The Plains of Abraham, a desolate, stark romp through the death zone of the Mount St. Helens inferno nearly three decades ago, is a miraculous testament to Nature’s ability to resuscitate itself. Now it’s an officially recognized IMBA Epic as well.
I’m happy because it gives me another epic to add to my IMBA quiver, putting me at 11, without even having to clip into my pedals. Seven Summits last year in Rossland B.C. gave me double digits. But that was a long day in the saddle, with lots of climbing and the euphoric suffering that goes along with it.
When I last rode Smith Creek (as it’s called by the locals), there weren’t the little trees you see in the IMBA photo. The whole St. Helens area is a natural laboratory for studying the recuperative miracles of Mother Earth. It may be time for a return trip next spring.
My 11 epics are:
Big Boulder (Downieville)
Bootleg Canyon (near Vegas)
Buckhorn (Santa Barbara)
Comfortably Numb (Whistler; the longest 16-mile ride you’ll ever do)
No. Umpqua (Roseburg OR; the longest 1-day ride you’ll ever do)
Henry Coe (Morgan Hill near San Jose CA)
Tahoe Rim Trail (my favorite place to ride anywhere)
South Yuba (Nevada City)
Skookum Flats (not Enumclaw as IMBA lists it but Greenwater; also not an epic imho but I’ll take it)
Plains of Abraham
IMBA Epics on my to-do list:
Eagle Ridge (Vancouver B.C.)
Edge Loop (Fruita CO)
Loon Lake (McCall ID)
Telegraph Trails (Durango CO)
Mid Mt Trail (Park City UT)
The IMBA list is hardly the final say on epic XC rides, of course. I can name half a dozen epics in Washington State that are far more deserving than Skookum Flats and Plains of Abraham. How Sun Valley/Stanley ID and Moab UT escape citation is beyond me.
But hey, this time of year any talk of MTB epics really gets my juices roiling for next spring!
The full list of IMBA epics.