Sunday, December 20, 2009

Randon Woodlot Meeting

Recently I was given a few items to 'test out' and provide my honest opinion about them. So on this ride I had a new set of grips, a new set of knee pads and a new helmet camera.

I figured I would try out these new parts on my shakedown trails: Goldmine. So with a pair of cameras rolling, I rode down on my Rune on this cold rainy overcast day.

Once at the powerlines I traversed over to Snakes and Ladders and ripped down the my most familiar of trails. Near the end of Snakes I caught up to a guy who stopped to let me pass. Then at the end of the trail I ran into two very familiar faces: Dave and Bryan. It turns out the guy I passed was a riding partner of theirs.

We all decided to ride up again and hit a few trails together. Bryan, Dave and I are bike obsessed so all we talked about during the climb was bikes and biking politics. Once at Toad Stool I decided to put a camera on Bryan so that I could get a different view from the camera with him both leading me and chasing me. Bloggy Style was the next trail and finally Shotgun.

Running into and riding with Dave, Bryan and their friend was a pleasant surprise and even though it was pissing down rain, we all had a great ride.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Google Earth Epic #1: Epic Rides = Epic Views

I went on what many people would call an epic ride today. I looked on a few maps of where I wanted to go and then plotted the route in Google Earth, printed the map and started pedaling. It's been a while since I went on one of these view finding epic wandering rides. I always go prepared with the necessary gear (GPS, maps, compass, tools, camera, phone, food and clothing) so extending my ride a few hours past my normal time isn't too much of a worry.

The views today were quite simply amazing.

I the photo above you can see Mt. Baker and even Mt. Rainer that is 300km away in the distance. Visibility like this is rare in the summer but today the air was crisp, clean but chilled you to the bone in the shade.

I had ridden in this area a few years back but recently there has been a few new cutblocks of logging and a couple new logging road spurs cut in. I remember a few weeks back hearing heavy machinery in the area and I can see why.

My climb ended when I ran into a fresh cutblock where there were loggers still hauling logs off the slope of the hill. I managed to snap a few photos for this panoramic photo before I departed down the hill.

An amazing view looking east across Stave Lake.

For the most part my ride was on logging roads to get around from peak to peak but to finish today's ride I was on the more familiar trails of The Woodlot (Goldmine, Snakes and Ladders, Shotgun). All I can say is that without a bike under me, I would never get to experience such breathtaking views.

Frozen waterfall

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Vedder by moonlight

Today I was invited by Tyler from to hit up a night time shuttle of Vedder. Seeing as I have never ridden Vedder and I was itching for a night ride, it was an opportunity hard to pass up.

So with my lights all charged up and directions in hand I set out from Maple Ridge to Chilliwack and met up with Tyler, Gerald and Spencer at the base of Vedder Mtn. Tyler had a bit of a chuckle when I got out of my little family sport wagon when the three of them were driving lifted 4x4 trucks. It was soon apparent to me that the shuttle up Vedder was a little more that gravel road.

Once the bikes were loaded on the trucks and the lights all checked, we headed up to the top of Vedder. Gerald and Spencer rode up in Spencer's Jeep Cherokee and I drove up with Tyler in his highly modified Chevy powered '95 Toyota pick-up. I'll be the first to admit that my 4x4 experience is somewhat limited so the drive up to the top of Vedder gave Tyler a bit of a laugh when he said this isn't really 4x4ing because we aren't in 4 low or needing winches while I was bug eyed whispering holy crap on some sections near the top.

Once at the top we unloaded and powered up the lights, then pushed up the hill a bit to get to The Den. Lately the weather has been dry and quite cold so traction was abundant on the dirt and the air was icy cold on this clear moonlit night. The video below shows clips from my helmet camera that I had on for the duration of the ride. The trails we rode included: The Den, Two Cents, Skidder, Turd Ferg, Ditch Chicken, Electric Lettuce and Femur. I really enjoyed getting the tour of Vedder by these guys as they really knew their way around and showed me a variety of different trails. For me a few standout sections were a gully where you carve up and down the two sides like a half pipe and Ditch Chicken (Gerald's trail). The trails on Vedder have a lot of fun natural flow that is distinctive all to itself when compared to most other areas of the Fraser Valley. I hope I'll be back some time soon to sample the trails in the daylight.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Karpenter on Film

I met Tim and his brother up on Karpenter today. He had bucked up a bunch of wood for the next part of the tune-up he is doing on the trail so I helped with splitting the rung. It was DAMN COLD today with ice on the trail on the way up but by the time I was at the top it had warmed up to melt most of the ice and frost.

Once the rung was split we talked about the next sections that will be worked on and then Tim and his bro took off for home.

I made my way to the top and decided to do a helmet camera run of Krazy Karpenter. It's hard to believe that I've never once done a helmet cam run of this trail.

After Karpenter I made my way up to Tusga then Snakes and Ladders and finally Shotgun. I managed to clear a few fallen trees on the trails so everything is clear and safe to ride.

I had a great ride on this dry cold December day and I can't wait to see what is going to develop on Karpenter in the near future.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Trail Buffing with Zach

Today I met up with Zach who contacted me to see if he could help out with some maintenance at The Woodlot. His timing could not have been better. Recently all the trees have lost their summer and fall coats and the trails are littered with needles and leaves plugging drains and blanketing the trails. With rakes and shovels in hand we started at the bottom of Snakes and Ladders and cleared all the drains and raked the trail from top to bottom.

Zach was an absolute trooper with the rake and for about 5 hours he raked his way up the trail cleaning up the line and buffing it up for the winter season.

At this point because of the over the top effort that Zach put in with me, I don't think I will need to touch this trail again for months to come.

After finishing the buffing we enjoyed the buff fruits of our labor and rode down Snakes and then over to Shotgun.

Thanks Zach for the help and I hope you continue to help with the trails.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Belated Remembrance Day Ride

This year I had to delay my annual Remembrance Day ride by a few days. I always pay my respect to veterans and on Remembrance Day I go for a spin on my bike to honor their sacrifices. It had recently snowed a little on the mountains but for the most part it didn't stop my progress and very few trees needed to be removed off the trails.

I rode up to Goldmine/Cabin Trail and then ripped down to Snakes and Ladders and finally out to my car along Shotgun.

It was a little wet and chilly today but with the right clothes and a few pairs of dry gloves the ride was very enjoyable.

Nothing quite like fresh tracks in the snow.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Logging Soon

It rained today. Non stop. From the time I woke up until this very moment I am typing this it has rained. Earlier in the day I went for a walk in the rain with my whole family and watched my daughters and nieces jump in puddles up to the tops of their gum boots. So to say it was wet today is an understatement. Anyways....I arrived at The Woodlot at 1:30pm today and made my way up with some pruning loppers in hand. With the wet weather and snow coming our way I figure it is time to trim back some of the brush that causes issues when it snows. I pedaled up and when there were low branches over the trail they were clipped back.

The timing of my doing some trimming could not have been more ironic. As I was riding up past Quick Hit, there was a piece of heavy machinery with the biggest weed whacker attachment you could imagine. It was there prepping the road for the upcoming logging. This machine was nuking everything on the edge of the road and sheared off Dogwood saplings that were 4" in diameter. I wish I had that to cut my grass at times.

I made my way up to John's new trail. This new line is handling traffic really well and there was very little standing water on the trail given the amount of rain we've had. A new hip after the big drop was a little unexpected for me, but it was a fun hit nonetheless.

After that I went back up and rode Mandatory Caution and then made my way over to Snakes and Ladders. I stopped to have a look at something that didn't really look right with the ladder that leads to the Teeter Totter and I had to shut down the stunt. I'll be up there soon enough to fix the rotten log that has given away.

I then rode over to Shotgun and then out to my car in the fading light. I was soaked to the bone and tired from the ride, but I managed to get in a few good climbs and practiced keeping my momentum going on certain parts of the climb. Speed and momentum are your friends on bumpy technical climbs.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Burke in the DARK

In the past Tim would be the guide when we rode Burke, but tonight I gave him the tour of a few newer trails up on Burke.

The view 3/4 the way up at 6:30pm in the fading light.

We met around 6 pm and made out way up the hill via the back side. Once at the trail head we donned our lights and helmets then started the descent down Six, Slayer, Hustler and Dawg.

We then went back up to hit another trail and stopped to take a couple night shots with a few blinkers.

