Trip to Vancouver, Whistler and Victoria

Last night we returned home from a great trip to Canada. Thursday morning,
from Vancouver, we headed up to Whistler and went on a commercial zip line
tour which was great fun. It’s five separate zip lines, up to 1100’ long,
and you go over 50mph. We stayed the night at the Whistler Hostel (great
place). Friday, Beau and I rode at the Whistler Mountain Bike park. Since it
rained a lot Wed night and half of Thursday, the double black diamond runs
were mostly closed, but we rode just about all that was open except the
beginner trails. Although we had a great time, the runs are so specific to
downhill mountain biking that it wasn’t as fun as other places we’ve ridden
unicycles. The park officials initially didn’t want to let us ride since
they’ve never had unicyclists there, but were ok with it after we talked it
over. The word from the Man there is that unicyclists are welcome, at least
for now. You descend 1300’ in 4-6km or so each run. We did one run per hour.
Stick to the single or double black diamonds as the easier runs are nothing
special. The double blacks are plenty challenging, and one of the single
blacks had a 8’ drop (optional though)! After jogging one run with us,
Megumi rode the gondola to the top of the mountain and hiked to a glacier.

Friday afternoon, we drove down from Whistler and took the ferry to Nanaimo
on Vancouver Island. We barely missed the 5pm sailing and had to wait until
7pm which really left late and arrived even later. This forced us to miss a
pre-wedding party Kris had invited us to. But Saturday morning, the weather
was so perfect, we knew it was going to be a great day. After sight-seeing
around the beautiful town of Victoria in the morning, we met up with John
and Jacquie Foss and headed to the Chapel where Kris and Shannon had a
beautiful wedding. Afterwards, his parents hosted a reception at their home
which everyone loved. After that we had dinner downtown while Beau hung out
with Kris’s cousin Derek.

Sunday morning, we left the island on the 9am ferry and drove straight from
the terminal to the North Shore where we met John Childs and Greg Harper. We
headed up the familiar dirt road for about 40 minutes to a trail I’ve ridden
twice before, but not in well over a year, Ladies Only. This trail is steep
and technical although nothing like the really wild more modern ones with
huge drops and very elevated skinnies. Ladies Only has drops up to about 5’,
and quite a few short ladder bridge sections, some steep and scary. There
are about a million 2’ drops, mostly with tricky landings. Also narrow
sections and lots of rocks. All in all, it’s a very strenuous outing, but a
total blast. Beau amazed us riding some stuff the old guys wouldn’t even
try. He took a hard fall near the bottom but he knows pain and was ok. The
last 50’ of the trail is a steep rocky staircase (large stairs), very
technical. I really wanted to make it, but about 5’ from the end slipped out
and slammed onto one of the steps which unfortunately was held up by a
couple of pieces of re-bar. It sliced open both layers of my shorts bigtime,
but only scraped the skin a little. Before heading to the airport, Greg let
us try his ‘Blue Shift’ which is great. After putting 50 miles on his first
prototype 24" geared unicycle, it was great to finally try this one. The
ride is nice!

After a painless flight, and being picked up at the airport (THANKS Louise!)
we made it home around 9pm. We had much better baggage luck than my previous
trips to Vancouver. Even the unicycles came through so quickly - must’ve
been the good karma from such a fun trip.

Photos: http://community.webshots.com/album/91621310UIRVDG
Whistler Hostel:
http://www.hihostels.ca/hostels/BC/BCRegion/Whistler/Hostels/
ZipTrek: http://www.ziptrek.com/
Whistler Bike Park: http://www.whistler-blackcomb.com/bike/
NorthShore riding Info: http://www.nsmba.bc.ca/

—Nathan

Sounds like a great time.

Thanks for sharing once again.

Mike

Man, great photos as usual. Thanks for including the wedding shots.

-Eric

Thanks for posting the photos, Nathan. The ride was a gas and I’m glad you let John know about it. After reading the “Ladies Only” sign and then seeing the trail, I wondered if the “Ladies” were Amazons armed with stone axes that were going to ambush us and beat us senseless somewhere along the ride.

Nathan told us that 80% of the trail was rideable and I kept looking for that 80% part but was unable to find it. In fact, part of the time I was looking for just a trail, not necessarily a rideable one.

The interesting thing to me was, that, at the very end of the ride Nathan pulled off that nasty fall, Beau tried a line by the steps and lost his MUni as it went airborn and went down, I did a catastrophic fall trying a different approach to the steps so we all fell into a heap right at the end. Except JC who looked down on us from Calvary, smiled, and then gracefully walked down the stairs.

The ride on Ladies Only was fun. It was my first time up to see the legendary North Shore. We only had time to ride one trail and only went about halfway up the mountain so we didn’t even get close to the “big” trails that Kris rides in the videos. Great trip. I’m going to have to head up there again.

Why am I making such funny faces in all of my pictures?

I will post my wedding and Victoria pictures after I get my Alaska ones figured out, which may take until after MUni Weekend. Alas, Jacquie and I flew in and out of Seattle, and I did not bring a unicycle, so no rides for me. Instead, we saw beautiful Victoria, a beautiful wedding, got to meet some very interesting people, and learned a lot about how not to get to and from Victoria from Seattle with a car.

Thanks for the great shots, Nathan!

Ha! That’s funny. You should see the ones I didn’t post!! We all look like we’re concentrating WAY too hard. The ones I chose show us looking relatively cool.

—Nathan

Hmmmm… I’m going to have to work on maintaining a relaxed happy expression while riding scary stuff. We’ll have to see if our facial expressions are more relaxed at the California Muni Weekend.