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A Year in McNutt

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I find myself in the position of being able to spend an extended period of time exploring McNutt, BC and thought I'd write a little "blog" about these adventures into one of the most interesting and fun places I've ever had the privilege to ride.

Really it all started around year ago when we came down to do the Barry Morris school.  I'd seen a few vids and the place looked interesting but you never know till you actually get to ride somewhere to know what its really like.  Turns out McNutt is insanely fun.

Fast forward a year and I find myself going back to school to upgrade my post-secondary education.  I will spend the next 18 months in GVRD.  Of course the first thing I packed was my dirt bike. :D 

A little background:  I live in S Alberta and have spent the last three seasons riding the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, which offer some extremely challenging and uncompromising terrain.  These are places that would require a helicopter to get you out if something really bad happened.  As such, we tend to develop a slow and technical riding style.  Something that will hopefully stand me in good stead as I embark on my adventures exploring all that McNutt has to offer.

This summer was terrible for riding.  It was scorching hot much prior to the entire south half of the province being shut down due to fire bans.  I hadn't ridden in nearly 2 months before I arrived in Vancouver.  With work and preparations for school I also hadn't had any time to get to the gym and keep in shape.

The 256th St staging area.

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It was the second week of Sept before I even had a chance to get out to McNutt.  While I am at school an old road racing friend who lives across the valley from McNutt has let me set up in his garage, which makes things easier.  Thursday classes ended early and the weather was nice so it was a perfect opportunity to do a test run and see if mid-week rides were viable.

The numbers turned out pretty good.  The drive from campus is exactly 50km and takes a bit over an hour, including stopping to pick up the bike.  As long as the weather holds, I can get out twice a week no problem. :D

The basic plan is to start with some of the easier trails while I learn my way around and then progress into the harder and more technical trails all the way up to the hardest stuff McNutt has to offer.  

Edited by CDNSXV
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My first ride was only meant to be a bit of a shakedown to get my bearings and figure out how to get there, get set up and then get my bearings as to where everything is located.  My ride with Barry's school was over a year ago and all I had to do then was follow the bike in front of me so I am not really familiar with how the trails are set up and how to get in and out of the area.

While it was nice to break the drought, so to speak, after 2 months of enforced not riding, the first ride was a bit underwhelming.

Turns out I am horribly out of riding shape and some of the trails weren't how I remembered them.  Worst of all, I had forgotten to change the jetting on my GasGas 250F to compensated from the change from 5000 ft down to near sea level so the thing was way too lean.  

On the positive side, I had not forgotten how to ride a dirt bike and I found a super fun Blue level trail that I hadn't ridden last time.  This one is called "Bill & Doug's Excellent Trail" and it was good fun.

At the bottom of Bill & Doug's where it meet Wedgie

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In the end I only did about 12 kms but it was a nice opener for the coming year.

I always map out all my rides with a Garmin GPS.  Being able to download trails onto a larger screen and see how trails relate to and interact with each other really helps me to explore a new area and plan future rides.  With each ride I can add to my knowledge base and generally find even more trails I've never ridden.

Edited by CDNSXV
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My second ride at McNutt was on a Saturday and I had more time to begin to find my way around the park and explore some new trails.  Starting off at a point I knew, I basically took the first trail fork onto something I hadn't seen before.  To begin with I am riding the lower portion of the mountain which is mostly Blue level trails with a few Black trails or black sections of trails thrown in.  

Fairly quickly I discovered two things.  1. I am still badly out of bike shape.  2. I didn't eat enough for lunch and was suffering as a result.  However I was just out riding by myself so I didn't have to rip up the trails or keep up with a group so I'd just take my time and see where some trails led me.

Taking a break on Rear Admiral.

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Typical McNutt trail.  Big trees, lots of rocks n roots.

