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.