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.

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