Sunday, December 30, 2007

Snow Ride

So today was the second ride on my new 2008 Banshee Rune. When I arrived at The Woodlot there were 2 other vehicles with the riders just getting ready to go for a spin the the snow. I recognized one of the guys as a regular at The Woodlot and we all decided to ride together in the snow. In the parking area there was about 6 inches of snow and once we hit the trail up, we realized that the whole ride up was going to be a push.

When we hit Quick Hit there were a few trees down across the road from heavy wet snow, so I got out my folding saw and we removed them. I think a few of the guys were resenting riding with me a bit because I stopped at every blown down tree that was on the trail to clear it.

It was soon clear that we were not going to get very high on the mountain today. The snow was just too deep and really heavy. Once we reached the turn off for Snakes and Ladders we decided that this was as high as we would go. Any higher just wouldn't be worth the effort. We paused briefly for a group shot and then I lead the surge down the trail.......well it wasn't quite a surge.

Group shot

There was allot of pushing involved because the snow was so deep, but closer to the bottom we were actually able to ride on the trail. On the road out at the bottom of Snakes there were a few fallen trees down which we were able to remove with a bit of muscle.

I then rode to Shotgun but the others rode Bloggy Style. The top section of Shotgun appeared to have been swept of most of the snow on the trail. I have no idea who did it but thank you to who ever went through the effort to make the trail more rideable.

I rode at a good pace in the snow down to my truck and packed up the bike to head home. There was one other person getting ready to go for a ride and I informed him of the rather lack luster conditions. All in all not the best ride as the last spin on my bike for 2007 but am sure looking forward to a new year on the trails.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Installation Lap: 2008 Banshee Rune

So I had been looking to get a new frame for the last couple months to replace my aging Heckler. Something new to get me up and down the hills. There were a few different bikes I had been looking at lately and when I was told I was going to be waiting quite a while for a particular frame (Norco Fluid LT) I decided it was time to look elsewhere. I happened to be on a popular website BB forum and noticed that Banshee had redone their website and as it turns out, the bike on the intro page of their site was just the bike I was looking for.

The 2008 Banshee RUNE. It offers the stand-over I am looking for, the travel I am looking for and the weight I am looking for. So I decided to bite the bullet and purchase a new frame without ever seeing the frame in person. I was very pleased when the frame arrived at my local shop (Maple Ridge Cycle) within 1 day from Banshee and I was really impressed by the fit and finish of the frame. It included an extra mech hanger, seat-post and a seat-post collar (plus a few extra pieces of swag.....t-shirt and stickers). As it turns out, I have the very first Rune purchased in North America.

The next day I stripped my trusty Heckler of all its parts and built up the Rune. When lifting the bike I could tell was noticeably lighter than the Heckler using the exact same build.

This then brings me to my ride today. I was at The Woodlot bright and early and I was the first one to ascend into the rain forest. My route up was the skidder to Stovetop to the powerlines and up to Krazy Karpenter.

I normally have a bit of a hard time climbing very first part of the hill because it is so steep and in the past the front of my Heckler tended to lift. On the Rune there was a noticeable difference. I was not fighting at all to keep the front end of the bike down which made the climb much easier. So from the get go I was impressed. The Heckler kind of bobs when you climb and you know when the suspension is moving up and down. With the Rune, the suspension is invisible. You don't really feel it moving at all. The trail is simply smoothed out without the suspension letting you know it is doing it's job.

On the Rune I chose to go with the Manitou ISX-6 Evolver rear shock. It is my first air shock and it likely will not be my last as I am really quite impressed with this shock. As my initial set-up, I went with 150psi in the main chamber, 75psi in the bottom out and set the high and low speed compression settings a little shy of wide open. The bike felt really good, but I know I can tune it to be better.

As I stated, the climb was much easier on this bike than my normal climb. Unfortunately half way up the hill I ran into snow on the trail that I really was not expecting. I say unfortunately because it began to get so deep that I had to dismount and push my bike as I neared the top. I paused to snap a few photos of my new steed and then began the descent on my new bike.

Krazy Karpenter was the trail where the true test for the bike was to happen. I was not disappointed at all. Plush is the word, super plush. In the past when I grabbed the brake on a descent I would feel the suspension stiffen and squat but on the Rune it simply floated over the gnarl of the trail. The bike was really snappy in tight corners between trees and over rocks. The head angle was just right for riding steep sections of trail without getting even a hint of a flip flop front end. The angles and mechanics of this frame are spectacular.

After Karpenter I rode Upper and Lower Toadstool and found that it railed the turns with ease. The Heckler sometimes felt like it would wash out on some corners where the Rune stayed hooked up and on line. The lower section of Lower Toadstool has tight smooth switchbacks that can cause problems with poor steering bikes. I had not an issue.

At the bottom of Lower Toadstool I raised the seat of the Rune and pedaled over to Snakes and Ladders. The climb, effortless, the descent, dreamy. Once again I stopped for a photo at the trail head and ripped the trail top to bottom taking my usual lines. This bike makes riding fast far easier and way more fun. On choppy sections the trail is smoothed over by the fluid suspension and because of that, you then ride faster and look farther and farther down the trail to pick the fastest line popping off any little rock or hit you can find.

On the last section of Snakes on the the new line there are 2 corners that when railed in succession give me a feeling of exhilarating because you get shot from one to the other. On the Rune this feeling of getting propelled out of the corners is amplified when compared to the other bikes I have ridden. It rails really well, especially in the tight spots.

I then headed to Shotgun where I ran into Ewan who was doing some maintenance on the trails. I said hello and I was on my way. Shotgun was a total hoot. Not a single complaint from the bike and not a single complaint from me about the bike. My initial impression of the bike is that I am blown away by how good it feels. It is light, snappy fast and smooth. I am really impressed with the performance of the bike right out of the box.

I am sure I will remain impressed with it in the future and I am sure I will get a lot of use out of my new bike.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dark, wet, cold and a beer

So Tim and I hit The Woodlot tonight for a ride. There had been a little wet snow in the area, but I didn't really expect the slush that we encountered on the trails. In the parking area I was really glad that I had brought a good jacket as there was several inches of wet slushy snow on the ground.

Even in the rain the climb wasn't bad and on our way up we chatted about life in general. Riding has an effect on people, especially during the climb, you just seem to talk about things that are on your mind and actually mean much better than idle BS chit chat.

Because the snow was getting deeper than our shoes and it was getting a little colder than we both...........well I had prepared for, we stopped our climb at Tsuga and started down.

The bikes poised for the ride in the snow.

Tsuga was wicked in the fresh wet snow. The trail was neither too slippery or too wet, just right for making the roots invisible and keeping us on our toes. Tim started the descent and then half way down I took the lead at one of the rock faces. Tsuga is a nice natural run with a mixed bag of terrain to ride on.

Of course after Tusga we hit Snakes and Ladders. There was a lot less snow on Snakes, but by no means was it a cake walk. The darkness, the snow, rain and slush made the ride one where we were having to keep our wits about us. The end of the trail was especially fun chasing each other through the blackened forest.

We then headed to Shotgun, where to our surprise, someone had cleared the 3 fallen trees off the trail near the clearcut. It was clear sailing the whole way down.

