Sunday, August 31, 2008

Photos in the park

I went to Golden Ears today with the buddy (Oliver) who had a baby a week ago. This was not your regular ride at all. In fact I was there to have some photos taken for a community project for the 2010 Olympics. He needed someone to photograph mountain biking and I was glad to volunteer my services. I am well on my way to being Canada's next top yeah, right!

I picked the location and let him know ahead of time what views could be expected, however the weather did not really cooperate and there was very little natural sunlight but working with what he had, I'd say he did a great job. Below are some of the shots that were taken.

The photos below were taken by Oliver of In View Images.

Oliver is a pro shooter, so he had several pro SLRs and the usual attachments that go with them. He had seen some of my helmet cam videos and wondered how I shot them. I happened to bring along my set-up and he was rather impressed. He also brought a very cool camera mount that I am likely going to borrow some time soon to get some new perspectives on riding.

Overall we had a good shoot with crappy natural lighting. Hopefully in then next few weeks we can hook up again to get some shots with better light.

After shooting I went for a ride on a trail that I had not ridden in at least 12 years (Viking Creek). Back in the day I would ride this trail on a HT with rigid forks and cantilever brakes. On my Rune it was far easier but still offered the challenge of riding really tight switch backs.

Oh my!!! LUSH single track Photo by: Dean

I then rode a unmarked trail that was as lush as they come. I plan on clearing it of some large fallen trees in the near future. In fact I cleared about 10 fallen trees on it during the photo shoot (can't take the builder out of the rider/model). I cannot wait to attempt a filming experiment I have been wanting to try on this gem of a trail.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New life and familiar trails

It started with a phone call at 6am call from a friend. "Uh Dean, I can't make it this morning, I think my wife is in labor [contractions 3 minutes apart], have a good ride".

With that, this mornings ride then started with a venue change from my original plan and I ended up at The Woodlot. I climbed at an easy pace today straight up Shotgun in order to clear drains along the trail. The recent rains are showing where water is collecting, but for the most part, things look good.

I decided to just ride B-Line and then head over to Snakes and Ladders to stack some rock and then get home at a decent hour.

I haven't ridden B-Line in years so I made sure to have the camera rolling to document the ride.

B-Line @ The Woodlot from Dean Wilkes on Vimeo.

B-Line is a trail that few know about or ride, but is in plain view and a blast to ride. I definitely plan on riding this gem some more in the near future.

Over to Snakes it was and for the most part it was a rip of a ride. That was until I pushed the limits of my tires and railed a corner a little too fast and blew the bead of my rear tire off the rim. Definitely a first for me.

So after fixing the bead on my tire I proceeded down the trail to stack some rock and then I had to close a log ride due to a few broken rung that will get fixed in the very near future. I rode out the remainder of the trail and then proceeded to send it all the way down Shotgun to my car.

Over all, I had and good ride and got some things accomplished that I wanted to. I haven't heard back from my friend about the birth of his first child, I just hope the mother and child are doing well.
[UPDATE 8/25/08: Baby girl was born at 3am on the 24th]

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fromme at Sunrise

This morning I was up and on the road at sunrise; witnessing a golden morning sky is truly a sweet sight.

It had been a long time since I rode Mount Fromme (Grouse) so I made it my venue of choice for today's ride.

Riding the Rune has opened up a lot of options for me as a rider because it is such a good pedaling and climbing bike. In fact I had my bike set up with a single front chainring and a chain guide today and I had no issues at all climbing up Mountain Highway and up the gravel access road to the trail head of 7th. In the past I used to need a granny on mountain highway to the gravel, but not anymore.

I like to climb at a mellow pace and today from the water towers to the trail head at Secret 7th it took me 55 minutes. I also took note that it took 15 minutes from the bottom of 7th to the top of Upper Oil Can.....more on that later.

So 7th, the infamous 'secret' trail of yesteryear. This trail is such a great trail to flow down at a mellow pace an just enjoy the terrain and the spectacular trail work done by members of the NSMBA. I had a very nice ride as seen in the video below.

So keeping track of my climbing time was important on my first ascent. It gave me a good idea of my pace in the morning, but also gave me a good idea of how long my second lap of the upper trails would take. I started back up the trail to Upper Oil Can and 15 minutes later, I was riding down again.

