Revelstoke: Day 1 (Riding Keystone Basin)

Jump straight to the video here.
Waking up in a tent to the rushing sound of the Columbia River—especially after 18 hours of travel—might be the best way I’ve ever received official notice that my adventure had begun.
After scrounging up some grub in Calgary, we settled into a 5-hour drive towards Revelstoke in search of a place to bivy for the night. Some time after midnight our headlights guided our weary eyes towards a dirt road just outside of town, close to the banks of the river. Our desire for sleep made quick work of the tent and before we knew it we were lulled to sleep by British Columbia’s gentle soundtrack of rustling pines and rushing water.
Having an entire day to kill before a race is a luxury, of which we took full advantage, beginning with a leisurely breakfast at La Baguette, which seemed like somewhat of a local launching point for the adventure-inclined. That meant being completely new to town wasn’t a problem: we fit right in. Sufficiently filled with caffeine and sustenance, we headed down to a river-front park to build the bikes, organize the hastily-improvised packing job in the back of the truck and take some time to stretch travel-tight muscles.
Once the ponies were bridled and our riding kits were archeologically extracted from a mountain of gear, we were ready to taste a sample of the fabled Revelstoke single-track. Ted Morton, the race organizer, pointed us towards Keystone Basin, which several people at the local bike shop confirmed was one of the best alpine rides around. They were right: it’s absolutely stunning. The punchy climb at the beginning is more of a warning shot to those easily deterred by pain. It’s not bad once you get to the top, but steep, technical, chest-on-stem climbing out of the gate is enough to make even seasoned riders feel clumsy and out of shape. Clearing the pines at the top of a hill, though, dumps you suddenly into a wildflower-blanketed alpine meadow with 360º views of gigantic peaks in every direction. Tracing the tiny ribbon of single-track as far as you can see into the hills ahead helps melt away any doubt that pushing forward was the right choice. From that meadow onwards, aggressive riders can gorge themselves on a healthy mix of up-and-down, flowy, steep and technical sections. There’s so much to love, but we all agreed that the defining experience of the day was chasing each others’ dust trails through the serene meadows, railing natural berms as hard as you possibly could and wondering the whole time if what you were experiencing was real.
The high from riding alpine trails lasted the entire evening as we devoured huge helpings of loaded mac ’n cheese, sprayed the bikes down and fell headlong into comfortable beds.
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British Columbia 2017: The Refuge of the Mountains

Big adventure trips are funny things: it’s easy to define the experience by what you do on the adventure, but more often it’s what you were doing before the adventure that sets the tone for the experience you’re about have.

I’m writing this post from an airplane that’s speeding towards British Columbia, where both of my brothers are waiting at the airport with a truck full of bikes and gear. The next few weeks are going to be absolutely incredible, but not simply because the Canadian Rockies are a destination; for us, on this trip, they will be a refuge.

It all began when the brothers-three signed up for the Revelstoke 3-day Enduro Race over half a year ago, giddy at the chance we might be selected in the lottery. Amazingly, all of us recieved the coveted email, breaking glorious news, summed up in two powerful words: “you’re in.”

As is often the case with life, each of us has gone through twists and turns between entering the lottery and actually packing our bags. My life changed significantly two months ago when a business I helped build over the last 5 years suddenly announced it was closing. I think it’s fair to say that Cam’s road weary and a little lonely after spending a few months in Europe (and most of his savings) climbing some of the best rock the western world has to offer across the Atlantic. Bear had an epic trip to France this summer, but has paid for it ever since with one of the worst night-shift schedules I’ve ever seen, making normal sleep an elusive dream.

Those challenges are nothing to complain about. In general, life is good. We all feel blessed beyond imagination. I’m not a psychologist, but if I had to diagnose how all three of us were feeling before the compass pointed West, I’d call it a case of weariness from the normal wear-and-tear of life. In other words, sometimes life just feels like a bit of a grind, no matter what your circumstances are.

For us, the earthly antidote to life’s toils is simple: mountains. No matter how crazy things get, the mountains are always there. As a destination. An escape. A refuge. The mountains don’t care about your problems and they demand that you to disconnect and remember, for a moment, you are small. I think it’s safe to say that all three brothers need this trip.

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Cam decided to drive from South Carolina to Revelstoke, picking Bear and I up at the Calgary airport along the way. Our team photographer Zach Suggs joined him for the drive. One of the highlights of their trip was a rip through the Wilson trails outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

I’ve never been to the interior of British Columbia, but in a weird way I already feel myself falling in love with it. Revelstoke might not be the first town that comes to mind when people think about Canada, but when you mention the word to someone who’s been there, the pause for a moment and what looks like a well-earned smile starts to form on their face.

