Thursday, April 21, 2005

Ripping ride and Berm Extension.

Well today was an absolutely beautiful day for a ride. I hit my regular spot...The Woodlot. I was on my Bullit and made my way up the hill pushing and pedaling all the way up. Once I reached the power-lines I heard someone calling my name. It was Cory pedaling up catching me as I paused on at the power-lines. We decided that we would ride together and the route would be Krazy Karpenter, Blood Donor and Giant Killer. As we were deciding on the route, a couple guys game down the road from Cabin Trail.....the road that people normally only go up. I look at Cory puzzled and said, "Where the heck are they going?". Cory then informed me that there is a very secret trail that next to nobody knows about that they likely were just riding. It is nothing special but he told me where it was. I knew there was a trail up there but I did not know that it was actually rideable in fact Cory and the other builders had done some work recently on it to make it a nice natural loamy rip. I plan on riding it some time soon.

Anyways we made our way to the Krazy Karpenter trail head and started down the trail. Lately Cory has been riding his relatively light Giant AC1 with clipless DH pedals. I still ride exclusively on flats and will continue to unless my riding style changes dramatically. I rode all the logs and other woodwork on the trail however Cory just ripped right on by on the dirt trail. Needless to say he was quite a ways in front of me on this trail. I did unfortunately find out that I have a totally pooched rear hub. The pawls in my rear hub were slipping and therefore I was unable the safely pedal up any incline without the risk of the hub skipping so I had to coast down the hill for most of the ride.

We both ripped down Blood Donor and Cory aired the gap nicely on Blood Donor. Without the ability to safely pedal I decided to skip the jumps that require pedaling. On Giant Killer it was fun playing cat and mouse and at the bottom of Giant Killer we decided to part ways. Cory continued down the hill and I made my way over to Snakes and Ladders to do a little trail work and finish my ride.

At Snakes and Ladders I went to work extending a berm after our new jump section. I framed it in and put about 20 buckets of nice gold dirt (half of what is needed). I had been on the hill several hours by this time and I needed to get home so I cleaned up the area I was working in (to be finished the next time I am up there) and pushed up the trail a ways to hit the new section. WOW, the extension to the berm is exactly what was needed and you simply rip the section even faster than before. I rode the rest of Snakes and Ladders with the usual reckless abandon I have had lately and made my way over to Shotgun. Shotgun on the Bullit is an absolute blast, it is like the bike was made specifically for this type of trail and I was just loving it today. At the parking area there were a huge number of vehicles as it was later in the morning and the sun was shining on this glorious Saturday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

3 Rippers

Today's ride was an after work ride with Rob and Tim at the Woodlot. Given the amount of light we have into the evening we are able to get in a really good ride well into the evening.

The game plan was to meet Rob and Tim at Snakes and Ladders where they were working on the newer jump section on the trail. I met up with Jamie in the parking lot area so we climbed the hill together and chatted about this and that. Once I made it to the vicinity of Rob and Tim I split off from Jamie and made my way down to my buddies.

Tim and Rob were working hard doing dirt work on the new section and man did it ever look good. Tim had recently spent allot of time on the trail and the two of them were really dialing the section in today. We all chatted for a minute or two then we hopped on our bike and headed up the hill for a ride. The route chosen today was Krazy Karpenter, Blood Donor, Snakes and Ladders and Shotgun. I finally hit the first drop at the top of Karpenter. It was a little harsh but it was one that I finally hit after riding past it for 2 years. We made our way over the Blood Donor where we sessioned the big gap several times. I have not yet mastered the hip but the 2 times I hit the gap I made the distance clean however hipping the line would make the exit much cleaner.

