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.