Whistler ’05 Day 1: Just give ‘er

This afternoon we were messing around in the Boneyward slopestyle area, and I was stymied by this huge curved wall ride. The precise technique eluded me, so I asked a local how to do it. He said, “Just give ‘er.”

Chris gives ‘er on the Curved Wall Ride of Death.

Just give ‘er. As in go for it, pin it, do your best, commit fully and trust the outcome. As a pro-class worrier I have have a hard time giving ‘er, but that’s my goal for the rest of this week.

The crew

Brandon Sloan, Specialized super genius; Curtis Keene, the fastest electrician in Fremont, CA; Chris Herndon, quiet but dangerous southern boy; and me. They’re all cool dudes and great riders. We’re all on Demo 8s and Fox 40s, except Curtis, who runs a V-10.

Freight Train

Brandon unsticks his purple Demo 8 from the big wall.

Freight Train mixes some A-Line style berms and tables with some Dirt Merchantesque step-ups and step-downs. For our first run we plunged down this guy and here are the highlights:

1) Near the top, a fast step-down to a little valley to a big step-up. You bottom your suspension into the lip then land on top as lightly as a mother bird on her nest. Tweet, tweet, here are your worms my children.

2) Farther down, natural gnarl funnels to a wooden ramp, a long fall, a huge berm then a step-up. Dooooowwwwwnnn, riiiiiiigggghhhttt, uuuuupppppp, in about that amount of time. So sweet.

No Joke

The Whistler crew has been building and improving the Garbanzo trails, which is great, but we kept getting lost. No matter, because the trails all have a coarse flow, like your typical singletrack gone wrong. On Run 1 I tensed up in some wet rocks and roots and tooled my face guard into the ground. Claaaaang! my bell was rung. What caused this? I wasn’t giving ‘er.


This trail is so berm-table-berm flowy that you can rail it with a recently rung bell. We charged A-Line twice and its cousin Dirt Merchant once. The dirt was smooth and tacky, and we hit the turns so fast I could barely see what I was doing. As Mike Ferrentino from Bike magazine once said, “A-Line is a drug.” It’s fast and easy, and it gives you confidence to take on tougher trails.

Original Sin

Curtis skies a natural drop, Garbanzo style.

After some more warmups, a sandwich, some nasal decongestant and a double cappucino, everything started to click. I envision mountain bike riding as a sine wave, up and down and up and down along the terrain. On a downhill bike you have to work hard, to raise the amplitude so you can float over the nasty bits and pump into the smooth parts. Original Sin is rocky, rooty and damp, which requires bold lines and serious body English. For a few moments here and there, I was definitely giving ‘er.

Curved Wall Ride of Death

That wall ride really vexed me. I couldn’t envision riding from the dirt, across a 1-foot gap then onto the wood — pinned as fast as possible. So I practiced some lesser walls, getting a feel for the deal and mustering the gumption to give ‘er on the big wall. Tomorrow.

We just finished dinner, and right now it’s 9:40 p.m. Curtis is meeting our hyper-hot waitress and her twin sister at 11 to “hang out.” That should make for lively stories between tomorrow’s double-black downhill runs.

Wherever you are, I hope you’re giving ‘er. As for me, tomorrow I’ll be giving ‘er big time.

The view from our hotel balcony. 1-800-HUGE-JUMPS!