Trent Dyrsmid was lost. The Vancouver entrepreneur and some friends had spent an exhilarating day barrelling down Greenstone Mountain near Kamloops, B.C., on their mountain bikes before unexpectedly hitting a logging clear-cut. Now, without a trail to mark a path through the trees, they faced the possibility of spending a chilly night at 3,000 feet above sea level. “It was like taking a map and erasing all the roads. It took us about four hours to find our way down, when normally it would have taken an hour or less,” recalls Dyrsmid. “It was a lot of Let’s go this way. No, that ain’t it. Go back’.”
Mountain biking provides an opportunity for even the most hardened city dweller to reconnect with Nature and collect bragging rights. Whether it’s traversing winding dirt trails, sprinting down hills or performing gravity-defying jumps, biking delivers plenty of thrills and spills. It’s easy to get started, and you can spend a little or a lot.
Dyrsmid, CEO of Burnaby, B.C.-based IT consultancy Dyrand Systems, has been ripping up trails for 15 years. “My whole social life revolves around mountain biking,” says Dyrsmid. “All the people I hang out with I’ve met as result of the sport.” A former BMX and motocross racer, he’s happiest carving the mountain trails of B.C., where he navigates jumps, twists and turns that require agility, strength and guts. “I think everything from Holy crap, I hope I don’t kill myself’ to absolute, pure joy. It’s the best rush imaginable.”
Such stunt riding can be hard on a bike. In the past five years, Dyrsmid has replaced or upgraded every component on his bike, from the frame to the gears.
While anyone can get on a mountain bike and ride, it pays to educate yourself about equipment and take riding lessons from a pro. “Having a bad fall will turn someone off the sport before they get a chance to fall in love with it,” says Dyrsmid. “Starting in a bike park like Whistler is also a good idea because it gives beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain.”
Next for Dyrsmid is a reunion with friends from Switzerland and Ireland. Together they’ll be throwing up some dirt in France. “I’m 38 now, so I’m not trying to be a professional mountain biker,” says Dyrsmid. “But if I were 18, I would be pursuing it big time.”