At the parking lot we loaded the bikes and I broke out a couple beers for us to quench our thirst after a sweet, sweet ride in the wet snow.

mmmmm, beer and a smile

Using my built in bottle opener

Sunday, December 09, 2007

First Tracks in Fresh Flakes

This morning I woke up early to get in a good ride and build on Snakes and Ladders. I planned on going to the top, riding down and filming my ride on all the trails.

When I looked out the window as I was getting up, I saw snow.......:-) I had a happy face on when I saw the white stuff falling. I love snow rides and it had only just been snowing about an hour or so as there was not much on the ground. This meant it would be an easy pedal up.

When I arrived there was one other vehicle in the parking area but the riders had not exited their truck yet. I hopped out and geared up and then 2 more vehicles showed up. A total of 12 riders at about 8:30am on a Sunday all itching to rip it up in the snow. This is what it is all about. I ran into Trevor that I met at the Giant Killer trail day and said hello.

Because I was on a bit of a schedule, I decided to ride solo and made my way up alone in the snow. The climb was nice, although I did not have my climbing legs today at all. I felt kinda sluggish, even with the new riding shorts my mom had bought me for my birthday recently.

I paused to take a shot of the hill and my bike on the climb. It's almost eerie how tranquil it is in the forest when it is snowing.

I rested while taking this shot of the climb.

So the rest of the climb up was pretty standard except at the power-lines where the ground was a sheet of ice covered in a dusting of snow. I found this out the hard way.

Once across the powerlines and back in the trees on my way to the Goldmine trail, I felt so isolated from the rest of the world. I could not hear ANYTHING other than snow falling and the sound of my tires rolling in the snow. Not a single sound from any other soul was penetrating the insulated snow covered forest.

At the trail head for Goldmine I geared up, started my camera rolling and put on my helmet. The following video is footage of Goldmine. It was a pretty fun ride in the snow and ice.......except for the spill I took on the first bridge that is basically a Popsicle. I edited out the mishap.

Goldmine Trail

After Goldmine I made my way to Snakes and Ladders. I had planned on building today, but he ground was too hard/frozen to do any real work, so it was purely a ride. I did however stop to clear one fallen tree near the top of the trail.

Snakes and Ladders in the snow.

Then I made my way over to Bloggy Style to have a rip before hitting Shotgun. I like this trail. This was only my second time riding it so I was a little lost on it at times due to the snow, but it was fun.

Jamie's new creation, Bloggy Style put to some classic Snoop Dog.

Then after Bloggy Style it was down Shotgun which ripped soooo well in the snow and out to the truck. At the bottom I snapped a shot of my filthy, icy but ever so trusty ride. After getting changed I was homeward bound, but not before picking up a Double Double for me and the wife.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Evening Lights

It's been a few weeks since I was on my bike. Getting out to build a week and a half ago on Giant Killer was a nice change, but I always like to get out for a spin on my bike.

Given the fact that the sun sets so early in the day this late in the fall it only makes sense to go riding at night.

Tim and I met up at The Woodlot at 7:30pm. In the last week it had snowed then rained torrentially and for the last 2 days not a drop of rain had fallen so we knew the trails would be moist but not sopping wet. Due to the moisture in the air it felt cold, really cold, the kind of cold you feel all the way to the bone.

I was not feeling all that great on the climb as I've had a bit of a cold for the last week or so. In other words I didn't pedal up as far as I usually do but I trudged on clearing my lungs when ever needed.

At the power lines there was a fair amount of water running down the road, but no snow at all at the top. We geared up under the tower and started our descent on Krazy Karpenter.

Things were damp and slick but all was good. A little TLC is still needed on the trail but she runs well none the less. On the first classic big log ride I kind of had to JUMP off a little early. As I approached the plank up on to the log, I was slightly diagonal and this then translated into a line taking me off into oblivion on the super slick log.

Further down the trail we paused to take a photo or two of a classic feature on Karpenter. Around and through the log we both went taking turns being the photographer.

Me riding around and through the stump.

Tim riding around and through the stump.

At Blood Donor Tim and I rode smooth and safe hitting all the fun nuggets on the way down. At the bottom we made an attempt a certain type of night shot, but it did not really work out the way we wanted. But I was able to take this neat eerie picture.

The eerie shot

At Giant Killer we paused in spots to examine some of the work performed on the trail day and rode smoothly down the line. At the bottom we made our way to Snakes and Ladders and on the way I showed him here BloggyStyle starts.

At Snakes and Ladders I set up my helmet camera on my uber custom mount and we ripped down Snakes like nobody's business. There was one or two trees down on the trail but overall the trail war running perfectly. We rode the new line of course and had a wicked rip. I tailed Tim super close on the new line which made for a hairy ride for me as I could just barely see where I was going being so close.

The helmet cam footage of Snakes at Night

We then headed over to Shotgun and rode that trail chasing each other as well. A few trees have been down for a while in the middle section of the trail, but will likely be removed in the next little while. Shotgun was wicked fun and out to the cars it was.

We had a great ride taking the time to shoot a few photos. Wicked fun in the darkness of The Woodlot.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Woodlot Trail Day - Giant Killer

So in this post on my riding journal I am deviating from my normal writing subject.

Today there was a trail day at The Woodlot on Giant Killer, so I showed up to take part in the trail day and take part in fixing up a trail that gets allot of riders on a near daily basis.

I arrived at The Woodlot 0007 main gate and was let in so that I could drive up to the bottom of the trail. When I arrived there were a dozen or so builders there from the Maple Ridge area and from Mission, Abbotsford area who are all part of the Fraser Valley Mountain Bike Association (FVMBA). I was finally able to meet Gary, Trevor, Steve and the old guy Tom ;-)

Ladder Re-Build

I grabbed my pack from my truck with my sharpened axe in hand and headed up the trail to see what I was to do today. After speaking with Cory and Ewan I headed up to the top of the trail to fix a badly eroded corner. With me I took 2 young riders that were there to assist in the building. Once at the top we simply go to work gathering rock. Basically when building, the bigger the rock the better and the more rock you have the better. Once rock gets put in place and locked in with some dirt, you don't really ever need to come back to fix it as rock doesn't erode.

After a while a few more people showed up and the top (Trevor, Jamie, Rich, Gary) and a few other kids who's names I cannot remember. It's really kinda funny.....building that is......everyone has a different take on how to do things. After a little planning and a little give and take the whole section was rocked in with the granite being placed by Trevor, Jamie and I. The younger guns dug all the dirt and the corner was groomed to perfection. It should now run solid for the life of the trail.

Nasty corner now filled with rock

A before and after shot

The progression of the rock work

One amusing thing that happened was a couple of the young guys decided to dig out a HUGE rock. I helped them get it out of the hole it was in, but in the end it was so freaking big that they (5 teens and a one adult) could not move it down the trail. They decided to leave in on the side of the trail as a way to remind themselves of the work they did today.

Trevor and I then proceeded a little ways down the trail to fix a small hit on the left side of the trail, we basically benched the collapsing slope in and cleaned up the jump. With the speed the buffed corner will produce, this rebuilt hit will now easily be able to the hipped or rolled for a little added pleasure on the trail.

By this time it was around 1pm and I was hungry, so I walked down the trail to the bottom were it was burgers and drinks served up by Rob from Experience Cycling. Great guy, good shop and good burgers. I chatted with a few other guys that are a part of the FVMBA and I then decided to put in a little more work so I went back up and help to rock and dirt in another section of trail on the lower part of the line.

