By: Felix Burke
We are in the Olympic mountains above Port-Angeles. The oldest trees in the world surround us while we sip some slightly burnt camp stove coffee on our first morning of the trip. It is a good moment to get some perspective.
I grew up in Quebec, it is where my roots are, but some of the most formative years of my life were spent in the four years my family lived in Whistler. Between the ages of 12 and 16, I discovered mountain biking, developed a deep love for adventure and made some friends I will be close to for life.
One of these friends, Turner Schumann, has a deeply curious and spontaneous nature. When I talked to him about the trip he was immediately excited about the project and decided to join.
Getting ready for the trip was a trip in of itself. In the weeks before departure, things needed to be sorted with the University to make sure I would still be in good academic standing when I returned in the spring.
As the trip was a shift away from my usual race prep at this time of year, I wanted to share my plans with my sponsor, Rocky Mountain Bikes. The team at the North Vancouver office are deeply passionate about riding and adventure. They not only gave me their support for the trip, they shared their wealth of knowledge on where to explore and who to reach out to on the way. I feel lucky to work with such an amazing brand and group of people.
Through some logistical planning, the route that presented itself could be called the “very-long way home”. It would take us from Victoria, B.C. down the Pacific coast, through the Sierra Nevada, across the desert of Arizona and Utah and eventually through the continent to Mont-Tremblant, Que.
Burnt coffee still on our taste buds and caffeine fueling our excitement, we set out for the first leg of our journey. We will explore the coast of Washington and the trails of northern Oregon.
Felix Burke is cross country racer from Mont-Tremblant, Que., training in Victoria, B.C. while studying at the University of Victoria. In 2018, Burke achieved his goal of winning the Canada Cup XCO series overall, racing for Rocky Mountain Bicycles. When returning to studies and training in September didn’t feel right, Burke decided to find answers on the trail. Where the Trail Leads is Burke’s story of the journey that follows. Chapter 1: New Season New Plan. Chapter 2: Planning. Chapter 3: Mt. Hood, Ore.