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On a day off in Revelstoke, Canada, James Vincent has no option but to climb a mountain, just to come back down again.

British Columbia. Those two words resonate with mountain bikers across the globe and conjure up images of legendary mountain biking films and epic photoshoots. From the deep, dank forests and wooden skinnies of Vancouver’s North Shore, to the sculpted jumps and berms of Whistler’s worldrenowned bike park, western Canada has got it in spades (whatever ‘it’ might be). Sure, sunny California might shout loudest about its claim to be the birthplace of mountain biking, but it’s the wetter, gnarlier environs of western and central Canada that are arguably closer to the hearts of UK riders. Before boarding the last leg of my flight over here, the departure board is filled with such evocative destinations as Kamloops and Whistler, and at once I realise this is it! I’ve been reading about these riding spots for most of my adult life and finally I’m here. This is my ground zero.

Flip flops? With things like that around?

But I’m not sticking around near the coast – I’ve never been one for getting my wheels off the ground, tending to do so by accident or necessity rather than by design, so for all its glitz and glamour, Whistler doesn’t really appeal. And yes, I’m fully aware that there’s other riding to be had on the coast, but I’m heading further inland to the small town of Revelstoke in the heart of the Monashee Mountains, some 510km east of Whistler. It’s remote – my transatlantic flight landed in Vancouver, was followed by a short transfer flight to Kelowna, and yet I’m still a solid 2.5 hour drive away from Revy (sorry, the local dialect rolls off the tongue far too easily). Come wintertime, being Revelstuck is a legitimate thing, and depending on road conditions, local advice is to allow days to get to the airport, otherwise you run the very real risk of missing your flight home. Not that you’d be in any rush to leave; I’m staying with Rach, an old family friend who came out here from New Zealand for a winter season a few years back with her partner Nath, and has since bought a plot of land and built a most impressive house surrounded by mountain views from all aspects. To say she is in no hurry to return to sleepy Ashford in Kent would be a chronic understatement.

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About Singletrack

Editorial: Old Friends UK Adventure: Ochils the Noo Classic Ride: All Weather Lake District Column: Jason Miles International Adventure: Revelstoked Tech: When Did It All Get Good? Editors’ Choice 2019 Pete’s Pros: Jamie Nicholl Bike Test: Bling Bikes Still Going: Lucky Shorts International Adventure: Davos On The Cheap Interview: David Cachon International Adventure: Greek Highland Hopping Last Word: Unhealthy Obsession