Saturday, December 30, 2006

Redemption on Mount Fromme

Today the venue was Mount Fromme. I arrived at 7:45am and within 5 minutes I was on my way up the road to climb to the top. Along Mountain Highway I passed a couple other guys but for once in my life my pace was higher than someone else and I never saw them again on the climb. There is something different about riding Mount Fromme solo, it is like the rider vs the ominous mountain. I think this is what draws me back from time to time.

The climb up was not bad at all. The temperature was chilly but not cold. I was not raining but there had been some snowfall over night the snow on the road started at the water tower. Once again I was getting fresh tracks in the snow on the way up as I was the first one climbing for the day. It was only at the end of the 6th switchback and the end of the 7th switchback where the snow was too deep to pedal and I had to get off my bike to push. Once at the 7th Secret I geared up and started the descent on the snow laden trail. Of all the trails I have ever ridden, 7th is by far the most suited for a snow ride. It is as if the trail was designed for riding in the snow. The sweet slippery flow lasted the length of this magnificent piece of trail work. Fun, fun, fun as always. After 7th it was up the road to Oil Can. Oil Can had seen some work over the last year by the NSMBA to bring it up to the high standards that are expected of trails nowadays. I had only ridden this trail once before on Remembrance Day '06 but it was so much fun that I decided to give it another run. Sweet easy loamy flow, 4 words that describe this trail perfectly.

After Oil Can it was a quick traverse on the Baden Powell trail to get to the top of Boundary. The last time I rode Boundary I destroyed my rear wheel on a beautiful feature at the top of the trail so one could say that this was the redemption run.

The stunt in question is at the top of the trail and involves a couple wet slick narrow ladders that need to be negotiated perfectly to lead into the steep down ramp.

Photo by: Doug Chinnery

Well all went well today, I admit I was nervous but the outcome was favorable (in my favor). The rest of the trail involves many steep rock faces that are linked by narrow sloped ladders that require 100% concentration or you go for a ride on your butt. Today I was on and everything seemed to come together for me. The trail is spilt up into sections and at one junction you have a choice of going left or right, well I chose the wrong direction at a particular junction and headed off on my way to Digger. Well this wrong turn in the end seems like the right turn because I ran into the builder of Boundary. Karen is the sole builder on of Boundary and does an absolutely stellar job at it. I would say we chatted for a good 15 minutes about this and that but in the end I needed get home and she wanted to get to work on her trail. This lady does masterful work and deserves a huge amount of recognition for her efforts.....and she rides it on a hard tail!!!!

Once I was back on the right track I made quick work of the rest of Boundary because I was now behind schedule due to the longer climb in the snow and chat with Karen. Once I was on road I climbed up the road at a good pace and descended to where I parked my car. Then it was the 40 minute drive home in Saturday morning traffic.

In summary I had a great solo ride with a quiet climb in the snow, a rip down frosty 7th Secret, a flowy run down Oil Can and I finally rode Boundary top to bottom, meeting the builder of the trail along the way. I don't really see a better way to end my '06 riding season than with this ride.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Biking Nirvana

Today's ride took place at the Woodlot. I had planned on hitting Fromme, but things didn't really work out for that, so I headed off to my local stomping ground instead. I figured I would head up to the top, ride down to Snakes and Ladder and build for a while but the building part didn't really materialize. I headed up at about 9:30am and I was the first biker to start the climb for the day.

Rather than just riding/pushing up the hill the regular route, I decided that I would go up Stove-top and then continue up to Krazy Karpenter once I reached the road. Well going up Stove-top was a big mistake. The recent storms had brought down a lot of trees on it. Someone had gone along and cut most of the fallen trees, but they did not clear them off the line. This saves a lot of time while cutting, but makes the first climber work for his ride. It seems as though I was the first climber. I'd say I cleared 10 or so trees before I simply got tired of getting off my bike so I just pushed up and over the rest of the trees. Clearing the trees added about half an hour to my ride so I was now a little pressed for time.

Once at the skidder I began the next part of the climb up by picking up the pace. Once I reached Tsuga I decided that Karpenter was going to take too much time so I began my descent on Tsuga. Cory had been busy on the trail clearing all the fallen trees so Tsuga was clear and I blasted along without worry. At the usual turn off to Snakes and Ladders there were 2 or 3 large trees that will need to be chain sawed out and then a few more on the connector. The next time the saw is up high on the trail these trees will be removed.

Sometimes when you ride a trail really often you get a feeling where you can relax and just let your bike guide you down the ribbon of dirt and wood, well today I had one of those moments on Snakes and Ladders. At the top of the trail I just let go of my brakes and let my bike be the guide. A wet slippy skinny cleaned without a worry, a drop without a care, a gap jump as smooth as silk. It was like I didn't even have to other words: Biking Nirvana.

Once at the rock face I had a look at the condition of the ground and thought about what I could get done today and whether it was worth even trying to build. I decided that I would spend my time having a look around at other trails today rather than building. So to the bottom of Snakes I went and then I pedaled to an area of The Woodlot I have not been for quite a while. Lets just say that this line that I found has some okay bridges on it and should be a good 'All Mountain' flat line for those that want to venture on it. Of course there will be some harsh critics and yes some things could be better built but the line is there and all it needs is a little TLC and a day or so with a chain saw to remove fallen trees.

So I then made my way to Shotgun where I once again let go of the brakes and let her all hang out. My new brakes seem to be working alright but likely need one more ride to completely bed in.

Mmmmmmm, new brakes '07 Juicy 7s

Shotgun was a blast as always. I have never really thought about it before but the name 'Shotgun' really suits the trail. Having ridden the trail likely a couple hundred times I seem to know all the roots and rocks that hide on this trail, but as always when you least expect it one of them jumps out and bites you. I didn't go down, but it was close so I had a really good look at this root that seemed to have my name written all over it. Next time I will pay a little closer attention. Out to the car it was where a couple guys asked about conditions. All I could say is snow at the top and the wood is VERY slippy.

I had a great ride............Nirvana!!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Everyone's Asleep.........TEST RIDE

Being the day after Boxing day and home for the holidays I figured I would get out every chance I got to ride. Yesterday I had bought some new brakes for my bike, some tires and some grips. I had everything installed by 5 pm....yesterday. I needed to take things for a test ride. So as soon as the kids were asleep for their naps today and the wife was laying down for a nap, she gave me the nod. Oh how I love the nod. I booked it down to the garage, put on my helmet and pedaled like hell to the trail at the end of the road.

New brakes need bedding in and heat needs to get into them before they work 100% so I knew not to expect much from my new binders but lets just say I was pleasantly surprised. I then headed down the hill to an area that I hope to one day build a sweet single-track line that would go for a couple kms before popping you out at a trail that leads to The Woodlot.

After a few kms of riding I turned around and headed home. I had my test ride and got my fix for the day. Best of all, when I arrived home and got upstairs everyone was still asleep.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Cabin Trail Freeze Ride

Today as I headed out the door to go for a ride and build at The Woodlot I knew that the weather was going to a little cold and wet so I dressed appropriately for the weather. It was raining on the way to the parking area but rain soon turned into snow. At the parking area there was about an inch of snow when I started my climb up the hill on my Heckler. Once again I was getting fresh tracks in the white fluffy stuff.

The plan for today was to go all the way up to Cabin Trail then down to Snakes and Ladders, meet Tim and his wife Joanne on Snakes to build for a while then ride out down Shotgun. So up the hill I went with the snow falling a not a soul in sight. I had the fresh pow to myself. The further I went up, the deeper the snow on the trail got and the more I realized that my shoes and shorts weren't quite the lower body attire I wished I was wearing today.

