This Saturday I was back in Bragg Creek. This trail center is very quickly becoming my favorite place to ride. This time I had a friend to ride with. I met Byron at 8 a.m. at the parking lot and we quickly hit the trails.
I had been looking at trail forks and had a plan mapped out. We would start on the north side and head up Demi-Tel for an easier start. I had initially planned on going down Long Descent for a quick warm-up loop, but Byron had different plans.
He had been here quite a few times before, and knows the trails well. He suggested we head over on Reconnect to get to Merlin View trail. I am really glad he made that suggestion because Merlin was amazing.
The climb up was relatively easy, especially compared to the trails on the south side, like Ranger Summit. I am getting much better at keeping my weight centered and my traction is getting solid. I am finding it easier to power over roots and obstacles. I think having the hardtail bike makes it a little easier too.
After a quick break at the 3/4 point up Merlin we blitzed the last push and made it to the top of the descent. I made a quick stop to take some photos of the amazing valley views, switched my lock out off, then told Byron to send it!
Holy shit was it amazing. It was fast, faster than the other trails I have ridden so far. Mostly because it flowed really well. There wasn’t as many rocky or root sections, so I could get a better pace going. Keeping up with Byron, which was almost impossible, helped push me harder too.
I did have a couple of mishaps. I came down a hill and had a sharp turn to get on to a bridge, which I braked on instead of just turning and went over the bars. Luckily I didn’t land in the creek or hit my head. I also almost ran my back end in to a tree… twice. I got a little squirrely coming in with too much speed and had my back end slide out. Thankfully I stopped in time both times.
After we got to the end of Merlin, Byron pushed us on to Braggin’ Rights. That trail was just as fun as Merlin. It had lots of rollers and some smaller jumps. I did catch one jump that was a little bigger and got some good hang time! It was a little scary not feeling the ground underneath you, but also so exhilarating. The rest was a blur until we hit the end of the trail at the parking lot.
I can’t wait to get a new bike though. The hardtail and coil suspension is just not up to the task, or up to how I want to ride in Bragg Creek. I can’t wait to have a full suspension bike. Also my feet were slipping all over the place on the crap-tastic pedals it has on it. It could also be skill, or my shoes, but it was tough to keep my feet planted. I don’t want to put any more money in to this bike than I have to, but a pedal upgrade may have to happen sooner rather than later.
I am quickly gaining confidence though and feeling better on the more technical trails. I do need more practice cornering and controlling my speed. Learning when to brake and when to ride it out is going to take some time but I am getting there.
I can’t wait to ride again with Byron. It was pretty great having someone there to talk to. It was also great having someone there to push me to be better. Hopefully we can get together again soon, and hopefully ride with the rest of his friends that ride as well.