After Blood Donor it was over to Snakes and Ladders where the 3 of us ripped the trail from top to bottom. It is so much fun to ride a trail that you know really, really well. We then traversed over to Shotgun and races down that trail as well in near darkness. We all had a laugh at the bottom packed up and headed home.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

'05 North Shore Ripper: 7th Secret Relay

Today I participated in the '05 North Shore Ripper Series put on by NSMBA ( and NSMB ( I did the downhill section of the race and Paul my buddy from work did the up hill portion of the race. My buddy Rob and Paul's wife Sue also participated in the race as a Coed team. Basically you can ride the race solo and do both the uphill and downhill portions of the course or you can have 2 people where one does the uphill and the other the downhill section of the course. The course consisted of pedaling up to Seventh Secret on the fire access road and the second rider ripping down Seventh, Leopard ,Kirkford ,Crinkem Crankem ,Griffen to the finish line.

The weather on race day was most typical for an early spring day in Vancouver on The Shore: it was cold, wet and misty but then again if you are from these parts you are very used to these conditions. The day for Rob and I started off 7am, registration at a local school and then we both hopped on a shuttle up to the top of Fromme at the 7th switch back.

This is a picture of me helping set up the registration tent (I'm in red).

It was the very kind and hospitable guys at Bush Pilot Guides ( drove us to the top of the hill all warm and dry with plenty of time before our leg of the race started. On the way up I called Paul to make sure that he and Sue were ready to race at the start line......standing around in the rain :-)

So once we were at the top is was a short pedal to the tag off area where our leg of the race started. Rob and I had plenty of time before the race, so we pedaled a little further up the hill to ride one of the lesser traveled trails (Squeaky Elbow) to keep warm. There were patches of snow here and there when we were pedaling up the road which shows just how cold it was today.

The really cool thing about riding on the Shore is that you get to ride with and in my case race against world famous pro riders that you see in magazines and in videos. Today I raced against Wade Simmons....well kind of. Wade Simmons is easily the nicest and most approachable professional rider that I have ever met. He would have every right to have an ego the size of a mountain, but in his case there isn't even the tiniest inkling of an ego. He is just a humble cool guy that rides a bike with more skill and style than most people could ever imagine.

Another 'Pro' that was in the downhill portion of the race was Jay Hoots. He is also a pretty cool guy and very sociable. He was riding a Norco Prototype 4X bike that is a rather interesting design for Norco. It is still a 4 bar Horst link type design, but reconfigured to have a conventional front triangle and a full seat post.

Here is a drawing of the type of design the Norco 4X bike that Jay Hoots had. This is only a drawing of the frame design that I observed on the day of the race.

So once the race started at the base of the hill people really started to get excited in the exchange zone we had about 25 minutes until the uphill guys reached us and we could then start the DH leg of the race. It was interesting listening to the conversations of people, "Yeah my guy is really fast, I'll be in the top 10", "Hey look at Wade Simmons, who is his partner?", "Man I gotta go pee" etc. The top 2 up hill riders had a little bit of a gap on the rest of the field and off went their downhill partners. Wades guy was a Rocky Mountain Factory XC Team member and sent Wade off in 2nd place (he ended up 2nd in the overall finish as well).

My XC leg shaving uphill rocket of a rider came up to the exchange zone through the mist in about 12th position. I yelled words of encouragement then took off for my leg of the race. We didn't simply start off at the trail head of 7th Secret, we were about a 100m from the trail head down the hill so we had to pedal up hill for a bit. I decided to have my seat post up so that I could sit and pedal an save my legs for further down the hill and I feel I made the right decision. Lowering my seat only took a couple seconds and off I was down the race course. 7th Secret was one of the original Mtn. Bike trails on Fromme/Grouse. It has evolved over they years and is what I would consider to be the absolute poster child of the North Shore, it is a durable flowing trail that has and will stand the tests of time and is an absolute blast to ride almost no matter what kind of bike you are riding.