The picture below is taken a little ways from the power lines looking up through the green tunnel created by the canopy of Spruce and Cedar.

A shot of the climb at The Woodlot.

So once at the power-lines I could tell that there was a rather significant amount of snow on the ground considering how little there was lower on the hill. I'd say 7" of snow at the power-lines and I was heading even higher.

I was able to pedal part of the way to Cabin trail but that soon came to a halt once I encountered the fallen trees across the skidder. There were at least a dozen trees down and in several spots you have to venture into the forest to get around them. At one point I considered turning around because the snow was getting so deep. By the time I was at the trail head I was in at least 14" of snow. Fortunately the trail only had a couple inches that had fallen through the canopy so the ride was wicked fun. In fact I would say that this is the best condition I have ever seen Cabin Trail in during a winter season. Someone had been up the trail and cleared ALL of the fallen trees on the trail. There wasn't a single thing that needed to be cleared. The trail simply flowed and I had an absolute hoot.

However the trail didn't completely escape unscathed from the recent wind and snow storms. The last and largest bridge on the trail took a direct hit from several trees. It was completely broken in two pieces and will need to be completely rebuilt.

The bridge that didn't survive the storm.

After Cabin trail I headed down to Snakes and Ladders. Along the way there was only one spot that had not been cleared which was a pair of completely up rooted trees that I think we will put an A-Frame over in the near future.

On Snakes and Ladders I ripped down the trail with glee to the rock face section that Tim and Joanne were working on. In the past I have had many people roll up on me while working and I know how it can literally scare the crap out of you. So as I approached I yelled out, but it was too late, I scared the crap out of both of them as they were nailing some rung on our new bridge section on Snakes. By this time I was cold and wet and not SUPER eager to build. But I went to work nailing rung while Tim cut stringers and bucked up a log for rung. Then the saw jammed, I ran out of rung and we all decided it was time to simply stop building.

I was now starting to get uncomfortably cold as it was now 11:30 and I had been in the elements for 3 1/2 hours wet to the bone. Tim and Joanne packed up the tools and went for a hike and I rode down to my car staying off the brakes because my hands were now too cold to feel my brake levers. Shotgun was brutal for me at this point because of my numb hands. I stopped several times to try and get feeling in my fingers and fortunately I made it out in good time to my car unscathed. I then quickly started my car, turned the heat on full blast and loaded my bike. As I was loading my car up I informed a few younger guys of the conditions up the hill (snow) and warned them to dress appropriately as they were in jeans and cotton hoodies. I guess you have to learn the hard way right?

Over all a good ride, but I think I am going to invest in some warmer winter weather riding gear.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Trees, Karma and mishaps.

Tonight's ride was once again at the Woodlot. At 6:30pm I met Dave and Mark at the parking lot and we headed up the hill with me on my hard tail, Dave on his Norco Six, and Mark on a Team Shore. It was hard to believe but the rain had stopped for us and we were not needing our rain gear for the ride. Since I had last been at The Woodlot there had been yet another windstorm and we were sure that we would be encountering fallen trees during our ride.

We had not really decided on a route beforehand so we decided that we would figure out our route at the top. Once Dave and Mark had finished their bickering about how to mount the HID on Dave's helmet ;-) we started the climb to the top. Once we had reached Quick Hit, Dave and I stopped for a bit to make sure the trail was in good condition but Mark continued on. Dave and I then continued a leisurely climb up into the forest. However about 10 feet into the forest Mark jumped out in front of Dave scaring the crap out of him. I don't think Dave will admit it but Mark got Dave really good.

Fortunately there weren't any trees down on the climb up and the power-lines came up quite fast. Once at the top we all geared up, fired up the lights and decided on the route. Tonight is was Krazy Karpenter, Blood Donor, Giant Killer, Snakes and Ladders and finally Shotgun. Once we started into Karpenter I could tell the wood was SLICK everywhere. I managed to clean the big log-ride on my hard tail and gave a WHHHOOOOOHOOOO at the bottom as there was one moment of sketch, however Mark was not as lucky as me and took the first tumble of the evening knocking his HID off his bars. After the repair we continued down the trail only to be stopped by the first of MANY fallen trees on the trail. About 5 more stops to clear trees and we were finally at the spiral ladder that goes around and through a stump.

I have ridden the spiral stump feature many times and have figured out the process of riding it clean many months ago, but neither Dave nor Mark had ridden it, let alone cleaned it. There is a fine art to making the turn clean and a simple trials hop doesn't always suffice. Mark gave it a shot and well....didn't quite make it through, neither did Dave. Mark tried it again and almost made it, but I think Karma caught up with him for frightening Dave earlier because just as it looked like he was about to complete the stunt, he stumbled and grumbled as he put a foot down.

Later on down the trail there were still more tree down across our path but for a while there was a section that was all clear and I was able to get on to the narrow planked skinnie section. I rode it.....not totally clean, but almost. Behind me Mark made an attempt at the same section but did not fare too well. His rear wheel slipped off the plank and he went plunk with his bike. Though Mark got up okay, his bike and light were in need of repair. His rear wheel came out of its drop-outs and his HID light snapped its mount and was dangling about in the dark. Once repairs were made we continued over to Blood Donor. I think by this time we had already stopped 10 times to clear trees so once we were at the top of Donor we decided to have a good look at the new ladder gap step-down at the top of the trail. All I can say is Big, really, really BIG!

Down Blood Donor we went clearing a tree here and there and hitting a few stunts on the trail. Giant Killer was next on the agenda. Fortunately there really weren't many trees down on Giant Killer so we were actually able to get some flow going on the trail. On the long log ride I had a brief moment of sketch due to the wet and slippy conditions, but overall it was a sweet ride.

We then went over to Snakes and Ladders to give her a rip. The trail started off okay, but time after time we were stopping to clear tree after tree. Once we made it down to the Snakes Jump. Mark and I decided to hit it a few times and lets just day Mark was lucky he had a lot of air in his rear tire. CASAGE!!! Of the three of us he definitely provided the most entertainment this evening.

Further down the trail I hit all the stunts and Mark and I paused at the top of the rock face. Behind us we could hear a thud and a groan. Dave went down on the little log drop. He was shaken but everything was intact and thankfully his bike was still running well ;-)

Down to last ladder roll we went and Mark asked just how fast he shoudl roll over it and where to aim for. I instructed his with total confidence, "Keep you speed under control and at the bottom of the ladder make sure to stay right, the tree on the left will take you out". So down the ladder I went, keeping right......well I went way too far right and smacked into a tree I had never even seen before. In fact I broke one of my helmet lights with my tree hugging head slapping adventure.

Once straightened out we went over to Shotgun....after clearing more trees. Shotgun was fun and fortunately nearly no trees down on it. There was one on the upper part of the trail that we were not able to clear, but other than that, the trail ripped and we all had a hoot.

At the parking area I checked my watch and it was 10:30, this was a 4 hour night ride that usually only take 2 hours. Downed trees, mechanicals and the odd spill had doubled the duration of our ride. In the end it was a great ride and we got a lot of trees cleared off the trails. Plus Dave realized that he now HAS TO HAVE A HID light.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Clearing after the Storms

Well today was one day that I will remember for some time to come. Tim, Rob, Dave and I headed to Snakes and Ladders in the dark at 6:30am. Given the recent snow storm and the windstorms, the trails at The Woodlot are in desperate need of repair from fallen trees.

The four of us climbed to the top of the trail by climbing over and under half a dozen fallen trees. This first photo shows what the top of the trail looked like when we arrived.

Fallen trees everywhere.

Once we stashed our bikes we hiked down the trail get the chainsaw and axes and to survey the trail to get a good idea about the state of the trail. On the hike down there were a lot of HOLY CRAPS and WTF!?! being said.

