Whistlers longest singletrack bike trail officially open
Although Chris Markle wouldnt classify his new biking and hiking trail as a psychedelic experience, you may be seeing a few colours by the time you reach the end.
After long consideration, Markle has at last decided to name his epic bike trail the product of more than five years and over 3,000 hours of his own personal labour Comfortably Numb.
Comfortably Numb includes the trail that previously existed as North Secret Trail and Foreplay. Both names were temporary, as Markles intention was always to link the two trails.
Over the course of the last few years Markle has done just that, creating a finished trail that he estimates is about 23 or 24 kilometres long. It also includes more than 5,000 vertical feet of climbing.
"The name (Comfortably Numb) works out in a couple of ways," explains Markle.
"I always build the kind of trails that I like to ride, which is more of an intermediate trail. For a few years there, all the trail builders in Whistler were competing to see who could build the most hard-core bike trail, but thats not really my style of riding.
"Im into longer, epic singletrack rides with a few challenges along the way, and to go for rides with people of all different abilities. Basically, I wanted a trail you would be comfortable with at all levels of expertise, and this is it," he said. "You never really go beyond your comfort level."
Some of the more technical features were too good to pass up, like the slick rock sections of Foreplay, but he always put alternate routes around the more technically challenging sections.
"The numb part is easier to explain," said Markle. "Its a long trail, with a lot of climbing. You really have to be in shape for this one, or youre not going to finish it.
"Its guaranteed youll be numb by the end of it, but hopefully with a smile on your face."
Comfortably Numb is not the only Pink Floyd reference on the trail. The rest of the loop section of North Secret Trail that returns to the start at the Wedge parking lot has been renamed Young Lust.
At the suspension bridge over Wedge Creek, which was donated to the project by the municipality, there will be a memorial to Al Gray, who was the WORCA president from 1994 to 1998. Gray, also known as "Al Presidenté" died of complications resulting from a bowel disease in December of 2001. The memorial plaque on the bridge will include the words "Wish You Were Here."