Striker’s Tales: The Cabot Trail “The Great Canadian Adventure”
CANADIAN COAST TO COAST TOUR 9 FINAL CHAPTER
PARTY ISLAND DOWNHILL!!!! Just before I get into this week’s Striker Tales I just want you all to know that me and the Shnitzel are putting on a race on a small island in the Caribbean called St Lucia!! This is once in a lifetime race!! Were inviting the world to come join us but the catch is, were only taking the first sixteen racers that sign up.
We have two thousand bucks to give out so we’re giving the first thousand to the first place finisher and will be handing out five hundred bucks to second place while third place will win three hundred bucks!! Not bad for a race that only cost fifty bucks to enter on one of the most beautiful islands in the world. For the racers they get a kick at the main prizes in the open class but we will also be awarding the top female racer two hundred extra bucks!!
How the hell are Striker and Shnitzel pulling this race off? It’s to good to be true!! Is this race real? How can they be giving out two thousands dollar cash podium when they are only charging fifty bucks entry with a sixteen racer limit? Well my answers to that is we f%&kin rule! You got two of the oldest race organizers in the world teaming up for the first time to bring you all a dream race hence the name PARTY ISLAND DOWNHILL. No IDF fighting or crying!! No member fees!! No drama, and its only $50 entry you pay at the top of the hill!! Well pick up at the airport and give you a free place to sleep in paradise!
Anyway, As the story goes last summer; it was the last Sullivan challenge in Kimberley BC where I had one of the best times on the microphone in years. I had so much energy entertaining the crowd while Shnitzel was running the show from the top keeping things running smooth as ever. Well you just never know who’s in the crowd when we’re putting on a show. On this day a representative from St. Lucia Island was in the crowd watching the crash corner and absolutely loved what he seen. After the race he went to the Kimberley Chamber of Commerce and asked to get in contact with the organizer and the rest was history.
Taj Weekes a legendary Reggae artist from the Island wanted what he experienced in Kimberley this day for his island back home. He wanted the organizer and the announcer to come to his island and put on a show for the Caribbean Islanders. Shnitzel gave me a heads up and that was that last I heard until I got the call from Shnitzel a couple weeks ago saying “you still in?” of course I said yes!! Meanwhile Shnitzel told him “no and to wait till next year” because we’re short on time. Taj wouldn’t take no for an answer. So, here we are under a month away to pull this off why not shoot for the stars!?
Shnitzel made the call and next thing we knew both our tickets we bought for St. Lucia and we started from there. I thought since it was me and Shnitzels race we needed a good for it. We needed something to reflect our last thirty years combined in race organizing. Skate and Party…. skate…. and…..party…. PARTY ISLAND DOWNHILL!!! Perfect!!
We picked a sick looking course and we have the power to change it when we get to the island so that’s a nice option to have. We laid out what we needed to pull this race off and Taj has all the island connections we need to make it happen so here we are only weeks away. We have almost filled out sixteen-racer bracket; I’m excited seeing the names that are jumping on board for this event in its inaugural year
Two thousand-dollar cash podium!! You gotta kick fifteen other racers asses to win a thousand bucks, there is no other race like this in the world!! A quarter of the racers will head home with cash winnings, sunburns and memories to last a lifetime! Hope to see you all out to race Party Island! Ask your parents for a early Christmas present.
CANADIAN COAST TO COAST TOUR 9 FINAL CHAPTER THE CABOT TRAIL
I ran this tour to give the riders that were brave enough to join me the feeling that the east coast of Canada gave me eleven years ago. I wanted the riders to experience Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Newfoundland and most importantly the Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island. It was hard not to stop and smell the roses driving across the country but I had one mission, the Cabot Trail.
It was eleven years ago I skated into the darkness off the main highway entering the Cabot Trail not knowing what I was in store for and how it changed my life. I met two guys I now call friends on that trip that I’ve kept in touch with after all these years. After touring the islands heavenly hills getting the full Cape Breton experience I promised them I’d be back, but next time “I’ll be bringing a crew with me.”
After camping on the beaches, skating the hills, drinking beer and dancing in a barn while the Cape Breton legendary fiddler Buddy MacMaster stomped his feet while he lit that fiddle of his on fire with folk songs like I’ve never heard before. Kids and the elderly taking turns playing the piano and the fiddles while the young and old tap-danced a hole in the floor. I swore I’d be back one day with a crew and eleven years later that’s exactly what I did.