A group of fallen trees.

In several places the trees fell in groups, so rather than just one tree there were 5 or 6 trees fallen in a group or clusters. Once we were at the tool stash Tim went to work getting the saw running and I went down to the bottom of the trail to see how many more trees were going to be needed to be cleared. Once the saw was running it was a quick jaunt down the trail to cut out the 6 trees that had fallen then it was up the trail to cut out all the trees that fell during the bad weather we have had.

Nobody actually kept a count of the number of trees that we cut out but I would guess that there were at least 30 and likely 40 trees that we cut out in total. We made surprisingly good time cutting out the trees with Tim manning the saw and Dave, Rob and I moving the cut pieces out of the way. Dave and Rob ended up doing a fair amount of removal with the axes while Tim worked on the saw and I kept him company or removing dead-fall by hand. By 10:00am we were at the top of the trail and that was with a lot of hiking around and the 'issue' we had with the saw.

Tim doing some hedge trimming.

When we were all at the top of the trail Cory came walking by with his bow saw and a not so happy look on his face as he was just surveying all the fallen trees on the trails. To sum it up, there is a lot of work that needs to be done to get the trails back into their former state. Rob needed to take off a little earlier than the rest of us so he was the first to jet at 10:30 then Tim left at 11:00am with the saw on his back ready for a tune-up. Dave and I stayed back for a little while longer to clear some fallen trees with the axes on the skidder road up.

By the time all four of us had left, the skidder road up to Snakes and Ladders and the whole trail itself was clear. There were other people working their butts off on the hill clearing trees and doing work to get the trails back into good running order. A big shout out to Dieter, Dan, Cory, Ewan and anyone else that has been busting their butt to fix the trails after the recent storms.

After Dave and I finished working we hiked back to our bikes and rode Snakes and Ladders free and clear without the worry of running into any fallen trees. At the bottom of Snakes and Ladders there were still a few trees on the road out but they can be taken care of on a later date. On the road below Quick Hit Dave and I ran into Dieter and Dan who were kind enough to bring a nice saw and offered their help in clearing Krazy Karpenter, Giant Killer and Hoots.

Both Dave and I then rode Shotgun out to the parking area where there were about a dozen or so people mulling around wondering what trails were open/cleared and what was closed. All I was able to say at the time was Snakes and Ladders and Shotgun were both clear and ready to rip.

The four of us had a good time building together and from what I understand, there is suppose to be another big wind storm blowing through in the next few days, so we may be repeating this exercise sooner than we think.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

6 Pack and a dog named Golden

With the recent snow and my inability to get out on the trails this past weekend I have been itching to ride. Neither Rob or Tim were able to come out and ride so I did a “Who wants to ride?” post on the NSMB.COM ride planning forum. It seems as though I was not the only one itching to get out and ride. From my post we determined that Simon Fraser University (SFU) was likely the best hill to ride on this fine evening and 6 guys and a dog showed up for the festivities. The riders were Dave, Steve, Anthony, Kim (with his dog Golden), Mark and myself.

Once all the introductions were made we started the climb to the top on Joe’s Trail (Trans Canada Trail) . I think all of us were a little surprised to find that there was a total lack of snow on trail up which made the climb really quite easy to climb rather than push. I had just eaten before arriving and my belly was not feeling very good on the climb at all but once we popped out at the bus stop at the top of SFU it was time for the real fun to begin.

Across the campus we went with lights blazing to the top of Naheeno trail. Once we were all armored up and the light running we dropped in on the trails to see what they had in store for us. This evening I was the only one on a hard tail as everyone else was riding 6”x6” bikes, but I did just fine. On Naheeno were several downed trees on the first trail that will need cutting out with a chainsaw.

Once across University Drive East we got onto Mel’s trail and traversed over to Nicole’s. Again there were a few trees down on Mel’s, but overall the trail was in good shape. Nicole’s is rather famous for Nicole’s Pole and with Steve leading and riding it first so easily I thought ‘sweet, no problem’. Well Nicole’s pole is a feature that showcases the laws of physics and the grip that you how your tires have. Steve had some reasonably new sticky tires on his bike. I had a new sticky front tire but an old totally worn rear tire that was sticky a year ago. Down the pole I went but every time I touched my rear brake it would cause my tire to drift off one side or the other. Fortunately I kept cool and rode the log only using my front tire (testing the law of physics and the grip on my tire). One at a safe exit point I wheelie dropped off the side. Later on I heard Mark saying I was not making that log look confidence inspiring.

The rest of Nicole’s was a sweet rip to the bottom and we all stopped to remove one larger branch across the trail. At the gravel road the 6 of us chatted for a good 15 minutes and everyone but Steve and I departed home. Steve and I decided to climb a little more and do Lower Snake. The climb to the top is short and easy and you are rewarded with a nice easy rip on single track to the bottom again. There were several large trees down on the trail and last one about 50M from the end of the trail was a full sized tree uprooted where the root left a 3 foot deep crater in the middle of the trail. In that on spot they will very likely need to do a reroute.

Steve and I then headed to our cars where something really odd occurred. Just as I got onto the paved road, my derailleur hanger decided to break and I had my derailleur in the spokes of my wheel. I guess there really was no better place for it to happen right.

Overall a great ride out this several people I have never met before and zero injuries.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Shotgun Solo Night Ride in the SNOW!!

Tonight I rode at The Woodlot solo in the dark in the snow. I had originally planned on riding with few other people, but due to the recent snow storm it was far too difficult for them to make it out to The Woodlot. We only get good snow maybe once a year and according to the forecast the snow was going to be slush within a few day so I figured what the heck...I ride solo. I decided seeing as I was alone I would keep it short and sweet and just ride Shotgun. The snow was close to a foot deep at the trailhead and it was a fluffy snow so pushing up any higher would have been far too much work. Once I was all geared up at the top of the trail I dropped in on the trail and the video of the ride kinda speaks for itself.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!

This morning I was able to slip out for another ride for about 2 hours. The difference between this week and last week is that it snowed last night and it was continuing to come down pretty hard. When I left my house to drive to The Woodlot at 10am there was about 5 inches of snow on the ground, but the roads were totally clear so it made the journey very easy. Once at the parking area I could see that I was not the only one wanting to play in the white stuff. There were 2 cars parked already and there were tracks leading up the trail into the forest. The snow was very heavy and many branches were bent over the trail weighed down by the white fluffy snow.

About half way up the climb/push in the snow I caught up to 2 other guys that were out to have a ride in the fresh snow, we exchanged pleasantries and I headed onwards to the trails. On the way to Snakes and Ladders there were several trees and large branches across the trail that had broke under the weight of the wet heavy snow and wind. There will very likely a large clean-up needed once the snow melts.

Once at the trail head for Snakes and Ladders I paused to take a few photos of the snow and I could see several large trees that had blown down that will require a saw to be removed. There were at least 6 trees down on Snakes that will need chain sawing out. Fortunately most of these trees are high on the trail in once particular area. I cleared what I could by hand but I neither had the necessary tools nor the time to remove all the fallen trees.

The trail was in excellent condition and I had a hoot riding it in the snow letting the tail waggle on most of the turns.

The picture above is the long flowing log ride that we built a few years ago all covered in snow. After seeing Tim go for a fall the other night, I decided that I would skip this ladder in the snow today as I was riding solo (I was trusting my instincts ;-) ).

At the bottom of Snakes I ran into Cory and Brad who were out for a hike in the snow. We chatted for a bit about some recent building in the area and then I was on my way to Shotgun. It was still snowing pretty hard so the push in the ever deepening snow was a bit of work but once on the downhill part of the road I was grinning from ear to ear.

