THE KING'S CROWN
How do you improve upon a Vancouver classic?
How do you improve upon a classic? More often than not, re-makes fall short of the original masterpiece, and the expectations you’ve set to be achieved aren’t met. Vancouver, BC’s North Shore “Triple Crown” is a summer classic for dedicated shore riders, tackled by those curious enough to test their own physical ability, and to navigate from Deep Cove to Horseshoe Bay across our three famous mountains. I wanted to put my own spin on it, by incorporating more trails and more distance. Eagle and Burke Mountains are just across the Indian Arm, so why not try and connect them? The beauty of a ride like this is you’re forced to embrace uncertainty, as it confronts you every step of the way.
Caption - “It's amazing what you can get done by 9:30am when you get up at 3:15am" - Chris Courtney
The opportunity to improve comes from a shift in perception. A spark brought on by the availability of new information. The networks of Eagle Mountain and Burke Mountain were a mystery to me. It wasn’t until I began to explore Trailforks that this adventure not only became a possibility, but became an opportunity to expand upon the famed and fabled route. Riding with Canadian National Champion, Matt Beer, and locally raised hardtail rider, Chris Courtney, we crossed the yellow gate on Burke at a 5:06am start.
Caption - "I tried what you guys are doing once, and I made a few critical errors...maybe you can learn from my mistakes." - Steve Sheldon
Steve Sheldon is the Director of Trails for the Tri-Cities Off-Road Cycling Association (TORCA). He met us after our loop on Burke to show us a route up Eagle that he’d personally had a hand in crafting. With a few hours drained from the tank, and a commute through torrential downpour crossing Coquitlam, Steve’s enthusiastic character carried us up and around the trails of Eagle Mountain. We had one hard deadline that day, and Steve had us 5 minutes early for our boat departure in Rocky Point Park.
The North Shore felt welcoming as we rounded the mouth of Indian Arm, and were stricken with unique views of Quarry Rock rolling in the fog. Mansions along the shoreline were lit as people were just sitting down for a lazy Sunday breakfast. Our boat’s engine slowed, we set foot on the dock, and rode straight to the coffee shop for reprieve from the crossing’s harsh wind. Our exciting addition of two mountains and a boat ride was complete, and it was now 11:15am and we were about to climb and begin the original Triple Crown route.
Caption - "Well, I guess it's time to start the Triple Crown. I'm stoked for CBC...it's one of my top go-to trails!"- Stephen Matthews
Caption - ”These kebabs are going to save my life. Someone text Bryson we're rounding the 5th Switchback." - Matt Beer
Skipping over the usual re-fueling spots, we coordinated with local rider, Jeff Bryson, for a mid-ride BBQ. Jeff has been an amazing ambassador for the North Shore, and has done it all from racing to wrenching, announcing to trail building. He runs The Bikeroom in North Vancouver, who’s mastery of mechanics also transfers to kebabs on the grill.
Caption - "Hey Dave, what do you say we give up on photos since it's literally pitch black, and get everyone to the Troller in one piece?" - Stephen Matthews
We set into this ride with not only the task of completion, but the dream of improving upon a classic. The trails on Burke and Eagle have come so far, to bring them together with the legendary North Shore was a special experience. As we rolled through Eagle Harbour towards Horseshoe Bay, our final efforts were spent dodging shadows and swerving for silhouettes. We were tired from travelling 103km and climbing over 3400m, but we were accomplished. I feel very fortunate to have shared this ride with some amazing friends. Thank you to the whole crew for keeping spirits high and the cranks turning.