Rob Stokes coasts down the new Frisby Ridge Trail

Riding the ridge

New Frisby Ridge trail is breathtaking – both literally and metaphorically

New Frisby Ridge trail is breathtaking – both literally and metaphorically

Smooth. Buff. Fast. Flowy.

Those are all terms I’ve heard associated with mountain biking trails since I took up the sport last summer. Only, until I rode the new Frisby Ridge trail last weekend, I had never experienced it.

Maybe my expectations were too high but when people talk about smooth, buff, fast and flowy, I’ve always envisioned a trail like that one section of Keystone after the switchbacks and slide paths, where the trail coasts downhill through a wide open meadow.

And then I rode Frisby Ridge.

My co-worker Rob and I headed out a little later than planned last Sunday. The drive up to the parking lot was easy and no problem for my two-wheel-drive, low-clearance minivan. We got to the parking lot – which was packed with vehicles – just before noon and got on our way.

We were a bit daunted by what we’d heard about the trail – 13 kilometres of uphill rising gradually to the alpine. Once we started riding, it was nothing.

Nothing is too easy a word but as far as 13 km climb on single-track goes, it couldn’t have been smoother. There was one-or-two mildly steep switchbacks and maybe one rock the whole way up. Otherwise, it was nothing but perfectly smooth and gradual enough that I never had to switch out of my middle set of gears.

The trail climbed slowly through the forest. There was a few muddy patches and a little bit of snow left but nothing obstructing. We switchbacked up the trail, getting our first great views when the trail opened up past a small alpine lake a few kilometres up.

The trail kept climbing, across steep slopes covered in wild flowers and up into the alpine. As we ascended, new views emerged – east across Lake Revelstoke towards Mount Revelstoke National Park and Mount Sale; east to Boulder Mountain and Mount English; south to town, Mount Begbie, Mount Mackenzie and the Upper Arrow Lake Beyond. No wonder snowmobilers love it up here.

The trail continued north, winding it’s way through the alpine until it reached it’s apex shortly before the lake at the end. From there, it was a short cruise downhill, through some snowy patches to the trail’s end at the lake. The plan was to eat lunch there but the bugs were so fierce we quickly turned around and climbed back up for the long descent back to the car.

And what a descent it was. Smooth, buff, fast and flowy – just as advertised. For almost 13 kilometre we cruised along, letting the bikes fly down the path, slowing around corners and then opening up again. There was nary a bump to worry about. The only thing slowing things down were the views.

Back at the car, words like ‘awesome’, ‘beautiful’, ‘fun’ and ‘greatest’ were exchanged. Granted, neither of us are worldly mountain bikers, but I stand by our superlatives.

Kudos to the Revelstoke Cycling Association and all the people who worked on the trail.  It’s a great addition to all the amazing trails in the area. It’s a trail anyone in decent shape can ride, even if you’re new to the sport.

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