Angelo discovered the Merritt Mountain Biking Association last week. We've always kind of lamented that there wasn't any riding area halfway between the Okanagan and the Lower Mainland where we could meet for a ride and a few beers. Merritt just isn't the kind of place that makes you think of vacations and recreational pursuits. When David told me earlier this year that he was coming out from Scotland to do a workshop there, I told him that it had sort of a poor reputation as a mill town with no real assets.
Well, I was wrong. I can admit it. We decided to give it a shot, meeting at Mandolin's Cafe in Merritt to pick up a trail map and some calories yesterday morning. The town is way more interesting when you get off the highway and main drag, and it's less than two hours for both of us to drive there. We wondered why we hadn't done it sooner.
We took the excellent advice of MMBA president Darren Coates and rode a big loop in the Coutlee Plateau area. Tons of old-school cross-country trails with serpentine singeltrack through beautiful forest, up and down with some great technical sections! Ziggy is probably the most fun trail I've ever ridden -- a sort of natural half-pipe with berms and little jumps. Angelo broke in his sweet Santa Cruz Heckler and we whooped our way through section after section of well-built trails.
Some photos, including a couple of rare shots of me actually riding: