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Feature - From the bar to the car to the gnar’

One day’s epic mountain bike ride in the Sea to Sky corridor

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Coyle expands on the tradition of trail building in the Sea to Sky.

"Both legitimate and renegade trail building is going on, with some people applying for a permit and others just going ahead and building one anyway," he explains.

"The risk you take is that a logging company might decide to log there, but even if it gets mowed down, at least you had a hoot and holler on it for a couple of years."

How many trails would he estimate are in the corridor? Coyle shrugs his shoulders and says trails are being built all the time and there is no way to keep track of it.

"There would be thousands of trails in the Squamish to Pemberton area alone. The sport has just attracted so many people."

6:30 p.m. Alpine Meadows, Whistler

One such trail is Mad Flow, constructed by Whistler locals "Alexis and Davey." Tucked away behind houses in Alpine, it’s the ultimate secret playground. It’s also the kind of trail that makes your heart race and eyes bulge just looking at it, with huge ramp jumps, towering teeter-totters and white-knuckle aerials. Not to be attempted by those without vast experience and a medical plan. Tempany can’t wait to hit it.

"I love riding a trail for the first time!"

But is he scared?

"Yeah, I won’t lie," he says. "But it’s the unknown and the learning that I love."

After a couple of false starts and encouragement from the others, 14-year-old Ritchie swaps the fear factor for addiction and doesn’t want to leave. Coyle falls off one of the jumps and breaks his bike. Time to find another bike shop.

8:30 p.m. Pemberton

As darkness approaches we reach our final destination. Clouds of descending, ravenous mosquitoes bring a new urgency to the gearing up process. These insects are as big as freight trains. I take notes inside the sealed truck and watch the bugs batter themselves against the glass trying to get in.

The trail Bob Gnarly is the last on the hit list, and the group emerges at the bottom some 20 minutes later.

Most people would have had enough riding by now, but we call in at the Pemberton Bike Park for one last session. Kyle Bubbs bought the property three ago and despite not being a regular mountain bike rider, he decided to keep the facility going. In line with Squamish and Whistler, there are plans to run scheduled clinics at this Pemberton facility.

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