Friday, December 28, 2012
2Flat - Whistler, beyond the park
2 Flat - Seb Kemp
Couldn't agree more about the sentiment that the riding beyond the Whistler Bike Park is the not-so-hidden jewel of the Whistler Valley. I make a trip or two to Whistler every year, and I've been in the bike park once since 2008. The quality of the trails around the valley are next level trail riding - real BC burl - gut wrenching climbs with pucker powered descents. All ridden on a bike that needs to climb as well as it descends - AM turned up to 11. The climbing is stiff, physical and aggressive and the descents really are the gold standard.
A surprising observation I made while riding in the valley this year(Yummy Numby) was how the technical climbing helped improve my descending skills - this is a benefit not experienced off of a chair lift. Maintaing momentum is the biggest challenge while climbing most trails on the Whistler valley walls. Roots and rocks threaten to extinguish momentum constantly - and worrying about endoing going uphill is a weird Mystery Spot type experience that may be unique to this place. What I really noticed this year, was that the same bike handling techniques used to keep the momentum going on the uphill translate directly into more speed on the downhill due to that same body english being used to keep the bike moving forward. Lighter impact = less resistance = more speed.
Another great benefit of Whistler trail riding is the total no car experience. Crawl out of the Westy in the AM(not too early of course, this is vacation), hop on the bike, crank up and down a valley wall, spin a bike only path to the village, snort a double shot, devour a wrap, sit, relax, bike back to camp, sit, relax, bike back to village for outdoor concert, dinner, bike bike to camp, sleep in Westy. Repeat for as many days as your hall pass from real life allows.
Go ride Whistler. And don't buy a lift ticket.