Santa Cruz Mountain Bike

Category: Mountain Biking

Backcountry Mountain Biking – Gear Check!

Santa Cruz Mountain Bike

The Scandinavians have a trusted saying “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”. This mentality can be transferred to outdoor adventures, with most terrain and trails being conquered with modern equipment and gear. Mountain biking has come a long, long way since it’s early days of rigid frames, v-brakes and lycra-clad riders. Advancements in material technology and geometry have allowed us to ride trails that the pioneers of mountain biking could only have dreamt of.

Here we take a look at some of the best and most essential gear needed for some backcountry mountain biking. Having a suitable bike for the terrain, and your riding style is of utmost importance. We’ll also be looking at essential safety equipment and gear.

Bikes

Every year there is a new trend in mountain biking. The once laughable 29-inch wheels have now become a must-have for aggressive trail riders and enduro racers all over the world. Here we take a look at enduro, trail and hardtail bikes and discuss the benefits of each for backcountry mountain biking at Tyax Lodge.

Mountain Biking Equipment Enduro Bike Commencal Meta

Enduro Bike – Commencal Meta

The Commencal Meta is one of the most popular enduro bikes on the market right now. Whistler local Yoann Barelli races this bike in the Enduro World Series, and it’s easy to see why he chose this bike.

With 160mm front and rear Rockshox suspension and 29er wheels, when this bike gets up to speed to plows through whatever obstacles that are unlucky enough to be in its way. Commencal has chosen to make the frame from triple-butted aluminium rather than carbon. This gives the bike an extra bit of hardiness, which is perfect for the trails here at Tyax Lodge. While the Commencal Meta is a monster on the downhills, it’s no slouch when the trail points upwards either. The SRAM Eagle 12 speed drivetrain allows for a massive range of gearing which lets you spin your way to the top of your climbs.

Mountain Biking Equipment Hightower

Trail Bike – Santa Cruz Hightower

Santa Cruz has been making some of the most beautiful and critically acclaimed bikes for a number of years. And with the Hightower, Santa Cruz have created one of the best trail bikes on the market. Trail bikes differ from enduro bikes as they generally have shorter suspension travel and a more well-rounded geometry. Trail bikes are designed with epic all-day rides in mind, which is perfect for getting out into the wilderness at Tyax Lodge

With it’s 135mm of travel and shockingly light carbon frame, the Hightower is a whippet of a bike. It, like the Commencal Meta, also has a 12-speed drive train and adds carbon cranks to the build as well. This thoughtfully specced bike keeps the weight down in almost every department, while still being sturdy enough for an all-dayer out in the backcountry.

Mountain Biking Equipment Aggressive Hardtail

Aggressive Hardtail – Chromag Surface

The Chromag Surface is the do-it-all mountain bike from the iconic biking brand Chromag. Designed and hand-built in Whistler by a team of hardtail aficionados, the Surface is a favourite amongst seasoned riders through BC and Canada.

With its aggressive geometry, steel tubing and masterful welds this bike is ready to handle any of the trails here at Tyax Lodge. Despite the lack of rear suspension, this bike is more suited to backcountry adventures than you’d think, thanks to its slack than usual geometry and build. A massive benefit of no rear shock is that there’s a strong rear platform to use while pedalling uphill.

The Chromag Surface is also finished with the equally well made Chromag kit. The handlebars, pedals, saddle, and grips are all made by Chromag and can be regularly seen on bikes across the globe.

Equipment

Mountain Biking Equipment Helmet

Helmet – Oakley Drt5

A good helmet while mountain biking is an absolute no-brainer. Here at Tyax Lodge, we value our visitor’s safety, so we highly recommend that everybody wears a helmet that is in great condition and that fits them properly.

Oakley has recently entered the helmet market and their Drt5 is a fine example of a well-made, modern mountain bike helmet. It features the MIPS Brain Protection System, which is a floating, rotational layer between your head and the helmet exterior. During impact, this layer helps prevent rotational damage to the brain. The helmet also features a BOA fitting system and a sweat guard.

Mountain Bike Equipment Knee Pads

Knee Pads – Race Face Ambush

As every mountain biker knows, the part of our body that’s first in the firing line during a crash is our knees. It’s no wonder why in most bike shops you’ll see a wide selection of kneepads. Most kneepads offer either high protection and low manoeuvrability, or low protection or high manoeuvrability. However, Raceface offers a knee pad that has high protection and high manoeuvrability.

The Ambush kneepads feature the revolutionary D30 foam. This foam is used by soldiers, NFL players and even in phone cases. During low stress, the foam is soft and malleable, however, during impact, it becomes rigid and protects the user. Perfect for a big day in the saddle!

