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.