Matt Harris’ resume is the one a lot of us dream of: Big wall rock climber, damn awesome skier, an even more amazing mountain biker, trail builder and for the past few years, Matt and his wife Katie have become Squamish’s real fruit ice cream kingpins with their shop Alice and Brohm. Among Matt’s many other bows is that of a tester for OneUp Components and with his reputation as a rather hard man, his name has been added to the OneUp Components longest day suffer fest for the last few years. The 2019 edition just went down and after watching the photos pop up on Matt’s and One Up’s Instagram we thought we just had to get the low down on what it takes to enter and exit the One Up pain cave.
Where did you ride on the longest day?
Dennis and Sam from OneUp Components had always said that if the snow melts out early enough in the Chilcotins that their longest day ride would be there for sure. We did a big figure eight over three alpine passes in the South Chilcotins. The plan was to ride from Freiburg campsite up Gun Creek to Spruce Lake where we would have a sneaky second breakfast, then a big loop up Tyaughton Creek over Deer pass and back to Gun Creek, headed toward Spruce Lake for the second time. Then up and over Windy Pass via High Trail, through the Eldorado drainage onto Lick Creek and back to Freiburg Camp. No bailouts. It was 2 degrees Celsius and snowing on the tops cos’ summer right! But it was the best dirt I have ever ridden in the Chilcotins. Complete hero dirt with a mix of drivetrain destroying alpine mush.
Can you share any stats with us?
There was a crew of eight Squamish rippers, one first timer to the zone and to the longest day.
We left Squamish 7pm and ate all of the calories aka Calamari and chilli cheese poutine in Pemberton en-route, we slept (briefly) at Frieburg Camp at 12pm and woke at 4.15am for cold brew coffee and overnight oats. Droppers were extended and we were pedaling away at official sunrise (4.57am, we rode till sunset (9.36pm). Our arrival back at Frieburg was 11pm and then we drove back to Squamish that night and arrived at 3.30am. for a little sleep and we were all off to work that day.
• 102.5km of backcountry trails. 3558m / 3823m of elevation gain (some difference in GPS stats).
• 18 hours on bikes.
• Moving time of 12.55mins.
• Top speed 73.4km.
Dozer 10 hours deep “Anyone else notice how we have been climbing for
10 hours and haven’t descended yet?”
Whose idea was this?
Dennis Beare is the ring leader for sure, this guy loves a good session in the pain cave. It’s standard issue for Summer Solstice. I’ve only joined a couple of these epics. This is a One up Components staple each year. For them, it’s all about feeling shitty in amazing places!
Is it a regular thing?
The best thing about the longest day is there is only one of them each year. Enough time passes between each year that you forget about the pain cave and are pretty keen to sign back on for another go next time around. I have joined in on some of these in the past. This was their eighth longest day ride.
Was this your first time?
This was my second time joining these folks. I love big missions once in a while, good people make it hurt less. My first time was a front country mission over the south coast of BC. I’m a fan of the bigger missions with good crews, It’s amazing just how much ground you can cover. A couple of years back when Katie (my wife) and I were back home in New Zealand we hit the 80km Old Ghost Road in a single day when they just opened the full trail system.
In the photos you are only rocking a hip pack, could you carry enough in that?
Yup, both longest days I have attended have seen full commitment to the hip pack. The first year was a front country with a Radpack (three beer can size) and one bottle on the frame. This year was backcountry with a Cascadia (five beer can size) with two bottles. Both packs are made in Bellingham at High Above Designs. I kept an eye on the weather and made sure I had enough with me if I needed to spend the night. It was a wee bit of a Tetris game, but well worth the strategic packing to have everything on the hip. The OneUp EDC system enables me to take some of the bulk out of what would normally go in a backpack.
What I packed in the Cascadia hip pack this trip.
• Tamari almonds
• Lara bars
• Fruit bars
• Espresso granola bar
• Full salami
• PB and J sandwich
• Honey stinger grapefruit
• Nuun tabs
• Dark choc espresso beans
• Folding saw
• One up EDC, shifter cable, pump, tube, quick links, chain links, hanger, brake pins, tire patches, tube patches, tire plugs, levers, zip ties, duct tape.
• In reach mini
• Night lights
• Basic personal first aid
• Water filtration MSR trail shot mini.
• NZ Possum wool beanie
• Spare l/s merino layer
• Wind breaker
• 3L hard shell
• Survival blanket
• Flint and lighter
What bike did you ride?
• My 2018 alloy Process 153. Sz Large. The new One up 210 “a dropper post the size of a DH fork”
• 32t x 11-45 cassette. DH casing tires.
Did anyone hit the wall?
Everyone had their phases throughout the day. Lots of power naps and power snacks. River crossings kept us awake when the caffeine was failing. It doesn’t have to be fun to be fun right?
If you hit the wall do you get invited back?
From what I understand once you have been invited to attend a longest day you are welcome to come back for more suffering another year. If you hit the wall you have a whole year to forget, some are willing to come back out for more. Joint suffering is the best kind of suffering or so I’m told.
What was the hardest part of the trip?
Knowing that the longest night is on the 21st December!