Many sections of the trail were worked on today and lots of rock and dirt was moved and groomed. Ladders were fixed and a ton of much needed maintenance was completed. Though I was not able to stay to the very end I walked away after putting in my time knowing that the work done today is going to make Giant Killer run a lot better over the winter and for many more seasons to come.

A great effort was put in by everyone that was there and my hat goes off to those that participated.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Lights In Action

Tonight was the first night ride of the season and man did we ever pick a nice night to get out for a ride, I'd almost say perfection. The moon was full and not a cloud in the sky. When Tim and I arrived around 7pm it was cold enough that here was frost on the ground but not too cold to ride.

Once we were both properly bundled up for the ride in the hills, we started our ascent into the darkness. Ski gloves and a toque are now my staples for a cold weather ride. If my hands and head are warm I am good to go.

On the ride up we chatted about all kinds of things; from bikes and cars to our wives and kids. I think I have only gone on two solo night rides and there is good reason for that. Riding in the dark is sooooo much more fun with others.

At the powerlines there was so much moonlight that you could see Mount Baker way off on the horizon (the city lights are Mission on the left and Abbotsford to the right).

The moonlight skyline

So once at Goldmine trail we each took our time gearing up, making sure to set our lights up correctly and down the trail it was. It is like this trail was designed for night riding. We had a hoot. About half way down we adjusted Tim's suspension and what a difference softening things up makes.

Once on Snakes and Ladders it was time to take out the camera and snap some shots of our lights in action on the trail. For my first attempt at shooting at night I am pleased with how the pictures turned out.

Tim zooming past

Tim lighting the trail painting red dotted line.

Riding the new section of Snakes in the the dark was awesome. The line just flows. At the bottom I was practically giggling by how much fun the line was to ride at night.

On the traverse over to Shogun it was amazing looking at the glittering frost on the gravel and small grass that lined our path. It was like our bikes were being lead down a priceless track of tiny diamonds.

At Shotgun we let go of the brakes and shot down the line without a care. Only one large tree remains blocking the line from the windstorm last weekend. At the clearcut opening I had to watch my speed very carefully on the long wooden ladder otherwise I'd likely of ended up in in pieces kicked off the edge of the line.

Finally at the vehicles Tim and I talked about our next possible ride, plans for building and the vibe we had from this ride.

I've once again been bitten by the night riding bug.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rockin in the Rain

Once again it was raining.....nothing is quite like the fall in Southern BC. I rode at The Woodlot, solo today. I had a limited amount of time and I really wanted to put in some hours getting a puddle section of Snakes and Ladders running dry.

I pedaled to Snakes on my Heckler and once at the trail head I geared up, fixed a little bit of trail at the top and then rode down a a fairly good clip. There were no addtional fallen trees on the trail so it was clear sailing the whole way. Once at the new section I grabbed my pruning shears from my pack and started trimming the labyrinth of roots that were draped over a certain part of the trail. It really is amazing how the proper tools can make building sooooo much easier. With the roots gone I grabbed some tools I needed and headed back to the wet spot below the rock face.

The section I worked on has always been a trouble spot for wetness. I decided it was time to really fix this section once and for all. So I dug up the dirt to gold soil below and stared setting in the stones. In the end I think I did a good 12 feet of rocking that all cambers to the outside and 'should' drain and remain dry for many years to come.

After working as long as I could I dropped off the tools and packed an axe on my back that needs sharpening. Boarded my bike, tested the new rocked in section for line selection and flow (flows nicely) and ripped the rest of the trail. Have I said I like the new extension?!!! Oh god it is fun.

I then had a peek at the trail we discovered a few weeks ago. Lets just say it no longer exists....chainsaw massacre!

I then went to Shotgun and rode out to the truck. Great shot ride, but more importantly I was able to get some work done on a wet spot. Looking forward to getting that whole section finally rocked in with the rock I stacked 18 months ago.

Monday, November 12, 2007

33 second ride with Tim

Today Tim and I decided it was time to finally open the 'new line' on Snakes and Ladders, so we went for a bit of a ride and then did some maintenance on the trail and 'opened' the new line.

There had been quite a bit of wind in the last few days and this morning was no different, in fact it this morning it was blowing even stronger. There were many trees down all over the Lower Mainland causing downed power lines and power outages all over the place.

Once we arrived we geared up and started our climb into the howling forest. I know it is not exactly the smartest thing to be riding a bike in a forest in a windstorm, but imagine the stories you can tell when you are old and gray. We could hear trees and branches falling from time to time and every now and then we'd stop and look up to make sure something was not ready to pop us on the head.

It had really been a while since I'd ridden with Tim and he an I had allot to talk about on the ride up. It really doesn't get much better than riding with friends. The ride up almost always gives you the chance to talk about life or current events or just BS about nothing at all. On this ride up I had a lot of things I talked to Tim about.

We decided to climb up to Tsuga and ride down from there. At Tsuga there were a few smaller trees and branches down, but nothing that couldn't be cleared by hand. It was a nice rip down chasing each other on the line and we then headed over to Snakes and Ladders. At Snakes we stopped at any fallen tree to clear it or hop over to keep moving down the trail to the tools.

Once we reached the new section and the tools, we grabbed the chainsaw, axe and mattock. Tim carried the chainsaw and I had the other tools and we walked up the trail cutting fallen trees and fixing mud holes. When we were done the trail was clear of blow-down and it was relatively free of mud holes. Those that were not easily fixed will be taken care of in the coming weeks.

We then went back down to the new line and ripped it all the way down. It is crazy how little time it takes to ride a sweet section of trail and how long it actually takes to build it. Tim and I had been working on this section since the summer. Many hours were put in by both parties and in the end the new line is 33 seconds of actual riding time. 33 seconds.

In those 33 seconds there are dozens of corners to rail, trees to dodge with your shoulders, rolls in the terrain to pump and one little jump to hit and duuring all of this you don't even have to do a single pedal stroke. You glide and pump the whole thing.

After Snakes and Ladders we made our way to Shotgun. By this time the rain had started falling and the wind remained as tenacious as ever. For the most part Shotgun was clear........that was until we made it the the clear cut section where another BIG tree had fallen across the trail before the road. After climbing over the tree we ripped the rest of the trail to the jump over the log beside the classic Shotgun rock. Tim was leading and out of the corner of my eye I could see a tree hanging at head level that I had never seen before. Tim hit the jump and immediately upon landing I could see him duck his head down. I being shorter in stature did not need to duck. Had Tim not ducked I think I'd be carrying him out on my shoulders. We stopped and he had a jittery hand shaking holy crap moment to gather his thoughts and we were on our way to finish the ride.

At the cars we decided it was time to get the lights out and do a night ride some time soon. Hopefully we get out in the dark soon. After a further chat about life and other such things we each got in our vehicles and headed to our respective homes.

Great ride, great meaningful conversation and finally we have opened a new section of Snakes and Ladders.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Remembrance Day Ride 2007

Today I went on the 5th annual Remembrance Day ride. Today's ride was different than those in the past. This year I rode solo and the ride was taking place at The Woodlot.

