Saturday, November 06, 2004

A Draining Day

Today I headed up to Snakes and Ladders on the Stiffee to do a little work on the trail and drain a wet spot. Basically I rode to the tool stash and dragged the tools to a wet spot. Once there I dug a trench to drain a big puddle and then continued to work on seven more puddles. Eight puddles fixed in total. I then stashed the tools nearby and continued my ride down Snakes and Ladders and Shotgun.

Below are a few before and after shots of the work I did.

Before draining taken at 10:56am

After draining taken at 11:08am

All in all a good day of maintenance and a very quick ride.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Burke Mountain

Tim and I decided that we would go for a spin up Burke Mountain today rather than The Woodlot. We really wanted to see what trails had been dismantled recently and it would be nice to try a different hill from our normal ride. The plan was to meet at 7:00am at The Hub corner store and leave one car there, that way we could drive the other car to the gate and not have to pedal back up the hill when we come out at the bottom of Flywheel.

Once Tim arrived we made our way to the gate of Burke and unloaded our bikes and prepared for our ride. As we were unloading our bikes, an old acquaintance of Tim's (Victor) was just starting to depart on his ride with a friend of his. We knew we would likely catch them on the ride/push up so we said hi and see ya on the hill.

Our overall plan was to ride to the top and decide where to go from there. So as I said earlier, we knew we were going to catch Victor and his buddy on the way up and we did. Every now and then the four of us would stop to have a little rest chit chat and then continue up the hill. Tim and I went up to Triple Crown while Victor split off lower on the hill at the junction that leads to Sawblade. Once Tim and I reached Triple Crown we geared up, had a look at the condition of the top of the trail and started our ride.

It had been quite some time since I went for a spin on the hardtail and the first section of the ride was what one would call punishing. I was not riding the bike the way that I should, I was riding it like my full suspension bike anticipating that the bike would take the edge off the roughness of the trail (now Triple Crown really isn't a very rough trail but I was just taking a beating this time down). One thing the both of us noticed was that this trail was in need of some serious TLC. There were sections of questionable rung and mud holes that it looked like nobody had thought of fixing for a very long time. I figure it would take 3 guys with shovels and pick axes maybe 1 day to buff up this trail to the condition that it deserves to be in.

Once we came out to the Power lines, Tim pointed out to me where another trail started that I had never been down. It was called The Elevator and is apparently a rally steep trail that basically goes straight down the hill but is in disrepair so we decided to skip it and ride Ryan's instead. So we ducked into the trees and entered Ryan's and continued our ride for a short section then stopped for an inspection. I say that because there has been some deconstruction of built up stunts on Burke Mountain by the local parks department. I will not go into why or how this occurred, but needless to say, there are some very upset people. So the deconstruction that occurred included the log ride and ladder sections at the top of Ryan's and the entrance into The Abyss. Apart from that, the rest of the mountain is still intact. One very upsetting thing though is the way in which the 'deconstruction' took place. Whoever was responsible for taking the stunts apart did a very, very poor job and actually left the area in a very dangerous state. Most of the ladders were just cut in half and left on the ground or turned upside down. There were several pieces of rung that were left with nails in them sticking up from the ground just waiting for a hiker or a forest animal to severely injure their feet on these hazards. Both Tim and I were quite angry about the way this area was left. We weren't mad that the section was destroyed (disappointed yes, but, we were just astonished that such an effort would be made to deconstruct a section of stunt work but only a half ass job performed and the fact that it is now more dangerous than ever before.

We then continued down Ryan's to the entrance of The Abyss to have a look at what had been dismantled on this trail. To our surprise not much of The Abyss had been dismantled, in fact really only the entrance was missing. So down The Abyss went hitting all the stunt work and other such parts of the trail. Both Tim and I were on out hardtails and this is one fact that I think both of us kind of forgot about when we hit the last gap on the path. He sacked himself and I rear wheel cased the last gap pretty hard, tweaking my ankle/foot on the landing.

We then skipped Big Boy Time and just made our way over to Galloway and then Flywheel. Again we both agreed that these sections of trail could do with some TLC. Simple maintenance could go a long way to make is such a better ride. After Galloway we met up with a woman's group ride. To our surprise there were 3-4 groups totaling about 30 women riding down Flywheel. Most were stopped at some point or another getting instruction on sections or just walking their bikes over the run down woodwork. We were very surprised that a group ride of beginner to intermediate riders would be taken down this trail on a wet day like today. We then exited onto the road and made our way back to my car. We then drove up to Tim's car that we left at the gate but on the way there we saw a guy we recognized from The Woodlot. Eric and a friend of his were out for a bit of an XC ride so we talked to them for a bit and discussed a possible group night ride. Then Tim and I discussed our possible next ride and took off for home.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

The Platinum Bug

Today I decided to go up to the Woodlot alone for a ride in the morning. My regular riding partners could not make it but I really wanted to ride, so I decided that I would just go myself. I had heard that there was some logging taking place in the Woodlot, therefore the regular route up the hill was closed. In fact the first trail that I really built on 'Quickhit' was partly being logged.

The route up was a push up Hoots then a push up Giant Killer. This was in no way a fun time getting up the hill, but if I wanted to ride, it was really the only way. While I was on Giant Killer I could faintly hear the sound of a chainsaw running and then I heard the distant sound of a thundering crash. They were actively logging on a Sunday. I was very glad that I did not attempt to get by the logging by walking on the road.

So once I made my way to the top of Giant Killer I started up the logging road and in the distance I could hear the voices of some guys behind me coming up the hill. I just pushed on to the top of the powerlines and geared up. Sometimes I like riding alone and other I like t hook up with new I thought I would wait to see where these guys were heading so I decided to wait. I had time to completely gear up, have a snack to eat and relax. Once the guys (Grant, Doug and Jason) arrived I talked to them for a bit and asked them where they were riding. It turns out they were going to Platinum but none of them had ever really ridden it because they weren't sure how fast to hit the gaps and such. Well being that I had just ridden it last week and was still buzzing from my ride, I decided I would give them the Grand Tour.

So once at the trail we started the gaps and drops and other such features the trail has to offer. For most stunts, I would show them once or twice how fast to approach and what to look out for. There was one jump that kind of got me. The gap over the logride. I kept hitting my back tire on the way down over the gap. I did not wipe out, but it kind of irked me. Then the BIG GAP towards the was rather slippery and I hit the jump with just enough speed but slipped a pedal on the landing. I thank the ROACH GODS for such good armour because I would be without a huge chunk of skin if I were not wearing my armour. The 6 pack was good and the coaster drop was once again butter.

We then decided to take the connector to Giant killer and this is where I had to leave the other guys as I was in a bit of a time jam. Showing them the ins and outs of Platinum took a little bit of time and I said to my lovely wife that I would be home at a certain time so I had to jet on them. So I pointed them in the right direction and headed off down Giant Killer and Hoots. The really cool thing about walking up a trail is that you can see new lines on a trail or variation on different stunts. On Giant Killer I saw a little gap jump over a crappy spot and on Hoots I saw a little hip jump that I had never noticed before. Needless to say I had a really good ride down these trails.

Then I hit Shotgun..... I once again a super blast down the trail to my car. I had a really good ride and met 3 new cool guys to ride with in the future. I am quite sure I will see them up there again some time soon.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Riding Bud

Today is the Monday of the long weekend (Thanksgiving) and what better thing to do than go for a ride on your favorite hill. Tim and I decided that we would meet at the Woodlot at 7am and head up the hill to do a trail that neither of us had ridden in many months. Platinum. In fact we both last rode Platinum on March 14 of this year, a 7 month hiatus. So onward and upward we went up the hill in near darkness. By the time we were near the powerlines, we in full daylight and the conditions were pretty good. It had been raining recently so the ground was wet/damp, but it was not raining at the time. We really took our time getting to the top as we both had a bit of time for the ride and we were going to enjoy ourselves.

We decided that we would gear up where you duck into the trail on the gravel powerline road. Just as we were about to put our helmets on, we heard some voices of other riders that had Platinum on their schedule as well. We decided to just begin our ride rather than stick around and see who was behind us.

