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FATMAP difficulty grade
This lesser-ridden loop in Cumberland Forest is an absolute gem of a ride that leads to one of the best views in the region! The route begins by climbing a part of the Sobo No Michi climbing route before splitting off onto Midway.
From Midway you'll connect to Teapot, and you'll roll up and down as you string together a series of trails through the heart of the network to work your way over to the Eastern Bloc. The core trails on this ride—Rhizome and Woodcutter—are two of the best trails in all of the Eastern Bloc.
A climbing trail known as "Nikkei Climb / Red Tape" has recently been constructed to aid in the ascent to the top of this steep-sided hill.
As you pedal up the steep switchbacks, you'll enjoy incredible views of the area from a logged zone—and those views only get better when you top out and reach the bench on top of the cliff. From the bench at the top of the climb, you'll enjoy views westward of the mountains in the heart of Vancouver Island.
On a clear day, this view is absolutely stupendous! It offers an entirely different perspective from the eastward views found at the top of Sobo No Michi.
Be sure to soak in this incredible vista before dropping in. Rhizome begins by rolling along the top of this steep-sided ridge, traversing some low wooden bridges and a few steep, twisty drops.
For the best descent, take Banzai Express Lane for a fast, flowy downhill with some superb berms to access the Woodcutter trail. Woodcutter is a local favorite that drops steeply down the hillside.
Beginning with a steep, rocky descent to a bridge, the tech mellows out quickly, and you'll twist and flow through a series of steep, banked corners.
You'll swoop and flow down the mountain, bottoming out all too quickly.
There's still some more flowy descending to be had on 50:1 and Resurrection, but those finishing trails are a bit more natural to wrap up the ride. To be honest, neither Rhizome nor Woodcutter is really all that technical, despite their black diamond rating on the map—hence the "Difficult" FATMAP rating that's been assigned here.