As I said earlier, it was cold out today especially at the top. It was so cold that my braking fingers on both hands went numb and 7th is a trail that requires allot of well modulated braking. Due to a lack of focus on the trail (thinking of my fingers), I took a spill on a corner that I have ridden many times before with ease. Basically my pedal got hung up on a log on the inside of a switch back and I went FLYING at speed. After picking up my bike and remounting I noticed that there was another rider ahead of me that I had a very good chance of catching and passing. So with reckless abandon I pursued him down the trail and caught him after a short while. It is so much fun catching and passing people in a race.

Along the race course there were people filming and photographers snapping off photos in the cool spots on the trail and vultures hanging out in sections where there was sure to be some carnage.

Someone managed to catch me coming by and this picture below shows me racing down somewhere on 7th.

Now not all the DH leg of the race was downhill. There were many sections that were either up hill or traversed rolling along the mountain side. These are the sections that absolutely KILLED ME!. I was passed by 3 guys all in these sections which is really disheartening, but they got to have cool feeling I got when I passed that guy earlier in the race. I am not sure which trail I was on but there was a section where vultures were hanging out and there was a section of larger stair like step downs to a sharp corner or and easy line down the outside of this line. I took the faster line down the bigger step downs and passed a guy like he was standing still while he rode the easy line. It was awesome hearing the vultures say "holy crap!" as I ripped a that section.

So down the hill the trails went and the last portion of the race is the best place to catch and pass people if you still have the lungs. I didn't quite have the lungs to pass anyone, but I was able to make up allot of the gap they created on the uphill portion of the race. The finish line is up an embankment that you have to push your bike up in order to cross the line.

Paul and I placed 14th in our category and 15th overall which is not a bad result at all for the competition in the race. I was tuckered at the line, but I was glad to have raced. The finish line was absolutely buzzing with activity and cheering so I dumped my bike and joined in encouraging people at the finish line. It wasn't long before Sue and Paul showed up at the finish line where we waited for Rob to finish. Paul and Sue were absolutely FREEZING because not only was cold at the top, but they had just finished an all out effort uphill ride and then they turned around and coasted down a fast fire road to the bottom. They soon both found the free coffee but had trouble drinking it due to their violently shivering hands.

Rob finished the race with a big smile on his face. You know what is really crazy, this is Rob's first ever race and him and sue finished on the podium...they came in 3rd place in their category (coed) and 39th overall. So we all chatted for a few minutes but we all could tell that Paul and Sue were suffering from the cold so we said our congrats and headed to our cars.

Rob and I headed over to our vehicles, loaded our bikes, changed clothes and talked about the glory of the ripper.

Hopefully I will be participating in a few more of these Ripper Races this year.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Gap

Today it was an after work ride with Tim at the Woodlot. Our plan: work on the new section as much as possible. If time permitted frame in the gap jump over the trail.

So we arrived near 5pm and headed up to Snakes and Ladders to put in some more time on the new jump section on Snakes. The long swooping berm that we built was to be used as the run up to a jump that we have wanted to put in since we started this new section. The whole section hinged around this jump. We hammered out the approach line and determined where the jump should go in order to gap over the trail and hit the transition on the other side. When we first started I only thought we were going to frame in the jump, but as we progressed I said to Tim, "There is no way we are going to get this finished tonight." He then said, "No problem, we will finish this, and hit it a couple times before we leave tonight."

So as a precaution I made sure that the easy line around the right of the jump was clear and we set to work on finishing this jump. We gathered rock and piled them in and then the dirt and tamped it down and more dirt and tamping and more dirt and tamping and before long we were done. The light by this time was almost gone, but we just had to hit it. I was first to hit it and man was she ever smooth. The berm leading into it is perfect. No effort at all. Tim was smart and brought a light with him....I think he knew that we were going to be late. He hit the jump a couple times and I managed to snap of a picture or two....not great quality but at least I got a picture.

We then headed down the rest of the trail, Tim at a good speed and me at a snails pace due to the lack of light. Over to Shotgun and down to the cars.

