. We got to the top, out of the trees, into the wind, away from the bugs and collapsed to recoup for a while. There were lines everywhere.

Dylan ended up doing a lot of the riding because we were relatively pressed for time and the hike up after some of these lines can take a while. He sessioned this step down made from a couple rock slabs with the lake in the background. The wind made it challenging to ride and I was definitely not even considering it. I snagged a couple shots of him airing it out instead.

 

We rode a few scree lines and small drops into snow-like run outs that you could just lay the bike over and carve it out to control your speed.

 

I followed Dylan into a gnarly chute line as the sun was setting to do some helmet cam action but things turned bad pretty quickly. Dylan pulled off to the side and motioned me to carry on around him but I was going too fast and couldn’t slow down. I was pointed right into some big sharp boulders followed by a significant sized cliff. I bounced out of control through a few boulders before I had to eject off my bike landing in a heap on the rocks as my bike sailed over the edge. I escaped relatively unscathed, more terrified than anything, and managed to snap a quick shot of Dylan cleaning the line again in the last seconds of the setting sun.

We made our way back to camp as darkness set in, deciding we did not want to repeat the hike back out for a 5AM sunrise. The following day we headed down into the valley by means of a fast and flowy cow trail.

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