Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Classic ride for inspiration

Well today's ride was a bit of a last minute decision, but it ended up being pretty damn good.

When I left my house it was still dark (~6:30am), I got my morning coffee at Timmy's and I arrived at The Woodlot with the rising sun. I decided to push up Shotgun to see the condition of the trail on the way up and for the most part it is running well with very little water collecting anywhere.

I had forgotten to remove my single ring set-up I had on my bike from my last ride (Whistler 2 weeks ago), so the climb was a bit of a grunt up to the top.

My route was Krazy Karpenter, Tsuga to Snakes and Ladders and finally Shotgun. For the most part, Karpenter is beat down. It's a trail that's been ridden hard and put away wet far too many times. Over this winter I have a feeling it is going to see some love from some caring hands to try and bring it back to its former greatness.....stay tuned.

After Karpenter it was then back up to Tsuga for a nice rip and then down to Snakes and Ladders. This past summer the trail has seen minimal trail work and it is handling the traffic quite well. There are a few spots that need some loving, but from a maintenance perspective, very little is needed at this time. Over the last week, Tim had fixed some spots on the trail (log ride) and changed the last ladder down on the trail. In fact he removed it completely and put in a turn to the new line. Our plan has finally been completed and the old existing straight shot line is now closed. Today I the buffed the section of trail that cuts off the old line and sends you nicely along to the new end of the trail. I think all it needs is one more day of work to add more dirt after some rain settles the ground in and we are done. Unfortunately I forgot to charge my camera before my ride so no pictures of today's ride.

When I was done I packed up the tools and then rode out to Shotgun. A sweet little rip down to the car and I was home in no time at all.

Overall a good ride, a productive bit of building on a section of Snakes and a good long look at Karpenter that really sparked my interest in getting this classic back up to snuff.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Whistler Bike Park 2008

It has been over a year since I was last at Whistler. Today I was on a new bike but I was riding with familiar friends on some legendary trails.

Rob came down from Kamloops and Dave and I drove up from Vancouver. The weather could not have been better. 24°C and not a cloud in the sky. The three of us were pumped. Dave was riding his Orange 224, Rob on his Santa Cruz Heckler and I was on my Banshee Rune.

I have never ridden Whistler on anything less than 7" of suspension on the front and normally 7-8" in the rear. Riding my 6"x6" single crown bike was something new that I have been looking forward to trying for some time. My Rune is light, strong and pretty fast. It has great angles and an active suspension on the brakes so I was pretty sure I was going to have some fun..........more on that later.

Last time Rob was up at Whistler, he had a 'incident' on Crank It Up on our warm up run. I managed to capture him on film slamming into a huge rock after jettisoning diagonally off the box near the top of the trail. He had a demon to exorcise so Crank It Up was the first trail we hit today.

Crank It Up

Rob cleaned the section that bit him last time at Whistler and Dave earned a new nick name after we watched his run on video (Mr. Whip).

I found immediately that the Rune is easily enough bike for park riding and in fact it excels in most places. The mid size jumps of Crank it up, I was rolling with the same speed as my buddies but boosting twice and high and landing trannies with little speed. I totally admit that in the true high speed gnarl it would be nice to have a bigger bike with 8" of cush, but if it's not super high speed and gnarly rocky, the Rune was exceptional. On smooth trails like A-Line I busted out huge air (for me at least) with ease and was able to move the bike in the air without any effort. Dirt Merchant was absolutely insane on this bike. In the Garbanzo Zone the trails were far less effort to ride than in the past because of the ideal wheel base and snappy handling the bike exhibits.

2008 Banshee Rune in the Garbanzo Zone

We spent a fair amount of time in the Garbanzo Zone (upper trails) on No Joke, Goats Gully, Original Sin, In Deep, Fatcrobat, Too Tight and FREIGHT TRAIN!!!.

Words cannot describe how much fun I/we had.

Original Sin and Goat's Gully

Goat's Gully was a hoot. In reality it is likely the most technical trail on the hill. I slapped the camera on Dave for the video footage above which gave us a lot of laughs reviewing the footage afterward.

A section of Freight Train

I managed to hook up to Freight Train for a small section. Oh my was that ever fun. It's A-Line with a little gnarl thrown in. The container step-up is so much fun.

Too Tight

Too tight is Rob's favorite trail. Tight turns with trees everywhere. If you go off line, prepare to get bounced around. WIDE BARS beware!!

Ninja Cougar

Ninja Cougar.....imagine a downhill pump track. I'd love to spend a few hours riding this trail. We only managed to squeeze in one run on Ninja Cougar but man was it a blast.


A-Line, ooooooh A-line. What can I say.....I love it. Rob and Dave aren't huge fans of it, so I only managed to split off from them twice to hit this legendary trail. Man did I have fun. Every time I watch the video I re-live the ride anticipating the next time I am able to get to Whistler and go for a rip to catch some Air Miles.

Heart of Darkness

This was one of the first trails we rode on the day. Such a fun trail with tight turns, jumps and flow.


Fatcrobat is all about momentum, flow and good times. It's so much fun because of the low consequence nature wood work and the way everything links up. One of the best trails on the hill to ride with friends.

At the end of the day all three of us were spent. Rob and I were among the last riders up the lift at 5:15pm. Whistler has a HUGE following and is like Mecca for DH lift assisted riding. They set the bar to which all other venues in the world measure themselves and for good reason. Whistler is 110% pure biking enjoyment.

The boys with BIG smiles. (Rob, Dave, Dean)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The night

The night riding season is now upon us.

Timmy came by my place tonight and picked me up for a night ride at The Woodlot. I was on my Rune and he was on his Norco Six with some nice 888's he'd just picked up from yours truly.

The sun is setting a lot earlier so when we arrived and were starting our climb at 7:30pm, we were almost needing our lights immediately. On the way up we discussed among different things, the state of trail maintenance volunteers at The Woodlot. I've had many offers of help, but in the end nobody is stepping up to help. Lots of take, take, take but not enough giving back.

We were getting tired of doing some of the same routes, so we decided to try The Gate tonight. In the dark it is not an easy trail and given that it is not getting ridden much and the log rides are slick and slimy, making them down right scary. There were also several broken features which made this trail a bit of a let down.

I slapped my camera on Tim and he did the filming tonight.

Tsuga was fun as always and flowed well with it natural terrain an exposed rock.

Snakes was a hood as always. We rode non stop to the decommissioned log ride and then ripped the rest of the trail to the bottom.

After that, Shotgun was not so good for me. #1 I got a big chunk of dirt in my eye as I was hitting a jump that I had to abort due to zero visibility. #2 I hooked a pedal......really bad and it bucked me a good foot in the air and I then came to a dead stop. I looked down and knew things weren't good. One pedal stroke and I confirmed my fears....bent pedal threads....time to get new cranks, grrrrrr!!!!!!

At the bottom we looked at my cranks and they cannot be fixed...oh well, $hit happens right!?! We did have time to review some of the video footage which was pretty funny at times.

Not the best ride for me due to my mechanical, but overall getting out and riding in the dark was a load of fun.