Retallack Lodge, British Columbia
Nestled away in the British Columbia backcountry is a place some of our sport’s top athletes consider mountain biking heaven. Getting to this remote lodge requires a long journey, but it’s well worth the trip. I fondly remember leaving the Vancouver airport and heading for a smaller airport just a short ways away. From there, I got into a 12-passenger plane and headed to Trail, British Columbia. Normally a 2 1/2-hour car ride, the flight got us to the small town of around 7,000 people in no time. The small airport had lawn chairs on the side of the runway where locals could greet newcomers in town. From Trail, British Columbia, the lodge is another two hours by car.
Once at the lodge, everything is taken care of—from homecooked meals to post-ride entertainment. Shuttle options include a retrofitted military truck, or you can splurge on a helicopter to drop you off. The trails range from groomed flow trails to some of the gnarliest trails I’ve ever experienced. This is a location for hard-core riders looking to challenge their skills deep in the backcountry.
Plan your trip with Retallack.com
Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal, is a stop on the Enduro World Series circuit and home to some truly amazing mountain bike trails. Getting to the island is an adventure in itself, considering the airport is rated among the most dangerous in the world due to its short runway built off a sea cliff. As I approached the airport in a small propeller-driven aircraft, I noticed the runway stretched off the island supported by pillars. Taking risks on this trip happens long before you even straddle your bike. Once the nerve-wracking approach is over, time slows down and island life kicks in. Madeira is 309 square miles and features a wide range of trails—from cross-country to downhill. Riders looking to take on a challenge can test their skills on the EWS racecourses. Anyone looking to combine an island vacation with premier mountain biking trails will be hard-pressed to find a better spot than Madeira.
Plan your trip with: FreerideMaderia.com
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun.