Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blinding Salamanders

Well tonight I hit The Woodlot at night with Tim and Denise. It was lightly raining on the way up and from time to time there were flashes of Thunder heard off in the distance, but nothing other than a bit of rain really developed while we rode the trail.

As we were pedaling our way up, Tim blurted out, "Hey look, a salamander". Now I've seen one salamander in the 5 years riding up here but no more than a minute later, he blurts out, "hey look....another one!". The second one was twice the size with a big pot belly.

We climbed up to Krazy Karpenter which Tim is now beginning to work on regularly a geared up for the ride down. I had on my 'loamburner' light set-up. Dual 50W with a 4-LED light and a HID on the bars. It was literally like riding in the daylight for me.

So far Tim has fixed the classic log ride at the top and is beginning to fix a skinny section at the beginning of the trail. Karpenter is all about old school technical riding of ladders, logs, skinnies and the occasional drop here and there. None of the flavor will be lost with this re-vamp of the trail but new things may appear from time to time adding to the character of this classic.

Tim, Denise and I made our way to Upper Toadstool that Denise and Greg have been maintaining for some time. It is such a great mid level trail that runs really well in dark.

We then hit B-Line for a bit of a change. 100% natural is the current theme.

So after the certified organic run down B-Line, we traversed over to Snakes and Ladders where saw two more salamanders. Snakes was running really well. Right now there is no water collecting on the trail and the trail for the most part is in good shape. Likely within a few weeks I will need to do the once over to fix any drains and wet spots on the trail. Riding such a familiar trail at night is a riot with others that know the line as well as you. We were hitting everything in sight until Tim hit a rock and cut his tire.

After the tire was fixed, we all rode a bit faster pace down to the bottom as it was now getting late and we were approaching the 3 hour ride time with all our stops. Shotgun was a blast with all the greenery encroaching on the trail and ripping half blind on a trail is a hoot.

At the bottom we each packed up and set sail for home. Another glorious ride in the dark.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bad Karma?

Today I decided to go for a good rip. I didn't have a lot of time for my ride, but I had enough for a top to bottom ride and a little extra time to do some building.

I was on my Rune and made my way up to Krazy Karpenter where I geared up and started my ride. Timmy has been hard at work. On the first big log ride Tim has fixed the super sketchy ramp that joins two parts of a massive log ride. His work has now given that feature new life and should be around for a long, long time. The rest of Karpenter is eventually going to be fixed but for now, this is as far as one days work has gone. So my ride on the log was not without incident though. This big log doesn't get ridden by many people that ride the trail. It is a good 5 feet in the air and is often slick as snot so for those that ride it, there isn't really a great worn traction path on the log. I hit a snotty patch and took a trip through the air and landed 10 feet from my bike which was hanging upside down on a tree branch. It's been a while since I took a spill off this log, and this one was pretty damn funny.

So I got back on my bike and rode the rest of Karpenter down and over to Blood Donor. Donor had seen a trail day the day before. A big thanks to Greg, Denise and the Experience Cycling riding club!!, so the dirt on the lower half of the trail was MINT!!. I did at one point hit a soft spot in the dirt and took my second spill of the day, but overall I had a wicked rip down Blood Donor.

Blood Donor

So then Giant Killer was next on the list of trails for the day. This trail is a hoot and flows quite well. The trail days earlier in the year have helped with some trouble spots so for the most part it was a blast to ride.

I then raised the seat on my bike and rode over to Snakes and Ladders. I've ridden my trail likely hundreds of times so ripping it is a no brainer. I always have fun on Snakes, but karma must have been catching up with me today because I had a flat half way down the trail. I was running tubeless Maxxis Minion 2.35 kevlar tires and I put a good cut in the sidewall of my rear tire. GRRRRR!!!. So fixing a flat and picking my butt off the mat twice today I had eaten up some of my extra ride time that I had intended on using for trail work. In other words no building for me today. I think karma wants me to get working on the trails.

So after fixing my flat and riding out the rest of the trail, I made y way over to Shotgun and out my car.

Two wipe outs and one flat still equals one happy rider.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blue Mountain Epic

So this morning I decided to go for a ride in an area I used to ride in 15 years ago. I got on my Rune and pedaled all the way up the logging road and access roads on Blue Mountain in Maple Ridge. If make all the right turns and get to the top, you are rewarded with a spectacular view of the Golden Ears, Allouette Lake and a good portion of the Fraser Valley/Lower Mainland.

Unfortunately though for me today the weather did not cooperate. It started our clear and I managed to get a shot about 45 min into the ride.

On the way to the top of Blue Mountain

But as I made my way to the top, the clouds rolled in and there wasn't any view to be had.

