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.