Monday, June 30, 2008

Stage Three

Distance: approx 80km
Start Time: 8am
Start Line: Port Alberni Multiplex
Aid Station 1 Distance: approx 31km
Aid Station 2 Distance: approx 62km
Finish Line: Village Park, Cumberland
Base Camp: Village Park @ 6th St and Dunsmuir Ave, Cumberland

Route: Port Alberni - Cumberland

Today's route kicks off with a pace lap around the track at the Port Alberni Multiplex. Then, leave the Multiplex with the impressive Mount Arrowsmith in the background and cycle through the streets of Port Alberni with police escort before hooking into the first taste of singletrack.

Be prepared for a low elevation summit up and out of Port Alberni on a mix of trail and old road with beautiful views looking back over the Alberni Inlet.

Cruising on toward Horne Lake you will be riding over some of the most beautiful caves on Vancouver Island - if you have a support team be sure to let them know about this worthy underground scenic adventure.

Riding up a gradual grade alongside the Qualilcum River you will be surrounded by beautiful second growth Douglas Fir. As you reach the headwaters of this River you will be at your highest elevation for the day. From here you descend down alongside Rosewall Creek which you turn and cross over. Expect wet feet with this crossing! Once you break out of the trees from this crossing be sure to look back up the impressive valley you just traveled. It’s at this point in the day you will pick up views of the beautiful Johnston Strait which separates Vancouver Island from the Mainland. Dotted along the Strait are the Gulf Islands - Chrome, Denman, Hornby and Texada. The backdrop to all this scenery is the mainland with the impressive jagged peaks of the coastal range.

Taking a bridged crossing over the mighty Tsable River, you will make a short climb before again traversing through mixed aged stands of forest and before long you will be riding through another River crossing, this time the Trent River after which you will make a brief climb that sets you up for the famed singletrack of Cumberland. Make sure you have saved some energy from the past few days because it’s singletrack all the way to the finish line.

To start you will be on an old grade used to haul logs out by a steam donkey. In fact you will be riding right over history as we have utilized 2 old bridges dating back to the 1930’s. In opening this area up we also found telegraph line and porcelain insulators. The next section of trail is aptly named Tea Pot – we found it whilst grubbing the trail – look for it on an old log near the start. Climb this up and hook onto the trail 'Steam Donkey.’ You guessed it, there are parts of an old steam donkey out there – keep your eyes open. This trail puts you down at Allen Lake which is part of the Cumberland watershed. Be sure to treat it with respect as you will be drinking it later!

The next serving of singletrack is Short and Curly which offers up some good challenging singletrack with a couple of nice cedar bridges. Next up - Bronco’s Perseverance named after our once Mayor, Bronco Montcrief, the longest running mayor in all of British Columbia!

Next comes trails like Momma Bears and another new treat, Entrails, before getting on last year’s favourites Soggy Biscuit, Matt's Trail, Black Hole and Space Nugget. This string of trails will no doubt be the highlight of the day as they offer some fast and fun downhill sections interspersed with old-school singletrack and technical challenges that will leave you wanting more as you roll out onto the paved streets of Cumberland for the finish of Day 3.

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