Shotgun was a blast. Hitting the jump on the upper part of the trail in the snow was a little risky because I was a little slow on the approach, but I landed it smooth. The open clear-cut section of the trail was a total rip in 12" of snow. The great thing about snow is it slows you down and when you do fall it pads the landing. I was purposely letting the rear end of my bike get loose and drifting corners was wicked. I would not be sad at all if this snow stayed around for a few weeks.

At my car I loaded up my bike, got changed and drove home on the still clear roads. Because I kept a good pace on the push up to the top of the trails, I was only gone for 2 hours in total by the time I arrived at home. My wife was pleased and I was happy to be able to get out and ride. The rest of the early afternoon was spent outside playing with my 2 year old building her first snowman and having snowball fights with the neighbourhood kids.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Nasty Weather / Good Friends

Tonight's night ride took place at The Woodlot. The riders included Tim, Rob, Dave (the infamous Dave the builder of The Dentist on Eagle) and of course myself. This was the first night ride of the season where is was actually cold. I started the ride with 2 layers of clothing on the body but half way up the hill I put on 3 layers and my fluffy grey toque.

The evening before I had spent a fair amount of time reengineering a Nite Hawk light so that Rob would have a light on his handlebars. In the end he had a 35W on his helmet and 20W on his bars. Tim was running dual Night Hawk lights on his bars and a single BLT on his helmet. Dave was running dual Night Hawk lights on his helmet and I was running a single HID on the bars a over volted 50W and a 12V 50W on the helmet.

Tim and I had never ridden with Dave before so there was allot of intro discussion on the climb up the hill with never a silent moment. About half way up the hill we could see snow on the ground and it even started to snow on us. At the power lines there was about 2 inches of snow with a thin layer of slush underneath. At the top of the power lines the snow was drier and in places light and fluffy. On the hike up below the power lines we all commented on the massive amount to erosion that has taken place recently with the heavy rains in the past week. A section of road about 20 feet long and 2 feet deep was swept away by the rain.

Our route was Krazy Karpenter, Blood Donor, Giant Killer, Snakes and Ladders and finally Shotgun. Once the 4 of us were all suited up and our lights hooked up we turned them all on and started the ride. My lights were running perfectly however because there was so much fog at the top of the hill, visibility was horrible with super bright lights. For a good portion of the ride, I was riding with only one light on the helmet shining. Karpenter had half a dozen or so trees down across the trail so the trail was a little difficult to flow. Part of the way down Tim had some technical difficulties with his lights but with patience he was able to get them running properly again.

After Karpenter it was up to Blood Donor. At the very top of Donor there was a new tranny for a new BIG gap step-down that the builders are constructing. I would guess it will be a 25 foot gap with a 15 foot vertical drop. So far the transition and the framing for most of take off is done. It is beautifully constructed and looks like it will be a hoot to hit. Due to the continuing fog, we basically just stuck to the small stuff on the trail. I hit one gap but that was about it. Donor was is really good shape.

We then hit Giant Killer and ripped that trail with reckless abandon as we could now finally see as we were now below the fog. I was tailing Tim really closely along the long log section where the super slick surface in the dark made the log a little treacherous. I was no more than 4 feet behind him telling him not to slow down or I would have run into the back of him. At the elevated teeter totter I was a little too close to Tim because when I was at the teeter totter the plank was still in the air when I was about to ride across so I had to stop and walk the teeter. We all rode safely and smoothly to the end of the trail and re-grouped on the road.

The climb/traverse over to Snakes and Ladders was nice and relaxed and at the trail head we rested for a minute or two before attacking the trail. Tim went first and I followed but I quickly passed him after he lost his balance on a skinny. The rock drop to ladder was REALLY slippery. I accelerated unlike any other time before down the ramp and flowed the trail to the next couple features. The Snakes Jump as we call it was smooth but after the landing, something felt loose on the rear of my bike so I stopped to have a look. Nothing was wrong or loose but we were all able to regroup before hitting the rest of the trail. The DJ section and trail gap were all clear and no water was collecting anywhere so we were happy with the condition of the trail. I once again overshot the newer jump after the Boa bridge, but that is nothing new.

Tim then went ahead to the long log ride. For some reason I let Tim have a good gap on me and thankfully so. I watching him go down the down ramp at the end of the then his light disappeared and I heard a big smack and then silence. Rob and Dave were already at the end of the ladder because they took the ride around and were with Tim. Once I yelled ahead for the all clear I went down the ladder and straight through the crash zone and came to a safe stop. I parked my bike and went to see how Tim was doing. Apparently he came down the ladder off the log ride and then on the way across the next ladder his front wheel washed out and he went down hard into the creek smashing his elbow on a rock. Unfortunately he was not wearing any arm armour so his elbow was hurting BIG TIME. He was rather shaken up but was still able to continue riding at a reserved pace.

We paused slightly at the bottom of the rock face to check out the drainage of the trail and everything was in excellent shape. From there we continued down the rest of the trail to the traverse over to Shotgun.

Normally Tim and I play cat and mouse down Shogun but he was out of order and Rob didn't quite feel like riding like a mad man in the dark in the rain, so I went a higher pace all alone. We re-grouped mid way down the trail and then we rode together until the end of the trail. At the cars we all loaded our bikes on our cars, changed our clothes and each had a cold beer before departing. An excellent ride in crazy conditions.

**UPDATE** Unfortunately Tim's elbow did not fare very well but after going to the hospital late at night he found out it was not broken however he has a pinched nerve in his elbow making most of his arm numb.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

New Wheels

Well after last weeks ride my bike was slightly in need of a new rear wheel.

So I decided that it was time to bite the bullet and drop some cash on some nice new wheels. In the end I was really happy with my new wheels. King ISO 32 hole hubs in black: 20mm front, HD rear axle with fun bolts and stainless steel freehub in the rear. The hubs were built on to Mavic EX729 rims using 14 gauge black spoke on brass nipples.

I also picked up some Syncros tires for total bargain and threw my new wheels on the bike for a quick blast at The Woodlot.

There was a high wind warning today while I was riding and you could hear trees crashing in the forest while riding. This was not a nice feeling so I decided that I would not do any building and just ride today. Once at the trail head of Snakes and Ladders I put on the armor and rode basically nonstop down the trail to the bottom of the rock face. There was no need to stop anywhere as the trail was clear of debris and the trail was running really dry. At the bottom of the rock face I just checked out how the recent rock work is draining and then continued on down the trail. At the bottom of Snakes and Ladders I raised my seatpost and pedaled over to Shotgun.

It was a normal rip down Shotgun and out to the car and a quick drive home. From the time I left my house to the time I returned home, cleaned up my bike and showered, the elapsed time was less than 2 hours. So if I don't mess around at all I can squeeze in a ride in less than 2 hours. Maybe it was the new wheels that had me moving so fast.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Remembrance Day Ride 2006

Today was the 4th Annual Remembrance Day Ride on Mount Fromme. This ride takes place to honour the brave men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces that have fought to ensure that Canada and other countries around the world remain free. Today myself and three others were free to go pursue our passion of riding our bikes on Mount Fromme.

The day started really early, 5:30am I was at Rob's place picking him up to hit the hills. He had been out the night before consuming a few wobbly pops and as soon as he was in the car it smelled like a distillery. We drove to Fromme making one stop at McDonalds for a little breakfast and to settle a rumbly stomach.

Once we parked near Mt. Highway Rob and I climbed to the yellow gate that guards the entrance to Fromme. Waiting at the gate was Tim and a rider I have never met in person before, Connor. We introduced one another and began the climb to the top. Tim brought along a light for his bike because we were starting our climb in the dark, but no more than 10 minutes later the sun started to rise and we were climbing in full light. It was a nice leisurely climb to the top with Connor showing us a couple hidden gems on the climb up.

