#CCR – Cache Creek
Words: Brian Goldstone
*7mesh note – This ride took place in early summer of 2017. Not long afterward Cache Creek and a large portion of the interior of British Columbia were hit with some of the largest forest fires in our history. With the cooling temps of autumn approaching the situation will improve but it will take a long time for normality to return. For a region that relies heavily on tourism to make ends meet, being evacuated for weeks on end took its toll. We’ll be back to the area for sure and recommend you go as well. And if you do, make sure to stop at one of the towns for a meal, or base yourself out of a local hotel.
British Columbia is one of those places in the world you hope never changes. The type of place of place you hope in some ways is kept a secret. With the ability to pass through desert, alpine and rainforest all within a day’s drive, you would be hard pressed to find landscapes more diverse to explore by bicycle. Yes, many of these areas have been ridden and logged in Strava, but it is the ones that stay off the radar that interest us the most.
Cache Creek is one of those places that if you weren’t of the personality to take a deeper look, you would blink and quickly move on. Nestled some 350km northeast of Vancouver, the town itself feels like a handful of hotels and highway restaurants. However it takes just a quick zoom on Google maps to reveal hundreds of kilometres of empty roads and gravel that weave their way through the gentle foothills of this unique part of BC.
On one of the first hot days after a rather soggy Spring we rode out of the sleepy town for a loop of 100km that would include a 50km gravel section used for the most part by local ranchers.
The area is mostly known to rock climbers that travel to the limestone walls of Marble Canyon in summer and fall to escape the more popular rock faces of BC. For four adventurous riders, it provided access to ride through some amazing rolling hills, all the more dramatic in colour due to the heavy precipitation earlier in the year.
After a brisk 30km on roads only occupied by the odd eager tourist and their trailer, we took a rather hidden left hand turn onto well-packed gravel. From this point on we only saw the one vehicle, likely one of the few ranchers that lived in the area heading for a weekly visit to the ‘big city’.
Smooth, steady pedals strokes rolled us up, over and down the terracotta coloured gravel. To our right the ever expanding view showed fluorescent layers of green. The miles ticked by and the temperatures rose. At one point we stopped to say hello to the only rancher we saw working his farm. He dove enthusiastically into a story about how his neighbour down the way once put a log across the road – there was no ill intent, he just wanted people to stop for the log so he’d have someone to talk to!
At the end of the 50km gravel section we turned back along the highway toward Cache Creek. The calming noise of our heavy breath and gravel under rubber was replaced by the rush of wind as we dove into a long descent back into town.
Sweat dripping and with a thick film of dirt coating our faces and legs, we ended the day’s ride in an air-conditioned corner of the local Dairy Queen scoffing down ice cream. One by one tourists piled into the restaurant, each taking a quick glance at the four riders and probably wondering what the hell we were doing out here in this heat riding bikes. For us that was kind of the point. What could have been just another place to stop for ice cream had now revealed a whole host of opportunities to explore new terrain on two wheels.