Once a year we take the opportunity to open our doors to our extended Rocky Mountain family, our C.O.R.E. Ambassadors. The program came from the mind of Wade Simmons, who recognized that there were amazing riders representing Rocky Mountain across North America and wanted to officially bring them into the fold.
The acronym, “C.O.R.E.”, stands for Cyclists of Radical Endeavors and refers to a group of Rocky Mountain ambassadors who share a passion for riding, contributing to their communities, and spreading the love for our sport. We have 23 C.O.R.E Ambassadors throughout North America that cover North Carolina to Ontario, California to Squamish, and everything in-between. After extending invites to the entire crew, 13 of them were able to make it for the 3-day riding adventure, starting with a look inside our North Vancouver R&D Centre.
Hosted by six staff members that live and breathe to ride bikes, the weekend kicked off with a tour through our office and machine shop, the breeding grounds for where our engineering dreams become a reality. From theorizing about the future to designing and testing prototypes, it all happens here in our own backyard. Research and development are engrained in Rocky Mountain’s history and being located at the foot of the North Shore has its advantages.
Pedalling from the front door of our office, we headed to Mount Seymour to ride a classic lap down Dale’s Trail to Forever After. Aside from being a great route for the North Shore newcomers, we wanted to show off the trail work that we’d been doing on Forever After. As a part of our contribution to the North Shore Mountain Bike Association (NSMBA), we’ve taken on building and maintaining Forever After through their The Trail Adoption Program.
Wade led the next lap, which was a healthy mix of fast, flowy, and some North Shore jank. He’s the man with the plan and always makes sure every ride is unforgettable. From the top of Mount Seymour right back to the office, the C.O.R.E Ambassadors were treated to a backyard BBQ and cold “Prime Time” beers from Bridge Brewing. An appropriately named beer for the vibe set by Day 1.
Since the North Shore is just the tip of the iceberg for riding in British Columbia, we decided to take our guests up the Sea to Sky corridor to Squamish. A few of the riders were living their best life taking the “Prime Time” mantra to heart but managed to rally together for another day of riding.
Joined by local C.O.R.E. Ambassadors, Greg Day and Dwayne Kress, and our Pacific Northwest Tech Rep, Pat Cox, they set the route to take advantage of all that “Canada’s Outdoor Capital” has to offer. Known for its grippy granite slabs and flowing singletrack, the stark contrast between trail sections caught a few people off-guard. Once everyone understood just how much traction you had on Squamish’ slabs, everyone began to open it up and get a little carried away with the rock roll runouts.
Dropping into 19th hole is like a rite of passage in the Sea to Sky. It’s been a classic shuttle lap for decades and boasts non-stop technical moves from top to bottom. With inspired confidence from our lunchtime pints of cheer, it was a turn and burn situation into the woods. From rowdy fall-line segments to new berm work on Pseudo-Tsuga, everyone’s smiles were a mile wide by the time we were back in town.
After a full day of unbelievable riding, the gravitational draw from the beer cooler was stronger than the desire to clean up and shower. It was great to see how yesterday’s strangers were now friends, and that was just after a few hours of riding. That’s what makes mountain biking special, the culture of forming new relationships all by having fun on two wheels. As the sun set, we were drawn to the dance-floor of Squamish’s one and only night club. People in this town can be a bit too serious about their daytime activities, so tend to skip out on additional hours of beers drinking and dancing – but we aren’t locals in this town.
Maybe next year we’ll call this the “Glutton for Punishment Tour” because Day 3 started with a brutal climb up Debeck’s Hill. The amount of riding over the past few days was taking its toll, but the ambassadors pressed on. One pedal stroke at a time, we climbed up the 15% chunky road approach to Rigs in Zen and more recently built Pleasure Trail.
We took a healthy break at the top to rest our weary legs, refuel with bars and snacks, and prep the guests for a seriously rowdy descent. This is a trail with tight moves and rollovers, and the lines that were the go-to in 2004 are now completely bombed out.
About half way down, there’s a newer trail that’s popped up on the map called Pleasure Trail. Built between granite slabs and navigating down massive cliff faces, at the moment we’d say this is one of Squamish’ best laps! The crew made it to the bottom with all parts intact and still had the strength to high-five and hold a beer.
Back at the hotel, we recounted the amazing moments and were as excited to be done as we had been to begin. The comments from the C.O.R.E. ambassadors on the trails, the areas, and the amazing experience showed us they understand why it’s so important for Rocky Mountain to be located here. They took the memories of the experience home with them and now feel even further engrained in the Rocky Mountain family. That, in the end, is exactly what we wanted to do, and we can’t wait to do again.