Mountain Biking Equipment Backpack

Backpack – EVOC Neo 16L

On a long day of riding in the backcountry, we advise that you bring everything that you may need with you. Tubes, brake pads, tools, first-aid-kits, food, and water are all must-haves. In order to bring all these things with you, you’re going to need a backpack.

EVOC has been making backpacks for a number of years now and have established themselves as one of the industry leaders. Their newest backpack for mountain bikers is the Neo 16L. As well as the near-perfect fit that we’ve become accustomed to, EVOC have added a shock absorption back protector and a ventilation system.

Now you’re up-to-date on everything that you need to make your backcountry trip a success. Mountain biking in the South Chilcotins is one of the most sought after trips in the world, so get in touch with us today and book your visit!

What’s Growing Around Us At Tyax Lodge?

South Chilcotins Flora Plants Tyax

It may seem that life in the mountains moves at a glacial pace. The truth, however, is that the wilderness is a bustling metropolis of wild animals, towering trees, bountiful shrubs, and spellbinding mushrooms. On your next visit to Tyax Lodge, make sure you take a look at what’s growing around you!

Tyax Lodge Chilcotins Hiking

Trees

What Is An Old Growth Forest?

An old growth forest is a forest that has been left undisturbed for a significant amount of time so that unique ecological situations arise. They are very important as they are homes for vast amounts of flora and fauna. Some species can struggle in new forests, while old growth forests provide a stable and unique environment for them. Some old growth forests act as large carbon sinks, which help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Spruce Lake Protected Area

Logging is prohibited in the Spruce Lake Protected Area. As early as the 1930s, preservationists were fighting the logging industry to protect the old growth forest. Formerly a provincial park, downgraded in 2007, mining and tourism still allowed in the area. Thanks to these preservation efforts we can relax on our patio at Tyax Lodge surrounded by native Canadian forests.

Tyax Hiking Nature

Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)

The douglas fir is a true Canadian giant, it has been known to grow to a towering 100 meters in height. It is an evergreen tree that is native to western Canada and is distributed from BC down through the US to California. Bears like to scrape away layers of bark and eat the sap of the tree.

Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis)

The whitebark pine tree will be known to many skiers as it is one of the highest growing pine trees and thus often marks the treeline in some areas. As the name suggests, the whitebark pine has white bark, can grow up to 30 meters in height. Squirrels like to make their home in whitebark pine trees, which can tempt bears to come to look for their stash of nuts!

Alpine Flowers

Alpine flowers are hardy and often beautiful plants. They grow in a region known as the ‘alpine’. This is an area of high elevation above the treeline – the elevation of which trees do not grow. These areas are often rocky and barren, but some have beautiful flowering wildflower meadows.

Tyax Flora Fauna

Mountain biking through a high alpine wildflower meadow is one of the reasons why so many people come mountain biking at Tyax Lodge. During summer you’ll ride trails through blossoming tiger lilies, upland larkspur, grass-of-Parnassus, pink monkey-flower, and yellow salsify.

Shrubs

As well as creating stunning views and being home to some of our wild neighbours, plants in the area also provide food for animals in the area.

Juniper (Juniperus communis)

Known to most of us because of their use in the production of gin, the juniper plant is an important part of the diet for bears, birds, and other small animals. This plant can be found both as a shrub and a tree. The wood of the juniper has been used primarily for cladding the exterior of buildings but has also been used in history for making bows. The wood strikes the right balance of strength and flexibility, making it an ideal choice. Juniper berries have also been used in Indigenous medicine and in the use of essential oils.

Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.)

Walking around Tyax Lodge on a summer day, you’ll find blueberry bushes bursting with beautiful berries. The plant itself can range from a minute 10 cm in height to a few meters high, while the ripe fruit is a deep blue and about the size of a marble. Similar to the juniper berry, the blueberry is an important part of the diet of a number of wild animals living around us here at Tyax Lodge.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are interesting items as they do not belong to the animal or plant kingdom. Instead, they belong to a different kingdom – fungi. While at first glance you may assume that they are plants because they grow out of the ground and grow near plants, in fact, scientists had classified mushrooms and fungi as plants for a long time. However their cell walls are made of chitin, this is the same stuff that insects make their shells from. No plant does this.

Mushrooms grow very quickly and you’re sure to see some when out on horseback at Tyax Lodge. However, some mushrooms are poisonous so it is recommended that you do not eat any wild mushrooms.

