Sunday, July 27, 2008

Elemental Shore Ride

The essential elements of a good Shore ride:
Climbing, rain, slick roots, rocks and dirt.

Today I encountered all these elements on my ride. I arrived at the Old Buck parking lot at 6:15am, unloaded my bike, put on my pack and began my climb in the light rain up the road. I had my iPod on and a hat to keep my head dry but only needed a t-shirt on my torso due to warm conditions. I was riding my Rune which hasn't seen any dirt for a few weeks and it was nice getting out and pedaling it again.

Unfortunately I didn't get any of the spectacular views you normally get on the climb up Seymour because of the clouds and rain. When I reached CBC, I took a shot of the entrance to CBC with the mist invading the trail.

The entrance to CBC

My route down was CBC, Corkscrew, Salvation, Pingu, Pangor, Slash and Empress.

Overall, I'd say I had a pretty damn good ride. No major spills, and I got a great workout getting to the top.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bear Mountain 2008 DH - Day 2 RACE DAY

Race day.

I volunteered again today tasked with the same duties as yesterday. Marshal the parking lot and ensure the shuttles can get in and out of the area smoothly.

After my stint of time was up telling people where to park, I slipped in one more pre-run of the course and then I waited for my start time.

The shuttles were on time and running well and I was at the top waiting for my race to start. Several faces were familiar in my class as a few of us seem to like racing this particular race each year.

My bike was dialed. I was physically ready, but in my head, I was tentative and tight. To race FAST in the discipline of DH you need to have a clear relaxed mind. I was not relaxed. My mind loomed on my wipe out a few weeks back and I was not able to attack the course the way I should. I was tentative and my time at the end of the day was not what I had hoped for. I was on the brakes far too much. Bu on a positive note, I hit every jump and hit that I intended on hitting and I had no wipe outs, but I just wasn't right in the head during my race run.

When I crossed the finish line it was like I heard a little angel singing though; my daughter and wife were at the finish waiting for me and hearing them cheer me on made me feel like the champion of the world.

The honesty of a 3 year old is just too funny....."Daddy, did you beat that man?", "Daddy, did you jump really far?", "Daddy, you smell stinky!".

Up top on the course. Photo by: Tyler Maine

Pinning it!! Photo by: Dave Mackie

Big Gap Jump. Photo by: Brad Johnson

The Finish. Photo by: Nikki

Overall ,my race weekend was great. I met a bunch of great new people and saw a bunch of people I've ridden with and seen on the trails over the years. The Fraser Valley Mountain Bike Association (FVMBA) put on a great race that was enjoyed by virtually everyone that was at the race.

Congrats to everyone that raced and well done to those that won. See you next year

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bear Mountain 2008 DH - Day 1

Well, today was day one of two for the Bear Mountain BC Cup race. Today there was an XC race as well as pre-runs for the DH.

I volunteered at the race today and tomorrow and I will race the DH tomorrow. I arrived reasonably early and was given the task of clearing out the parking lot of cars that did not belong in the area and I was the gate keeper to the VIP area for parking. In the end I kept the lot clear so that the shuttle vehicles could easily come and go and all the VIP's got to park close to the race.

Race central at 8am

After my time was up for the volunteering I managed to get in 2 shuttle pre-runs of the course. Now a few weeks ago I had a rather nasty crash on a jump near the top of the course. I will be the first to admit that it is still looming in my mind.

Shuttle system: School bus and a trailer with a HUGE bike rack

On the way up in the shuttle bus a few riders recognized me and asked about the video and a few even thanked me as it has helped them to memorize the course. My two pre-runs today were pretty mild. I know the course reasonably well and I was really just riding to get a feel for the course conditions which are SUPER dry.

The Fraser Vally Mountain Bike Association is the group that is putting on the race and give how smoothly day one went, I am sure it will be a huge success for the association and should raise some money for tools and supplies for the trails.

Overall, day one was pretty good; the shuttles were running super efficiently and in fact they even started early!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Weekday Night Ride

A couple times now Tim and I have been able to slip in some night rides during the week at The Woodlot.

We have had a bit of practice at night riding so we know what bring as far a lights and how long the trails take to ride etc. In other words night riding is almost becoming second nature for us as a part of 'the ride experience'.

Tonight we hit Krazy Karpenter, Blood Donor, Giant Killer Snakes and Ladders and Shotgun.

Twilight at the top

Karpenter was insanely grippy with the dry weather we have had lately. The log ride at the top of the trail was the easiest I have ever seen it due to the dry wood. Further down though the trail is in rough shape in spots with broken rung and features but over all, the trail rocked tonight.

