Avid off-road cyclists are having the time of their life this week, after the first fully new trail in years was unveiled at Mount Work in Saanich.
Volunteers with the South Island Mountain Bike Society (SIMBS), led by trails director Andrew Mickelson, recently put the finishing touches on 90s Jank, a rugged, black diamond-rated trail nearly a kilometre long. So far the response has been good, said SIMBS spokesperson Chris Mills.
“We’ve had tons of great feedback from the community already,” he said. “There’s been tons of photos and people posting about their rides.”
Mills said other trails in the heavily forested riding facility have been redesigned in recent months and years, but development of a brand new, mostly descending route on the mountain has been rare of late.
The creation of 90s Jank is one of the first benefits of an agreement between the CRD, which owns the land in Mount Work Regional Park, and SIMBS, which has a licence to maintain the trails. The new route was proposed and approved as part of SIMBS’ 2020 trail plan and may be a precursor of new trail developments to come.
Mickelson characterizes 90s Jank as a “technical flow trail,” which Mills said causes chuckles among club members as such a phrase describes opposite ends of the degree of difficulty spectrum.
That said, this is no casual weekend ride. Starting at an intersection with Dave’s Line near the top of the Waterworks black diamond trail, this single-track route launches off a “squirrel catcher” (moderate drop-off) and winds its way down through loamy soil, with numerous up and down features, through the narrowest of channels between rocks, twisting between trees, with the occasional brief traverse to catch your breath.
Mills gave kudos to Mickelson and other volunteers for their hard work on the trail, which began last fall. Mills said the features are “typical of the kind of trails and terrain we have at Hartland,” from rock outcroppings to stumps and more.
“The vast majority of trails have been built with hand tools, so you’re working with what’s there, there’s no option to move things out of the way,” he said.
While the trail system at Mount Work is detailed at simbs.com/trails, many riders reference the network on their cellphone via the Trailforks app, an international database.
Mills said there has been tremendous growth in mountain biking and cycling in general since the pandemic limited recreational activities. For more information about what’s happening and ways to get involved safely, visit simbs.com.