I very rarely ride Fromme and Upper Oil Can (UOC) but today's ride felt great and brought back memories of riding it at night a few years back with Rob. It seems I haven't been riding skinnies enough lately as I slipped off a few in the super technical section, but most were cleaned with a smile.

I had kind of planned to the ride Ladies Only after UOC, but I remembered that I had never ridden Pipeline, so I decided to give it a go. I think I made a good choice. It's a wickedly fun trail with low consequence features all along the trail.

So after Pipeline I traversed over to Lower Ladies Only. Unfortunately by this point I had run out of recording time on my camera so I was not able to film Lower Ladies. Just think old school steep, some tech and the very first roller coaster in existence.

Down to the car and I was home by 9:30am.

It was nice riding Fromme again and getting in a good pedal. Next time I'll make sure to have enough film for Lower Ladies for sure.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Golden Ears XC Ride

I hooked up with Cory today to ride in the Golden Ears Provincial park. It is literally a stones throw from my house. Many years ago (17 to be exact) this was the place where I learned to ride a mountain bike. XC hard-tail with rigid forks, cantilever brakes, U-Brake on the BB and 1.8" tires. Back then if you made it through a ride without a flat, it was considered a good ride.

Cory single-tracking

So Cory guided me along some of the trails I was familiar with and others I have never seen before. This place is literally teaming with wicked XC trails. At the end of the day our ride was 25km; we started with overcast skies but finished in a torrential downpour. A few words that describe this ride: lush, rain forest, buff and flow.

It is rides like this that remind me that riding DH or FR isn't what it is all about. These rides remind people that there is a lot more to riding than just going fast. I was exhausted at the end of the ride, but felt invigorated to get out and ride trails like this again sometime very soon.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Cedar Relics

Today I went for a ride and somewhat of a walkabout. It has been a few years since I went for a walk in the forest looking for old abandoned trails and other things that are hidden in the forest.

I arrived early in the morning and started my climb up the hill and came upon two tents plopped right in the middle of the trail. As I rolled through their 'camp' I noticed broken bottles, garbage and other stuff, but I just kept going. But I thought to myself that there are going lots of people riding today and these guys really should not be where they are, so I rolled back to their camp and just spoke out loud to them. I definitely had their attention because one dude shot up out of his tent likely thinking I was a bear.

I was polite, but very concise in telling them that they should not be camped where they are, they were camping in the middle of a trail and in 2 hours they can expect 50 people coming by and I told them to clean up their mess. The dude that was out of the tent seemed receptive to my recommendations and I was on my way for my ride. Odd beginning to my ride for sure.

Two tents complete with tikki torches

So I made my way up to Gold. This is one of the original trails that was constructed when 'free-riding' was just in it's infancy and the legends of 'North Shore' trails were just beginning to be whispered amongst mtn bikers. Currently Gold is closed and should not be ridden. I went for a ride/walk down it to document its condition and to see first hand up close what needs to be fixed before it could be considered to to opened again. What I found was kind of depressing. EVERY single wooden feature is broken and needs to be fixed. The years of riding, weather and negelct has taken it's toll on this former gem of a trail and there are too few people dedicated to keeping the trails running. This trail has been taken off the maintenance radar. Maybe one day it will see some loving, but it will not be open for riding any time soon.

So after Gold and some other trails I went on a walkabout to see what I could find. What I did manage to find was an old logging road and a couple HUGE dead standing trees that may one day be linked up together with a bridge. This can only happen if other people start helping to maintain the trails so in reality this will likely never happen.

A massive ancient dead standing tree

During my walkabout I ran into Dave that hikes up here all the time on the weekends. I showed him the logging road I found and then we parted ways in the forest. We certainly startled each other seeing someone else in the forest this early in the morning.

So I then rode over to line that is not suppose to exist. Looks like a very cool line with some nice rock faces. If completed it will be a cool line, but only time will tell if it gets completed. I then made my way over to Snakes and Ladders where I had planned to do a little buffage of some sections, but my partner in crime on the trail moved the tools and I had no idea where to look for them. So I just continued riding.

Out to the road and over to Shotgun I went for the quick rip to my car. I had an excellent ride with a good hike thrown in there. So many things I'd like to do on the trails and so little time to do them.