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About an hour in, I was playing on a pretty technical climb featuring a difficult stepped rock face when a group of women came along.  We stopped and had a nice chat and I ended up tagging along with them as it was nice to have some people to ride with.  Even better, it turned out the one guy with them was a local who was short of people to ride with and had also tagged along with the group.  So we exchanged info and now I have someone to go ride with. :D 

One of the girls knew the area a bit so we ended up doing a bunch more trails I had never seen before.  The trails we did included Rear Admiral, the top portion of Black Flies? and Ryan 187, which were both super fun, flowy, twisty trails.  Crossing the powerline we hit More Muzz and the bottom portion of The Chute.  I honestly don't think there is a trail in McNutt that is not either fun or challenging and there are loads that are both.

We ended up taking Switchblade on the way out to the trucks and by that time I was done.  It wasn't pretty but I bumped my way down Switchblade to the feeder trail Sandman and out to the staging area.  In only 20 kms, McNutt had kicked my ass for the day.  

But I am drinking milk, going to the gym and getting stronger every day :) and I've got time to get back into bike shape and see if I can challenge the best of McNutt

Edited by CDNSXV
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I can't wait to ride this place. I've ridden on the Island and it was some of the best terrain I've ridden. The videos of McNutt seem to be the same terrain.

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4 hours ago, Goatse said:

I can't wait to ride this place. I've ridden on the Island and it was some of the best terrain I've ridden. The videos of McNutt seem to be the same terrain.

If you come down, PM me and I'll go out w you.

McNutt is very different from McLean Creek.  Alberta trails are wilder and rawer, much less manicured.  The best word I've ever heard used to describe McNutt was coined by Pitbull and that is "relentless."

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I hope you have a great time here. Some Maps to help guide you around if you already didn't have them.

They are all basically the same, just Google images caught at different angles to upload to your phone. I'm not sure how much I'll be riding there in the near future as I'm concentrating heavily on the trials riding thing and the last time I rode McNutt she kicked my ass so she and I need a break...

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Thx, appreciate the info.  For sure some of the trails are a bit confusing as I keep running into unmarked intersections which makes it hard to know which trail goes which way.  But I'm mapping it all out on my GPS so it will be easier the more I ride there.

I totally get how one might need a break from this kind of riding.  Had the same thing with McLean Creek a time or two so we went and rode somewhere else for a bit.

Right now I'm still in the feeling my way around phase but if I run into anything I can't figure out I'll be sure to ask.

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18 hours ago, CDNSXV said:

First video:  From Sep 16 ride.

 

 

I have been informed by the powers that be that I am not sensitive enough. So I have edited my original response to one with less satire, and one with less criticism as to not come off as a douche.

The videos are on point though and do reflect some of the difficulty at McNutt. That being said, how have you found your experience so far in comparison to McLean? I spent many years in Calgary and found McLean to be a great riding area but outside a few difficult sections not all that hard. That isn't to say there weren't hard sections but my encounters with them were limited... I'm glad you're enjoying McNutt and one day I'll make a point to come down and we'll hammer out some of the best McNutt has to offer... 

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I realize that I have not yet seen the nastiest that McNutt has to offer and I am fully expecting to get my ass thoroughly kicked but there is something about McNutt that I don't find it intimidating the way McLean Creek intimidates me.  Maybe its as simple as always being in cell service where in AB we ride well outside of cell service.

The trails here are beautiful, wide and so nicely manicured and taken care of compared to McLean where bouncing off trees and taking branches and sticks in the face and body is a constant occurrence.

McNutt is for sure uber technical and Pitbull nailed it when he said "relentless" but McLean has all kinds of really nasty sections and hill climbs.  Stuff I either can't do or don't have the stones to even try.  The hills in AB are fricken crazy compared to anything I've seen here.  Just gigantic, rock strewn monstrosities that are always a serious challenge in either direction.  I've lost count of the times I gone over backwards or tumbled down a super steep hill climb.  In McNutt they take the intelligent route and install switchbacks.  So much nicer to ride.

