Author Archives: "Vernon Felton"
The propeller on our float plane slowly works itself up to speed. In seconds, we’re airborne. The plane banks and we see Puget Sound, countless islands and towering peaks stretching away in every direction. It’s so pretty, a blind man would take a picture if he had an camera in hand.
You look at the schematic of each day’s course in your handy Racer Handbook and you mentally gear yourself up for the punishment ahead. Some days are obviously brutal—with jagged peak after jagged peak and humbling mileage and elevation gains. Today, however, looked like a piece of cake by comparison: 30 miles and 2,500 feet of climbing. A long ride, but not nearly as hard as the first two days or the following four. But then…sometimes appearances can be deceiving.
Stage two of the BC Bike Race began and finished in Campbell River. The race rolled to a gentle start with a middle-ring fireroad climb before funneling riders onto Box Lunch, a trail that alternates from steep descent to rolling traverse, but is always technical. There are off camber roots, really sharp rocks that you must power up and attack. Riders flailed about in their stiff soled shoes for several miles, doing a lot more stumbling than riding. By the time racers hit the first rest zone, many of them had that hollow-eyed, walking-dead look.
The first wave of racers takes off, fittingly, to the gentle strains of Guns ‘n Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.” The first dozen or so kilometers are a fairly gentle introduction to BC riding—velvety singletrack that rolls and weaves through dark forests. The first hour or so, however, is also a constant congo line of squealing disc brakes, muttered curses and cries of “Sorry!.” Nerves are still high. Racers from dry climes are quickly learning that there’s a slimy root just waiting to take them out every few feet of trail.
Rocky Mountain Bicycles just unveiled the 2014 Rocky Mountain Instinct MSL: a massively versatile rig that’ll satisfy both marathon-style racers and more aggressive trail riders. We got our chance to test that claim when we pedaled the new Instinct MSL on a network of trails criss-crossing the North Shore’s famous Mt. Seymour.
Thirty-eight years in the trade have clearly taught the designers at Osprey a thing or two about making packs, because the Zealot 16—their 976-cubic-inch dump truck of a hydration pack—is the king of comfort. Go ahead, load the Zealot with 100 ounces of water, body armor, a full-face helmet, tools and any other creature comforts—the one thing you won’t feel is a pain in the back.