Saturday, April 26, 2008

Woodlot Trail Day - Shotgun and Hoots

In 2007 I was asked to be an area representative for the Fraser Valley Mountain Bike Association (FVMBA). As part of this function I assist in trail days that happen on trails in the Maple Ridge area. Today we had the first trail day of the year on Shotgun and Hoots.

I'd like to start off by thanking all those involved in organizing this trail day and especially those that showed up to do some much needed maintenance on the trails. Shotgun had a good buffing of the trouble spots from top to bottom and Hoots had a very good portion of the trail buffed up. Most importantly the new people to trail maintenance were shown how to clear drains and how to do their part every time they ride. If everyone that rides did just a little bit of work on the trails once in a while it would make a world of difference. All it takes is 5 to 10 minutes a ride.

Rather than get into all the sections worked on and every thing that was done, I will just present a brief pictorial of what we did and some the characters involved.

Truer words have never been spoken

Most of the crew for the day

The trail day sponsor: Experience Cycling provided food and beverages after all the work was complete

A 4 legged mascot showed up

Showing volunteers how to do basic dirt work

Even the kids showed up to haul rocks.

City / Trail workers supervising Steve doing the Digger dance on a landing.

The ladies of the day hard at work.

Drew from The Shore placing a rock.







Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Sunrise Rip

I took today off from work to spend the day with the family and to get in an early morning ride. Tim just so happened to be available to meet me at the Woodlot for a ride on this spectacular Friday morning.

Heading up the hill we decided to skip the top trails and just ride down from Tsuga. It seems we were both in the mood to climb and we were barely ever pushing out bikes.

On the way down, we took our time; looking for new lines and inspecting the trails.

I managed to set up the camera for a little shot which turned out to be pretty funny.

We both flew down Snakes and Ladders and then rode down Shotgun to our vehicles.

Nothing better than an early morning ride with a good friend.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Gusty Dusting

This morning I was on a bit of a tight schedule for my ride. Rather than just ride, I chose to push up Snakes and Ladders to see the condition of the trail, do a little work and then ride down.

It had snowed a little over night so the trail had a dusting and with the wind blowing through the trees, it made for some majestic scenery in the forest.

Dusting of powder

Breathtaking conditions in the trees

At one particular spot on the trail, the transition to a jump has begun to develop a rather nasty hole. I chose to fix this hole today with a bunch of rock. Th whole area needs a little TLC, but I want to see how this rock works in this spot and in the coming weeks, I'll likely rework the whole area for better drainage.

Before and after rock work

I then rode out the rest of Snakes and Ladders and Shotgun. By the time I was at the bottom, all the snow on Shotgun had melted. I managed to get a lot done in a very short amount if time and had a nice ride to boot.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Training on The Shore

Training. It is a short word that can mean a lot in life. Training can save your life, training can make a pastime easier, training can help you achieve results in a competition that you might otherwise not be able to achieve, training quite simply will make you better.

Today's ride involved some training. I have entered a race that takes place later in June of this year; the Test of Metal a 67km XC race in Squamish. 4 years ago I entered the race without any training at all and I paid for it big time. I couldn't walk for a week afterwards without wincing. This year I hope to be a little more prepared for the race.

Today's training ride was on Seymour. Straight up Old Buck to the road then up the road to Corkscrew and a few other trails and then back up for another lap. Things went good. My bike felt fantastic, and I felt pretty good physically. I was admittedly slow, but I felt good and had fun on the way down.

So the first lap was to the top and then down Corkscrew, Salvation, Pingu, Team Pangor, Slash and Empress. Corkscrew was sweet and riding the wood on a mid size bike absolutely rocks. Salvation was a great choice for me today. All the logs were dry and the trail was running well. I stopped briefly to catch a little action on the camera and continued on down.

At Pingu I railed the top of the trail and on one of the blind jumps, I sent it....right into a big nasty rock in the 'landing zone' new pedals aren't looking so new anymore with a few pins missing now. Team Pangor was a hoot as well as Slash. On Empress I managed to film myself again going down the rocky nastiness. Nothing better than some North Shore granite.

I then jacked up my seat and headed back up Old Buck. Climbing Old Buck isn't all that bad and it is so pedalable and gets you directly up the hill with no muss or fuss. At the power lines I turned left and headed up to Team Pangor where I lower my seat, donned my protective gear and ripped down the trail. I then had a moment of deja vu, I hit the jump again and smacked my pedal....again and lost another pin. Luckily I have a tap set to ensure the pins get fixed.