The flowy trail that leads to the start of Platinum was really quite mucky and there were many BIG puddles, but it was a nice warm-up for what we were about to ride. So seeing as Tim is much more experienced in jumping and big drops, I let him go first and I would follow in order to see the speed needed to make the gaps and drop to the trannies. All I can say is that I owe most of this ride to Tim. I would not be doing this trail were it not for him. I just watched and learned and hit every gap and every drop on the trail. One of the cooler gaps goes over a logdrop. That was sweet. The big gap near the bottom was one big eye opener though. Several berms to a short straight section where you have to be pedaling really hard in order t make a rather substantial gap. I cleared it first attempt, but I was not happy with how I landed, so up the trail I went to give it a second try. On my second attempt, I just skyed over the gap, it was sweet.

The final big test was the 6 pack to the roller coaster drop. I made sure to follow Tim's instructions explicitly for this section........'make sure you just cleanly make the first gap, do not over shoot it at all............if the first gap it cleared cleanly, just let go of the brakes and hang on for the ride...........'. So that is what I did. One gap......TWO gap.....THREE GAPs...........whooo hooooo. Holy crap was that sweet. Then I just rode the rest of the line to the roller coaster to the nice big drop off the ladder. Butter my friends, butter. In fact it was so butter that I ran myself back up the trail and did it again.

We both paused for a few minutes then and then pressed on up the connector (Stovetop) to Giant Killer. At the top of Giant Killer we met up with the two guys that Rob and I met the week earlier. (Lance and Jordan). So they hooked up with us for the rest of the ride down Giant Killer. I will say that my new tires (Kenda Blue Groove and Nevegal 2.5" tubeless setup) worked really well on the wet woodwork. At the bottom gap Rich, Ewan and Jamie were working on the berm of the last gap with a guy filming them. In talking with Rich, it turned out that Joan Jones from The West Coast School of Mountain Biking ( ) was with them filming for a video on trial maintenance.

We then headed over to Snakes and Ladders for a all out blast down the trail. That is what the trail has basically become, and all out blast. Most crappy spots are now fixed and it was ripping really well today. I even did the drop to flat at the bottom again into a big puddle.

We then made our way over to Shotgun where we played cat and mouse again down the trail to the cars. Lots of fun ripping that trail again. Tim and I talked for a bit about stuff and made our way home. I did make a point of telling him how thankful I was for guiding me on how to clean Platinum. So with the help from a friend and several trips to Whistler in the summer, I went from avoiding a trail because it was over my head to eagerly waiting for the next time I can hit the trail hard.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

The Whole Hill

Well today was a morning ride with Rob up at The Woodlot. It had been quite some time since I’ve been for a spin with Rob and it had been several weeks since he had been on any sort of ride at all. He had finally got the itch back to go for a spin and I was glad to slip out in the AM with him for a ride.

It turned out a couple cars were already in the parking area so we were not the first up the hill. It was a gorgeous day today. There was not a cloud in the sky the sun was shining and the birds were chirping. I arrived at 8:30am and Rob arrived soon after. So up the hill it was at a nice leisurely pace. You know the pace you can keep up all day where you can talk comfortably and keep moving without really having to stop for a water break.

I let Rob decide the route today as I had been riding regularly and it had been a while since he had been able to ride. As a warm-up we did upper and lower Toadstool. I must say that they are a great way to get into the groove and have a bit of fun riding on natural terrain for the most part. Rob rode really well considering he had been off his bike for at least 3 weeks. I swear I rode the log on upper Toadstool the fastest I ever have. I will not say that I am and outstanding on log rides, but lately unless they are really skinny and wet, I have had good luck on them. Lower Toadstool was a nice change from my regular trail route and I really had a blast.

The next trail for the day was Blood Donor, so up the hill we went once again. Upon arriving at the trailhead, we took a short break for water and I had a bite to eat. In that time a couple guys arrived that neither Rob nor I had seen before. They were quite friendly so we talked for a minute and they were on their way their names were Lance and Jordan. Rob and I then put on our helmets and headed down the trail. I must say I was on. Everything on BD just flowed for me today with ease. I guess riding it 3 times in a week makes a difference. We caught up to the other 2 guys at the short gap where we were told to pass on by as we were covering the ground a little faster than them. That was cool so we just cruised down to the gap at the bottom of BD. Rob did it again (the gap) for the 2nd time and did it with ease. I am really glad to see him stomp jumps like that. We then thought we would go up and do the jump again, but the other 2 guys were on their way down the trail. Therefore we waited at the jump for them to pass. One guy went and landed nicely, then his buddy went and landed nicely but soon after touchdown, his bars were sideways and he was going over the bars crashing quite hard. The 3 of us all checked on him to make sure he was okay, which he was and he was just sat there wondering what the heck happened. He landed okay with good distance, but soon after he was on the way down to the ground...hard.

So Lance and Jordan went down Giant Killer ahead of us as they wanted to see me do the gap at the bottom of GK. Rob and I gave them a good lead and headed down the trail. I could tell Rob was having a good ride and so was I, we didn’t even have to say a word. Once at the gap, I let the 3 of them get in good viewing position and then let her fly. Unbeknownst to me, there had been a little extra dirt put on the take off lip of the jump but I just took off over the jump. I knew in the air that the extra dirt had kind of affected my attitude in the air and I was a little nose heavy so I got my ass way back on the bike and rode down the nice and steep tranny. I will admit I was a tiny bit worried as my nose was about to touch, but I knew I could correct it. So I came to a nice easy stop just past the berm and we were on our way to the next trail. I did however mention to Rob that ‘Yes, I was a little nose heavy’.

Rob and I invited Lance and Jordan to join us on Snakes and Ladders. Neither of them had ever ridden it or heard of it so they were eager to give her a spin. It doesn’t really take much time to get there and is well worth the traverse over to it. So once we arrived at the trailhead we were on our way with Rob and I calling out the stunts to the new guys. We all just flowed the trail from top to bottom enjoying all the new work we had done to the trail as of late. It was a sweet, sweet ride all the way to the bottom. One of the guys even did the crappy drop to flat as I did not yell loud enough to tell him not to do it. He said it was rough, but he did it without harm to him or his bike.

So then it was Shotgun, another blast from top to bottom and to the cars. I gave either Lance or Jordan Rob’s and my number (I can't remember who I gave it to) as one of them is always looking for people to ride with. Rob and I then discussed our possible next ride and I was homeward bound to my wife and daughter.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Lunar Ride

Tim had stopped by last night at my place to say hi, see the new baby and to see if I was interested in a night ride at the Woodlot. As luck would have it, I was just outfitting my hartail with my lights in anticipation of night riding sometime very soon. I gladly accepted his offer and we met at The Woodlot at 7pm for a moonlight night ride. 7pm was perfect because we were able to get the bikes all ready and start to make our way up the trail just as the sun set. We were both running lights on our bikes and on out helmets so we each had the ideal setup.

On the way up we just walked in the dark with the only light coming from the moon that was peeking though the misty sky. One in a while we would turn on a light just to make sure they were working, but we did not really turn on the lights until we reached the top of Toadstool on our way to Blood Donor. So with one of my lights burning, we made our way to the trail head of BD and armored up.

With all our light firing (I had 60W total going 30W on the bars and 30W on the head), we started down the trail. The total rush of night riding quickly returned to me as we started our ride down this favorite trail of mine. The way that the color of the ground changes color in the dark is amazing, it turns from a dark cold brown in the daylight to a warm fall brown color in the dark. Nothing else compares to seeing it for yourself.

So we rode BD without incident all the way to the gap at the bottom. Now there was no incident at the gap, but this was the first real jump on the ride and in the dark, your bike lights do not point down and your head lamp does not exactly point down at your landing area. I soon found out that I am thankful that I know the trail well enough to ride it without any light on the trail at all because when you are in the air, the trees, not the trail are all lit up. Both Tim and I had safe landings and continued on to Giant Killer, I was just pointing out that jumping in the dark is not for the faint of heart.

Giant Killer was a total blast as well. Watching your buddy come down the trail from a distance behind you is really a cool sight to behold. So over to Snakes and ladders we went. We both ripped out little gem. I paused on the plateau before the rock drop to let Tim go first. It was really cool watching him just kind of disappear over the edge of the drop. I quickly followed and we ripped the trail all the way to rock faces. We were like little kids in the candy store. I love riding with friends and riding by moonlight with your buds is even better.

We stopped at the final rolldown on the trail as Tim and I has a look at the squid line. He has a discussion about different lines and discussed what we would be building together the next time I was able to get to The Woodlot to build. I cannot express how happy I am with the way that the trail is coming together with all the work Tim has done on his own lately. I can’t wait to get diggin in the dirt with him soon.

