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Issue: 2016-08-18, PHOTO: Paul Burbidge
Anthony DeLorenzo and Paul Burbidge get magnificent views for their efforts biking above Whitehorse
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Issue: 2016-08-18, PHOTO: Jenn Roberts
Paul Burbidge estimates 1000 person-hours were put into the construction of the new three kilometre trail
Kid Vicious, Starbuck's Revenge, Goat. No, not my favorite B-movies, but mountain bike trails christened by those who build and ride them.
All of these routes, some gnarly and others more family-friendly, can be found up on Mount McIntyre, where years of volunteer labour is culminating this summer in a grand venture by the Contagious Mountain Bike Club (CMBC) to complete a professional multi-use trail.
I met with Paul Burbidge, one of the club's directors and lead on this project, last week outside Midnight Sun Coffee. The intense sun was matched by rolling thunder, and while we didn't get rained on an impressive storm did end up cancelling a volunteer evening planned on the mountain. I got the impression it takes a lot to keep the crews off the trails.
Burbidge and his co-CMBC'er Anthony DeLorenzo have put in loads of volunteer hours building and maintaining mountain bike trails in the area, for which they have both received the CMBC's annual “Trail Fairy Award”.
This year the club approached the Yukon government's Community Development Fund to try to move things along at a different pace. A successful application led to engaging contractor Joe DeGraff as the lead trail builder and partnering with the Youth Achievement Centre, who support youth at risk.
“We have a crew of seven youth along with two support workers,” Burbidge says. “I can't say enough good things about them. Boréal Explorers and Challenger Geomatics are also contributing volunteer time.”
Altogether he estimates over 1,000 person-hours will have been put into the new three kilometre trail, which is more about magnificent views than intense riding.
“I anticipate people bringing their kids up for a picnic,” he told me, listing the city of Whitehorse, Fish Lake, Marsh Lake and Lake Laberge as some of the landmarks visible from the trail, which is almost entirely in the alpine.
Those views are a reason that it was “worth doing something really high quality,” so that as many people as possible can appreciate them.
Getting up to the new trails takes around 45 minutes on rough roads. If you're game, take McLean Lake Road and turn left on the haul road, then right after about 100m and head up the descent road that leads to the tower on Mount McIntyre. The new trail, with a working name of “Erratica”, completes a network of roughly 10 kilometres of trails that range from blue (easy) to double black (extra gnarly). The colour system parallels the codes used for ski trails.
If it all sounds a bit intimidating, the CMBC offers introductions to the local trail networks through weekly group rides for all levels of riders, provided you have your membership. Signing up will put you in the company of around 300 other mountain biking enthusiasts – which are good odds that you'll find someone of your level to ride with.
The new trail build is the largest funded project in the club's nine year history, but with the, well, contagious excitement building around it I doubt it will be the last. For more information about the CMBC, go to www.CMBCYukon.ca.