So, in just under an hour, I’ll land in Calgary. I’ll hug my brothers. We will drive to a small town that has a really big reputation. We will drink local beer, share stories and make last-minute adjustments to our bikes. And then we will take refuge in the mountains, on some of the best trails that the world has to offer.

We will soak in Revelstoke for all it’s worth, and we hope you enjoy riding along with us.

Featured image photo credit: Marcin Chapmin via Flickr

 

Travel Report: on the bike at Trans-Provence!

The bike is built and the cranks are turning! Bear joined a preliminary ride with a crew that arrived at Ground Zero early.

Here’s a description of the warm-up ride he sent us. Photo gallery below.

From camp we took 2 turns before the climb started, so it was definitely real. I was riding with 3 guys from Oregon and they are super rad. We had good discussions up the never ending fire road and cow pastures. We also ran into a herd of sheep and they had two giant mountain dogs guarding them so that was cool.

I volunteered to lead to pack down and immediately I was challenged to stay on my bike. If I could describe the tail it would be ‘Pilot Rock on steroids’. Many people by the end were smiling and also questioning why they were here.

Overall it was maybe the sickest trail I’ve ever done and it wasn’t even part of the race. Lots of loose, scary rocky switchbacks all the way down.

Travel Report: Bonjour, France! (The calm before the storm…)

Bear made it to France safely with only one issue: a broken dropper-post lever. Thankfully there was a bike store 20 minutes away and he was able to get a new one quickly. Sounds like it’s been rough…here’s the update he sent:

Today is relaxation and wine drinking with friends. Swam in their pool and ate some amazing local food. Dinner later then sleep. Building my bike up in the morning before we go back.

Travel Report: Bear heads to France for the Trans-Provence enduro race!

We are so pumped that the youngest member of the #doddsbros crew is headed across the pond to race with some of the luckiest people in the mountain biking community.

The Trans-Provence is probably the race-of-all-races when it comes to anyone interested in epic, enduro-style events.

It took lots of planning and prep, but Bear made it to France in one piece, with all of his gear. Here’s what he sent us from the airport before takeoff:

Be sure to check out the photo gallery below for more packing pics.

Scared, excited, all of the above. Exciting trips always have a way of creeping up on you faster than you ever imagine. It seems like yesterday my brother Eric and I were just starting a training program to get me fit for the race and now I sit patiently waiting for a flight to my destination, France.

Working nightshift, especially in the fast paced ER, seems to make time go by even faster. A friend of mine (also a former pro xc racer) gave me some amazing advice before I left and that was to just “take it in” no matter what happens.  Don’t get too focused on what you need to do or how you need to do it. Do what you know. Do what’s comfortable. Do what has been working for you and give it hell. Good words, Chandler!

Sitting here in the airport with my heart beating out of my chest definitely makes the ‘taking it in part’ a reality. France. Bikes. Beer. New people. Family. What else would a 24 year old want?! After 5 night shifts in a row I’m tired, sore and ready to see the sea and get some much needed slumber aboard one of these flying tubes we call airplanes. Cheers.

Travel report: Cam heads West for some dusty singletrack in Fruita, CO

Cam, the middle-brother of the Dodds Brothers crew, took a break from work and headed out west to find some dusty single track. Here’s a report he sent us from his adventures in Fruita, CO.

First Stop, Fruita, Co.  A humble desert setting. Family-and-friend oriented.  The street lights in the town have chainrings on them.  This place lives bikes.

The Northern Fruita desert riding, also know as 18 Road, is the playground for the day.  After a 4 hour drive, I was ready to stretch, and despite the threatening weather, I decide to spin.

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This is not an extensive trail system, and the kiosk in the main parking area is very user-friendly.  I choose an 8 mile loop incorporating the famous and highly-recommended Zippity Do Dah.  Finally quiet, except the sounds of my dry chain and the tires rolling over hard pack dirt.

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The trails navigate what are seemingly old cattle paths through dispersed juniper trees and sage brush.  Fast, flowy, fun.  Not at all technical (compared to my Pisgah heritage).  Riding up an down the ridge of miniature exfoliating sand hills.  With the exception of some punchy climbs (maybe hike-a-bikes with the steep sand) there is nothing difficult, just plain, pure, screaming-smooth-single-track fun.  One acquires a nice view of the valley and the Colorado monument on the opposing side.

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The sprinkling rain tries to become a storm, but fails, and retreats. I could have a thousand days like this one and it would never get old.