So we rode over to Shotgun and started our cat and mouse game down the trial. It was my turn to be the mouse and Tim was the cat trying to hound my rear wheel in a little race down the trail. I must say that tonight I was on fire. After the first 2 little drop/stepdowns on the trail and the right hand berm, I didn’t touch my brakes, I just flowed the trial and leaned into the turns. It was crazy how much fun I had going as fast as I could in the dark all the way to the road crossing. It was at the road crossing that we switched cat and mouse positions and I chased Tim. For the first bit, I was all over him (as I said, I was on fire). Then I got too close and tried backing off, that was when I lost sight of the trail, hooked my tire on something and almost went ass over tea kettle into a tree. I stopped, regained my composure and started back on line making an attempt to catch up to Tim. Well, I made a big mistake and rode about 5 meters off the trail into the bush. I decided that Tim was to win the second stage of our cat and mouse game and we called it a draw.

So out to the cars we went and packed up. I must say I had a total blast night riding and I cannot wait to get back on the trail to do it again soon.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Proud Papa

This day marks a very special chapter in my life. This is my first ride since my daughter was born 5 days ago on September 20, 2004. On that day my wife and I welcomed Norah into the world. Without going into the details, all I can say is that she has me wrapped around her little finger already and she is most definitely daddy’s little girl.

The weather today at the Woodlot was fabulous. The sun was out and it was pleasantly warm. The Woodlot was very busy today. Normally I park very close to the trail exit, but today I had to park up the road a bit due to the number of people that had beaten me to the hill. On the way up, I was stopped by a group of guys that recognized me as a builder and we talked a moment about Snakes and Ladders. To sum our conversation up, they are super happy with all the work we have done on the trail and cannot wait to ride it again.

Onward and upward to the top of the hill I went passing a few people I knew on the way to Krazy Karpenter. Now this is a trail that I had not ridden in quite some time. The last time I rode it, it was not in very good shape and my ride was downright crappy. Well, no repairs have been done since, however I had a new inspiration during my ride and I rather enjoyed my blast down this classic trail.

At the bottom of Karpenter, I turned right and made my way to Blood Donor. I had a flowing vibe with me today and I rode everything with confidence. I had an absolute ripping time down BD. I managed to catch up to a group of guys half way down the trail and they let me pass at the junction to Giant Killer.

Giant Killer was once again super sweet. Rather than ride the trail really fast, I just cruised the trail, pumping everywhere that I could and just had fun. I must say that I totally aired the gap / stepdown at the end of the trail with the most air I have done to date.

Snakes and Ladders was next. Holy crap was this run fun. I completely ripped the trail with a new found vigor I have never had before. All the way from the top to the snakey bridge to the log ride to the drop to the new flow section to the wooden berm to the jump to the hip style turn to the boa bridge to the logride with the exit that fires you like a howitzer down the next creek crossing to the new log drop to Tim’s next bit of work. Tim’s next bit of work would be hard for most people to notice due to the fact that it is all dirt and rock work at the top and bottom of the bigger rock face. I totally noticed it because I ride the trail all the time. An I loved it. BIG pieces of rock wedged in at the approach and a building up and expansion of real-estate at the end of the rock face. All this work he did went a long, long way in making this section so much more fun to ride. Once again Tim, two thumbs up my friend. This was not all he had done in the last week. He also started the work on the new squid line for the last roll down on the trail. He had roughed in and framed the wooden berm, but it was lacking any rung, so I just stuck to the trail. My ride was going so damn well today that I decided that I would do the last drop to flat on the trail. In fact this was the first time I had ever done this drop as it is about 4 feet to complete flat, kind of crappy way to end the trail (it will get changed some time soon), but I finally did it today.

I rode out to Shotgun and then down to the car. A great ride as a proud papa.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

The Exorcism

I had a good idea that today was going to be the last ride I can go on before my wife gives birth to our first-born child. My wife has a pretty good idea that the baby is going to come soon but not in the time that it would take for me to go for a quick spin up to the Woodlot. I had just happened to have been watching a very, very good Mtn. Biking film that morning……..The Collective. My favorite scenes are Hawaii and the North Shore, especially the Wade Simmons scenes on the Shore. The music is perfect for these two scenes; the light happy music for Hawaii (Sunday Jen) and the cool jazzy track for the North Shore (Life in the Rain). All I can say is that Wade is the smoothest rider I have ever seen. Watching how he flows and pumps along a trail styling everything his tires touch has to inspire one to try and mimic him.

So with the sounds and images of The Collective fresh in my mind, I headed to the Woodlot on what had to be one of the wettest days of the year. I am used to the west coast rain as I have lived here my whole life, but today was one of the wettest I had seen in quite a while. I had a few ideas about what my route was going to be, but once I was headed up the hill I nailed down a nice quick flowing route for my (wet) ride today.

Blood Donor to Giant Killer and then over to Snakes and Ladders and finally Shotgun. Blood Donor is now a trail that I hit virtually every time I go for a ride and The Woodlot nowadays. I just cannot get enough of it. It has flow, top to bottom…tones of it. I knew I was the only guy on the hill at the time as there were no tracks on the trail up and there were no other cars in the parking area so I played it safe during my ride. Giant Killer was next and it flowed today for me like no other day absolutely awesome. I even did a stylish dismount off a log ride mimicking Mr. Simmons. With the tunes of The Collective in my head I was smiling the whole way down the trail…… it is funny how the ultra cool jazz music so perfectly matches riding in The Woodlot.

So I jetted over to Snakes and Ladders to see what my buddy Tim had been up to over the last few days. I had not talked to him since we last rode on Tuesday so I was very eager to see what he had done. I had the song from the Hawaii scene (Sunday Jen) playing in my head. I swear I had the best ride every down my trail. She was ripping so well in the rain and it flows so well all the way to the rock faces. Tim had worked some of his wizardry on the trail at a spot where the flow used to just sort of stop. A few unsafe bar bashing tight trees were removed and an old short logride was re-established. The short ladder approach that places you on the log is like magic and perfectly sets you up for a nice drop of the log back onto the trail. I swear it was like he worked an exorcism on the trail resulting the perfect line the just flows. I stopped and dismounted off my bike after this new little feature and ran back to have a closer look. It was like this thing just belonged there naturally. Ultra sweetness. The rest of the trail was just a quick rip to the bottom and then a nice quick ride over to Shotgun.

Shotgun was really good. I was still on my high from ripping Snakes and Ladders so as usual Shotgun was a blast. I ran into 2 guys that were out walking their dog and having a look at the trails. They were riders but decided to just walk the trials to have a look at the building on the trails. I pointed them in the right direction as they had never really been there before and I was on my way to finish my ride. By this time now, there were a few cars in the parking area so I wasn’t to be the only one enjoying The Woodlot today.

All I can say is I had an absolutely fantastic ride that will take a few days to down from the high.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

First Tracks

Well, it has been more than a week since I last went for a ride. In fact I have been going riding regularly (at least once a week) for the last year....except when I have been injured. Tonight was a quick ride after work with Tim. I left work at 4pm and loaded up the bike when I reached my house and arrived at the Woodlot by 10 to 5. Tim had already arrived and was playing with his rear derailleur. It appears that he needs a new chain as it is skipping like a double dutch rope team.

So we decided to start to make our way up the hill but when we got to a section that we could pedal, Tim's chain decided it would keep skipping, so he had to walk the whole way up while I pedaled. We had a good talk about life and issues on the way up to the trail head. It is pretty cool how guys can talk about their lives when we go biking......the ride/hike/walk up to the trailhead allows you time to get to know your friends quite well.

So we decided that we would just go up to Mandatory Caution/Fluffy Kitten then Snakes and Ladders and finally Shotgun. I really wanted to leave enough time for Snakes and Ladders as Tim has been spending a fair amount of time this last week building on his own. I wanted to have enough time to enjoy and ogle at the new work on Snakes. So, Mandatory Caution........lets just say that there is a very good reason that almost nobody knows about this trail. It is in total disrepair. All the logrides are green and slippery monsters of destruction. 50% of the ladders are rotten and the trail has a fair amount of blowdown. All I can say is that I will not ride it again until there is a tonne of work done to it. On a positive note, we know for a fact that there has not been any work done on the trail for years and we did find some abandoned tools that we could put to good use, so we may relocate them to a trail where they will be used regularly.

