Power To Ride blends bicycles with philanthropy

After an stunning floatplane flight from Whistler, our group was dropped at Lorna Lake, more than 100 kilometres from the nearest road and guarded by mountain passes in every direction. The adventure had now truly begun.

In partnership with Tyax Adventures, a small group of Power To Be supporters embarked on Power To Ride, a four-day and three-night mountain bike journey deep into the South Chilcotin Mountains to raise money for Power To Be, forge connections and challenge themselves in nature. The range lies roughly 95 km west of Lillooet and 150 km north of Whistler. Its vast network of historic trails creates some of the best backcountry mountain biking in B.C., if not the world.

Creek crossing, muddy bogs, picturesque meadows and scenic vistas highlighted the route towards the Graveyard Valley on Day 1. The valley is an area of great cultural significance to both the Tsilhqot’in (Chilcotin) and St’at’imc (Lillooet) people who historically fought in this valley to defend their respective territories. The warrior’s graves are now marked with a monument and it was here that the Tyax team introduced us to stories of the past that would highlight a theme of being deeply connected to the history, culture and protection of the area and its claimed “Chilcotin Magic.”

From the Graveyard Valley we followed the Graveyard Creek up to Elbow Pass where we would encounter our first big “hike a bike” as well as our first taste of the high Chilcotin Mountains. If we had any breath left after the climb up the pass, I’m sure the views would have taken it away. The Chilcotin landscape is truly awe inspiring. From the top of the pass the descent down to Bear Paw Camp allowed everyone to forget about their tired legs and enjoy the 40-minute descent to the rustic camp where a hot meal and a warm bed were waiting.

We woke up to the sounds of grizzly bears that night and all though we didn’t get to see any we saw a lot of evidence of recent bear activity as we left camp that morning. Beginning with a steady climb from Bear Paw Camp up and over Deer Pass, Day 2 would prove tough but rewarding. Our elevation for the day was the highest as we capped out at more than 2,300 metres. I’m sure that the long climb up Deer Passed challenged many of the riders and allowed them an experience outside of their comfort zone – not dissimilar to what our participants experience on Power To Be programs. And if the climb didn’t do it I’m sure the descent from the top of the pass allowed them to feel the rush and excitement of connecting with nature or experiencing a new activity for the first time. The 45-minute plus descent lead us to Trigger Lake for lunch and from there it was some fun and flowy trails back up to Spruce Lake Camp for the evening.

Day 3 was our final day of backcountry riding as we made our way from Spruce Lake along the legendary Gun Creek trail towards the relative civilization of Tyax Lodge, which we would call home for our final evening. The lodge is nestled on Tyaughton Lake where on our final morning we loaded bikes and people onto floatplanes and headed home with fond memories of truly epic experiences and a little Chilcotin Magic.

A huge thanks to Dale and the amazing crew at Tyax Adventures for helping make Power To Ride, in support of Power To Be possible!

– Story shared by Clay Webb, Power To Be curriculum coordinator