I did a little searching on the internet and planned a long route up into the mountains that would take me to places I have never ridden before. The night before the ride I had my bike ready and my gear packed read for an early morning ascent up into the clouds. Once parked, I pedaled up as far my legs would take me and when I could no longer pedal, I pushed and even dragged my bike up the trail until I could go no further.

Lately I have had a tremendous number of things in my life to think about. Often when riding up I have an opportunity to tune out the elements and the exertion my body is making and I am able to think deeply about 'things'. As I said before, I had a lot on my mind so the extra long climb allowed me to sort out the issues affecting my life. In the end, I ended up going up and over one mountain and then on my way up another. I finally stopped climbing when I was ankle deep in snow and soaked to the bone deep in the forest with a clear mind.

At 11am I stopped at the crest of a mountain and watched the clouds roar past carried by a strong stormy wind leaving a glimpse of clear blue skies off in the distance. These images reminded me of sacrifices that Canadian soldiers made in the wars they have fought have allowed me the freedom to be able to enjoy my life. They have given me the freedom to do what I want to do on a daily basis. Though I may not express my admiration for soldiers on a day to day basis, I completely respect what they do and always treat them with the utmost of respect, because that is what they deserve.

So my route down took me back to the Goldmine trail and then over to Snakes and Ladders, the trail right above Shotgun and then finally Shotgun.

This map shows my route up in Blue and route down in Red

View Larger Map

My muddy bike and gear after the ride

This ride gave me an opportunity to deeply reflect on many things in my life and to pay my respects to those that have fought in wars that preserve our way of life.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Beginning to the New End

Today of all days I decided to go for a ride. I had been beautiful all week.......before today. Late last night it started raining and luckily for me I picked up a new soft compound tire for the rear of my bike. Basically I am now running my winter tires on my hard tail (winter here means wet......not necessarily snow and ice).

Anyways I was in the mood to climb today. In fact if I had picked a hill with more single track climbs, I would have probably enjoyed myself a little more. Call me weird, but I was wanting to climb. BUT I was riding at The Woodlot today so I climbed up the road as I usually do and then I ripped my shorts. The front of my seat grabbed some fabric and shorts are in need of a lot of TLC. This threw a big glitch into my riding as the hole was now continuously getting hung up on my seat while climbing. The only solution was to rip off my shorts but that just wouldn't be wise, so I decided to cut my climb short and go build for a longer period on Snakes and Ladders.

Before I built anything I stopped in a really cool area of the forest and took a few shots of the open forest on a moss covered rock. The BC forests are truly spectacular places to explore and enjoy your pursuits in life.

As far as the building went, well we are really close to opening up this line now. REALLY close. Tim decided that he would kind of reroute the beginning of the new line to gain access to the existing line at a different spot. I'd looked at that spot before but never really thought much of it and just thought we would take a different line. HOWEVER after Tim cleared the debris off the line I saw the vision of this line. So I got out the pick and started digging down to gold dirt. It took a while and a lot of effort, but the new part is going to be 100% gold AND there will likely be a sweet technical drop in line when we are all said and done.

After building I packed up and rode out. Not a single sole came down the line. It was far too wet for most people today.

Shotgun was alright even in the pouring rain. At my truck I thought I'd snap a shot of my trusty steed. I must say that my bike looks far cleaner than I thought it would after riding in all the mud. I guess it was raining so hard that most of the mud got washed off.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Mission Accomplished

I had a couple things I really wanted to get done today. 1.) To have a look at a trail that is not suppose to exist. 2.) To build on Snakes and Ladders. I wanted to get the 'difficult' corner complete.

My ride started a little late for me; 9:30am. At the parking area there were 2 other trucks already there......grrrr, I was not the first on the hill. I was full of energy today so the climb up was easy as pie. I noticed there were allot of tracks coming out of the newer line that goes from Upper Toadstool and spits you out at Shotgun. I guess it is time for me to find out the name of this line.

I didn't want to waste any time at all so I rode up to Quick Hit to have a look and make sure she is in good shape. Besides the big trees across the trail, it is in fine shape. I then made my way to another mystery trail. It seems some Trolls started a trail that is not suppose to exist. From looking at it you can tell that they were looking for log rides and any feature that presented itself, but allot of important trail building issues were over looked. The ladder in the picture below will be so slippy in a few months due to wood selected for the rung that it would end up being a dry weather trail only. I am not sure as to what is going to happen to this trail. Not sure at all. I guess I will need to find out if others have dealt with the builder already.

Anyhow, I made my way back over the mountain to Snakes and Ladders. At the building section I took a few before shots and go to work filling the framing of the corner that Tim did last week with rock and dirt. Buckets and buckets of rock and dirt. The corner is 95% complete. I am really happy with it. I rode it and it flows, in fact it is far better than I expected. We are soooo close now I can smell it.

While working 9 riders came down Snakes in the course of a half hour. It gave me a good opportunity to have a snack and take a break. Once my couple of hours were up, I pushed up to the start of the new line and rode it in its entirety. I am happy with everything we have done to this point. I then rode out to the bottom and rode over to Shotgun. I met up with Experience Cycling's final group ride for the season and rolled by them pausing to say hi to Rob.

At the parking area it was extremely busy with cars and trucks everywhere. I said hi to a few people I know then loaded up and drove home knowing that I had done what I set out to do today; to have a look for some Trolls and work on the 'difficult' corner.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Rob and the Rain

This weekend I rode with a good buddy, no building, just riding in the ever so plentiful B.C. rain. Rob was down from Kamloops and he brought his bike so early in the morning I picked him up and we hit The Woodlot for a WET and muddy ride.

We both knew it was going to be raining the whole ride, so for the most part we dressed for the occasion and made our way up into the clouds. On the way up we talked about this and that and how much drier it was in Kamloops. We decided that a run of Krazy Karpenter, Upper and Lower Toadstool, Snakes and Ladders and finally Shotgun was in order.

We geared up in the trees at Karpenter and then let go of the brakes. I started riding the long log ride near the top but traction was near zero so a quick wheelie drop off the log was in order and I was back on terra firma. Unfortunately Karpenter has not seen any maintenance for a while and there is broken woodwork and other issues all over the place. Considering how long it has been and how many people actually ride the trail it is standing up quite well, but it needs some work in places.

After Karpenter it was Upper Toadstool where Rob decided he'd make an attempt at bitching me into riding the long log on Upper Toadstool. Really I don't know why he said what he did, I ride the log every single time I am on the trail. Wet, dry, sleet, snow, I have never skipped the log......but what he said irked me. "I wanna see you wipe out on the log" were his words. Pardon? I had his voice in my head the whole way along it. Sure it was wet and slimy and slippy, but there was no way in hell I was going to wipe out. When I cleaned I gave out a big PFFT!!!! and rode out the rest of the trail thinking 'haha, in your face'. Turns out he never even made an attempt at riding it himself....punk! ;-)

We then made our way down to Lower Toadstool which Rob had not ridden in a long, long time. This was going to be the first time he had ridden it since the new woodwork was built on it over the past few months. Rob loves ladders so he was as giddy as a pig in mud. All the rework on Lower Toadstool has made a trail that was ordinary into a total joyous rip. Nothing techy, nothing huge, nothing overly steep, just a fun winding rip down the hill.

We then made our way over to Snakes and Ladders. After riding our trail countless times we have it totally figured out and ride it without a second thought. It has seen a lot of traffic over the past months and years since I started working on it, but she is still holding up well even with the rain.