Once we were at the bottom of that trail we made our way to Snakes and Ladders. Tim has over last week, done number of things to the trail on his own. The first of the features are the 'Twin Bridges' that cross the first 2 creeks just as you start to the trail head. These 2 crossing have been needed since the first day we started building and they are sweet. From the perfect positioning of the rock on the approaches to the way they turn to the close spacing of the rung, these 'Twin Bridges' are near absolute perfection. My hat goes off to you Tim, very, VERY well done.

Once we got to the real trailhead I started the rip down the trail. It is one of the few rides I have done on the trail in the total wet since we have been concentrating on drainage and making the trail flow and rip. I am really happy with the way it is draining and just ripping in general. I was able to pedal all the way to the new drop so I am pleased at how the 'temporary' approach is working (it may just stay this way with a little more dirt work). All the way to the 'Snakes Jump' I just ripped the trail non-stop with a huge grin. Another new feature that Tim had recently made was a small dirt hit off a root that sends you across the trail like a hip jump. I was not able to hit it with the right amount of speed, but I can really see this being a cool hit when ridden right.

We then made our way down the trial to the next bit of work Tim had completed recently. It is the exit off the logride. The way that we had previously constructed the exit, people were just skidding across the trail and creating a big rut that we were needing to build up with rock. Tim however had a new vision for this section. Instead of rocking in the section and hoping for the best, he extended the wooden roll down section and made a small berm. He also extended and existing bridge that is used for the easy route around the log ride. It turns out that I was the first guy down this new section, I made the first tracks. One word describes the new section SWEET. In fact I cannot describe how sweet this section is to ride now. It starts with a nice long log ride then a super sweet curvy ramped exit that just shoots you over 2 creek crossings. This is what it is all about.......when things just come together and you get this super rush in the stomach of just riding a heavenly section like this. Absolute perfection.

Tim posing for a photo on his recent wood work.

We finished the ride on Snakes, having a quick look around at the end of the trail, then ventured over to Shotgun. On the way there we met up with 3 guys that were out for a quick spin (Hoots, Quickhit and Shotgun). One of the guys had just bought a new Norco Shore with 888 forks and was one very happy rider. So a quick blast down Shotgun and out to the cars. At the logging road crossing on Shotgun, there have been a few changes as there is now a ditch at the end of the log, the loggers we very kind in that they placed several logs across the ditch so that we can safely make our way across.

At the cars, Tim and I got the numbers of the guys that we saw on the trails because it turns out that they do some night riding up at the Woodlot and both Tim and I would really like to start night riding. I always say that the more people on a ride the merrier and when you night ride, it is even better.

In all, it was a short ride, but to have the distinction of making first tracks on such a perfect piece of trail work is an honor.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Morning Spin

It had been a while since I've gone for an early morning ride (I mean ride and no building). The plan was simple, Brad and I were to hit the Woodlot at 6:30am and just ride all morning. In the end, I would say that we did a pretty good job of executing the plan.

We started at 6:30am due to the fact that the sun is starting to rise much later in the morning. If we had started at our regular time of 6:00am, we would have been riding in total darkness on the way up. I had brought a Froe with me that my dad had fixed so I decided to hike it up the hill to Snakes. Climbing with a big metal Froe is a PITA but we really need this tool to make the beautiful rung we are now getting famous for. So after I made my way back up to the road after ducking down to Snakes and Ladders to stash the Froe, Brad and I continued our hike to the top. For some reason this morning I had no zip, no gusto to get up the hill. It was like my feet were dragging on the ground but Brad was the opposite, he was just hauling butt up the hill. I know that you expend allot more energy when you pedal up the hill rather than sit on your bike and climb, but I always find it easier on the body to pedal than to walk. Therefore I was trying to pedal as much as possible on the way up (it was made a little easier due to the fact I was on my hardtail).

When we arrived at the parking area the weather was overcast but not raining at all. The weather forecast was calling for showers on and off during the day. So by the time we made it to the power lines and mad the turn up the hill, it had started to rain very lightly. The light rain was actually very refreshing so it didn't hamper our spirits at all. We decided that the route was going to be Gold, to Blood Donor, to Giant Killer to Snakes and Ladders then finish with Shotgun. Once we got to the tree line where Gold starts, we armored up and started on the wet slippery skinnies. I think most riders will agree with me when I say that wet log rides that are in places only maybe 6 inches wide just aren't the best way to start a ride. I like the trail, but Gold has not seen any maintenance in years and is in need of some luvin. There are several spots that could do with new rung and or a full makeover. I guess in time we will see when the builders get to this classic trail. Never the less I had an okay run down Gold and by the time I made it down to the last set of log rides/skinnies, I was on my game completely and rode them perfectly. It was a slightly different story for Brad though. It had been many weeks since he last rode at the Woodlot so he was having trouble finding his groove and was admittedly off his game. I really felt for the guy as at times he was really getting tossed around on the trail.

So then it was Blood Donor. I had a pretty sweet rip down this trail hitting everything but the drop into the pit as I was on my hardtail (I am not quite at the point of comfort for doing a drop like this on my hardtail). I have really grown to like this trail and the only bad thing about it is that it is now too fast, it just flows too quickly from top to bottom.

On to Giant Killer. For me it is much like Blood Donor. Fun, fast and flowy. I just decided that I would skip the bigger drop at the bottom and the gap jump. Both stunts skipped due to the bike. I love riding the hardtail and never feel bad about skipping something because I am on it I just don't feel as confident doing the larger stunts on the hardtail.

We then made our way to Snakes and Ladders. The upper part of the trail is just ripping right now and I like the new drop to ladder that we put in. It is definitely something that can be taken at a wide range of speeds to either give you a big drop or just a little plop off the rock. We ripped all the way down to the 2nd rock face where I decided to try the alternate left outside line down the rock. The exposure off the side is just freaky, but as long as you maintain your line it is for me the most fun line down the rock.

We then finished the ride with a good rip down Shotgun. It is really surprising how well this trail holds up to the traffic as I would say that 90% of the people that ride here go down this trail to end the day. She is a little muddy at the bottom, but apart from that, it is a great trail to finish off a ride.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Whistler - Trip # 8 This Year's Final Installment

It looks like today's ride at Whistler will be my last one for the year. I managed to make my way up there 8 times this year up for 3 times last year. It was an early start today where I picked up Rob and met Mike at Seymour's to park my car, that way we all jet up to Whistler in 1 vehicle (Mike's truck).

Over night it had been in fact it had been pouring really hard all night. Needless to say we were hoping that things would clear up a little. It didn't. All the way up to the hill it was raining and when we arrived it seemed to get even worse. In the past I have ridden at Whistler in these conditions and still had a good time. The only problem is that several really good trails get closed when it rains and therefore limits the variety that one can get in a days worth of riding. Once suited up we purchased our tickets and upward we went into the pouring clouds. It was our plan to go all the way to the top on the Garbonzo chair and do a top to bottom run to start off the day. Much to our dismay the Garbonzo lift was not running at all today. It was due to the very wet weather. So for our fist run we decided to hit the ever so famous A-Line. As always a tone of fun and it seems that in the wet it is smoother. Table after table after table under my tires and the wind rushing by my face. I was one happy boy.

Once me made it to the Boneyard area we split into 2 groups. Mike and Rob did lower A-Line to the GLC drops and I did the Bikercross. Since the Crankworx slopestyle, the biker cross has been freaking awesome. All the step-ups and step downs with tables and is truly a bikers paradise, a 2 wheeled playground. At the bottom we met back together and made our way back up to the top.

Now I am not going to go into each and every run, but I will rather go over the highlights of the day. Rob's one footer............I was cruising behind Rob yelling at him that I wanted to see him pull some big air as we were going into the last part of lower A-Line. There is a small jump to a left hand berm and Rob hit it at an okay speed and pulled his left foot off the pedal and basically landed with only his right foot on the pedals. I was laughing and yelling at him to see if he really meant to do that. I guess only he really knows cause he won't give us a straight answer. Further down the trial on Hornet, Rob was going down the rather slippery rock and something went wrong. He did a Superman from the top of the rock all the way to the bottom. He ended up nailing his knee on a rock and put a hole all the way through his armour. We had to stop and fix his bars after this spill as they were all crossed up.