Blood Donor was fun. I was on my big bike (Ollie) and most of the trail was eaten up under its 8" of suspension. I was not fully in the groove so I skipped several of the bigger features on the trail.

Giant Killer was a hoot and the trail work completed on the trail day is holding up well.

Snakes and Ladders was mint and flowed well. Unlike our last night ride where we ran into some fallen trees, the trail was completely clear after the work I had done on the weekend. The trail is holding up to the traffic well and should be good for the season with a few tweaks here and there.

Shotgun was a hoot. The full moon made for some wicked views in the clear cut. Great ride topped off with an ice cold beverage at Tim's van.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Clearing the way

So this morning I packed the chainsaw up to The Woodlot in the early am to clear out some fallen trees on Snakes and Ladders. In total there were about a dozen trees that fell in one short section on the trail.

The removal of these trees was not your standard deal though. All of the trees involved were snagged on each other and involved several dead hanging, dead standing and few up rooted trees. With each cut I needed to determine which way the trees would move, snap and rebound once cut and how they would affect one another. This is something I always do, but each tree took 10 minutes to figure out, 30 seconds to cut and a few more more minutes to clear once they were on the ground.

In the end I was able to make the trail safe to ride and all the trees were cleared off the trail. I was covered in saw dust when I was done and the smell of fresh cut wood is an intoxicating aroma to me that usually signals it is time to hit a newly built trail feature. But in this case it signalled it was time to ride home on a cleared trail. So I packed up the saw and rode down the trail taking the easier lines and I finished off with a mellow ride to my car down Shotgun.

I would have loved to of gone for a ride today as the weather was spectacular, but the trails needed some maintenance and without it trails cease to function.

The trails are needing help, please volunteer to help keep our trails in tip top shape. Join the FVMBA and start helping the existing builders keep the trails running well.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Summer Night Ride

Today I went riding in the late evening with Tim.

We hit The Woodlot and rode a nice route from the top to the bottom which included Krazy Karpenter, Tsuga, Snakes and Ladders and finally Shotgun.

While climbing at about 8:30pm we were passed by a guy on a Cove XC bike out for a quick rip with his dog. I was on my Ollie pushing my bike up for the most part and Tim was on his Six making the most of it.

By the time we reached the top, out lights came out of our packs and we entered the tree covered trails in the flat light that presents itself at sunset time in the woods.

On Karpenter we both were amazed by the grip of the wood on the long log ride at the top. Karpenter in the summer is a wickedly fun trail but she is in disrepair and needs a load of TLC. It is sure to be one I will be working on in the fall and winter of this year.

We then went over to Tsuga and rode down without any issues. The big bike is a much different beast than my Rune and slow speed sections are a little awkward on a bike built purely for speed.

Snakes and Ladders was simply wicked. We stopped at a section to shut down a jump blocked be a number of fallen trees. After that it was clear sailing to the bottom of the trail.

Over to Shotgun and it was a blast in the night hooting and hollering every now and then to keep the bears out of our way on the trail.

At Tim's vehicle we cracked a nice cold beer and packed up our bikes for the trip home.

A nice summer night ride is a cool way to keep stoke alive for riding the local trails.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Bear DH Crash on Film

This morning I rose out of bed at 5:15am in great anticipation of getting in a good ride in the morning and then spending the rest of my day with my wife and kids.

I arrived at Bear Mountain in good time and started the push up the course to see if there had been any changes to the course. From what I could tell, there was a little drainage work and fresh dirt on a few berms since I was last on the trail.

At the top I geared up and pressed record on my helmet camera. What happened during my run was all caught on digital film.

The somewhat mellow run of the course was going well and I had most of my line dialed. The jump near the top of the course that I had hit dozens of times in the past went horribly wrong. I had ZERO pop off the jump and it felt like my rear wheel got popped up and caused me to completely nose in on the jump. My fork absorbed the major impact and barely I rode out the landing and then got tossed off my bike a good 30 feet from the landing. I have major tire rash on the insides of my thighs but apart from that it is just my ego and confidence that are shot right now but I know it could have been a lot worse. I hate when things go wrong on something you've ridden many times before.

The rest of my ride was okay; slow and mellow, but okay. I hit most things the rest of the way down and at the bottom I decided to call it a day. My bike mojo had expired and the little voice in my head was telling me I'd had enough for one day.

I hope to get out to the course a few more times before race weekend to iron out my bugs but that jump is still looming in my mind even as I type this.