It turned out to be a really productive night with a great new little gap jump over the trail being built.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Cypress Fun

I left work a little early today in order to make it to Cypress for a shuttle ride up the hill with Rob, Mike and Rob's buddy Chris. The plan was to do 2 or 3 shuttles of the hill covering as many trails as we could.

Mike was the guide for this ride as he has ridden Cypress many more times than us other guys. So the first shuttle was up to the 3rd switchback and we parked in a gravel parking lot. This run included Firehose and Family Guy. I am not sure what other trails we did between or before these trails but some really lacked flow and were what I would say to be in disrepair, but Firehose and Family Guy are 2 trails that totally rocked. They were soooooo much fun. The long rock faces and natural features and drops on them were amazing. I had an absolute blast on these trails. Now I am not making fun at all, but I cannot say that Rob had as much fun as me. He stated that this may very well be his last trip to Cypress....ever.
Here is a LINK to Rob's Blog entry on this Cypress Ride.

The second shuttle was one of the regular lines down the Roaches (Roach Clip and Roach Hit) and Cherry Bomb. These trails are just a ton of fun.....technical with flow....steep rocks and tight descents with little to no built up stuff. I had by far my best run ever down these trails. That run simply could not have been any better.

I had to take off immediately after the ride so I said see ya to the guys and I was on my way. I missed out on a beer with the boys but that last run more than made up for it.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

After Work

Tonight was I believe the first non night ride after work ride of the year. Tim, Rob and I managed to get up to Snakes and Ladders to do a little work and hike some tools up to the trail.

We arrived at the trail with good light, but I knew that we were going to be pushing it if we were going to build and ride at all. As it turns out, we basically just built and rode out Snakes and Ladders and then Shotgun. Rob and I widened the transition for the 2nd of the doubles that leads to the long flowing berm that Tim was worked on. However before this, the three of us moved this rather large rock out from the middle of our berm. It took the three of us about 15 minutes to get this thing out of a hole and well out of the way of the riding line. After it was moved you could not even tell where it first came from.

So with barely enough light to see our way down the trails, we packed up and headed down. I am really glad that we know these trails well because there is no way that we could have made our way down the hill in one piece with the sparse amount of light that we had. So after we finished Snakes and Ladders it was over to Shotgun. Tim and I played our cat and mouse game, but it turned out to be a little hazardous with the lack of light, so it turned into a nice cruise down the hill to the cars.

We actually accomplished allot tonight and I can see us hooking up like this after work on a regular basis after work now that there is lots of daylight at our disposal. I guess night riding is out for a while.

Saturday, April 02, 2005


Today was another early day at the Woodlot building with Tim on the new berm jump section on Snakes and Ladders. Tim primarily worked on the lower long sweeping berm below the doubles and I worked on the upper berm before the doubles then I 'reworked' the gap.

The reworking of the upper berm I did worked out quite well. We are now able to rail the berm allot better than in the past. All it needs is a little more dirt and time to solidify. The section that Tim worked on came together really well. His portion simply flows perfectly.

I then I decided to 'rework' the first gap. My intention was to make the transition of a jump a little longer by making it steeper and the bottom between the two jumps deeper. After I had completed my 'rework', I tried the jump thinking that I had improved the existing jump.....well all I can say is that I wrecked a perfectly good jump. I must have hit that jump 10 times and every time I was sent flying one way or another because of the 'rework I did.

As it was on this day, I has to leave a little earlier than Tim so I took off with my tail between my legs on the hard tail and rode down the rest of the trail. Tim continued working on the lower berm and assured me that he would fix my 'rework' of the gap.

I think that my 'rework' gave me bad trail karma because I seemed to be getting hung up on things and wiping out on stuff that I had ridden a hundred times before. On my way down Shotgun I ran into the other builders at the Woodlot (Jamie, Ewan, Rich and Cory). I stopped to talk to Cory for several minutes to sort out some things and I was on my way. I really have to give those guys props for the absolutely beautiful work they have done in the past few weeks re-opening Shotgun.

It was then down to the car and home to the wife and baby.