Man even writing about this I get emotional! I don’t know what it is about the Cabot Trail I don’t know what the pull is or why it’s so strong but this place has called me like no other place I have ever been in the world. This was the last picture I took on the Cabot Trail eleven years ago.
I met a bartender named Damien and I asked him if I brought him a six-pack of beer would he drop me off at a beach for a couple days and pick me up after. He agreed. I brought down a huge pile of fireworks, Cariboo, wine and a bottle of Jagermeister to throw myself a little party.
I built a shelter near the ocean and partied in the sand all alone smashing cans of tuna off the rocks to eat while I reflected on my trip across Canada promoting Push for the Cure. This was the end of my push mission. Ill write about this trip another time soon because this story hasn’t been told yet and I wanna tell it. It will be a nice tales to wrap up after all these years. I got scared on this beach at night and I got scared in the ocean swimming all alone feeling the rip tide pulling me out with nobody to save me.
Fast forward from 2006 to 2016 I have a loaded RV full of adventurers and I’ve made my way back to the magical place I left my heart so many years ago keeping my promise to myself and the Cape Breton locals that I was going to be back with a crew. The first stop was at St Anne’s Provincial Park. The picnic table in the back was where I slept many years ago with just a backpack and my longboard, but this time I had myself an engine and a bunk bed to sleep on.
Scoot took a nice shot here by the Nova Scotia Flag. Don’t worry we never stole the thing but on our way back we did notice it was missing good thing we never caught the suckers ripping it off!!
We were all burnt from the Ferry ride from Newfoundland but I was too excited to let that bother me red eyes and all I was going to drive this trail and enjoy it to the max. Shortly down the trail we made a team decision to stop and smash some golf balls. The guy that owned the place was cool as hell. He just had a donation box and trusted that you gave him the seven bucks a bucket or whatever it was. He gave us his clubs and took off leaving us there to smash away!
After some golf we needed to clean ourselves up with a good old scrub in the ocean. Nobody told me that Cape Breton has over eighteen species of sharks in these waters including the great white!! But don’t worry they don’t come in and eat tourists or locals. The sharks hang out in the deep parts of the ocean unless you got bad luck and they chomp you while chasing some yummy food towards shore.
The beaches here are so nice we felt like we were in another country. How can ocean water in Canada be so warm? The water here was as warm as bathwater and they say on the west side of the island the waters are even warmer. Surfers surfed as we played in the waves like we were little kids at a wave pool splashing around, giggling, body surfing loving our lives. We wished Raph Dinner and Carlos were still with us to experience this part of the trip, meanwhile there was no sign of Troy he just sat in the RV doing whatever he does. I remember thinking what a shame.
After all our fun in the sun it was time to suit up and get skating. The Cabot Trail takes three and a half hours to drive around unless you sleep in Cape North at the top of the island then your only thirty kilometers each way away from the biggest skateable mountains in all of Canada!!
The Rocky Mountains are bigger but the roads in the Rockies are built around the mountains, in Cape Breton the roads are built with the mountains, curve with the mountains and have guardrails to keep you from cliff diving. Absolute paradise man they don’t build hills like this anywhere in all of Canada, this is where I want to live.
The first run we hit was a 13% 5km longboard eater. To me conquering a hill isn’t bomb it and pull slide checks all the way down. Back in the days we couldn’t do slides and fancy speed checks so once you were in you were in for the ride of your life. Scoot and Daisy girl are lighter riders so they paired up and charged the hell out of this run but Yardwaste Mike on the other hand must have at least fifty pounds on these guys and the mountains know this along with the laws of gravity.
Gravity loves to suck the big body’s down hills as fast as they can so you better have the skills to attack the run or you’ll find yourself chopped in half from a guard rail or wishing you rode with a parachute because you’ve just f#&ked up and your wingsuiting it to your death onto the rocks below. I like to call this run “Meat Eater”
It’s a powerful road in the middle of the Cape Breton’s highlands. I’ve been watching Yardwaste Mike skate on the Cribb Bomb tour for the last five years and I’ve never seen him skate for his life like he did this day. I can tell you I was truly scared for his life but at the same time I seen him use every single skill he had to stay on the road for his first run and it was a nail biter. I shake my head writing this thinking back. Check out a few pictures of the Meat Eater and Mike Yardwaste!!
