Rita Roadtrip: Rooting it Out
Canadians are tougher than us. When it is 57 degrees, which it is often enough to make one think the thermometer is broken, and raining they go riding. They do this because if they did wait for dry weather, riding days would be counted by single digits in a month’s time.
|She'd been begging for a Poutine, 4700ft later we found one...and spent the next few hours regretting it|
There is also the benefit of soil composition. At home our soil becomes extra chunky peanut butter with even a drop of rain. I have carried, yes carried since the wheels are so clogged with goopy PB they cannot turn, my bike out from rides on a handful of occasions in which I wasn’t as fast as I thought. Mother nature with an ego check.
In this part of British Columbia, however, rain doesn’t make mud. It makes the soil come to life, sprouting hands that seem to grab a bike tire and hold on to it no matter the grade or speed or force of a turn; it is among the most fantastic riding conditions in existence. A rider can do no wrong. At least until a gaggle of roots, that by the way cover every surface, come into play. Add a drop of water and you may as well be playing hockey on a bike.
For us, this is highly unnerving. We don’t have roots and we don’t ride in the wet. Canadians relish in it and don’t give either a second thought. Apparently the expensive, sticky rubber tires that only get destroyed by desert rock have a purpose. Note that for next time.
|For the record, I did brush my teeth|
Following a few rainy days in Squamish, we moved north to Whistler, i.e. mountain bike Disney Land. On a trip dripping with moisture, it was a clear day. We decided to go for a big ride that required a favorable forecast. Pedal power carried us from the urban hustle up 4,700ft to alpine wilderness and a ripping, technical descent. Keri and I were masochistically beat.
|Saved to be savored at the correct moment, we enjoyed limited edition beers that had been a gift from Travis a year prior|
Rains returned that evening. We spent the next two days riding mentally invigorating rock faces and steep, root entangled terrain in the wet. Wet, bone colored granite slabs remained surprisingly grippy when wet, but that slimy quagmire of mossy mud one must cross upon each entrance and exit to said slab was waiting, grinning a used car salesman’s grin. Each day’s end found us chilled and soggy, nerves a bit ragged, perhaps a new bruise here or splotch of mud there.
Each evening found us swaddled in Rita’s dry warmth, allowing the preceding day’s trial to absorb. On tomorrow’s ride, roots shrank and slabs were just a little less steep.