Highlight number two......Mike slipping on a root at the top of Schlyer/Joyride and ending up in a ball in a HUGE puddle. I was laughing with him and not at him.

Highlight number three..... passing a group of riders down the bikercross course in the air on the tables. It is a great feeling zipping safely by a person through the air. Need I say more.

Highlight number second to last run down the hill. It is 4:52pm and I have only a few minutes to get down the hill for one last run. I mach down Dirt Merchant at the highest speed I have ever done it. Step-up, step-down, table, table, drop......then rip into A-Line, table, table, table, drop.......then my favorite, the Bikercross course. I hit the course with the most speed ever and it made a HUGE difference in smoothness. Landing way down the trannies, leaning into the 10 foot high berms, airing the doubles and step-ups. It was freaking awesome.

Over all, a great day, a few beers and food at the Longhorn and the drive home.

This is what Whistler does to a pair of Oakley shorts.

I cannot wait until the next time I am able to up there again.

Monday, August 30, 2004

An Impromptu Ride

Tonight after work I decided to go for a ride with Rob and Cory. We actually arranged the ride on NSMB on a BB. 4:45pm after work we all met at the parking area to try our hand at The Gate, Blood Donor, Giant Killer, Snakes and Ladders and finally Shotgun. I was the last to arrive so I quickly geared up once I parked my car. Upon exiting my car I saw a few people I recognized (Rob from MR Cycle with a crew (3) ladies). One of the women walked up to me inquiring if it was me that built the new stuff on Snakes and Ladders. I told her that it was and she immediately went on about how much she loves the trail since we have been building on the trail. She was really excited to try the drop the next time she is up there.

It's crazy, it has only been 2 days since we finished the drop and a bunch of people already know about it and are eager to have a spin on the new drop.

So we started on our way up the hill kind of discussing things on the way up. It had been quite some time since I last rode with Cory so it was nice to catch up on things. Once at the clear cut, we geared up and rode down to The Gate. It had been raining really hard the last few days, so all the woodwork had a layer of green slippery slime. The Gate is not a trail that you want to ride if you do not like log rides. The trail has recently seen some improvements by some of the local builders and was in much better shape than expected.

At the bottom of the trail, there is a longer elevated log ride to a teeter totter. At the highest point, I would say that you are 12-15 feet in the air. I had not ridden the trial in more than a year (Feb 03) and had never done the famous teeter totter. Tonight was not my night. Near the end of the log, there is a tree that can clip your bars just before the teeter, well I clipped it and almost took a big dive from 12 feet. Luckily I remained composed, put my foot quickly down and decided to walk away.

So next we made our way over to Blood Donor. A growing favorite on the hill. A tone of new woodwork has made this trial a flowing blast from top to bottom with a few technically challenging stunts. Rob finally did the gap jump at the bottom of Blood Donor (good on ya Rob).

Then Giant Killer. A continued favorite of mine. I aired the gap again at the bottom.

Then it was over to Snakes and Ladders. The trail is really flowing well right now. With the new drop complete (minus the approach), it is really nice to ride what you build yourself. I did the drop (although it is not as big a thing as it may seem) and ripped the rest of the trail. At the 2nd rock face section, I did the outside left line down the rock. It has a ton of exposure on the left but is really a sweet line to come down the rock on. We then all rode down Shotgun and out to the cars.

No major spills and no major mechanicals although Cory did snap a derailure cable and I bent a disk rotor.

Until the next ride......

Monday, April 05, 2004

Shuttles =-)

Well today was a change from my regular routine, today i rode Seymour.....shuttling.

There really isn't much to say except that Rob, Mike and I hit CBC, Corkcrew to Neds. We all ripped top to bottom and in following Mike down some of the trails, I learned a few of the different lines that can be taken on CBC and on Neds. We did 2 shuttles of the hill and then I had to jet home. Considering we started at about 4pm we made really good time on our ride with no mishaps.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

A Piece Of History

Today was a day for fun with ridding buddys on a different hill than I usually ride. A group of us (Tim, Dave, John and I) rode Burke Mountain. We decided to meet early in the AM, 7 to be exact at the Tim Horton's down from the Mtn. We then left some cars at the bottom of the hill and sort of shuttled ourselves to the gate where the real climb begins.

Our route was simple....go up to the top of the hill and ride as many trails as possible. So onward and upward we went. I was on my Bullit, Tim on his VPS, Dave on his Team Shore and John on a Bullit that was very similar to mine except that he had Boxxers as forks.

Our first trail was Wellgood. Nobody in our group had ridden that trail in quite some time, so we were anxious to see its condition and the quality of building since some younger guys had been building on the trail. It was not in the greatest of condition when we finally hiked up to it, but it wasn't all that bad. When we got to an area that we knew had new building on it, we were surprised to see that it had all been demolished by a Parks Crew. Due to a very naive rider on the hill and his not so smart move in telling and showing Parks most of the advanced trails that have structures built on them, we are now seeing parks deconstruct several trails that are seen as potential liability problems. So we all continued along Wellgood knowing that what remaining stunts we were riding on may not be around for much longer. I will admit that it is not a great trail, but it was on it's way to being pretty good if the kids were allowed to continue building and learning how to build on this seldomly ridden trail.

So once we were back on the road up, we started to ride Triple Crown. This trail is a real blast to ride. All the natural lines, a few hits here and there. I always have a good time on this trail.
We then all made it down to the powerline area and rode the log sections that lead down to the Abyss. On one of the log rides, John fell and hurt is shoulder. He hit it so hard that he partly dislocated it, so Tim had to pull it back into place.

We then found a few drops that were perfect for photos, so the other 3 took turns doing drops and I took pictures.






Once on the Abyss, we all rode the cool woodwork that Tim and Dave had built. I really liked the whole trail and it is really sad to think that it is going to get torn down some time this year by parks.

We then made our way to Big Boy Time. I had never ridden this trail and it sure was cool set of stunts. The big roller to up ramp was tricky for all of us and I don't believe that anyone actually cleaned it.

Once out of Big Boy time, we said farewell to John who was kind of suffering due to his shoulder. He just rode down the road and the remaining 3 of us rode back up the hill to the famous Sawblade trail. Sawblade and the whole BC style of riding was brought to forefront many years ago when Mountain Bike Action, the premier bike mag at the time did a feature on the trail. So we rode Sawblade on big full suspension bikes.......holy crap I could not imagine doing that on a hardtail with no suspension forks and cantilever brakes back in the day. We then rode this really cool open flowy trail that you could tell gets VERY little traffic being that it is in the middle of nowhere, but it really was fun. This was when we kind of got lost. Tim thought that he could remember where to hook up with another trail in order to ride down along the Coquitlam river. Well he just couldn't remember where the trail was as it had been years since he rode the trail. So we went one way, then we went another, then we went back up a trail to finally find a trail that took us out to the parking area gate.

From the gate, Dave and I rode our bikes down the hill to our cars and Tim drove his car to where we originally set off. It was a really long really hot day (I actually ran out of water) but I had a blast riding trails that I had never seen before but had heard about them. Riding Sawblade was like riding a piece of history.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Additional Pruning

I was back to finish my pruning job that I did not finish yesterday. With all the overgrowing bushes, I figured it was time to cut things back on the edges of the exit of the trail before things got too overgrown. I rode up on the hardtail again with the pruning shears and cut away until I was done. I saw a group of 4 people ride by while I was in the bush discarding of the cuttings. I guess they thought was a little weird........a guy in the bush with pruning shears on a bike. Oh well.

So it was a few minutes since the group had passed by and I was finished so I decided to pack up and jet off down the hill. Surprisingly I caught up to this group on Shotgun quite quickly. It was kind of fun chasing a group down that had a lead on me down the trail and it was even more satisfying when I realized that the guy right in front of me was on a Demo 9 and I was all over him on my HT. I know it is petty, but I did have a reasonable amount of satisfaction knowing that I caught a guy on my HT when he was riding one of the sweetest bikes on the market today.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Spring Pruning

Well being that it is early spring, the trees in the area were starting to bloom and most importantly from a building perspective (at least on the exit of our trail) some pruning needed to be done before things got too overgrown. I left work around the regular time of 4:30pm and decided that I would go up to the trail exit with my pruning shears and cut back the Poplars that were going to be invading our trail.