The original plan was to hit Per Gynt then back up to 7th Secret, Oil Can and Boundary. Because there was a rather significant amount of snow on the ground at the top of 7th Secret it was decided that we would skip Per Gynt. Once we were all suited up we dropped into 7th in the snow. The could be described with one word, SLIPPERY. We were all giggling as we made our way down the armoured and ladder strewn trail taking turns at the front in order to get fresh tracks in the snow.

After a safe run down 7th Secret we climbed a little ways back up the hill to Oil Can. None of us had ever ridden Oil Can before so this was the maiden voyage by all down the trail. Recently the trail had seen some work on it and I must say it was fun. I would call it a fast flowy loamy trail that is perfect for newer riders or those that want to let go of the brakes and ride fast on some sections of loam. There were sections on Oilcan were you had to make a decision to go left or right and each time our decision way to stay right and traverse the hill. It seems as though we made the right decision because we ended up exactly where we expected. We also found the bottom of a trail filled with ladder gaps (either Jerry Rig or Air Supply).

At the aluminium bridge on the Baden Powell trail we did a short hike a bike up the hill to the top of Boundary. I have wanted to ride Boundary for about 6 months now. I had seen a picture of some of the features on the trail and now I was finally getting to ride it. Not too far into the trail was a narrow ladder step section to a steep roll-down. It took me 2 attempts at the run in due to slippery conditions but I finally made it down the steep ladder.

Photo by: Doug Chinnery

My rear wheel however did not survive the ladder. While coming down the last ladder I applied a little rear brake. I had ZERO traction and my rear wheel slid off to the left of the ramp about 3-4 feet in the air. There happened to be a single rock the size of a small watermelon on the ground next to the bottom of the ladder. My wheel met the rock with allot of force but I rode away about 5 feet and came to a stop. Then Tim politely told me that my wheel was........well you know. Amazingly the rim was still straight, but it was now D shaped with 11 Broken spokes but the tire still kept air (ghetto tubeless).

From there on I had to carry my bike down the hill to the road. I only had to opportunity to watch everyone else ride. I must say Tim was on fire cleaning everything in sight on the trail. Rob and Connor we riding almost everything with grins and confidence. At the bottom of the trail I gave Rob the keys to my car and he went off to retrieve it while I waited on the side of the road with a broken bike.

Overall it was a great ride ridden with respect for the brave people in our armed forces. Hopefully next year I will make it down with my bike and body intact.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

November Rain and Ryan Leech

Today I had a great day of biking. I rode/built solo early in the morning. I was the first one up the hill at The Woodlot, so I had fresh tracks everywhere I went. There was allot of blown down trees all over the hill after the recent storm we had. On Stove Top I was not able to move them all, but I was able to clear everything on Tsuga. My route was Stove Top up to Tsuga and then down Tsuga to Snakes and finally Shotgun. When I made it to Snakes and Ladders, she was in really good shape. Only one real puddle and that will be taken care of in the near future. A branch seemed to fall off a tree onto one of our bridges and broke a piece of rung clean off. So this was the first part of the trail I needed to work on for the day. Once I made my way down to the tool stash near the rock faces I gathered some tools, found some rung and made my way back up the trail to fix the broken ladder. Once I split, nailed and trimmed the wood there was no way you could tell that anything had happened. Well except that the rung was a nice light brown colour freshly cracked and trimmed.

I then made my way back down to the rock face to continue putting more rock on the trail. I rocked in another 4 feet at the base of the rock face so that there is now about 8 feet of large rocks that will never move out of place. Maybe another 4 feet of BIG stuff I and will be totally happy. I then had to do a little shaping of the land because mud was forming in one spot near the little jump. After that I put in about 8 feet of BIG rocks at a corner that Tim framed in when he was last up there. I piled in a dozen or so large rocks and covered them in gold dirt to cement them together. There still needs to be rock done before and after the section that I rocked, but I filled the majority of the low spot and got a good start on rocking in the whole section. Somewhere in here we will need to engineer a drain to ensure that water has somewhere to escape.

Earlier while I was rocking in the bottom of the rock face a huge group of riders came down the trail. It was a group with the MR cycle group ride. I recognized one of the riders as he was riding down the line and it was Ryan Leech. He stopped and talked with me for a bit. He was amazed by the trail and the rocks I was working with and overall he was stoked. Ryan is a total class act and a genuinely nice guy.

So after I finished all my work for the day I geared up and rode down Snakes and made it to Shotgun. Once again I blasted down Shotgun with reckless abandon out to my car.

Later in the day at 2:00pm I took Norah to Maple Ridge Cycle where Ryan Leech was putting on a trials show for the year end MR Cycle biking club wrap up. I managed to get Ryan Leech to sign a poster for Norah.

Good very good day of biking.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Foggy Brew

Tonight was a night ride in the rain at The Woodlot with Rob. I was sporting a 50W halogen on the helmet and so was Rob. I also had my HID on the bars of my bike. Our route was far from standard issue ride consisting of Krazy Karpenter, Upper Toadstool, Tsuga, Snakes and Ladders and then finally Shotgun. We both arrived on time and suited up right into our rain gear. It was raining really hard the whole ride.

The climb up to the top was pleasant with no issues at all and when finally at the top we were in the clouds with the mist surrounding us. Once the lights were all fired up we both really noticed that we were in a white out situation from our lights shining too brightly into the fog and blinding us. Therefore the ride down Karpenter was cautious as we could barley see in front of us. After Karpenter it was down to Toadstool there were a couple very tense moments with me on the uber slippery log ride in the pouring rain. The drop near the bottom of the trail was really trippy in the fog as I felt like I was dropping into a grey misty abyss as I went over the edge.

We then headed back up the hill to Tsuga. It is a very short push where we both able to laugh about how blind we were at the top on Karpenter. On Tsuga Rob lead the way entering the trail. About 5 or 6 turns into the trail we both veered completely off the trail as we could hardly see the line in the fog. Further down the trail we finally able to start riding with clear air in front of us and super bright lights gleaming our pathway.

Snakes and Ladders was yet again another hoot. Riding at night is fun, riding your own trail at night is even more fun. Even though I can ride the trail top to bottom in my head and know where to place my tire on every undulation on the trail I will never get tired of riding Snakes and Ladders. Tonight was especially fun popping and railing all the turns. All the rock work and drainage that we had done in the last 10 months was holding up really well and the trail was for the most part running dry. We paused at the rock face to inspect our recent work and then continued on at to the bottom of the trail.

Rob had mentioned that I was running 2 lights and he only had one, so for Shotgun I turned off the HID. I could notice that I had less light, but only running the helmet light made me totally focus on the trail ahead rather than in front of me. It was an absolute hoot. When we got to the cars we noticed that someone had left us some beverages on our cars. Only a true friend leaves you beer on your car as an apr├Ęs ride bevy.

Thanks Timmy.

Good ride in the fog and great beer at the end.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Trust Your Instincts

Today I snuck out for what is likely the last ride I will have before my lovely wife has our second child. She is ready to pop. I arrived at the woodlot around 12:30pm and made my way to the top on the Devinci. On the way up I passed a few people making decent time to the top 'pushing' my bike most of the way. I was going to ride Platinum, but I decided on the way up that it would be best to ride that trail with others, just in case...... JUST IN CASE.

Once at the top of the power lines I geared up and rode Krazy Karpenter. It was the first time in a month that I had ridden the Ollie but the bike felt good. The first few drops and skinnies on the trail are always a good barometer for how a ride is going to progress and things felt good. A little further down the trail I was about to hit a small drop on the trail when BAM!!!, my front tire hit a rock, stopped me and I go flying over the bars. Huddled on the ground in the fetal position with my bike on top of me and my head down hill I think to myself, "What the heck just happened there?!". I have ridden this trail countless times and never an issue, but today I went flying. I should have trusted my instincts and mellowed out the ride from there.

