Monday, December 15, 2014

Vedder Mountain Epic

I’ve never been much of a numbers guy. However most my friends like to measure how much they’ve done in vertical feet gained and lost. Be it skiing or riding bikes you know its been a good hard day if you can get to x amount of elevation gained. I remember the first time I skied 10000ft. I remember trying to get 15000ft in a single day on skis.  a couple months ago Mike Levy and I were on our way to a ride when the talk started. “whats the biggest day you’ve ever done on a bike?” “you ever done 10000ft on a bike?” “well then, we should do a 10000ft day on vedder”
To me Vedder Mountain is the best place on earth, the dirt is very unique with its clay based soil and deep loam. There is a ton of trails most people don't know about, and a lot of mainstream stuff people just cant get enough of. I learned to ride at Vedder almost 20 years ago. Vedder has the steepest climbs around and the craziest flow on the descents. Its not the most ideal place to achieve a 10000ft day. But this is sport, nothing is ideal. To put 10000 vertical feet into perspective, the summit of the iconic mt baker is 10,781 feet above sea level. 
Mike and I at the start of the ride along the rotary trail.
The plan:
Mike and I invited some people and got the ball rolling. The first annual Vedder 10 grand was born. We made up a route with trails that have taken my entire life to find and link up. When I sit here and look at the route I realize that Im an idiot and any one of the loops would be an epic day just on its own. Some of the best riders in the Fraser Valley would test their manhood to see if they could complete the massive task of 10000ft on the steepest gnar the world has ever seen. The route would be as follows
First Leg - Depart the Rotary Trail parking lot and take the Rotary down to Yarrow where we'll climb up Duck Farm, then onto the 'ring road and up to Hang Gliders. Descend Hang Gliders and get onto Goony that takes us the the Den climb. Up to the Den and then descend to the lake = 4,000ft.

Second Leg - Climb from the lake up Brokeback, up the new climbing trail, up the Ridge road to Five Corners (where Reefer begins). Climb up Tripower to KOM, then descend back down to the lake on Wife Beater, Mongoloid, Mexican Ninja, Electric Lettuce, Femur = 2,500ft

Third Leg - Ride/walk up the Old Man rd / driveway (likely grown in some), past the top of Duck Farm and up Tower rd to KOM. This is the steepest, hardest climb of the day, so save some juice. We'll then descend back down to the lake on singletrack = 2,500ft

Fourth Leg - Up Brokeback, up the new climbing trail and back onto Ridge rd up to Five corners where we'll get on Stairway to Heaven that will take us to the top of the Den. Descend down to the lake and ride back to the Rotary Trail parking lot. Drink a single beer and pass out = 2,500ft
So the Ride:
Thirteen of us came out for the ride, which is more than I thought would show given how bonkers the planned route was. Pretty cool to see so many people into it! We lost one dude to a mechanical at the top of Duck Farm early in the ride, but everyone else did the first 4,000ft lap that had the best trails on it, singletrack that's pretty tricky to link up so it was rad to show out-of-towners what we have here. Logan flatted on the Den and had to fix it twice, but it was flawless except for that and Nathan from clearbook coffee making a wrong turn on Goony. Crazy to think that only one person missed a turn, and he was local!
Half way up the duck farm
top of hang gliders
top of the Den.
We lost a few more after descending down to my van for pizza and drinks before climbing back up the new trail and then up past Reefer and up Tripower. The decent back down the other side of Tripower has to be the highlight for me - so much loam, so green, and great to see the grins on the first time tri power riders. Then was an easy spin/bush whack up the Old Man's rd to the base of Tower rd before the poo really hit the fan. Tower road from the Yarrow side is the steepest gravel road I have ever seen, just looking at it makes you want to puke. But 5 of us make it up and started the descent down to the lake, Logan had a nice crash at the top of the steeps but was ok. Light was fading at this point and we still needed to descend back to the van and then climb another 1,500 feet up. That's when my derailleur cable snapped and I was stuck in my hardest gear.
pizza stop at the van
tower road.
top of tri power
mike close to death at the tower
That climb back up to Two Cents in the near-dark was a pretty solemn affair, with the five of us just going our own pace due to pure exhaustion. I ended up using a G3 ski strap to rig up my derailleur up so the chain was in the easiest gear, and we all got to the top of Two Cents at dusk before riding down like a bunch of hacks... It was touch and go between the low light and how tired we were. But we all made it down safe and exhausted.  
ski strap.
According to Mikes Garmin we did 94km in total, with 10,056 feet of climbing, and I think we rode pretty much every mountain bike trail on Vedder. Five riders out of the thirteen that started the ride managed to complete it. We could have done a Ten Grand ride at almost any other location and had a much easier, quicker time of it, but it felt fitting to make the first Ten Grand group ride on the hardest, steepest mountain in the Valley. The numbers, while impressive, don't really do the ride justice as I think it was a lot more difficult than it looks.
the day.


















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