Scott 'The Wonderdog' Legere came down from Nelson on Saturday so we could assault the Seven Summits route... twice in one day. For those of you who don't know, the Seven Summits is an IMBA Epic and is pretty much entirely singletrack.

The plan was to ride from the base of Red's ski hill to the start of the trailhead (adding an extra 1,300' of climbing) then ride Seven Summits from North to South, stop at Cascade just before the Dewdney Trail and grab the water cache we planted in the bushes earlier that morning, then turn around and ride the Seven Summits South to North till we popped out on the highway and ride back down to the base of the ski hill. A big day.

It took us 45mins to ride up the highway (passing people on road bikes) and after a quick 5min stop at the top we dove into the trailhead and got to work. The first phase of the route consists of a lot of climbing... and a lot of sweat. We were working at a solid endurance pace, holding back on the vertical ascent rate enough that we could have a solid effort for the entire out and back, rather than blasting off a blistering pace in just one direction and limping back home in the other direction.

The first big views after gaining the top of the first summit were extremely satisfiying. Amazing alpine flowers, incredible visual impacts all around us, nice fast flowy singletrack and fresh legs made for a good time. Here's some video footage showing our start, the first sections of climbing and then some fun ripping descents, be sure to click on the 720P HD button and go full screen to see it in all of it's whiny goodness.

As we progressed into the ride we got into a good team flow, Scott would chip away at the big climbs steadily pulling away from me due to his strong climbing ability and I would catch him on the descents and lead through the gnar. Here's a pile of footage through some of the various big descents. Shortly after the 6min mark on the video there is an extended flowy and fast section for your entertainment. The video ends as we saunter in to the Cascade junction.

For those interested in stats:

- We completed just shy of 100kms.
- The North to South route took us 2:55 to complete, that included some stops to shoot video and enjoy the views.
- Adding the South to North section the entire route took us 6:06 to complete.
- By the time we got back to the base of Red's ski hill we had covered approx 9,900 vert feet gain.
- We had no mechanicals and no major wipeouts (just a couple of sketchy dabs).
- Neither of us used a map (didn't have one with us) and in my opinion the trails are really well marked. We did study the map before leaving.
- Doreen made a great post-ride meal, Scott and I ate a lot. Imagine a lot of pasta and then imagine some more.
- A 32x22 on the 29'er was the perfect gear for me, if you are thinking of doing this on a singlespeed it might not be perfect for you.

I want to put a shout out to KCTS for the awesome job they do on trails like the Seven Summits and all the trails around the greater area. A week ago I rode with Stewart Spooner (KCTS Trail Manager) for the first time, we hit some trails I hadn't been on before and had a blast ripping around Drakes, Doukhobor Draw, Tamarack and Whiskey (which is a tough trail on a hardtail). Stew is a great rider and knows the trails well, since he pretty much built all of them in one form or another. To learn more about KCTS you can go here.

Also wanted to say thanks to the guys at Revolution Cycles for showing my Terralogic fork some love before we headed out on the Seven Summits assault.

Now for the serious stuff...

Warning - both Scott and I are experienced long distance endurance racers, used to difficult conditions and hard racing. We've heard nobody else has attempted a double-header like this. If you know of someone else who has done this before we did, drop me a line and I'll buy them a beer. Please don't use this blog post as an example of the typical times it will take to do this course! It's a hard route!! We've heard the average time for a fit rider is 4-5hrs in just one direction. We've also heard of small groups taking over 8hrs in just one direction. If you are thinking about doing this route both ways, and you aren't an extremely fit (and possibly deranged) endurance racer, then plan on approx 10-11hrs or more and consider the possibility of bail-out points. It's a great challenge and I'm glad we nailed it, but it's not for the faint of heart. You have been warned.

My computer is processing the return route footage right now, I'll get it up on YouTube later today.

For some really great photos of the route you can go to this site which will give you a real good idea of what all the fuss is about.

EDIT - here's the footage showing the return trip. I forgot to mention the hike-a-bike from Cascade back towards the North was heinous. Heart breaking. We pushed our singlespeeds more than just a few minutes. Scotty took command of my GoProHD for this phase and starts recording on the approach to Record Ridge. At the top we both agree that we are happy to be done the previous hike-a-bike portion. But what goes up, must come down so it's on to some sweet descending until the camera runs out of storage space. Funny to see myself in the vid as I'm always the one shooting footage. Again, this is best watched in 720P HD in full screen mode.


John F said...

You are not normal.

Shaun Taylor said...

Hahaha, that's the way I like it.