Further down the trail I finally did a drop to tranny off a log ride that I have just never bothered doing in the past and all went well. I then linked up to the trail that goes to the Blood Donor trail head and walked up to the start. I then rode down the few switch back berms and above the first big gap/hip I decided I was going to hit it. So I entered the last turn with good speed, pedaled out of the corner (for some unknown reason in my head I was thinking...well I have my phone with me if something goes wrong and there is bound to be more riders today) and approached the lip of the jump. My instincts were telling me, "SKIP IT TODAY......RIDE ON". I should have trusted my instincts. I do not know why or how I ended up like I did in the air, but I nosed in on the landing REALLY hard. So hard that I washed out on the hip landing and went over the bars and superman landed the tranny. I had the speed, I had the distance, but my angle of attack on the landing was way off. You know your impact is hard when you lose your shoes on landing and I tie my shoes on tight with double knots!!!!! I checked my body and all was well on initial examination. I go to stand up to get my shoe and I cannot bend my left knee without excruciating pain. My knees had both seen very hard impacts on landing but my left knee was horribly swollen. At this point I was now figuring out how to get home under my own steam. Once I had my shoe back on I decided to check out the bike. When I landed on the nose of the bike I heard a ping.......Deemax wheel losing a spoke out the hub. Apart from the now slightly warped wheel my bike was good to go.

I boarded my limping steed with my left leg dangling off the side and coasted down the rest of Blood Donor and down Giant Killer then down the road to the car. At this point my left knee was throbbing and I was completely unable to bend my leg......not good. At the car I hopped around getting my bike on my car and then drove home, painfully shifting my 5 speed manual.

Fortunately left knee was not broken and there was no ligament or cartilage damage. My knee saw a massive impact on my lower quad and the joint and surrounding muscles and tissue are swollen and extremely sore. I consider myself very lucky as this crash could have been MUCH worse. I will likely be out for a few weeks. Next time I will trust my instincts.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


I had an absolutely wicked ride today at The Woodlot. It was a solo ride on the Heckler with my burlier Mavic 729 wheels and Michelin 2.5s rather than the 2.35 High Rollers I have been riding on lately. I just thought I would ride different wheels for a change and a little more cush.

The climb was a nice pedal up the logging road then a left turn to head up Stove Top to the road up and then the push up the power lines. Recently I have started to enjoy the pedal climb up and stovetop really fills the need for a pedalable climb at least part of the way to the top. Once at the top I rode Krazy Karpenter which was a great ride and then up the trail to Blood Donor. I had a pretty bad spill on the bigger gap on Blood Donor a few months ago and my wrists are still hurting from it so I decided to skip the one big gap but hit the rest of them with reckless abandon. At the canoe log drop on Blood Donor about 2/3 of the way down the trail I ran into 3 guys on the side of the trail. One of these guys was Super T (Tyler Klassen) on a Yeti ASX giving some guys what look like a Tour de Woodlot. Super T was limping around due to a broken femur 12 weeks earlier so there were no drops or jumps in the books for him today. He was just out flowing the dirt.

At the trail head of Giant Killer (the end of Blood Donor) I ran into a guy that was riding The Woodlot for the first time on an XC Klein. He wanted to know if he was near the top. When I told him he was not quite half way to the top he requested directions down the hill so explained how to get down via Lower Toad Stool and Hoots.

So I then rode Giant Killer having ripping the trail on all the stunts that were open and then made my way over to Snakes and Ladders. Once at Snakes and Ladders I the trail non stop to the last big rock face. The trail is in great shape right now but I know where it needs some TLC, however nothing can be done on the trail until it rains again. At top of the big rock face I have started to stack rock that will be used to fill in the black nasty mud that accumulates at the top. So I left me bike at the top and proceeded over to the rock quarry gather some rock. I ended up stacking 2 big buckets worth of rock and one really BIG rock that I hauled up to the top of the rock face. I then geared up and rode out the rest of the trail to Shotgun. While passing by the bottom of Quick Hit I nearly ran over the biggest garter snake I have ever seen. Any ways I rolled down into Shotgun and let go of the brakes riding it as fast a my tires would let me go. Out to the car and homeward bound.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Bear Mountain Downhill 2006

Bear Mountain Downhill 2006, the 10th year and from what the organizers have told us, the last year of the race. This is the 3rd time I have raced the Downhill race at Bear Mountain in Mission B.C. Each year I have walked away from the race learning something and yearning to ride my bikes faster and faster.

The atmosphere at the race this year was not as jived as it was in years past. I think this is main due to the fact that people were saddened by the fact that this is the last year of the race. The weather this year could not be any better. I was dry and hot but with just enough moisture in the early morning air to leave the course damp with dew until the riding started at 10am. The course could not have been any better. There were new jumps added and allot of the chunder at the top had been worked to make the course substantially faster and a few more lines opened to keep the flow in some tight spots.

I arrived relatively early in the morning geared up, met with Tim and Rob and our mandatory pre-ride if the course was complete. During this re-ride of the course I decided that I really wanted to hit a gap at the top of the course that would help trim a few seconds off my time. So I hung out on the jump for a few minutes to watch others hit this gap jump and I determined how much speed was needed to make the gap. So up I went, pedalled in and clean as a whistle. A couple more times and I was 98% confident that I would be doing it in my race run. The 3 of us continued down course to finish our run and line up for another lift up the hill in the back of a cube van. Yup, we get shuttled up the hill in the back of a moving truck. 15 or so guys and their bikes at a time. So after 2 runs we were ready for the race. Tim's bike needed a little TLC with the rear wheel but once this was taken care of we just chilled until it was our turn to go up to the top for our race runs.

Both Tim's and Rob's wives and kids were there to wish them good luck as we headed off up the hill in the trucks. Nicole was far too pregnant (9 months) to attend the race and little Norah isn't even 2 years old yet so she would be way too much of a handful. So up in the trucks we went the 30-39 Masters sport men and the over 40 guys. One can only imagine of totally different the conversations are in our truck as compared to the U-17 racers.

At the top of the course we all picked our spots in the shade waiting for the race marshals to call out our names and numbers. For a few of us it was time to crack the RedBull to get the juices flowing and jived for our turn on the course. Last year I placed 2nd, 1.5 seconds behind the winner and this year he was riding last down the course in our class. In my head it was up to me to do the best that I could. I knew that I was a faster rider this year than I was last year, the course is faster and the conditions were mint. As I said, it was up to me. All I wanted was to improve on my overall time and accept where ever that put me in the standings.

Both Rob and Tim were ahead of me in the start order so in the line I was able to wish both of them luck in the race before they started. I believe there was one rider between each of us and there was one minute between each rider. When I was in the start gate waiting for the race marshal to give me the 5 second count down to go there was an announcement on the radio that ripped through the air...."RIDER DOWN, SEND THE MEDICS!!!". This statement was repeated several times and that the rider was off course and the race could continue however each time you could hear more and more concern in the voice of the corner worker. Then I heard the number plate of the fallen rider #601......Tim was down. I now had to try and keep the thought of a fallen buddy out of my head and concentrate on task at hand, The Race. So my count down started and down the course I went.

