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.
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.