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.