There are sections of McLean and Waiparous that are seriously dangerous.  Slip up and you will end up in ICU or the morgue.  I've never seen any pics or vid of anything like that in McNutt.

I also love that all the rocks in McNutt are solidly attached to the ground and are nice and rounded.  McLean rocks are sharp, broken and lots of the time they move as you ride over them.  

The one thing I miss here is log crossings.  Because the trails are not as well maintained, log crossings are a fact of life there.  Most of them are not super big, (less than 18-20") but there are loads of them on most trails.  A big, angled log crossing on a narrow, steep sidehill trail will separate the men from the boys. :D 

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31 minutes ago, Monk said:

I spent many years in Calgary and found McLean to be a great riding area but outside a few difficult sections not all that hard. That isn't to say there weren't hard sections but my encounters with them were limited... I'm glad you're enjoying McNutt and one day I'll make a point to come down and we'll hammer out some of the best McNutt has to offer... 

Maybe you should come to Calgary when I go back there during the summer and I'll take you to all the stuff I think is hard. :D 

FWIW the system sends out an email for quoted posts so I did get to see your original comment. ;) 

Edited by CDNSXV

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Not all the trails here are that nice. You need to thank the hard working volunteers that make the trails so nice. Thanks for all your hard work. But the easy stuff seamed to kick your ass. You have said many times about the steepness of your trails in Alberta yet you had to walk your bike down a small drop in. What are you going to do in the winter when Mcnutt will be at its hardest when all the logs are wet and slick. Here on the island we have a few places to ride with maintained trails. It is normal for us to have to hop logs and other things.

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I'm sure CDNSXV will find some tougher stuff to his liking once he gets used to this place. Once you get out off the lower trail systems (blue trails) and venture up into areas like Future Trail, Olga, Diez Dubaze, San Fran, Tunnel of Shove etc things begin to change and a riders tune begins to change. When one is able to ride up both sections of Wages of Sin when traction is good then you begin to think your a pretty awesome rider and decided that your now good enough to tackle the trifecta of nasty, The Line, Tire Trail and onto Last Man Standing. If you make those without issue there will be little left to challenge you but Erzberg...IMO.
All that being said, this wonderful place will let one progress to whatever level of rider you wish to be with the exception of go-fast skills due to the lack of faster open trails.

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Once CDNSXV has mastered McNutt, Vedder etc you can make your way up to ride some flowy stuff in Squamish BUT do it soon cus apparently they may be logging this some of the Lava area this winter and I'm &%$#@!^^&&king choked about it.

Sorry to get of topic but road this on Saturday and posted it before and most of trees were painted and not really sure why they actually want to log this area cus hard to get into and not great for logging :(

Otherwise I'm planning on FINALLY coming down to ride some easy stuff at Tamahi over the Thanks Giving long weekend (not sure what day and MIGHT be able to work in a McNutt ride) then a booze up at a buddy's place in Burnaby .

On a positive note I also just heard that the SDBC has gotten Stewartship of the Cat Lake trails which are now going to be protected and might be able to do some real trail work, camping etc.

 

Edited by filterx
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Just to be clear, I'm not going to be "mastering" anything.  I'll jut be happy to make it to the top of most of the trails.  

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Just to be clear, I'm not going to be "mastering" anything.  I'll jut be happy to make it to the top of most of the trails.  

Oh if you're able to ride there a couple times a week and meet up with some of the locals who can show you around you'll be surprised how fast your skills will build.

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That video above looks pretty similar to the "Tansky" area I've ridden on Vancouver Island.

I totally get what you mean by McLean being more dangerous, rocky, sharp, jagged, rough, etc. But I do also get what Monk means. There's some challenging stuff, but I don't think I've ever come across anything there that I've "Eff that noise. I'm not trying that". There's even "Impossible Hill" where it was pretty damn tough, but definitely not impossible.

That being said. I went down to Moab last spring, and that made me realize we really do have world class riding in these Rocky Mountains.

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