When you work in the bike industry you hear the adage “Work Hard, Play Hard” tossed around all the time. With the challenges of the past two years somewhat reinterpreting what playing hard together could look like for the NOBL crew, this Summer we were all itching for a chance to step away from our truing stands and spreadsheets to immerse ourselves in a few days of big-mountain riding in the unbridled wild.
At the end of August, the NOBL team hit the road to the South Chilcotins Mountains Provincial Park and stoke was high. We were lucky enough to snag a chalet at Tyax Wilderness Lodge as our home base and it was the perfect spot to get some quality (and needed!) rest in between our rides, including mandatory dips in Tyaughton Lake and some epic team meals. It turns out our team has skills in the kitchen as well as on the trail!
The Chilcotins Range of Coastal BC is a legendary adventure playground with vistas that are unmatched but have to be seriously earned if you’re there to pedal. Our first ride was a classic – Ridge-o-Rama – where the bang for your buck is an all-time high. A stout push into the alpine forced us to acclimatize quick to climbing past 2000m in elevation, and we learned that climbing in the Chilcotins is a combination of granny-gear grinding and head-down hike-a-biking with the shaley or sandy mountain surface sliding away from you with every step. Awe and a slice of humble pie were on the menu for us all as we gathered on the ridge and whooped our way down through the Cinnabar Basin to finish the day.
We split up the next day between shuttling loamers and exploring in the nearby town of Bralorne and nerves and excitement were buzzing as we then suited and tuned-up for the “harder” ride plan for our third day. What could that even look like?! Our goal was to hit Spruce Lake through Windy Pass but after the slog of the punishing High Trail climb on tired legs we dipped directly through Gunn Meadows and onto the Gunn Creek Trail where the flora shifted from electric-green meadows sprinkled with wildflowers to bench-cut slopes of golden brush and aspen groves, always backed by a 360° mountain view.
There truly is no better way to bond folks together than a shared experience of doing something exceptionally difficult yet rewarding in the deep backcountry. This was the experience we were looking for and once again, the Chilcotins delivered in spades. Encouraging each other through soul-crushing climbs, across exposed ridgelines and over the next bend in the trail built a huge amount of team pride and isn’t something we’ll soon forget. As a team, we look forward to more riding trips that push our boundaries and the fun-meter to eleven. Where to next?!