I had ridden the course about 10 times now in the last week. I had helmet cam filmed the course and watched sections over and over and over again. One could say I knew the course really well and knew what to expect at speed. The top sections for me were good. This course has a few spots in it where you can really blow up and have nothing left for the rest of the race and the first 400m or so it one of those spots. I basically just concentrated on staying off the brakes and railing turns. Though the rough stuff and through "The Abortion Corner" (After the race we found out the name of this particular corner. It is a 180° turn that has lots of chunder and holes all over the place). From the abortion corner it is a few hard pedal strokes to the gap that I had worked on earlier in the day and I nailed it smooth as silk and continued down the course at a good pace. There is a really fast section that leads into the biggest gap on the hill, the spot were in training last year I went down hard casing the jump and hurting my knee. I decided long before the race that I would skip the jump and I just railed on past with tons of speed. Down the course to a small step-up and then a few corners more to the fist big doubles. I didn't rail the corners before the double jumps and knew I would not have enough speed to make the 2nd big one so I pedalled through them as fast as I could.

From this point down I can say that I rode the course perfectly. For my abilities I could not have had a better race and was not upset with myself in the least. So after the doubles up top it was 2 more corners then the small doubles that when hit just right pop you to the next and a few pedal stokes to the step-down shot between the trees. The next 4 corners by far my favourite 4 turns on the course which include 2 berms that you can rail like none other. These all lead you to the table top jump where you can just send it. Surprisingly there weren't and spectators of years past at any of the jumps except for the corner workers, everyone was at the new double section by the rock.

Next is what I refer to as the fast single track section where you don't pedal, just rail the all dirt slightly banked corners of the track. The gap on the left of the trail is really easy to clear with all the speed carried from the corners before and then there was a new jump that send you straight down the trail to some descending bermed corners. There are 4 corners in total that I nailed perfectly. And considering how dry and dusty slick it was I even surprised myself with the speed I maintained through this section. There were even a few people clapping and cheering at that corner which helped to keep me focused on keeping up my speed. My memory of the course really helped in this next section as there is only one FAST line and all other lines waste a lot of time.

It almost seems like the section leading up to the up down depression in the course is the rest spot for "The Big Show". When I say "The Big Show" I am talking about the rock drop, the announcer, the crowds and this year two gaps that offer lots of jump style and photo opportunities. At the depression I heard a spotter calling out my number to the announcer Brad Ewen, likely the best announcer out there for the sport of mountain biking. In fact I think that guy could inject excitement into calling a play by play for a game of chess. Once again this year I was sporting my red and white stripped soccer jersey that I also wore last year as did Rob and Tim. Brad the announcer recognized me from last year and I could hear him call out my name as well stating that I was another candy stipper rippin the course. So rather than dropping the rock, I shot the gap on the side of the rock which is MUCH faster than dropping the rock and then railed the berm and began pedalling to hit the new 18 foot gap on the course. I basically has tunnel vision but could see all the spectators that were missing up course down here watching people send it on a beautiful set of jumps. As I said the first one is an 18 footer that launches you perfectly and places you gently on the tranny to allow you to coast to a 10 foot hip to the left and back onto the single track course. Lights camera action. I saw several flashes while in the air and then my focus was turned back to railing turns and carrying speed for the rest of the course.

I knew I was having a good race, I was tired but had the energy to keep pushing. Right after the new jumps there is a tight left hand turn and then you need to pedal to maintain speed. This is where I met up with the racer ahead of me. Yup, I knew I was having a good race when I realized I made up the 1 minute gap between me and the racer in front. I really would not have wanted to be this guy because I could hear people yelling at him then as I was 10 meters behind him I started screaming at him to get off the line and let me pass. Fortunately he pulled off and I ripped by without incident and I made sure to thank him as I went by.

The rest of the course was fast downhill single track with lots of opportunity to pedal, which I did as much as I could but by this point I was pretty much spent. Across the line and basically rolled up a small hill and threw my bike on the ground to catch my breath. 00:04:16.23 was my time. Second place, but as I said I wanted to improve over last year and I would say 25 seconds off your time is a pretty good improvement.

Yours truely on the right.

It turned out that Tim crashed in the new jump section, he cased the second jump and incurred a concussion. He has no recollection of what went wrong but I have heard from witnesses that it was really ugly and he is lucky to only have a grade 2/3 concussion and a bloody nose. Rob finished the race in the top 10 and achieved a personal goal of hitting the new jump section to the roar of the crowd and finishing the race under a certain time.

I stayed around for the medal ceremonies and a wicked jump contest into the lake. Overall I am ecstatic about my result and time in the race. I cannot wait to get out on my bike each day and ride a little faster every time I board my bike.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

2006 Lift Extravaganza - Day 3: Silverstar

Well after last nights drinkfest at Sunpeaks we were down 3 men. Mike, Steve and Wilby couldn't get up early enough for the next leg of our travels after the drinking we did last night. Those light weights had to drive home with their tails between their legs.....well not really. Mike and Wilby golfed last night after riding and rose out of bed late today to stay and ride Sunpeaks again today rather than driving to Silverstar.

By 8am Rob, Tim and I were packed up and on our way to Silverstar and arrived by mid morning. Tim was feeling a little rough, Rob was...okay but I felt great. None of us had ridden Silverstar before but we had heard a lot of good things: wall rides, short lift lines, friendly people and wicked flowy trails.

I had an absolute hoot riding non stop on every trail I could find. Flow, jumps, root, rocks, it has everything.

The one trail that stuck in my head was the World Cup Trail. It had a HUGE wallride. UNFREAKINGBELIEVEABLE!!! It was simply amazing hearing the buzz of your tires and getting rocketed off the end screaming down the trail. If you stand at the beginning of the trail you can hear the hoots of riders as they ride the wallrides.

I plan to hopefully come back in the future to enjoy the wicked trails of Silverstar.

Hopefully next year we can get the boys out again.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

2006 Lift Extravaganza - Day 2: Sunpeaks

Day 2 of the Extravaganza..........

Lets go back to last night. 6 rowdy drunk mountain bikers getting re-hydrated with beer on the drive up and in the bar last night.

Lets just say we weren't exactly in great shape for riding today. The festivities ended at 3am with a late night porch BBQ and the few beers to put us all to sleep in a Chalet.

In the morning there was bacon 'n eggs and lots of Gatorade. We all made our way to the lifts in the morning and rode our asses off.

Later in the day Tim, Rob and I were the last men standing/riding and decided to shoot a few photos in the upper sub-alpine of Sunpeaks.

The photos below are the shots we took.



Me (Dean)

Friday, July 21, 2006

2006 Lift Extravaganza - Day 1: Whistler

The 2006 Lift Extravaganza

What is this you might be thinking? 6 guys 3 days 3 mountain and non stop riding.

Our adventure started on July 21 when we departed from Seymour's Pub in North Vancouver to head to Whistler. 2 trucks loaded to the rafters with bikes, bike gear, clothes and BEER.

It was a hot day in the Holy Land of lift access mountain biking. The lines were pretty clear as well so we were able to get in as many runs as we possibly could. Garbanzo was open all day so several trips of the higher alpine trails were had by all.

There were a few hiccups though......6 flats in the group and one front brake replacement. I was dubbed the mechanic for the trip so I helped with most repairs...the flats and I did the brake replacement at the truck with Rob where we needed to MacGyver the grip off his bike.

Overall Whistler rocked! We arrived at lift opening and stayed until a half hour before closing. We hit the road for a long drive on Duffy Lake Highway to Kamloops to ride Sun Peaks the next day.

Group Shot near the top of Garbanzo at Whistler:
Back Row Tim, Dean, Mike, Steve
Front Row Wilby, Rob

The drive from Whistler to Kamloops was long and HOT!! In fact during the weekend of the Extravaganza there were several temperature records set across the province. While at Whistler we saw 37.3 °C, at Sun Peaks 38.7°C and Silverstar was 37°C.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The 3 Amigos on Eagle Mountain

Well, it has bad been quite a while since I had last ridden Eagle and tonight the trails on Eagle kind of beat me up.

