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Trail Hunter – Newfoundland Canada

Trail Hunter – Newfoundland Canada

21/08/2014
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21/08/2014

When most people think of riding in Canada it’s the west coast bike parks like Whistler, the North Shore, and all the typical clichés that one associates with riding MTB in Canada. However as the joke goes, (Google Southpark to find it) “There is only one road in Canada,” and it starts in Newfoundland.

On the extreme east of the country. St John’s is closer to Europe than Vancouver so we made a hop across to see what the trails are like do a personal visit and we were very pleasantly surprised. Lots of thanks go to Chris Jerett from the local bike shop in St John’s who helped set us up with the trails and trip. St John’s turned out to be a hotbed of riding with off shore oil workers looking for ways to enjoy their onshore time, and one of two top pro Canadian DH riders, Matt Beer and Sheldon Smith coming from there, it turned out to be one of the nicest surprise trips we have ever done.

The trails in general have all been hand cut and are designed for trail riding and Enduro. There has been a lot of energy and effort put into creating some great riding conditions. The area is always improving and upgrading it’s trails, including the projected opening in the future of a bike park. It’s always great to discover the stoke is alive and well all over the world of MTB riding and it’s possible to ride anywhere.

Video: Newfoundland, The Alternative Canadian Bike Trip.

St John’s – Oceanside and Flat Rock Trail Photo Story

Of the two trail areas we visited St John’s was closest and our main base, then an 8 hour drive across the Island to Gros Mourne National Park, which is a spectacular place and very un-ridden.

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St John’s, Canada, the start of our east coast adventure, not the most likely place one would think of biking. However beyond the city limits is a wild back country with some amazing views and fantastic trails, plus space…lots of space.

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One of the closest points of land to Titanic, also this tower was where the first transatlantic radio messages were received and transmitted from by Marconi.

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St John’s sits surrounded by hills with a protected deepwater bay which is now a trans-shipping point and base for the huge off-shore oil industry. When the worers get back from a work shift, they go biking.

Trail Locations

The website for the area, www.mountainbikestjohns.com has some great maping of the all the trails.

The website for the area, www.mountainbikestjohns.com has some great maping of the all the trails.

On the Trails – The Story Continues

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Just 5 minutes from town is the start of the trails, here near Ocean Side and Quidi Vidi an old cod landing point and what was the heart of the north Atlantic cod fishing industry here in Newfoundland.

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Ocean side part of the East Coast trail, a rock base with only a thin covering of soil, long rocky descents and short climbs, mixed together makes for a perfect tough Enduro/Trial riding environment.

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Chris Jerret of Freeride Mountain Sports is one of the main driving forces behind the trails in the area of St John’s. His dedication and time and physical effort to build trails has created a community of riders that is always expanding.

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This small innocuous shop was our base for some of the most fun riding we have had in years. It’s also where nearly every rider in the area seems to drop in at least once a week.

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Turbo trainers in an MTB shop? A sign of serious training? No, a sign that in winter with almost 3 metres of snow a year it can be difficult to get out and about on the bike.

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One of the local riders Sheldon Smith who also runs about 10th-15th in the national Canadian downhill series uses the trails for training and demonstrates an extremely high level of skill.

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Sheldon makes short work of a 2 metre drop.

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This is the back drop to the Oceanside trails. North Atlantic rugged coast, with views to die for.

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Once out of the open into the woods, traditional Canadian wet roots appear, the test of all the best riders.

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The Oceanside trail and variants loop here, behind Quidi Vidi, one of the most picturesque small inlets we have ever seen anywhere in the world.

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Rock protecting small boats from north Atlantic waves. These were once cod fishing huts, now some of the coolest homes you can find.

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Rugged Rock and a small landing stage, where they drag out icebergs which float around and are used to provide water for local beer production.

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The next part of our adventure started one very cold rainy morning, but with Canadian trucks carrying our bikes, we felt impervious to the weather.

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Our riding group that morning, note the Candian on the right, only a long sleve T-shirt, we Europeans were kitted out in the best wet weather riding jackets but still felt somewhat cold. Newfoundlanders are hard as nails.

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Whilst we went for a ride others had just got back from moose hunting, with their spoils on display in the suburb, only reinforcing the wild nature of where we were riding.

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Out ride took in Torbay to Flat rock, another incredible wild location, more can be seen in the video.

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250 metre sea cliffs greet riders where the trail snakes along the cliff edge, with whales swimming in the bay below.

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If Chris is shivering, it’s cold and wet, but this was October, being British though we shrugged off this small weather and tried to show how tough we were infront of the still T-shirt clad Canadians.

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The end of the Torbay to Flat Rock trail, huge Atlantic rollers crashing into rocks.

Gros Mourne National Park

A completely virgin landscape awaits most bikers on the west coast of the island, we rode an pushed up for 2 hours to the top of one of the best views available. We grabbed a few shots and hopefully is the first time the world sees what an amazing place Gros Mourne is for biking.

Gros Mourne Map

As Gros Mourne is realatively undiscovered, we suggest riders to make some strava segments...

As Gros Mourne is realatively undiscovered, we suggest riders to make some strava segments…

The Ride

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Across the other side of the Island, and 8 hour drive away (just showing how big Canada is,) was this, one of the most beautiful places we have ridden.

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Gros Morne is relatively unexplored by bike and a national park.

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The trail tracked along the cliffs and upwards, still amazing backdrops.

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Simple trails in breath taking locations, we like it.

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Open wild moor land down and along from the descent after 2 hours riding and pushing up.

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Choose your line, wherever you like.

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The summit of the ride, so fantastic a view little else we can say. Thank goodness we had an iphone for photos after the shutter on our camera broke.

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After a long climb a long descent and a well earned sea view.

Thanks goes out to all those who helped the rides go off and an epic trip. We travelled in October when the season is still open, but a bit wetter than normal. Talk to the guys there to find out when the best time of year to go is, according to your trail condition preferences.

www.mountainbikestjohns.com
www.freeridems.com

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