I rode up as quickly as I could as I knew that light was going to be an issue as I had left this a little late in the day. So I pruned away as fast as I could, all the time throwing the cut pieces as far off the trail as possible. In total I had about a 100 meters that needed to be pruned but due to the fading light, I decided that I would stop about half way and get off the hill before I lost all the daylight.

By the time I reached the bottom, I was riding in near darkness. I was definitely the last guy off the hill. I drove home knowing that I really needed to finish the job some time soon. I did however have allot of fun riding Shotgun in the fading early evening light.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Many Hands Make Light Work

Today was a Saturday morning ride up at the Woodlot with Rob and Brad. Our trail route consisted of Gold, Blood Donor then up to Tsuga to Snakes and Ladders then up to Quickhit and Shotgun.

The weather today was really good for riding as the ground was tacky but not sopping wet so it was nice and grippy. I was on my hardtail for this ride so trying to stay smooth was the flavor of the day. Gold was is okay shape and the skinny gods were somewhat in my favor so for once, I enjoyed Gold. Then we hit Blood Donor. The newer work on the trail has been very well accepted. The result of this is the vastly increased traffic the trail is now seeing and the top part of the trail is getting beaten to death. I guess this is a problem that all trails encounter. New work = more traffic = more work = more traffic...........

This was the first time in a long while that I was on my hardtail on this trail and I really enjoyed hitting both the first and larger second gap at the bottom of Blood Donor.

So up to Tsuga we went. I really like the simple natural flow of this trail. From time to time, it is a nice break from the stunts on most of the hill. We then made our way down to Snakes and Ladders where we decided work on a G-Out on that was making the approach to the Boa Bridge less than enjoyable. The three of us made quick work of the task at hand and did a really nice permanent fix of the problem. We then went a little further down the trial and fixed a mud hole that has been a problem for quite a while. Within about 45 minutes we were done and got back on our bikes to continue the ride.

It was then up to QuickHit and over to Shotgun. All in all a really constructive day of riding. I totally believe in the saying that many hands make light work and having 3 of us do the dirt work was great. And topping it off with a good ride was even better.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Solo Après Work

I decided to go for an after work ride so I did a quick spin up to Snakes and Ladders. I rode the log ride that we are building as best I could as it is not quite finished. The I rode to Shotgun, got in my car and went home. I am pretty sure that I was the last person down the hill today. I actually had allot of daylight for this ride, so it is looking promising now for after work rides and building.

I cannot wait to see how the year progresses.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

The Fix It Brothers

So today it was again Tim and I up at the Woodlot. We rode up to Snakes and ducked in off the road to save a little time and started work on getting more rung for the log ride. I really don’t know what it is, but we have had one hell of a time trying to get rung for this log. Some people came by having a look at what we were doing and wished us well (it’s nice to get encouragement from riders). Then Cory came by to tell us that there was a broken ramp at the top and a few other riders were with him tagging along for the ride. We finished what we were doing on the log ride and then hiked our bike and the saw with a few tools to the top of the trail to take care of the broken ramp. On the way up, we cut out some trees that were in the middle of the trail that took away from the flow of the trail. We did notice that somebody had already taken it upon themselves to cut a couple trees out with a chainsaw and just leave the trees on the edge of the trail. We have no idea who did it, but one day we hope to find out. The ramp in question was a small ramp that leads to a short skinny logride. We basically just cut out the ramp and will do a fix at a later date.

After building we decided to rip down Snakes and Ladder then we made our way over to Shotgun and back home in the cars. It was basically a cat and mouse race down Shotgun between Tim and I.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

The Tour Of Duty

Today was an early morning ride up at the Woodlot with Tim, Dave and a guy I had never met before, Frank.

We decided that we would hit the following trails in this order. Krazy Karpenter, Blood Donor, Giant Killer, Platinum, Snakes and Ladders then finally Shotgun.

This turned out to be a long day, but a very good ride.

It was raining on this day, so it was quite slippery on the wood of Karpenter. This trail needs a lot of work from top to bottom to match the quality of trails on the rest of the hill. From Karpenter we walked up the hill to hit Blood Donor which has in the past few months seen a tremendous amount of work and is a sweet trial to ride now. In the past Blood Donor in the wet was like risking your life, now it is a sweet ride and in the dry it is an absolute rip. I actually hit both of the gap jumps on the trail. The first which it seems everyone cases is not really a problem, but the 2nd one is a real eye opener. I will admit that I do not jump I am what I have termed Aeronautically Challenged. But seeing as all the other guys just flew over the gap I thought what the hell, I will give it a try. I made 2 key errors for a perfect jump. I brake checked (not needed on this jump) and I was way too far left (I was on the hairy edge of the trail upon landing). After a holy shit did you see that and what the hell were you thinking going so wide conversation we went down Giant Killer.

From previous conversations with some of the other builders up there, we knew that there would be some new stuff on the trial towards the bottom, so we ripped our way down and to our pleasant surprise we found a pretty big and buff gap jump. Tim, Frank and Dave all hit it. I did not see Frank hit it, but I from what I can remember he did it flawlessly, Tim I believe did it the same. When Dave hit I hear a bit of a scream, it was him after landing it and yelling Holy Crap or something to that extent. He landed a little nose heavy and did a nose wheelie until the berm below and then smoothly rolled out. In other words a really nice save. Tim was the only one that went back up to try it again. As he flew by in the air all you could hear was the hiss of a disk brake and his freewheel. As for me, I just rode by it saying not today, maybe in a few months. I need to PROGRESS to a gap that size. I know my limits and right now that is way beyond them.

So then we hit Platinum, but in order to save time, we hiked up from the bottom. Now we had started our ride today at 7:30am so we were still the first guys on the hill so there was a small chance that we would meet someone coming down the trail. So we huffed our way up the trail and all I can say is that those guys that say riding Freeride/DH style trails is for lazy guys have never packed a 40-50lb bike straight up a hill. It was hard work but we made it to the top without seeing anyone until the very top. At the first jump we saw Rich and Taylor that were just starting their ride. So we all geared back up and hit the trail. Now Frank was the only one to hit the first gap and man that guy can sail. Sweet is all I can say. The rest of the guys can hit everything on the trail so I just cruised the trail hitting all the logs and skinnies and being Luke Stuntwalker on the rest of the stuff. At the final 6 pack, Frank was running into problems, he was either too hot or too cold going into the second gap. Tim hit them with big air and style and Dave after a few tries finally hit them in succession and totally flew on the last one, landing about 20 feet down the transition. HUGE AIR. We then hit the last part of the trail and rode out to the bottom of Giant Killer.

Tim had to leave a little early but Franks and Dave wanted to ride a little more, so we said farewell to Tim and continued back up the hill to Snakes and Ladders. Dave had not ridden the trail in a while and was looking forward to the new work we had done. It has mostly been bridges and one jump but nice work so far nonetheless. After Snakes we hit Shotgun and out to the cars. That is when the heavens opened up and it started to rain as hard as I have ever seen it rain. We ducked into Franks car, had a beer and called it a day.

Friday, March 12, 2004

2 Years

Today has a great amount of significance to me and anyone that knows me well. It is the anniversary of the death of my youngest brother, Nick. Today I went on a long XC type ride to do some thinking and get back to what I really love….riding. I went to the Woodlot and equipped my bike for some XC style riding by putting on XC tires and clipless pedals. So upwards I went up past Goldmine all way up and over the mountain.

At a large junction in the road I went right and I had a good idea of where the road came out and I was correct in my guess that it came out at Stave Lake. So I then had to turn around and climb all the way back up the hill. The ride was quite a workout, and there was a fair amount of snow on the road, but I had a good time riding and it allowed me to really clear my mind and think about life in general. I then rode down Goldmine then Snakes and Ladders then out on Shotgun. Not a bad ride overall.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I Found Martin's

I went for another ride from my house to find some trials but this time I was armed with a satellite photo of the area and I made my way to where it looked like there was a trail and behold, there it was right before my eyes, an old horse trail that looked like it had not been used in years. So I followed it along the back yards of some peoples house and along the edge of a rock quarry. From the rock quarry it was up a switch backed horse trail and suddenly you are plopped in the back yard of some rather high end house with some very nice views of the whole Fraser Valley.