After Team Pangor I hit Boogie Man which I've only ridden twice before. It's a fun trail in parts, but you really have to know the trail to get good flow on it as there are lots of blind little drops, hucks and a-frames.

I really wanted to see what my Rune could handle as far as steeps go, so for those that know Boogie Man, you know the steep rock step section beside "Piledriver". Well my line was straight down that rock section, not a single turn or deviation from the gnarliness. My bike and I made it down in one piece and cleaned it with ease. I was truly impressed by my bike and the confidence it has given me; I have a feeling the 1.5" head tube helps keep the front end straight and true on the steep sections.

I then hit Empress one more time as the last trail of the day. There was a group of onlookers at the first rock section when I rolled up and dropped in. I am no show boat by any means, but it is kinda cool just rolling up and dropping in on something with a people ooooing and aaahhhing at your riding.

My steed loaded for the trip home

Out to my truck and I was homeward this time it was only 9am; I had an early start. Such a wicked ride and loads of fun on some good old traditional North Shore trails.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Deer in the bike lights

Tim and I hooked up for a night ride. The weather has been pretty damn good lately so we easily made it to the top to ride Karpenter, Blood Donor, Giant Killer, Snakes and Ladders and finally Shotgun.

I was riding my Ollie for the first time in many months. I've been riding my Banshee Rune almost exclusively, but I have my fork on the Rune in for warranty/service, so the Ollie my choice of ride today. I have to say it felt pretty foreign on the trails. Big, heavy and slow in the tight stuff, BUT really fast in the open areas.

Karpenter was okay but with the lack of work on the trail it is beginning to suck in parts. I think it is time for Tim and I to pay it a visit. Blood Donor was fun and Giant Killer was smooth as butter.......almost too smooth. I am beginning to miss the gnarly aspect of some trails nowadays. Smooth and fast is the way things are going; I want a few gnarly trails thrown in the mix as well.

On our way to Snakes and Ladders, we rolled up on a deer on the road. I managed to get out the camera and snap a shot of it.....not a great shot, but you can make it out in the upper right of the photo.

Snakes and Ladders was a hoot as always. Riding a big bike on it makes some of the terrain virtually disappear beneath your tires. I can see why I am liking the Rune as much as I am.

After riding out to the vehicles on Shotgun, Tim and I cracked a cold one and headed home.

Apr├Ęs ride brew

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Cabin Trail: etymology

I hit the Woodlot this morning at 6:45am. It was raining lightly and for the first time in at least 4 months I was on a different bike than my Rune. I was on my hard tail for once.

A little hard tail action: Cove Stiffee

I had planned on riding The Shore today, but given the rain, I figured I would just be getting soaked on the climb and I kinda wanted to do a touch of work on the trails.

The climb on the HT was not what I am used to, in fact it was harder to climb on the HT than the Rune. It may very well be another 4 months before I ride the HT again because the Rune just feels so much better.

I climbed to Snakes and Ladder, parked my bike and then cleared a few fallen trees up on Tsuga.

Cleared trees

With the trail clear, I continued up to Cabin trail to see what the snow conditions were like. At the power-lines, all was clear but looking up the hill at the next power tower I could see traces of snow in the trees, so I knew what to expect.

About 1/2 way up Cabin Trail there were traces of snow that gradually increase and a once near the top it was clear that this trail will not be accessible from top for several months. There is at least 3 feet of snow on the road at the top and given the somewhat mild spring we are having, I don't see the snow disappearing any time soon. On the way up I managed clear the trail of all the fallen trees on the line.

Over 3 feet of snow at the trail head of Cabin Trail

I also stopped at the Cabin just off the trail to have a little look. It's funny, most people don't really know why it is called Cabin Trail.

A cabin located a stones throw off the trail from back in the gold mining days

After riding down Cabin Trail, I hit Snakes and Ladders where I ran into the Maple Ridge Cycle biking club group ride that was out for their first ride of the season. It was nice to see the younger riders out ripping on the trails.

I then hit Shotgun which ripped and then I was out at my truck. It seems the masses are now feeling the urge to ride because I counted 26 vehicles in the parking area. Tis the season to be seeking the good times the trails offer.