Fernie, BC, Canada – A world class location for mountain biking

Sharon and I got to ride in Fernie, British Columbia for two days. Name a city, and catalog its nearby riding, chances are very good Fernie has more riding and that is much closer to town. Seriously, the only setback mountain biking in Fernie seems to have suffered is a good ski season. I was fortunate enough to sample two of the six or so nearby riding areas. The first, Ridgemont area, was ridden with Sharon. A serious shout out to Sharon here, as this was very likely the most epic mountain bike ride she has even taken. It included a good variety of terrain over a sizable distance. I will let Sharon tell her own story.

Day two, Sharon and I went to different areas. I went to Castle Mountain. I rode up a trail called Roots Extension. What an accurate name!  My tires and occasionally feet were on roots more frequently than they were on dirt. This trail climbed up to the base of the mountain where the real suffering started. From here I crossed the river road and picked up the Hyper Extension Trail. About two thirds of the way up I encountered the first other rider of the day. He said somthing like ” oh wow most folks go up the other way eh, bet that was a heck of a climb”. I replied somewhat (ok, very)  out of breath having climbed over 1500 feet in a little less than two miles, ” sure is”. So apparently its a lot better to climb the other trail up called Hyper Ventilation. In any event, this did take me up to a red picnic bench at one of the most scenic overlooks I have ever been to.

view from the overlook on Castle Mountain

This trail of course led to a  long downhill. The downhill starts off with a steep grade straight down the mountain, steep enough that I was glad to have lowered my saddle. This continues for a ways and makes a few off camber turns with a good deal of exposure. My brakes took some punishment, at one point along here the front brake rotor brushed some very green grass and it sizzled and the grass wilted. I saw that as a good excuse to stop for a minute and collect myself. From here the trail opens up some and you start to pick up speed. Then it flattens out a little and gets on an old road. The road then starts to point downward and you really pick up speed. This is one of the fastest sections I have ever ridden. My 44×11 top gear was rendered useless. Every time you hit another dip or roller you start to feel like a run away truck. This descent is well worth the agony of the climb. Then the trail plunges violently down another steep pitch back into a dark and dense stand of moss covered cedar. Soon after it flattens out and mellows out and dumps you out on a paved road.  I took the paved road for a short stretch before getting on a gravel path leading back to town.


7 responses to “Fernie, BC, Canada – A world class location for mountain biking

  1. Jay, half the biking terms in your stories I don’t understand. But I always enjoy reading them because it sounds like you have a lot of fun! Since this is not something I’m EVER going to do, I can live vicariously through you.

  2. Melinda Bloom

    Hi Jay, I agree with Sarah – I have no clue what you’re talking about much of the time, but it sounds very scary and that you are having a blast!! And, to repeat myself, “I’m so glad I’m not your mother!!!!” I don’t know how she kept her cool with three daring biking guys in the family. My hat’s off to her!

  3. Melinda, there have definitely been times when I don’t know how I have kept my cool. I still worry but I understand the thrill. Morgan (Jay’s Dad for anyone who doesn’t know him) was into tennis when I purchased my first mountain bike so I could take Jay and Nate on biking adventures in the desert behind our house. They were really little, maybe 5 and 7 and had sweet little BMX bikes. They cried once I took them way too far on a 3 mile ride and had to carry/push all of our bikes up a hill too steep for us to ride. I thought I had scarred them for life. I think Jay had to learn to change a flat before I did. Morgan finally got the mountain bike love on a vacation in Utah where I had all of us rent mountain bikes. There was no turning back – it was sort of like a religious conversion for the whole family. I will never be the techno mountain bikers that my guys are and I never had the skills they do. I did learn that usually momentum is your friend on the mountain bike and the bikes are engineered to take you amazing places.

  4. Madelon Bloom

    It sounds like heart-pumping, breath-stealing action! Yipes!

  5. Pingback: Fernie Part Two: Sharon’s Mountain Biking Review | Service Driven

  6. Don’t worry Jay…I understand. Tear it up…you’re living the dream.

  7. Pingback: 26th Week in Review: 6 MONTHs!! | Service Driven

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