The ride up is not very nice as half of it is a push on loose rock and boulders, but the rest is a nice fire road climb. The descent is a blast, but nothing really all that special. Really it is all for the view.

View Larger Map

It is now late in the season for this ride. I hope I'm able to make it up there one more time before the snow, but I think I may be waiting for the spring thaw to give it a go again.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Loam soaked ride

So tonight I hit Burke Mountain again with Dave, Bryan, Steve, Denise, Greg, Tyler Gorz, and his buddy. To say it was raining is an understatement. We had a full crew out tonight and I ended up lending out some of my lights to Tyler and his buddy.

We made our way up to Vic's and began our descent into the aqua soaked forest. I have never ridden Vic's before so I was in for a treat. Riding this trail in the dark had me on my toes for sure as it is an old school nasty trail that would be a wicked ride in dry daylight, but in the dark and wet it was somewhat scary at times.

We then rode Lower Vic's which was just as nasty and put us next to the Coquitlam river at one point. The guys that ride here regularly say they have never seen the river raging so big as they did tonight. It was insane.

So we then made our way over to a yet un-named trail that Tyler is building which was a wicked loamy line that swooped back and forth down the hill.

The last trail for the night was Hustler. This is a trail I could ride over and over. It's tight and fast and makes you work to keep speed. If you can rail a turn, you will love this trail.

So we finished at the cars and everyone was soaked to the bone. We all basically loaded our bikes and drove home as quickly as we could to get out of the downpour.

Another wicked night ride and a few more to add to the list of trails I've ridden.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hoots build and decimation

This morning Tim, Brody and I met at The Woodlot to do some work on a feature on Hoots. We made our way up to fix the last little ladder drop on the trail. It is a simple drop that has been on the trail since the beginning of time and ha seen much better days.

Our goal was to remove the old broken ladder and replace it with a new ladder that will last many more years. In speaking with many riders that have been on Hoots, this little drop is one of first they ever hit because it is small and has low consequences.

Old ladder before removal and replacement

After the ladder was removed, we installed the poles and nailed the rung in place to make the new drop better than ever and solid enough to handle many more years of riders.

The new ladder drop


A couple days later I went up to the trail to see how things were and to my shock and disbelief, the ladder feature was removed for what seems like political reasons. The behavior of some selfish people is absolutely beyond my comprehension.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Burke Loamfest - Night Ride

Night riding with a group of people that are experienced in riding at night is simply a blast.

From the ride up the hill to hiding just off the trail and scaring your riding buddies to having new odd sexual practices explained to you.....coupling!?!?!?!!!! wtf!!! All I can say is that night riding is a hoot.

The riders tonight were Dave, Connor, Mark, Steve and myself. Between all of us there there 4 HID's, 3 LED's and one halogen to light the way.

Every trail was new to me on this ride. Riding a new trail at night is such a blast and definitely keeps you on your toes. The trails were Dawg, Slayer and Hustler (pure loamy goodness).

After the ride, we did a little light comparison photo shoot to see what the differences are between the different bike lights on hand tonight.

In the end, it was the Loamburner that won the light fest shootout.

Loamburner Mk I Prototype

As a disclaimer absolutely no coupling of any sort took place during this night ride at all.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Finally Some Help

For a while now I have kind of been bitching about the lack of commitment and help from people in regards to maintaining trails at The Woodlot. The existing group of people is getting thin and we have not quite been able to keep up with the needs of the trails. This winter WAS looking kind of bleak, but there seems to be some interest from a few people and some new blood is getting injected into our beloved trail system.

Today I took one of the new interests on a tour of The Lot. On the way up we talked about the existing trails, his previous experience and what his visions are of what needs to be done on the trails. It turns out he has been riding at The Woodlot for quite some time, but for the most part has only ridden a handful of trails. Today I took him on likely the oldest trail at The Woodlot.....Krazy Karpenter, which he had never ridden before.

This past week, Tim had done a fair amount of work on Karpenter. Nearly everything that was rotten and or broken was shut down and or torn out. I cannot promise the exact timeline, but everything that gets torn out will be rebuilt. On the way down, I showed our new guy some of the old school features and what we would like to do in different spots on the trail. He has the spark in his eye needed to work on trails. Hopefully this works out.

We then hit Tsuga for a nice rip on the natural side of things, and then made our way to Snakes and Ladders. We stopped in spots to discuss things and I cleared some drains in preparation for the winter rains. Overall, we had a good ride and he rode the new ending to Snakes and Ladders for the first time every today. Amazingly he has ridden past it for a year and never noticed it.

On Shotgun we played a little cat and mouse and were out to the cars in no time.

I have a good feeling that things will work out and we will have some new blood helping on the trails. There are still others that have shown interest and the more the merrier I say.

Things are looking up.