Corners would come up Mike would gauge them and dive into them sometimes crouched some times standing as tall as he could possibly stretch his body. He was all in; these pictures don’t do this run justice it was ride or die!!
After the hectic sections it slows up and bit but you can still haul some serious ass!!
What a killer run, everyone loved it and we had many more to hit!! This was just the start eh!!
The next run was a nice speedy lucky 13% rip so they ripped it of course! The roads in the north are gnarly man they keep you honest and on your toes!! As a longboarder you never want to litter on highways you skate because they will break your bones for it.
It’s a gnarly run that had the guys all standing wondering what was around the next corner. You need to remember they just jumped right into these hills without scoping them at all, riding them totally blind so they used a bit of caution but not much! It was a tough run to keep up they were haulin ass!
The next run we found ourselves at the top of was Mt McKenzie!! This sexy beast has all the curves you need in your life without getting you pregnant. The guys took a nice group shot with the guardrail while Troy just slept in his seat with me yelling at him to skate every run. Not sure how you could ignore this shit but I was quite pissed off at him and disappointed this is why we were here I really wanted him to skate. He stayed in the Cribb for the swim and the chance to skate all these hills; I still shake my head even now.
While the skinny guys Scoot and Daisy Girl air braked in heaven Mike was shredding his wheels to the core trying to keep in check. He reminded me of me when I used to tackle hills as a big guy carving hard as hell but he’s a lot better at corners then I ever was. I put myself In his shoes and enjoyed the ride. Check out this run!
CANADA’S PLAYLAND RIGHT HERE!!!
The local eagles were taking care of us on these mountain runs
So at the end of the run you could ask the guys if it was all worth it or you could take a look at these faces and that might give you a small clue to how they might answer that question. This is the first time a world champion has ripped the hell out of these hills!! Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail has Team Green Scoots approval!! This is business!!
Well that was a hell of a hill and we weren’t done yet we kept motoring along the Cabot Trail to the next run in paradise. We stopped for some small breaks along the way. I must say Scoot Smith is one of the best examples of a real downhill professional he is so good educating kids and the general public about our sport, he skates almost everyday riding harder than anyone I know. He represents his brands more than they could ever afford to pay him and he supports them with pride. Scoot is the full package total respect for this man right here he just wants to skateboard work hard and bomb hills!! He deserves everything he gets in downhill and more he earned it! SUPPORT SCOOT SMITH!!!!
The next run was one of the crew’s favorite runs but they all were. Every run these guys came back chewing on puke with a huge smile wanting more!!
Again I remember them saying this was the fastest best hill hahahahaha
After that run you have another nice bomb to the ocean and that’s almost it but we still had to hit Cape Smokey back where we started. We skipped this badass monster it was raining at the time so we took the risk and decided to hit it on our way back around a second time.
What a huge day of skating for the guys, it was even a crazy day for me being a tour guide photographer wanting everything to be just perfect. We were all torched. We found a nice place to pull over by the beach then just sat back and relaxed for a bit on the west side of the island. The water is warmer on this side of the island they say but you wouldn’t think so from these pictures.
Stumanchu was grumpy and needed some time alone to balance some rocks and hey nothing wrong with that like I said it was a long day for us all but I had some more plans for us that night.
My old friend from my first trip Mr. Randy Roach lives in Cheticamp a small town just out of the national park I gave him a heads up that we were coming to say hi. Last time I seen him his dream was to open a hostel called the “Rusty Nail” I told him i’d be back one day and I would bring a crew with me… well I came back and I brought a crew with me eleven years later.
We pulled up to his house and it was nothing like I remember, well a little bit but the whole yard was cleared out and developed. The shack he had back in the day was transformed into a nice home with a shop and a huge garden. The Roaches have been busy that’s for sure super happy to see them again I’ve wanted to see them ever since I left.
The Roaches were just as I remember them cool as ever! They opened their doors to us and offered their place for the night. I explained I needed to find a good ol Cape Breton party in a hall or a barn I really wanted my crew to get this in before we left the island.