Both Rob and I stopped to film ourselves riding a few sections of Snakes.

Dean at the rock drop.

Rob on the jump section.

So at the new part of the line we walked a few parts to see how the drainage was working and so far we see no issues at all. Total ripping fun. It was nice to see what Tim had done days prior.

At this point we were absolutely soaked to the bone, but our route took us over to Shotgun as our last trail. I was on the big bike today (Ollie) and I can say that without any doubt it eats up the trail. At the truck we dried off as best we could, loaded up the bikes and headed home.

Great ride with Rob....even if he's no longer a local.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Keep your head up!

It's been a while since I have been on my bike in the woods; 2 weeks in fact. I had spent the last week with my 1 year old daughter in the hospital. She was there 9 nights, 8 days with IV antibiotics, surgery at BC Children's Hospital and lots and lots of blood tests. She is MUCH better now and has the sparkle in her eye that daddy always looks for. So today I took today off work to spend some time with my 2 kids and to got out for a quick build and ride.

I arrived early at The Woodlot with not a soul in sight. The climb is getting easier and easier every time I go up. Stovetop was the route and as usual it did not let me down. I really didn't know where I was going to ride today. I did not have a lot of time on my hands so rather than spend it on a long climb, I spent it building.

The climb took me to Tsuga and then down to Snakes and Ladders. I rode all the way to the bottom and decided to go have a look at S.O.S. as it had been a while since I saw what Johnny had built there. What I saw did not disappoint. That is a truly BIG HIT section that looks wicked.

So after my lookyloo I made my way back to Snakes and Ladders and pushed back up the trail all the way to the building section. Upon my arrival I saw that Tim had been up during the week and totally buffed the section I roughed in last week. He also removed the HUGE rock that we in middle of the line. GOOD WORK TIMMY!! I parked my bike, took a few before pictures of what I was going to be working on and got to work.

The area I concentrated on was a corner that was completely surrounded by red rot and duff. Upon a close examination of a certain tree and a good look at where the line would flow best, I determined that a particular dead standing tree needed to be 'removed' so I cut the roots around it with an axe and pushed that puppy down by hand.

If you are going to be pushing trees in the forest, remember to keep your head up.

After the tree was out of the way and the surrounding duff and red rot out of the line, it was clear this was what was needed. This corner that had been haunting me was now going to be perfect.

I was out of time by now so I packed the tools up, got on my bike and rode out the rest of the trail. The last 2 turns of the extension are really taking shape well and if railed right set you up perfectly for the baby hit at the end.

Shotgun was a good ride. With the recent rains the trail had little puddles here and there but like all the trails at The Woodlot it will be looked after in due time.

At the bottom there were 2 cars in addition to mine with riders itching to get up the hill to get their fix.

Good day of productive building and a nice little ride. The saying keep your head up applies to many things in life.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Weaving the Golden Ribbon

My routine lately on Saturday morning has been to rise early, load the bike on the truck and get to the build.

Today was no different. Well only that I didn't rise all that early.

9:30am and I was still the first one there. On the hardtail I climbed a up into the woods trying to escape the light rain that was falling from the autumn clouds that were enveloping the mountains.

I climbed directly to Snakes and Ladders today. No ride for me just building. I made it to the trail head in good time, geared up and started my ride down to the building spot. On the way I hit the regular jumps and stuff on the trail and wouldn't ya know it......I had virtually no front brakes. I found this out after the root gap jump; I blew through the left hand berm and wiped out. That'll teach me!!

On my way down I paid close attention to any missing/broken rung and any wet spots/puddles along the way. There are a few spots that will need a bit of work, but for now I am happy with the other words they can wait. Once at the building spot I parked my bike and got out the camera to take some before shots. I always find it amazing to see what the land looked like before we shape it into our little roller coaster ride down the mountain.

The goal today was simple for me. Build as much of the line at the top as possible. I worked my ass off today and got a lot done. We are close. Very close to having this line opened.

A before and after shot of a classic benched section. After clearing the top organic layer and other material the benched section came together well

Another before and after. While cutting this section of the line I knew it was going to be so much fun to rip. It's a golden ribbon of single track.

So once my time was expired I packed up the tools (shovel, axe, mattock and a rake) and rode down the new line and out the bottom of the trail. From the looks of it, a few people have been riding the extension. A lot of debris was cleared near the landing of the hit that we built.

Anyway, I pedaled to Shotgun and began my usual descent. I hit everything as normal at the top of the trail and set up for the jump near the top. I hit it with good speed but landed a tad nose heavy and then I heard a clank and a bang.........did my wheel explode? Did I break my frame? I make the motion to pedal, but there is no resistance. Broken chain? Nope, none of the above. The freaking B-bolt that holds the rear derailleur to the frame snapped. A few righteous words later and I was on my way down the hill..........coasting.

By not applying your virtually non existing brakes you can actually make it most of the way down Shotgun without any pedaling.

Once at the parking area there were a ton of vehicles and people mulling about getting ready to ride. I was feeling a little bitter with a broken bike but Rob from a local bike shop drove past and said howdy. He asked how things were and what not and then I mentioned the issue I had with my derailleur. I asked if he had any broken derailleurs of my flavor in the shop and if I might be able to pillage the bolt I need. Being the good guy he is he said he would have a look when he got to work in a few hours. Well guess what....he called me at home and told me he has what I need. The guys at Experience Cycling in Maple Ridge know how to take care of their customers. Later in the day I stopped in the shop and Rob gave me the bolt I needed. Outstanding!!! Good shop and great customer service!!!

So overall a great day of building and an okay ride with a partly broken bike. I was happy with the work I was able to get done and it'll be so nice to ride the new line all buffed up, we are close, so very close.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Passing Of Summer

The last official day of summer.

It was partly cloudy when I left the house.

It started raining during the climb.

I was riding my regular turf...The Woodlot. It was a little later start than what I am used to, but it felt great to get on the bike and ride in the hills. I was on my Heckler again.....I say that sarcastically because I really only seem to ride The Heckler nowadays. The hard tail is pulled out every now and then and the Ollie only seems like it is pulled out for the big hit days. I was kind of planning on getting a new frame this year, but I just seem to be liking the Heckler a little too much. It is simple, strong and does almost everything I ask it to do without a single complaint.

Anyhoo.....I rode up Stovetop again today in the wet and it actually seems easier than in the dry. I rolled over the sweet intersection of The Toadstools and then continued up the skidder to Tsuga. On the skidder I got absolutely soaked because when you pedal, you can't exactly stay centered on the trail to avoid the wet leaves that border the trail. The wetness aside, I had a good pedal up to Tsuga. At the trail head, I geared up and let go of the brakes.

Tusga was in great shape; no holes, no mud, no blowdown, just all natural goodness.

Once at Snakes and Ladders I took my time to see if there were any spots collecting water. There were a few, but a few minutes with a shovel is all that most need. For the most part, Snakes and Ladders is ready for the rains that are coming. A minimal amount of preventative work is all that is needed.

Timmy had been busy working on the trail at the extension. It is really close to being done. He had pretty much finished the hit that I roughed in last week. It was all framed and filled with dirt and tamped down. I was the first to hit it. Nothing big, but it puts you exactly where you need to be in the landing area. I cannot wait to totally dial the last section of the extension. I am really happy with what we have done.

