Building trails and community in Duncan BC

Building trails and community in Duncan BC

Posted by Noel Buckley on

Athlete: Brendan Gauthier

IG: _brendangauthier

Resides: Duncan, BC

Rides: Chilcotin 167

Credit (photos 1-3, 6): Brayden Rastad 

Chainsaw with a Knolly logo sticker

Why and when did you get started as a trail builder?

I started to build because I loved riding, being in the forest and crafting something from nothing. I wanted to create trails that I was proud of and first started building on Eagle Mountain. From there, I eventually went to Capilano University and finished their Mountain Bike Operations Program. I knew I wanted a career that fueled my passion for riding and desire to dig. In 2015, TORCA offered me a paid position to build trails and I was stoked! I maintained some classic trails including 3 Little Pigs and Manhandler, and expanded my skills as a builder.

Brandan riding in the snow

How did you end up in Duncan BC?

From 2019 to 2021, I went back to school at BCIT to get my Forestry Diploma and when I finished, I moved to Duncan to take an industry related job. It ended up falling through and I recently got offered (and accepted) the trail lead position at the Cowichan Trail Stewardship Society (CTSS) which covers the local trails I hit up in my backyard!

Brendan on a Knolly Tyaughton

What trail projects will you be working on and what excites you most about this new position?

Currently, the CTSS manages Mount Tzouhalem and Maple Mountain, with Mount Prevost being in the process of being sanctioned. Right now I’m focusing my work on Prevost, which has a reputation for having some of the best and toughest downhill trails in Canada. We are trying to keep these trails challenging, as they’re ridden by some of the most talented World Cup DH riders that come here to train. It features steep, committed lines and gap jumps, and I believe the locals who ride Prevost will be stoked to see routine maintenance taking place. 

What I love about the trails here is that there is just so much good dirt. Although it’s a lot of work to build and maintain, the terrain here is absolutely incredible. There’s no limitations to what you can build and I’m looking forward to creating some dream lines.

Brendan's Knolly bike

What bike are you currently riding?

I just built up my new Chilcotin and it rides like a dream! I wanted one bike that could do it all… ride up, ride down and ride hard. It’s my downhill and trail bike in one and I’m having a lot of fun on it these days.

Brendan on his bike

What’s size frame do you ride and what’s your bike spec?

Frame/size/colour: Chilcotin size large (I’m 5’10”), in anodized black

Fork - Marzocchi Z1 coil 160

Shock - Fox dhx2 

Cockpit - Chromag 

Wheels - Spank 

Drivetrain - Deore 12spd 

Dropper post - OneUp

Brakes - Avid code

Custom -  The fork has the fox Grip2 damper which feels real nice. I  love the old style avid code brakes so I found a used set of those.

Digging the trail

What’s on deck for the future?

Once I complete the maintenance of the core trails on Prevost, my time will be more evenly split between Tzouhalem, Maple, and Prevost. My days are pretty sweet, I build during the day and afterwards, there’s always time for some post-work laps. 

See you on the trails!

Brendan biking with no hands

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