Tim blinking past

Me blinking by

The final trail of the night was Bullet Dodger. Having only riding this trail once before it was an interesting trail to ride at night. Ripping this trail in the dark was a hoot and made for a sweet backdrop to some photos. We then retrieved my car and called it a night. The weather and trail conditions were simply amazing. My knee is feeling a little better but I am no where near 100% but with amazing rides like the one tonight I see my recovery to 100% in a month or so.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

I'm Spoiled

This morning my kids woke me up right around sunrise so I got them their morning cup of milk and made my way out the house for a quick spin at The Woodlot on my Rune. I wanted to keep this ride short so a pedal to the top and a simple ride down was my plan.

The view this morning was one to make you stop and appreciate. Blue skies and miles of visibility were well worth a pause for a photo.

The Woodlot is just that, BC Timber 0007 Woodlot and rom time to time there is some harvesting of trees that takes place. Currently there are two areas slated for harvesting and I happened to ride past one of the cut blocks as they were actively harvesting this morning. I hiked through the forest and watched the action from a safe distance. In the photo below you can see a track feller buncher in the lower center of the photo with a tree in mid fall. It is truly impressive to see the action in person.

After my stop to watch some heavy machinery at work, I pedaled up to the top via Stove Top and the skidder road. I geared up at the power lines and made my way down to The Gate. Over the past year The Gate has seen some much needed work from Lou and some friends of his. They started at the top and the greasy sketch that was The Gate is no longer. The original line was awesome, but due to the lack of traffic it sees the skinnies became green and down right dangerous. Now the grease is lined with perfect grippy rung. They've made some good progress on the trail and I can see this being added to my regular riding list when the work is complete.

From The Gate I went over to Tsuga and straight into Snakes and Ladders. I stopped mid trail to check out the work I did the other day in the rain. The rocks looked to be solid and I doubt I'll have issues with this tranny ever again. The trail needs a once over to clear the drains, but I will wait to do that after the leaves and needles fallen to the forest floor in a few weeks.

At this time of year it is nice to ride familiar trails with the forest in its transition to the winter and damp ground to ride on. I will never deny that I am spoiled with my accessibility to such amazing trails and friends to ride with and build on them.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ledgeview....night ride

Tonight there was a Fraser Valley Mountain Bike Association meeting at the base of Ledgeview at Trevor's place, what better thing to do afterwords than to go for a night ride after the meeting.

Tom, Trevor and I were all that took part in the ride but we had a good ride nonetheless. The weather tonight was perfect where all that was needed was a light sweater.

I honestly had no idea what trails I was riding at all during this foray in the night, but I had fun sliding around on the clay dirt that lined the trails. [Edit- the trails were Little Buttafuoco, Paper Route and LeBite Me]

Another great night ride with good people that share a passion for mountain biking and the trails we ride on.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Transiton for the trail gap

It's been a while since I did some real building where there are a pile of tools used and where rock, dirt and wood form the final product.

I've had my eye on the transition for the small trail gap on Snakes & Ladders for some time. Today I donned my building pack overflowing with tools with the goal of building a sweet tranny for the gap. One thing I never really took notice of before was the size and weight of my building pack when loaded with tools. My wife commented as I was about to load it in my car so for giggles I weighed it.........41lbs. I always up the pressure in the rear shock on my bike to compensate for the additional weight, but I never really thought my pack weighed that much. Climbing with it isn't too comfortable, but as many have said: what doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger.

The 41lb pack

Once I climbed to the trail I went straight to work getting the cedar stringers needed and cut them to size. One really good thing I took away from a building course IMBA Canada put on at The Woodlot a while back was to peel the bark off the logs you use. It took a little extra time to do this and in the end the final result was well worth the effort.

Once the logs were peeled, sized, notched and nailed in place, I filled the structure with several HUGE rocks and then filled in the rest with rocks that were piled by other trail users in a spot near the tranny.

Rain water on the lens made the after shots a little sub par, but end result in person is quite nice.
I spent a few more hours than I had planned on this, but doing things right takes time and I am very proud of this bit of trail work. The weather today was what many call 'typical BC weather', wet and rainy with a few rumbles of thunder and lighting thrown in for fun. I hit the jump a couple times to make sure it was all lined up and then packed up to go home.

I had a nice mellow ride down to the car soaked to the bone from the rain but oh so satisfied with my effort.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rob rides Burke

Rob was once again down in the valley for a weekend so we made sure to squeeze in a ride on a local hill.