So rather than work at the bottom of the extension, I took my bike up to the top and started work on removing a rather large amount of duff. The tie in to the original trail is not going to be as easy to construct as most of the extension we have done. The line consists of a trail builders nemesis.....DUFF. For a good 50 feet there is a substantial amount of duff, red rot, black, mossy, rooty, organic sloppy duff.

I spent 2 hours clearing 6 feet of trail. Thats right, 2 hours 6 feet. Some people wonder why it takes people so long to hand construct a trail. It is mainly because to do it right it takes a lot of back breaking exhausting work. Digging, picking, cutting and moving rock, dirt and removing roots all so that the trail will flow well and run smooth and dry.

This picture shows what I did today with an axe, mattock, shovel and saw. The cut into the duff is about 3 feet wide, at least 3 feet deep and about 6 feet long. It was a PITA to do, but it will be well worth it in the end.

This picture show just how much duff and stuff I threw down slope. All the red in the picture was my handiwork today.

During the course of doing this work today I had a few visitors on the trail. Firstly 4 guys hiked up the new line. There I was standing with an axe and 4 guys from Washington State walked up the trail dragging their bikes. They were lost. Not knowing how to find the beginning of the trail, they walked up form the bottom and somehow saw the new line and followed it to my location. How they found it I don't really know but they were happy to get some directions from me and they were on their way. One guy and his dog came down in near silence and then 2 guys that were hooting and hollering passed by.

Once I had emptied my tank, I packed up the tools and headed down the trail and out over to Shotgun. A quick blast down and then out to my vehicle. At the bottom I met up with a guy I had seen the last 3 weeks so we chatted for a bit then I got in my truck and homeward bound I was.

I managed to get a good chunk of work done on the trail and had a good solid ride as well.

Summer is gone, time for change.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Changing of the Seasons

This weekend I was able to escape reality once again and venture to The Woodlot early Saturday morning at sunrise. By the time I parked the sun had finished rising and I had the hill all to myself. I stopped at the Timmy Ho's on the way so I had an XL DD in hand and was eager to get to the dirt for a ride.

I was riding my Heckler this week and have made a bit of a deal with myself that I have to make an absolute effort to ride the whole way up when ever I am climbing. On a bike with a granny gear, there is no excuse..........I know I am going to regret this pact with myself.

Once I finished my coffee I began the real pedaling up the hill and I rode up Stovetop again. On the Heckler it is a little more of an effort as the front end want to come up on the bike, but with a little extra effort I was easily able to make it all the way up with no pushing at all.

At this time of the year the temperature is starting to fall and the forest is beginning to get ready for the winter. Fall is very soon upon us. With this comes the changing of leaves, trees shed their needles and things get a little wet. Now I mention this because I had the crap kind of scared out of me during my solitary climb due to mother nature. As I was near the top of Stovetop I could hear some crashing sounds not to far from me. I stopped immediately and tried to get a better listen and figure out my next move.(Recently there had been a rather aggressive black bear in the area so I was a little more alert than normal). Bang, crash, crash clunk. Bang, crash, crash clunk. Bang, crash, crash clunk. I listened to the same sound for several minutes trying to figure out what to do.....should I go up, or turn around? Finally I realized it was simply pine cones falling from a really high tree swaying in the gentle morning breeze. You'd be surprised how much noise a damn pine cone falling 100 feet makes. Inside I felt kind of embarrassed but it is better to be safe than sorry.

So after the pine cone incident I was on my way to the top of Blood Donor and then the intersection of Upper and Lower Toadstool. Well since last week the trail fairies were hard at work building an beautiful intersection for the trail that used to get really sloppy in the winter, but not any more.

Shot taken looking down Upper Toadstool to Lower Toadstool - Nice work Greg and Denise.

I just had to stop and take a shot of this beautiful new bit of work that will go a long way in the winter to reduce the erosion that happens at this junction. After the quick stop for the photo I continued up to the skidder road and all the way up to the Powerlines. I did spin the wheel of fortune, but I had decided my route already. Karpenter, Blood Donor, Lower Toadstool, Snakes and Ladders, Shotgun.

At the top there was mist and clouds so there was no real view to take in today. I guess the winter riding season is soon upon us. Karpenter was wicked. All the Woodwork was dry and the dirt was moist and tacky. I rode everything clean and even stopped to get a little video of myself on a signature feature of this trail.

Around and through the stump on Krazy Karpenter.

After Krazy Karpenter it was a short push up to Blood donor. Recently there has been a BIG hit addition to the top of the trail. A good 15x15 foot step down jump that will never see my tire tracks.....ever. It's just too big with too many repercussions. I did however hit all the other sweet nuggets on Blood Donor and and then traversed over to Lower Toadstool riding over the new junction.

Lower Toadstool has seen a lot of new wood work and re-routing since I last rode it. I is all fast and flowy that put a big fat grin on this boys face. Once at the bottom of Toadstool I went left and made my way to Snakes and Ladders.

Along the way I ran into some people that recognized me from a few weeks ago and they were back for more fun at the Woodlot. They were just staring their ride on their way to the top. I said howdy and continued up to Snakes and Ladders where I ripped down the trail popping all the hits and lovin every second of it. Once at the building spot I hid my bike, got some tools and got to work on starting the little surprise for the extension. I was able to find the logs I needed and in the area of the hill we are in there is so much rock to be had that I had no issues finding the supplies I needed to build today.

One kind of funny thing that happened today was I was spotted by two kids on the trail holding my axe, so I just continued walking up the trail towards them with my axe in my hands. The first kid rode by quickly all bug eyed but I asked the other if he had seen any blow down on the trail as I was pretending I was clearing the trail of fallen trees. He said nope and high tailed it outa there as fast as he would have been hilarious if I had some ketchup splattered on my shirt and the axe.

In total 10 people rode past in 2 groups and I was able to avoid being seen by all of them. Soon enough this will be open for traffic, but for now we feel the need to keep it quiet.

After working for a while I packed up the tools, climbed aboard my bike and rode out the rest of the trail and over to Shotgun. Once at Shotgun, it was a super fast rip down to the truck where I saw a bunch of the people that rode past. I said hello and then drove home.

It was a great day of riding and a productive day on the hill. The seasons are about to change.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Artsy Fartsy

Today I hit The Woodlot. Solo. On my hard tail and I brought my camera.

I arrived reasonably early but missed sunrise. 7am was when I started the climb with a Timmy's XL DD in hand.

Once the coffee was finished (near Hoots) I decided that today was a day for some real pedaling up the hill. So I dropped the hammer and pedaled at the best pace I could up to the top. Now I will be the first to admit that my pace is not impressive, but I don't stop. I took the not so traveled route up and climbed up Stovetop. It is trails like Stovetop that make the quest for pristine single track so rewarding. Stovetop is such a sweet gem of a trail. You can climb the whole thing in the wet or dry on a silky ribbon of gold dirt. Nice narrow pedalable singletrack is an utter rarity for me and today I loved it.

As I mentioned earlier, I brought my camera with me. When riding on the climb from Stovetop to the top of Giant Killer I noticed a small stump with some mushrooms sprouting from all directions. On most well traveled trails this forest of fungi would have been destroyed even before they planted their roots, but on this peaceful path, it has flourished.

