Denial in Drumheller

Words by Kurt de Freitas    Photos by Kurt de Freitas and Mike Brothers

For most of us Canadians, fall means the best riding of the year. Perfect temperature, photogenic forests, dialed bikes, and the trails boast magical infinite tacky-ness. Mountain biking is out in full force.

Unfortunately for us Calgarians, the first day of fall is almost always the last. Sometimes it feels like it doesn’t happen at all. Green leaves and flowers under carpets of snow are a normal sight. Every year we forget what fall brings. Oddly enough, every year, we cope with it the same way.

Deny ,deny, deny…

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Despite shoveling 2 inches of snow off my driveway, we decided to load up the bikes and head for the “driest” place within range of the city. Drumheller; an area that hasn’t had its due exploration, and could use a few more tire tracks.

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“There isn’t a patch of snow in sight! It looks like we weren’t in denial after all!” – Kyle Mckinnon wondering if ski’s would have been a better choice for conquering this zone.

As it turns out, snow wasn’t even the problem. When this dirt gets wet, it turns into frictionless goop, rendering even the “minionest” of tires useless. After falling 3-4 times in the mud with my SLR in hand trying to take my first shot, I was ready to accept defeat.

Thankfully, we had Mike Brothers on our team. Winter doesn’t come until December 21st, and he won’t let riding season end until then. He scouted a few lines and got us back up and running.

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Mike scopes the first descent of the day.

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Leading the charge with the first tracks on some of the only dry dirt we could find.

From total bust to a memorable session. Skidding through snowbanks, falling into creeks and splashing in mud puddles drained the last bit of our day, and the last bit of gas too (oops). We left with a few good shots, a lot of extra mud and some not so kind words from one of the ranchers.

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Kyle Mckinnon leading the charge.

Imagine driving 2 hours into the one of the more “vertically challenged” places in Canada and finding yourself here.

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Eric Schuh was also getting his fill of slippery freeride lines.

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Trips like this make us realize how much potential is in your own back yard, and teach us that the best parts of spending a day on bicycles are not necessarily riding.  After shredding, shooting and good vibes we were ready to call it a day. But were we ready to call it a season? Stay tuned…

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