Black Morel (Morchella elata)

Black Morels have a highly structured exterior and can seem quite alien-like. They have short stalks and a larger, arrow-shaped cap that points up above the ground. The caps are generally dark in colour. Black morels are poisonous. Cooking removes the toxins, so never eat a raw black morel.

Red-capped Scaber Stalk (Leccinum aurantiacum)

The red-capped Scaber Stalk resembles the stereotypical image of a mushroom. It has a white stalk and a larger, domed, red cap. It can grow up to 20 cm in diameter and 15 cm in height. It is found in both coniferous and deciduous forests. It is similar to the black morel in that it can not be eaten raw.

Mountain Biking at Tyax Lodge

Mountain Biker Chilcotin Mountains Canada

Why Mountain Bike at Tyax Lodge?

Simply put, mountain biking in the South Chilcotins is one of the most sought after bike trips in the entire world. Located just a few hours north of Whistler the bike trails surrounding Tyax Lodge are truly unique.

The South Chilcotins range are more reminiscent of the surface of Mars than BC. The orange, greens, and reds of the volcanic pumice are like nothing you’ve ever ridden. In the distant background, the deep black rock of the Coastal range punches through the snowy peaks and glacier lakes.

The trails pick their way through the vast, empty, purely silent landscape. The only thing you’ll hear is the noise of your freehub spinning.

Tyax Mountain Biking Alpine

What Are The Trails Like?

Trail Types

The 200km trail network at Tyax Lodge takes in a whole host of differing eco-systems – green grasslands, flowering sub-alpine and alpine meadows, glacier lakes and towering mountains. The length and difficulty of the trails are just as numerous and diverse as the regions you’ll be riding.

Overall, the trails are rocky and loose, due to the prominence of the regions’ pumice rock. And they are in absolute mint condition after a light sprinkling of rain. During dry spells, the lower trails can get somewhat dry, with the trails at higher elevation retaining more solid dirt.

Trail Ratings

Our recommended trail loops range between 5-40km and can take up to 7 hours to complete. Mountain biking at Tyax Lodge features rugged singletrack climbs, raw technical descents, and natural flow. The riding area has 12 access trails, 2 green trails, 7 blue trails, 9 black trails, and 1 double black trail.

Mountain Biking Tyax British Columbia

Who Can Ride The Trails?

Ability

We recommend that riders are of an advanced-novice ability. If you’re confident riding blue and black trails in your local area, then you have what it takes to come mountain biking at Tyax Lodge.

Fitness

It’s a great idea to arrive at Tyax Lodge fit and injury free. The trails at Tyax Lodge are spread out across long, undulating landscapes, requiring a good level of fitness, and a great command of your dropper-post!

What To Bring?

Bike

We recommend that you bring your favourite all-mountain / enduro bike to Tyax Lodge. We find that they are the best choice for a day mountain biking in the South Chilcotins. There is a good mix of pedalling and descending, so it’s great to have a bike that is capable of doing both.

It’s very important that your bike is in great working order and recently serviced. You’ll be riding in some of the most remote terrain that you’re ever likely to be in. Make sure your bike won’t let you down!

Tyax BC Mountain Bike Trails

Gear

You’ll also need to bring a day pack for your ride. Here are some essential items, but feel free to add whatever you need:

Helmet
Water bottle/pack
Rain jacket (the weather can turn pretty quick out here)
Riding shorts
Baselayer
Knee pads
Food
Riding shirt and spare
Riding glasses
Any medications that you need

When Can I Go Mountain Biking At Tyax Lodge?

The mountain biking trails at Tyax Lodge are ready to be ridden as soon as the snow clears. In late spring and early summer, you will encounter some pockets of snow in the more sheltered areas. As the riding area is very large, and weather is susceptible to change, you may experience all four seasons in one day. Keep an eye on the weather, and plan your equipment choices accordingly.

What Does Tyax Lodge Provide?

Guides

We provide you with incredibly knowledgeable local bike guides who know each and every bit of the 200km of trails surrounding Tyax Lodge. Due to the remoteness and infrequency of riders, not every trailhead is marked, so it’s great to have a guide who can keep you on track all day long. Our guides are also equipped with essential gear in the off-chance that you’ve forgotten something.

The Lodge

Back at the lodge, we have everything you need after a big day of riding. We have a bike wash station available in the lodge as well as some fantastic dining options. You’ll need to replace all those calories you just burnt off! We also have a fully staffed spa on-site with an outdoor hot tub, if you want to pamper yourself even further.

For many, mountain biking at Tyax Lodge is a once in a lifetime experience. Get in touch with our team today and come experience it for yourself!

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