An Artsy Fartsy Photo - Click to ENLARGE Photo

So once at the skidder road I continued to pedal my way up. Today I realized my appreciation for the hidden singletrack that you can use to climb up The Woodlot rather than the skidder. Bouncing all over on baby head rocks really sucks in comparison.

Once at the top my original plan was to ride to Karpenter then back up to Tsuga, Snakes (build) then Shotgun. BUT..............................................................I remembered someone mentioning a wheel of fortune at the powerlines; so I turned around and there it was. I grabbed my camera and took a few shots of this wickedly cool contraption. So I just HAD to spin it and the trails that came up on it for me to ride were: The Gate, Tsuga, Snakes and Ladders. I honestly could not have asked for a better route.

Wheel of Trail Fortune

Wheel of Trail Fortune - Closer up (click for a larger picture)

Wheel of Trail Fortune - Video

As you can tell from the pictures above and the video, I thought this thing was really frikin cool.

Well I geared up where I was and made my way over to The Gate. Personally I have never loved The Gate. I always ride it conservatively. It is a cool trail and all with some interesting skinnies, but it has never been on my list of trails that I Must Ride.

So then it was over to Tsuga after The Gate and what a fun rip it was on the hardtail. Tsuga is always a nice flowy ride that I enjoy every time I ride it.

Snakes and Ladders was in great shape and flowed really well today. No real issues anywhere on the trail and I bombed down it with a reckless abandon I have not had in a while.

Snakes and Ladders Teeter Totter - Video

I decided today to capture myself riding the teeter totter on the log ride section on Snakes. I have always loved teeters and I must say that Tim and Rob did a spectacular job on this teeter. 100% all cedar and it works so damn well. It also has a cool squeak to it when it lowers.

Then it was on down to the area of the extension. Tim had been up there earlier this week and done a bunch of work. He did a lot of work on the last corner and cleared most of the straight away. At first when I arrived I was not sure about what I should do, so I rode the corner a few times; gaining speed each time.

The line of the corner was perfect so I decided to dive right in and really get to work on backing the berm of the corner. I found 2 large logs and dragged them into place, buried them and started the back filling. Rock then dirt. It took shape MUCH faster than expected. It really needs to be rained on to settle the dirt and compact it, but the shape is there and it is a solid start. I even had a bit of fun hiding while building.......11 people rode right past me while I worked away. I cannot wait for Tim, Rob and I to open up this line.

Snakes and Ladders bermed - I love how the dirt gets kicked up as I drift the berm.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Lonely Ride

So today I hit the Woodlot solo on the Heckler. I had been playing with the suspension a little bit since I last rode it so this was a bit of an experimental ride. I also changed the tires on it from Michelin Comp 16's to Botranger Big Earls. Lately the weather has been kinda blah. It rained a little overnight so things were damp, but the weather during the ride was nice; partly cloudy.

I headed up and made an effort to pedal virtually the whole way. In the spots where is it truly a PITA to pedal I pushed at a hard pace not stopping at all on the climb. I have done nothing active since my last ride at The Woodlot, so I was seeing if I could maintain a good a pace and keep the heart rate up. I decided my route was Cabin Trail, Snakes and Ladders, Hoots and Shotgun. On the way up to Cabin trail along the flatter traverse part of the climb I ran into a group of 4 riders and a dog. For two of the guys it was their first ride at The Woodlot so I welcomed them and set their minds at ease that the route they had chosen was the best route to introduce yourself to The Woodlot (Cabin, Snakes, Hoots, Shotgun).

At the trail head we geared up and I wished them well and rode on my own on the way down. I must say that the changes I made to my bike and the tires made a good bike spectacular. I have never felt my bike feel so smooth on the trails before. I was impressed.

At Snakes and Ladders I rode the trail looking for any trouble spots but for the most part there were none. Near the Boa Bridge on the trail I met up with a group of 6 people that were having a hoot sessioning the jumps and doing the teeter totter. I smiled inside as I rolled by.

I had sort of intended to spend some time extending the line we were working on, but we are at a point where I would very easily been spotted if I was to do work with people on the trail so I decided to just ride the new line, inspect it (looks great) and ride on.

Hoots was fun. The open section in the clearcut in getting beaten to death, but that it what happens to popular trails; the get ridden hard.

Up to Shotgun where things on the bike felt great. I caught up to the group of 6 people who I saw on Shakes and Ladders, so when I rolled up to them, they let me pass. Down to the vehicle and off home.

A good number of my rides lately have been solo spins. Not ideal, but at least I get the joy of riding my bike in the forest and mountains.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Whistler 2007 - Day One

I cannot really explain why, but I have not really wanted to ride for the last couple weeks. Those that know me well know that I am not my usual self as I have a lot on my mind.

Today started out really early, Dave being the super troop great guy that he is picked me up at 6:15am. My bike was ready and I was ready to rock and roll. We then headed to Burnaby to pick up Connor who was in a chipper mood early in the morning and then we picked up Kenneth who was late for our rendezvous. I had ridden with Connor once before last year for the 2006 Remembrance Day Ride.

So once we were all in Dave's sweet ass Ford F-150 Quad Cab pickup, we were on our way to Whistler. On the way there was talk of bikes and girls and cars and girls and know. There was a load of construction going on so there was the occasional delay, but it is understandable. Dave however dozed off and almost got us killed just outside of Squamish... ;-)

Once we arrived you could tell we where all Whistler veterans, we disembarked the vehicle, got dressed, checked the bikes and were on our way over to the ticket counter to get our passes.

The first run of the day was Crank-it-up. There has been a lot of hype about this trail as it is a fun rip that is great as a warm up. Little hits, lots to pump through and it gave me a great opportunity to get my wings back as I had not seriously jumped my bike in some time. Crank-it-up was a total hoot.

We then found Tim in the line up at the bottom; he had spent the night camping at Brandywine Falls and was to meet us at the hill. This run we went all the way to the top......Garbonzo!! It was a little chilly and a little moist but well worth it. I had fun, lots of fun, Sidetrack is a wicked fun line.

Today I was addicted to A-Line and Dirt Merchant as well as the Bikercross. After figuring out the speeds needed for the Bikercross course I hat a freaking hoot on it.

Kenneth had a few issues with a flat rear tire today. One run with me on A-Line resulted in a flat for him (I gave him a tube). Then he had another........he gave me back my DH tube with holes in it!!! So Connor got him good Rodeo Ninja style.

One run down Crank-it-up was freaking hilarious. Kenneth, Connor and I were training practically wheel to wheel down the trail. There were several times where all three of us were in the air on the same jump at the same time. On one particular table, Kenneth over tweaked and went down just feet ahead of Connor and I was so close I think I actually ran a part of Kenneth over with my bike. He had a little trouble getting up from laughing so hard.

Joyride has a few HOLY SHIZIT!! features added to it. One new section that was part of the DH course was straight down a steep rooty slippy section that I just decided to skip because it was late in the day and I didn't feel the need to show off ;-)

On run later in the day on Garbonzo had Connor and I going down Goats Gully. HOLY CRAP!!!!, talk about treacherous!!! Slippy mud on steep nasty rocks. I have ridden it many times before in the dry, in the wet while raining, but today was the meanest I have ever seen it. I cleaned the nasty right hand corner that starts the real madness and all the other sections on the trail but the few roller rocks with roots near the end of the trail looked super nasty today and for the first time...ever at Whistler I walked a section. It just looked too mean today.