I had another look at my map and found a very well established trail that I had no idea existed. Martin Trail, is a smooth flat trail that heads into the forest and has the coolest mossy covering all over the trees that I have ever seen. I had a blast ripping on the trail until I realized it was getting pretty dark and I had to make it home soon. So I turned around with the intention of coming back as soon as I can to see where the trail goes. A quick ride home and my day was done.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Scoping My Turf

I got home from work at a reasonable hour and decided that I would go for a quick spin on my bike to try and find some trails near my house. So I headed East. Once I made it to the abandoned PVI building , I noticed a few horse trails that I need to have a look at in the future but I just continued east to 256th and then found a small trail that follows the road and then goes up into one of the local rock quarries. On the way home I had a really good look around to see where some older trails were that I used to ride. So I just went home and had a look on the internet and found some interesting satellite photos of the area.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Our Log Ride Begins

Well today we (Rob and Tim and I) decided that we would start the big log ride that we have had our eyes on for some time now. It is a cool set of logs that cross a creek twice and then drops back in on the trail where we have built another bridge that crosses the creek one more time. It is kind of cool the way it all links together so that you go back and forth across the creek on either bridges or an elevated log. We started the day with a ride down the trail to where we were going to be building for the day and then we went for a walk in the woods to find some good wood for rung.

So it was my job to split the rung and Rob and Tim were back at the log ride framing in the approach, exit and the turn where the logs meet. It was a hard day of building and we were able to get quite a bit of the log done. But there is still tones to complete. As it turns out, one of the logs is too rotten to ride on and we cannot nail into it, so we will likely be putting a teeter totter on it to get the rider up and over the trouble section or something to that effect.

While I was splitting rung, this kid (maybe 17yrs old) walks out of the woods with a shovel and a rain jacket on. Now I am in the middle of the bush with an axe, and a hammer and some dude just walks up on me, so I am thinking WTF is he doing here. As it turns out, he came up to the Woodlot today to build a road gap, but he heard us building and just followed the sound. I was glad he found us because the last thing we need is a road gap built up here. I set him straight on the building issues and he offered to help us for the remainder of the day. I must say, he worked his ass off and his effort was very much welcomed.

I took off home a little before Rob and Tim and just jetted down the hill to Shotgun and then home. It was a pretty good day as it was nice to finally get this log ride started.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Woodwork And New Lines

Today was a work day up at the Woodlot with Tim. We did a ladder that went just above the ground so that we were above a very wet ledge on the trial. However we started the day by trimming the previous section that we could not complete last week.

Today we had a visitor or two. Taylor showed up and we exchanged some ‘ideas’ about the trail. In the end he left in a bit of a huff and I was left there shaking my head. Then Cory came by and we discussed the line for some of the rock sections on the trail. When he rode down the 2nd rock section, he had a bit of contact with a tree and actually broke it, so Tim had to completely remove it with the saw.

Tim and I finished the ladder and rode out to the ladder roll down near the end of the trial. We decided to scope out the rest of the hill to decide where we are going to extend the rest of the trail (We found the Cellar Door). Some very, very interesting possible lines were found and we cannot wait until we are in the position to punch through the extension of the trial.

We then rode down the rest of the Snakes and Ladders and then Shotgun. Tim was riding in front of me on Shotgun and I was all over his back wheel (him on a full squish and me on my hardtail). It was very gratifying knowing that you can keep up to a FS on a hardtail. In the parking area, Tim and I had a beer and watched others depart on their rides. I swear I have never talked to so many people at the Woodlot before. It seemed I knew everyone that was there that day.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Murphy's Law

Today I was up at the Woodlot with Tim. We rode from the top of Snakes and Ladders down to where we are working on the trail. Today was my first ride on my hardtail in quite a while. (I fixed my ovalized headtube with JB Weld with a little help from my friends). I had a very minor spill to start the ride down, and put a nice cut in my shin. It sure is different to be on the hardtail as compared to the full squish. Today we did the longer turning bridge that went across the last creek. Now I must say that there was something in the air today beacuse if there was something that could go wrong, it did go wrong.

Firstly we has a really hard time cutting trees for the stringers. Everything was getting hung up when we were falling the stringers. Then we had a hard time getting enough rung to do the whole bridge, then we broke a Froe that we use to split rung and finally we ran out of gas for the chainsaw so we weren’t able to finish cutting the edge of the of the bridge or trim wood properly. After we finished nailing the rung in place we just decided to ride out before something else went wrong. So we blasted down the rest of Snakes and ripped up Shotgun.

Riding on the hardtail sure forces you to be a much smoother rider.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

A Lovely Day

Today was a day of riding and a bit of building / maintenance. Rob and I hit the Woodlot early, 7:00am. In fact we arrived just as the sun was rising and on the way up, I was questioning whether we would have enough light to ride once we were at the top. So on the way up to the top (Gold) we dropped into Snakes and Ladders to drop of my big back pack so that my hike up and ride would not be so laborious.

So onward and upward we went to Gold, which was an okay ride. We cleared allot of logs that had fallen across the trial. Gold had allot of small mud holes at the top part of the trail, but it was still an okay ride. So we then made our way to Blood Donor, which has recently seen allot of trail building loving. There was lots of new wood work and 2 new gap jumps.

We then made our way down the road to Snakes and Ladders to fill in a BIG HOLE that has been around for a while. It was basically a big pit of mud and water. In the last week or so, someone had put rocks in the hole but had only done half the job that was needed. We started by draining the hole and digging a drainage ditch and then we piled a TONNE of big rock in the hole to elevate the whole section and ensure we never have a problem there again. It was topped with some good dirt and we were basically done.

We then rode the rest of Snakes and Ladders and then Shotgun and we were at our cars by 12:30pm (Seeing as it was Valentines day, we hauled ass to get home to the Wives). Overall, a productive day with a good ride thrown in.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

The Perfect Crossing

Today I was back up at the Woodlot with Tim to do some building on Snakes and Ladders. We decided to do the next bridge on the trail that covered a really swampy area. Basically I did the framing and nailing of the rung and Tim spilt the rung and did the approach. Once all the rung was in place Tim went to work on the edges of the bridge and made it really look like a snake. It was a really nice day out but because there was only the two of us, at times things took allot longer than expected to get done.

Tim left a little earlier than me so I went back up the trail to fill a bad little hole. I had to jump in the nearby creek to get most of the big rocks needed to fill up the hole. So once I had all the rocks, I dug out the crap in the hole, arranged the rocks and topped it off with some nice gold dirt.

I then rode out the rest of the trail and made my way out Shotgun. I had another stupid spill on Shotgun, this time my pedal clipped a log on the side of the trail which then sent me into a spin and a launch over the bars.

Apart from my little spill, I had a decent day of building and a okay ride out to the car.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Solo Serene Ride

So today was strictly a riding day. I headed to the Woodlot early and made my way up to Krazy Karpenter to start my ride. On my way up, I ran into Cory and a friend of his that had already done a run down the hill and were on their way up again to hit Snakes and then home. We talked for a bit and I continued my way up the hill.

There had just been a light dusting of snow at the top of the mountain so it was really quiet and serene. I geared up and started riding Karpenter, but the very first drop off the plank was not rideable at all. There was snow and ice all over it but worst of all, there was a big fallen tree across the stunt. I made my way down the trail, but there was so many freshly fallen trees that it was almost not even worth trying to ride the trail.

Once I got to the bottom of the trail I headed back up and hit Tsuga. It was in really good shape and was flowing really well. I then hooked up with Snakes and Ladders which was an absolute blast especially the berm to bridge to jump……sweet!! The Boa Bridge was really neat to ride across as the curves mess with your eyes but it is dead straight. I then hit Quick Hit and it is in pretty good shape considering I have not touched it for more than 6 months. And then it was Shotgun and home. A good ride overall.

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Building A Berm And The Boa

Today once again I was at the Woodlot building on Snakes and Ladders. This time I was up there with Tim and Rob. We decided to start by buffing up the berm that was built last week. We added some wood to the berm so that you start your turn on dirt and progress around the corner on cedar rung. And this is where the curved woodwork on the trail began. Rather than just cut a basic curved line along the top of the rung, a curvy s shape was cut into the berm to go along with the name of the trail ‘Snakes’ and Ladders.

After the berm was completed we filled a couple mud puddles in the close vicinity and then Tim and Rob went down the trail a bit to the new jump we had built the week before. I worked on boxing in the entrance to the bridge and making it a little smoother. Once I was done I joined Rob and Tim on the jump. I dug dirt and they worked on boxing in the sides a little more to take make it a smooth launch that you can take at a good high speed. The boxing in of the side of the jump made the side look like a fence, so when it came time to trim the rung, we had to make it all curvy. It really sets our stuff apart from anything we have ever seen on any trail.