We spent the time catching up while Claudia fed us homemade wine, told us to eat as much as we could from their garden and then gave us some Cape Breton Bear meat for the road!! Stumanchu was excited for this I tell ya and so was I.
I really didn’t want to leave so fast but I had a full crew in the RV and time was ticking. I really wanted them to get some of this Cape Breton culture in them. The only thing we were missing now was the music and I was ready to drive through the night to make this happen. I ended up driving an hour and a half out of our way but it was worth it. We found some of Cape Breton’s finest ready to light it up with two feet and a fiddle at a local community hall!! This is what I needed. I needed the music and the local people, we came from the west to say hi to the east sharing stories, culture and laughs.
The hall was packed with locals it was perfect. We were all starving so when we parked Troy got right into cooking the huge amounts of food we had packed in our fridge from Newfoundland and now Cape Breton thanks to the Roaches! One thing Troy was great at this trip was feeding us man he sure could cook. Stu was a good cook too a matter of fact.
I went back into the hall and was taught how to dance from this adorable little challenged child. Boy I tell you she taught me a thing or two by the end of the night about line dancing I was absolutely drenched in sweat and near the end I kind of knew how to dance. Apparently I danced with a princess too…it was a wonderful night I couldn’t have been happier to be there with everyone.
We had an after party in the Cribb with all the locals it was great we got to share stories I put on some Buddy MacMaster melodies and a lady that was on the stage earlier in the night shared stories of playing with him and Ashley Macisaac another Cape Breton legendary fiddle player. This fellow below just loved the idea of downhill and wanted to get right onto it so Scoot let him try on his gear and he had a pretty good tuck for a beginner.
The next day we were back on the road with not much sleep but the crew that was skating was ready to skate. The first run we did was a nice little bomb so we had to make time to hit it just too tempting I tell ya.
The second run through the mountains Gnarly Carly got out for some love with Mike, Scoot and Daisy Girl. The runs this round got a lot faster and harder for me to keep up in the Cribb so I took it easy and enjoyed the drive.
The plan was to head back to Cape Smokey that was the one run we still needed to make love too and this time we were lucky it was looking like it was going to be dry. Troy Yardwaste finally went for a rip it was a little too late but it was still nice to see him skating with the rest of the crew.
So that’s Cape Smokey a whole other animal we got there. Soon as we slayed this up a couple times we packed up and headed back for all the hills we just smashed the day before, We drove all this way so we better give everyone at least two rounds in the highlands eh!!
That was it for hills we got pulled over at the bottom of the hill by a Canada Parks officer. He told us to park and wait for further instruction. Well I would have waited if I was driving but I just got back from doing a fun little barefoot run with Troy but Stu pretty much just pulled out and drove away. Stu just up and drove us out of the park hhahaahahha the ranger tailed us for a bit and that was it we were home free out of the park and back in Cheticamp.
Scoot wanted to stick around and watch the big MMA match at all costs, Shadow was with him so I jumped ship and Stu and the crew drove ahead about 35km to a party we all got invited to for the last show of the Tragically Hip. I unhitched my bike the boys took boards and we were on our way all I had was lobster on my mind. Stu and the rest of the crew took off in the Cribb.
The guys went to watch the fight and I ditched them and went and ate some cheap delicious Atlantic crab and lobster to get my fix!!
The fight went until one in the morning Cody and Scoot took a cab to the F-bomb and I was stuck riding my low rider cruiser bike with a bent back tire. I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into it was a longer bike ride then I thought. My Achilles tendon was starting to bother me so I stopped and tried to sleep beside a graveyard and a church but it was windy as hell and I had nowhere to hide I was wet from the sweat. I was so tired, freezing cold and hurting but I kept pedaling and hiking all the hills. This bike never climbs any hill easy it’s torture and if you ever rode my bike you would know what I’m talking about.
I got a bit desperate and started checking abandon houses along the way but the doors were always locked. I just wanted to sleep at this point but pushed on, it wasn’t till about five in the morning while the sun was coming up that I arrived in the little village where the Cribb and the crew were and passed the hell out. An hour after I fell asleep the F-bomb fired up and we were on route heading to America!
