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.