So after the jump was completed, Tim was the first to give it a go and man can you sail off it. You get a nice run at it across the bridge an hit it as fast as you can. On the landing side there are a few roots and a small rock you have to clear, but it is as basic a jump as they get. The landing is a natural down sloping transition that has a really nice smooth run out.

So as the day was still early and we were on a good roll, we made our way down to the next area that needed some work. It was the creek crossing that was a burnt out canoe log / bridge. It was just a log laid across the creek that you rode up to and hoped for the best. Being that it was made of cedar and it was suspended above the water, it made for perfect rung. So as Tim and Rob worked on getting the stringers and the approach done, I split the rung from the bucked up log that used to be the crossing. Tim had brought a Froe to split the rung rather than using a wedge or the axe and my god, the Froe is the tool to use. You can split perfect straight flat rung every time if you are splitting wood that is knot free. Anyways once the rung was all split I started to nail the rung with Rob and Tim worked on the necessary parts of the bridge.

Towards the end of the bridge, we realized that we were out of rung and we started to hunt for more, but I soon realized that there was still a bunch of rung left back at the bridge we had made last week, so we went back up the hill got the rung and had the bridge pretty much complete. We boxed the end and decided that this bridge would also have some curves on it. This time it was cut like a Boa Constrictor snake.

So we cleaned up, and rode out down the rest of the trail after a hard days work and hit Shotgun as well and it was out to the cars. This week I think it was Tim was the one that brought the beer, so we had one in the parking area and headed home.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

New Building Buds

Today was a very interesting building and short ride day. I hooked up with 2 guys, Tim and Dave and we headed up to Snakes and Ladders to do some desperately needed work on the trail. Tim brought up a chainsaw and I bought up 15lbs of nails. As we were in the parking area, it was only lightly raining but as we got about half way to our destination, we started to see the occasional snowflake along with larger raindrops. So when we got to top of the trail, we dumped our bikes and went for a walk down to where the building would begin. We really wanted to just replace a very dangerous rickety old bridge. So we found a good place to get rung and Tim started bucking a log. Dave and I went and got the rest of the tools and bikes and we were on our way building. Once the log was bucked for the rung Dave started splitting the rung and Tim and I got the stringers needed and then we dismantled the old bridge.

Once all the rung was split Dave went to work on a much needed berm up the trail from the bridge area. All the time the snow was falling heavier and heavier. Tim and I kept busy on getting the rung on the bridge and the entrance and exit off the bridge. Half way through the construction we were visited by Ewan and Jamie with 2 dogs. They stopped for a moment and then continued on their way.

After Dave had finished work on the berm, Tim showed him the perfect spot for a jump that lined up right after the bridge. So as Dave went to work on the jump, Tim and I finished the bridge and a bit of drainage in the area. By the time we were done, everything was covered in 4 inches of snow and we were bagged.

After we stashed the tools we went up the trail to do the berm, across the new bridge and launch the new jump. I usually don’t try jumps, I am what I call ‘Aeronautically Challenged’, but I figured what the hell right!? So I did the new jump and man was she sweet.

Tim Riding out from Snakes and Ladders

We just rode out the rest of the trail which was now covered in snow and had a fast blast down Shotgun down to the cars. I had brought a few beers so we packed the cars and had a beer in the parking lot. It was the very first time I had met these two guys and we all got along really well. It was a pleasure meeting, building and riding with them and I hope that this new partnership continues.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

A Different Route

Today’s ride took place at the Woodlot again with Rob and his dog Bruiser. It was an early morning ride that started at 7:30am in the parking area. We decided to try a few different trails from our normal run, so we went up to Goldmine aka Cabin Trail. The ride up was as pleasant as the ride/push up of the Woodlot gets. Once we hit Goldmine we armored up and started our blast down.

We stopped half way down and I showed my riding partner the Goldmine shaft. It is really pretty neat seeing a full on abandoned Goldmine shaft in the middle of the forest.

We then just continued down the trail and hooked up with Snakes and Ladders and a quick blast down the last trail on the hill Shotgun.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Long Ride With Friends

Today I rode with Rob and Mike at the Woodlot and went for a longer ride than I have been lately. There was still snow at the parking area and in the exposed areas, so we decided that we would walk up Shotgun, rather than going up the main road as usual. The hike up the trail was okay, but when we reached the top of the trail, we realized that we really didn’t need to hike up the trial, we could have just gone up the normal way as the snow was almost all gone or hard packed. We continued up the hill to Tsuga. I had not ridden it in quite some time so it was great to be back on an all natural trail having an absolute blast. Luckily the trails were almost bare of snow so it was really nice damp riding the whole way down.

From Tsuga we went back up the hill to hit Gold. It was wet, but apart from the wet spots, we had a good time with Mike hitting the 2nd highest drop on the ‘Swiss Army Knife’. Then we hit Blood Donor. It was nice to see that this trial has seen a ton of work done to it to get it back into true riding shape and give it some flow. I will say that it has kind of been dummied down a little too much for my tastes but there are reasons the trail saw the work that it saw and it is appreciated.

From Blood Donor it was to Giant Killer. As always it is one of my favorites even though the teeter totter half way down was shut down due to some broken parts on it. At the end of the trail Mike did the bigger drop to transition where you have to do a quick turn to the right after landing and he wasn’t quite able to complete the turn. He hit the tree pretty hard but just got up, dusted off and continued on the ride.

We then headed over to Heckyl an Jeckyl which is where the ride just went wrong for me. The beginning was alright, I did the first drop entry into the trail and did the log ride and banked 180 turn. The logs were wet and therefore the turn was a little slippery. I then rode along the log to the drop off the end of the log. As I said it was slippery and I had trouble getting some momentum for the drop and I made one pedal stoke too many. I tried to get my nose up but it was too late, I was already on my way down…….NOSE HEAVY. Thank you Bell for making a great full face. I was picking dirt out of helmet but apart from my bruised ego, I was okay.

The rest of the ride was alright however it seemed that someone had removed the sign at the top of the trail telling us that it should be closed. There was active logging taking place at the bottom of the trail and we had to hike our bikes over logs and the creek a few times.

We made our way back up to Shotgun and had a blast ripping down the trail. There was some building taking place that day over the creek and at the small rock drop. We packed up the cars and headed to the local Pub for beers and a burger. Not a bad day of riding apart from the nose dive I took.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Snow Ride

This was my first ride of the year and it sure was an entertaining ride. It was a snow ride up at the Woodlot. Rob with his dog Bruiser and I decided that we would go for a spin as far up the hill as we could possibly go and ride down. We were both prepared with proper footwear and gloves. I had 1 extra thin layer on up top and it seemed to work quite well.

There was about 4-6 inches of snow at the bottom and rather than hike up the exposed trail that we would normally go up, we decided to walk up Shotgun. It was a very wise move as there was much less snow on Shotgun under the trees than there would be on the exposed road.

There had been a few riders down Shotgun before us as there were relatively fresh tracks on the trail. Once we got to the top of Shotgun and started up the logging road we could see that there had been a few people here the day before but we were the first up the hill today (arriving at 8:30am). I must say that trudging through the snow with a 40+lb bike is not easy going. We slowly but surely made our way up the hill. We then noticed that all the tracks that we were previously walking in were gone and we were making fresh tracks up the hill.

As we got higher and higher, the snow was deeper and deeper. What normally took us 30 minutes had taken us an hour and fifteen minutes. We decided to stop at Upper Toadstool and ride down from there. The trails had about 6 inches of snow on them, which makes pedaling down them very difficult, but as long as you are going down hill, all is good. The log ride on Toadstool was most definitely a walk as it was 1 big snow covered icicle.

From Upper Toad Stool we rode Lower Toadstool which had recently seen some trail work and a new bridge crossing. From there it was over to Hoots, which was a Hoot. All I can say is to ride in the snow, you may as well leave your front brake at home. And finally after Hoots it was the ride down Shotgun.

Because Shotgun had seen a few people in the snow, the trail riding surface was actually hard packed and it was allot of fun to ride down. The one log ride on the trail was also quite fun and being the first person down it since the snow made it even more fun.

Down to the cars loaded then up and drove away on the snowy roads. Overall a total blast in the snow.