We drove all day and all night ending up in Sue Sainte Marie Ontario parked beside a church crashed while some of the crew stayed up all night with some locals getting food checking out the town. The morning came quick our alarms blasted with only a couple hours sleep once again. ACDC pounded out the windows and down the halls rattling the bunks. Nobody wanted to move but if we wanted to meet up with the MXK crew in Minnesota we had to move now. I yelled at everyone to get moving. Some fights broke out of course tensions were high we were all totally drained but we ripped everything out of the Cribb making sure we did a really thorough deep clean to make sure we were good for a smooth border crossing.
We pretty much needed to get back across America in three days, visit the MXK Skateshop and get back to Vancouver in time to get to Mike Yardwaste’s Memorial Freeride for the Friday night!! This was crazy talk but we had four solid drivers and we just switched out while driving taking turns holding each other’s piss jugs.
We got to the border and the border patrol guy was awesome but Troy had some kind of sponsored rider problems in the past so we all got hauled in. I was told to pull to the side and I guess I was going a bit too fast because I was screamed at by a fat patrol officer stuffing his face with creamy long john extra large donut to slow down, he was a agro prick. They called us all out of the Cribb and they lined us up to take a good look at us they were pissed right off at us right away didn’t like us at all. They asked Daisy Girl why he wasn’t wearing shoes because he was barefoot like he was some kind of freak. Meanwhile we’re living out of the RV for a month who needs shoes anyways.
They asked us where all our needles were about three times before we had to throw our knifes on the ground. They worked Daisy Girl a little more about his tight little underpants he was wearing but he just told them they were shorts and that worked.
We got sent inside while they called the dogs to sniff through our home. While inside Scoot got yelled at to stop working out on the benches “this is not a gym” so Scoot just finished his set, but that never stopped Daisy Girl and her yoga flexes she was stretching has hard as she could pulling out all the yoga moves till she had to pee. Of course in the end we got released into America and it was all business from there on in. DRIVE!
We got to Minnesota and the crew at the MXK Skate shop was still waiting for us with the red carpet rolled out and I was happy it was a nice big crew!! That always keeps the spirits up when were beaten up from the road and all the travel.
Hotdogs, chips, beers, burgers and a tattoo gun!! This is stuff we all really needed. Daisy and Scoot ate food off the floor of the skate shop while Troy got a Tattoo of the F-bomb on his leg for life!! We signed posters and shot the shit for hours with the locals. Riders just love meeting Scoot I loved that.
It was almost a week since our crew had any kind of shower so when it rained I took full advantage of this without even a thought I stripped down to my boxers on the dirty streets of Minnesota and scraped myself clean splashing around the busted up sidewalk in a few inches of acid rain water. Thinking back about now it might not have been such a good idea the sidewalks outside schools are normally full of spit, grime and scum not the cleanest places to be cleaning your insides.
It was really crappy we were still in such a rush to get home some of the mountains these guys had in their backyard that they were showing us could have kept us busy for weeks not to mention the shop gave me a real feeling of downhill and it’s downhill roots. Local skaters that shop at this shop and are a part of the community really have a good thing going I’m stoked for all of them. I hope to see them in the future and ride through some of these tunnels they showed us on their phones. Check out this shot Daisy Girl took of Troy’s new Cribb Bomb tattoo!! FOR LIFE!!
We said our goodbyes and I took the night shift after Scoot drove himself to insanity. I drove all night till the morning, when we needed gas I finally pulled over and ate something then sickness hit me. Somehow I had developed the worst strep throat I’ve ever had in my whole life and this lasted long after the tour i’d say weeks till I could swallow proper again. I’m guessing the combo of bathing in cigarette butts, rainwater and dog piss then pulling an all nighter driving killed my immune system.
When I woke up next day I was the sickest I’ve been that I can remember. I was soaked in my bunk and I remember waking up in a panic not being able to swallow. I felt like my throat swelled up so much that it was cutting off my airway I was also sick and tired of fighting with my dreadlocks they were long enough to wrap around my neck and hang me if they wanted. No matter how many times I wrapped them up in a hair net at night they would come undone and strangle me almost to the point of death.
I was pissed off more than ever at being this sick I rolled out of my bunk after we parked at Subsonic sat down in the passenger seat and growled “cut my f#$kin hair now” oh you should have seen the crew jump up. “WHAT!!??” they said then I YELLED “CUT MY HAIR NOW!!” Troy grabbed the closest knife and started hacking along with whoever elts had a weapon nearby to get the job done. One of the Subsonic guys pulled out a gun and started blasting off my dreadlocks one by one like they were snakes on a plane. Finally someone found some sharp scissors and cut off every nugget until I was Dred less in Seattle.