For the most part we all made it out relatively unscathed. I did however decide on one run on the bikercross course to hit the first set of doubles at double the recommended speed and proceeded to auger into the lip of the next set of doubles and then decided it would be wise to hang onto the bike until my body had passed the lip of the landing and then eject. Lets just say it was rather ugly but I was only shaken...hard. Later in the day I looked at my shirt and noticed a hole in the chest and a good scratch on in my armor. Chalk one up for the armor.

Overall a great day at Whistler with a great group of guys to ride with. It was a really late night getting home for me let alone Dave who dropped me off and then had to go back home to Poco and then work the next day.

I had a great time at the holy land for mountain bikers.......Whistler Bike Park.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ripping a new one

I decided that today was going to be a mid afternoon solo ride to the Woodlot on the Ollie. I have not ridden that bike in a while and I figured it was time to dust her off and see how she handled again.

Single ring 8" of cush front and rear, 2.5" tires.........mmmmm DH speed!!!

The climb was pretty easy. With only a 34t front ring I was able to climb a good portion of the hill, but not all the way by any means. However I am in noticeably good shape right now. I can pedal or push at a good pace (at least for me) without skipping a beat and without any pauses at any point in the climb. I would say I am in likely the best shape of my life...cardio wise.

As I approached the branch in the trail off to Tsuga I met up with a guy that I am sure I have run into before but had not formally met. We chatted for a bit and then started making our way down the trail. I lead the way as I not going to be pausing anywhere on the trails until I got to Snakes and Ladders. Once rolling I cruised down Tsuga and over to Snakes and Ladders. The big bike really makes picking a line easy and results in a fast, fast ride.

Once down at the building spot on Snakes and Ladders, I hid my bike, got the tools and started working on extending the work Tim and I had done more than a week ago. The rain that we had during the last week really helped to get the new cut line settled. The trail was hard and draining well.

I was able to do about another 20 feet or so of trail and then called it a day. The next corner will really need some extra work and backing to make it big enough and flow with the trail. This last corner will be the final bit of work to cap a perfect new extension on the trail. If we build it right, you rail it, pin it and you'll end up with a nice little surprise.

The ride out to Shotgun was nice, the Ollie pedals really well for the size of bike it really is. Then as I coasted down to the entrance of Shotgun I finally did what I have been trying to do for a while....completely stay off the brakes and rail the turn into the trail. A little bit of front end washing out, but I was able to drift my bike a little in the turn and made it in without any brakes. Big smiles.

Shotgun was fun. Fast and flowy.

At the very bottom of the trail just past the gap over the log, I saw some kids that were playing airsoft. One of them pointed his gun at me as I passed by because he thought I was one of his friends and............well I don't take very well to having a gun, real or not pointed at me. I stopped and informed them rather loudly that pointing a gun real or not, at people is illegal and all it takes is one phone call. I told them to go further in the bush well away from the trail and all would be good as they were shooting across a very busy mountain bike trail. They were wise and complied to my.......wishes and walked into the bush. Lets just say that a few months in Regina kinda influenced the tone of voice that was used with them.

I then rode out to my car, packed up and drove home.

Good ride, good build and a little yelling.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Holiday In The Hills.

Ah yes, The Woodlot.....on a long weekend with a couple riding buddies that I have not ridden with in a while.

Rob picked me up at 6:00 a.m. and we mt Dave at the parking area of The Woodlot. Robs Heckler was back in his hands so he was a happy camper smiling from ear to ear. We really did not have any idea what we were going to ride all. Our conversations on the way up were of the regular guy talk and.......facebook??!

At the power-lines it was decided by Rob that we would hit GOLD, none of us had ridden Gold in at least a year. I paused for a moment and took the picture shown below at the top of the climb. It was a sweet view looking to the east just after the sun had risen.

The spectacular view.

Dave and Rob finishing the climb under the power-lines.

So once we were on Gold we cautiously rolled down the trail looking for things that were safe or at least still open for us to ride. (Gold has been kinda closed for about 2 maintenance has been done on this old beauty).

Lots of lines were closed but then again there was still a good portion of the trail that was still open. Rob and I rode the famed sky bridge and the skinny section at the end was still running well.

Blood Donor was next on the agenda and it was in fabulous shape. Dave took a little spill on the bottom jump but today it was totally agreeing with me and I hit the jump several times for a little photo action.

On to Giant Killer it was and for the most part the trail has changed. A lot of woodwork was removed or broken over the last few months and the trail just did not feel the same or have its old character.

We then traversed over to Snakes and Ladders....past the rotting pigs in the forest.......Rob and I had an impromptu match sprint up to the beginning of Quick was a tie.

Snakes was wicked. Nothing but grins n giggles all around and quick rip down the 'new line'. Everyone seemed pleased and I really can't wait to finish it, get it 'open to the masses'.

Shotgun was running really fast. Overall the trails today were wickedly fast and grippy. We really could not have had better conditions.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Roots 'n Returned Ride

Today was the same plan as last week. Hit The Woodlot with Tim in the early a.m. and build until about noon and ride out.

Timmy arrived precisely at 6:30a.m., 2 XLDD's in hand and a smile on his face. The kids were up already so I said goodbye to them and the wife and off I was to go build. At this time of day we were once again the first ones to go up the hill this fine pre-long weekend Friday. Tim had with him a can of gas for the saw so rather than ride to the top then down to where we are building, we decided to push up to where we are building.

Once at the spot we got out the tools and started working on the line. Tim worked above me buffing the line and fixing a pinch in the trail where we need some more room to get between some trees. I was at a spot that needed a lot of digging to get rid of all the duff, then a pile of rock, then gold dirt to cover dress it up. In the end it was 8 feet of trail that took 2 hours to complete, but it is rock solid and will never need any attention again.

After my section was done both Tim and I pre-rode the next turn on the trail to make sure we cut the line correctly so that we have a good radius to the turn in the trail and ensure that the line flows well and follows the fastest line possible. Once we decided on the line, I cut it and Tim continued working above me buffing everything up............that is until I encountered the root.

Now when I say the root, anyone that has ever done any amount of trail dirt work will know what I mean by the root. This root was a labyrinth of 8"diameter arms of old hard wood that would not let go of the earth. Both Tim and I worked on the root for and hour and a half with the pick axe, the shovel, the axe and the chainsaw. It finally decided that it was time to go and we got that thing out of the ground for good. Once the root was gone the corner came together perfectly; she is gonna rail.

One kind of funny thing happened as we were building. 2 guys came down Snakes and Ladders and Tim spotted them so we both went into stealth mode as not to be noticed. It was fun crawling on the forest floor in commando mode to prevent detection.

Well after the root was out and the corner raked and buffed we were spent and it was time to leave. As we packed up the tools we got a phone call on Tim's cell from Rob with great news; Rob had recovered his stolen bike!!! He was one happy fella and I am ecstatic he got back his ride.

After all the tools were away we rode out to the bottom of Snakes and Ladders and then ripped Shotgun. I have been trying to hold back on using my brakes and letting my bike roll on the trail more and more and today was no different. Back to Tim's truck and back to my place. All this before noon.