By some crazy coincidence we (Rob, Tim and I) decided to ride on the first rainy day in a month. The trails we rode were the 4 Lost Souls, The Dentist and Randy's.

The push up was,.......well steep, but that it Eagle. At the top of 4 Lost Souls we geared up and proceeded down the hill. This trail is so freaking fast that it can be over before you even know it. Hit after hit after hit. It is a trail where the saying "Commit or eat shit!!" comes into play. A cool step up to platform to a 5 footer to a 7 foot step-down........then a bigger drop to a hip to a big step-down to a bigger step down to another then another then another then wooden berm/wall ride to a HUGE wall-ride with 12 foot long planks of cedar which I launch off the end of 5 feet in the air and proceed straight across the trail and into the bushes where I get a stick wedged in my helmet cutting my forehead. It was so much fun that we went up again for another run. Hit after hit after hit, non stop fun.

After 4 lost souls we proceeded down The Dentist. On the push up we looked at a few new features that were on the trail since we had last ridden there. A huge 12x12 foot step down / drop to tranny. We eyed it up on push and though....ummm not today. Well by the time we made our way down the trail we were still on fire from 4LS so what the hell right. First Tim hit it and it was butter, so I hit it with a little table tweak and stomped it....butter, absolute butter smooth landing. That drop was PERFECT. Then the wall ride. My first run at it was really good. Rode it high and exited off about 4 feet in the air to the tranny. Second time with Rob and Tim watching I hit it a little vertical, slid down and wiped out. I dusted off the dirt on my bike and my ego and went back up to hit her again. This time popping and railing the wall. So much fun.

We made our way down to the gap to wooden step-up to platform to drop. Once again...sweet. The drop is a little bigger than I thought, but that is likely because I was going a little fast.

So by this time the clouds had rolled in on the hill and visibility was getting poor. There was one last little drop to a tranny made of rock. I rolled up blind but was told by Rob and Tim who were ahead of me that it was 5 feet to the tranny 6 foot drop. I got to the end of the ladder but popped of the end about 5 inches too late. I basically didn't see the end of the drop. Somehow I managed to hold on to a nose wheelie hard landing onto rocks, big rocks. In the air I was thinking this is really going to hurt. But god blessed my 888's this evening and I was able to ride it out without incident. My nuts did get scrubbed by my rear tire and my inner thighs were raw from hitting the back of my seat, but I was alright. A few deep breaths later and we were on our way.

We then went up the road to Randy's. A nice old school trail with a few drops and tight sections to make it fun. Well I was riding far too close to Tim and got to the end of a 3 foot drop and found myself in trouble going WAY TOO SLOW. I could not pull up in time. I nose off the end and had to abort and go flying without my bike. My bike then proceeded to cartwheel down the hill about 40 feet narrowly missing Tim who was oblivious to the Ollie hurtling towards him. I was shaken but unhurt. More of an ego thing as I could do that little drop with my eyes closed, but I was not paying close enough attention on a trail I had only ridden once before. So I went down the hill to get my bike and smartened up. No more stupid moves on a trail I don't know.

We then made our way to the backyard trail that makes its way behind the houses on the hill. It is a nice little flowing rip where you need to keep an eye out for hikers and dogs (I am not even sure if bikes are allowed to be on this trail, but it sure is fun). Back to the cars and we were done our ride. 2 1/2 hours of Eagle Mountain fun.

I tip my hat to the guys that build and maintain Eagle and hope to get out there again soon, only next time in the dry.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Night Vibe

Night riding. There really is nothing else like it. How many sports are there out there where people participate in by the light of the sun but when the sun sets a whole different breed of folks come out to the play in the dark. Tim and I had a wicked night ride. It was like the night ride gods had issued us a free pass and covered us with flow and a positive vibe that radiated from our beings. The location was The Woodlot, the route was Krazy Karpenter, Blood Donor, Giant Killer, Snakes and Ladder and finally Shotgun.

The last time I was up riding these trails last week, the upper trails were covered in wet compact snow which made riding the woodwork quite treacherous but since then we have had some rain and warmer weather so the trails were free of snow. Riding with a HID on the handle bars and a 50W headlamp is an absolute dream so shredding the trails at night is a total blast. Krazy Karpenter has recently seen some maintenance and a very classic wood structure has recently been fixed and is now again safe to ride. Tim and I rode the ladder around and through stump a couple times each and even and went on to inspect the handiwork of the builder (Bill). The wood work on his structures is unlike any other I have seen. Rather than using round stringers or poles for his support beams he mills his own beams into 6"x6" or larger. If I ever wanted a rustic log house built, I would call on Bill to build it for me.

Well after Tim and I had a good look at all the woodwork we continued on down the Karpenter to Blood Donor. The gaps are not something we hit in the dark, but the drop into the compression is always fun in the dark. Doing a 7 foot drop into darkness takes a little getting used to. After Blood Donor we hit Giant Killer and then on over to Snakes and Ladders. Cat and mouse as always on Snakes and then a quick pedal over to Shotgun where we played cat and mouse once again.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Snow Day

I love snow rides, there is just something that makes a ride extra special when you are riding in the snow. The plan of attack to day was for Tim and I to arrive at 7:30am and get up the hill and do some maintenance on Snakes and Ladders until Rob arrived at ~8:45am then head up for a ride. Well needless to say that due to the abundance of snow on the trail our plan was quickly thrown out the window and the day simply consisted of a ride.........we weren't really complaining.

Tim and I headed up the snow covered hill with one hand pushing our bikes and the other holding a hot Tim Horton's coffee. Once we were past the steep part where you can pedal with only one hand on the bar we rode along sipping Java taking in the cool morning air on the snow covered forest floor. As we were nearing the part of the climb Tim had a bit of a mechanical (his chain snapped) so we both decided to just push our bikes the rest of the way up and fix his ride later.

This was my first ride on my newly built up Heckler and my first impressions were really good.

Tim and I rode half way down the trail to wait for Rob and attempt to work on the trail a little but once Rob arrived we ripped as a trio down Snakes and Ladders.

After the quick blast down Shotgun, Tim had too leave but Rob and I stayed around for a while to test ride some Cannondale bikes that were brought to the Woodlot by the local dealer Experience Cycling.

I chose to ride the Prophet MX and Rob got the Prophet XC. We climbed to the top of Shotgun and blasted down at a good pace. Overall not a bad ride, but my first impression of the Heckler was much better. Once at he bottom we thanked the shop for letting us try the bikes and we were on our way.

Not a bad day of riding in the snow.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Lantern Light

Tonight's ride was the first ride in 2006. The plan for Tim and I was to pedal up to Snakes and Ladders and build for a few hours in the dark and then ride down Snakes and Ladders then finish our ride on Shotgun.

I arrived at the Woodlot at around 6pm and Tim was there in his new (new to him) 1967 VW Transporter quad cab truck. He was at the rear of the truck fiddling with the engine as all VW owners do at some point. We unloaded our bikes put on our rain gear and headed up the hill. To illuminate the trail I was sporting my XC helmet with my HID light which worked really well. I also brought a propane lantern that we plan on leaving on the trail for night building.

Onward and upward we went to Snakes and Ladders to work on the first 40 feet of the trail to stop the erosion that was taking place from traffic and rain. Once we had the lantern set up it was pretty cool working on the trail in the dark. My HID on the head helped me see with zero issues and the lantern lit up the whole section we were working on.

After building the two of us boarded our bikes and rode our trail with a great vibe after our first night build. I have a feeling we are going to be doing this more and more.

After Snakes it was Shotgun out to the car. A great night overall.