We had another shop visit at Motion Boardshop before we would head home it’s a sick ass shop that we have lots of buddies working at so it was nice to stop by and say hello. They got a rad deal going there the shop is connected to a pizza shop they’re running as well with a coffee shop and even a bar! Talk about using the space to its full potential. I felt bad I didn’t stick around too long myself I couldn’t hack it I couldn’t talk or swallow at all. I don’t like people seeing me that sick where I’m not happy and full of energy. Couldn’t even enjoy the pizza.
We ripped up to Canada and got hauled in again at the Canadian border and of course they treated us like garbage and we had to wait well over an hour before they let us back home. The crossing was near Abbotsford BC so that was perfect for our plan to hit up Mike’s second annual Yardwaste Memorial event on the Saturday.
Troy’s parents were camped by the river so we found them and that was that we were home sweet home, what a way to relax with family friends on the river with no place to go. I loved it personally because Troy’s mom took really good care of me feeding me as much tea as one could possibly drink to help sooth my throat. Mom and Dad Grenier celebrated by feeding all of us till we couldn’t stuff anymore food down our yaps and lots of hugs, campfires and of course cariboo beers.
After another kick ass night we woke up and drove straight to Chilliwack for the Yardwaste Memorial Freeride and what a huge turnout!! This was the biggest turnout of youth skaters I’ve seen all year and I’ve been to twenty-four events all over the place. It was really cool to see that we actually have a strong future of down hilling here in British Columbia but we can’t let these kids slip through the cracks, we need more free events like these with local city’s onboard.
Mikes event is free to anyone that wants to skate so that was a huge part of it all. It’s up to us to bring forward planned events like these and work with city council in the lower mainland to create these events. They have all the resources we need when we talk to the right people it can be easy as hell it pull off!
Lower mainland events like these are limitless we just need guys like Mike to put the time in to create them. Good job Mike and everyone else who kicked in sometime to help make this a huge success!
Thanks for reading this week’s Striker Tales!! This is a wrap for the Canada Coast to Coast Cribb Bomb Tour!! I would really like to thank Stumanchu for all his hard work and love going into the Cribb bomb for this years tours!! I’d like to thank Hoodie and Raggie for all the work they did this year on the Cribb always being there ready and willing to help!! I like to thank the whole Canada crew!! Raph Dinner, Mike Yardwaste, Scoot, Daisy, Turbo, Shitshow, Carlos, Gnarly Carly and again Stu thanks for trusting me guys too bad we didn’t have two months to hit the rest of America like we planned but we sure kicked some serious ass with what time we had!
Thanks to all the shops we hit across the country must have been nine of them by the time it was all said and done and thank you to everyone that came out to skate with us or took the time to come meet us at these shops!! You gave us the energy we needed to keep it going and showed us longboarding is alive as ever!
Huge thanks to my 2016/2017 tour sponsors Cariboo Brewing, Beard Brothers. Landyachtz longboards, Flatspot Longboards, Kebbek Skateboards, Hawgs Wheels and Bear Trucks!! Its plane and simple without these company’s we wouldn’t have a tour!! Without your support and your cash you kept this tour alive and beast running this season and like I promised you I will continue to run for the first half of next season too!! Thank you so much!
I’d like to thank Patricia Anne, Cassius Lucky and Billie Rose my little family for always being there for me running this tour isn’t easy for anyone. I love you all and thank you so much for always supporting me. Patricia we rule!
Lastly I wanna thank all the Coast community for supporting the Striker Cribb Bomb tour for the last five years!! We’ve had some of the best times of our lives together and we got five years of Strikers Tales to prove it!!! Love you all!! See you next season for the final West Coast chapter of my story!!
Next week’s Striker Tales we catch up on some more wild adventures from this summer I never got to share with you yet. I can’t wait to share these tales with you all!! To the loyal Striker tales fans out there reading, drinking Cariboo beers and sharing these tales Thank you so much for your support i’ll keep writing until you stop reading and then i’ll write some more!!!!
FOLLOW THE UNKNOWN ROAD!!!