Today Rob, Dave and I did a full lap of Burke: Triple Crown, Red R, Slayer, Dawg, Hustler and then back up for a little dodging of bullets.

We had a great ride with wicked weather and no hiccups.

Riding can't get much better than this: great trails shared with good friends.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Training Ride - #2

Once again I had a bit of time to kill so I went for another ride up to Thornhill from my place but this time on the hard tail. A slightly different route got me into some nice double track and into a newer subdivision development where I ran into a friend of mine from soccer. After a brief stop to say hi I was on my way.

15km of riding with a door to door time of 50 minutes with a stop to talk. Not bad and the legs felt good on this ride. Next week hopefully I have more time to explore.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - ride #1

I had an hour to kill and the weather was freaking spectacular, so I boarded my Rune and went for a spin from my house. I've been kind of lacking in the speed department when it comes to climbing and I've been reading about simple ways to improve speed, so today I did a training ride.

It was mainly a steep road ride climb to get to an area that has some mellow single track, but it worked well to get my heart rate up and practice some mid tempo climbing. In total I did 12km up Thornhill.

If I keep these regular rides up I am bound to improve and at least I am exploring the trails that are within a short ride from my house.

1 hour door to door and a good sweat was worked up. Considering I have a 60% healthy knee I was generally pleased with the ride.

I think I'll keep track of the number of 'training rides' I do just to see if I keep it up.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Working with a Krazy Karpenter

Tim and I were finally able to get out and ride/build together today. Krazy Karpenter is getting a make-over by Tim and we decided to work on an old stunt that he has earmarked for a fresh new look.

Once we made it to the section we were building on we unloaded our tools and nails that we hiked up and got to work.

Tim fired up the bush saw and I did the groundwork and transition for the stump roller. The stunt is essentially an old stump with a ladder leading to it and a steep roll down the other side. Due to weathering and rotting, the stump has rotted out but Tim intends to fix the rotting problem and keep the feel and nature of the original stunt with the new work.

Below is a shot of Tim shaving the stump with the saw.

Not too long after this shot, the pull cord on the saw decided it was time to die and it snapped. Without the saw we could not finish the wood work that we intended to do, so we did as much of the ground work we could and called it a day. When we left we figured there is maybe one more days work for this feature to be finished and dialed in.

We pushed part way up the trail and rode back down the new features Tim has been working on lately.

On Upper Toadstool I had a little spill and sacked myself pretty good. I can tell that my knee is weak and affecting my riding lately. I kind of feel like I've lost my quick agility and ability to 'stay out of trouble' on my bike. Hopefully soon I'll gain back the strength in my knee and leg, but until then, I am riding at 60% and staying away from jumps and drops.

Lower Toadstool and Bloggy Style were next and then Shotgun. After the build and ride we were both pretty beat and headed home. It has been quite some time since we worked together and as a pair we can get quite a bit done to improve the trails. Hopefully I can make it up to Karpenter with Tim again sometime soon to finish off the stunt we were working on.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A new tool and an old friend

It's been months since I've ridden in the rain and today it rained........pretty hard. My plan today was to hike some tools to Snakes and Ladders as well as go for a spin .

I learned something a few weeks ago when I raked the Bear Mountain DH course in preparation for the race: a good rake is one of the most valuable tools you can have when you need to clean up / buff a trail. I find that carrying multiple tools on a trail is a PITA, so I killed two birds with one stone with a mod I made to some rakes I had. I made a double ended rake that I call The Buffer.

Once I dropped off the tools on the trail, I continued up to the top pedaling my Rune. I geared up and rode Krazy Karpenter which is getting a once over by Tim. Things are really beginning to take shape in spots and it is a lot of fun. I do however really need to put some soft compound wet tires on my bike because I was slipping everywhere on my summer tires.

One particular section that Tim has recently worked on was a skinny section that just plain sucked in the past. The ladders and lines just didn't line up until Tim worked some magic. Now, it freaking rocks. Timmy made the skinny section a challenge to ride, yet still fun. The photo below is me riding the section for the first time ever.

After Karpenter I made my way to Fluffy Kitten and then to Snakes and Ladders. Snakes is running quite well and from top to bottom there was only one puddle on the trail. I stopped in the jump section to fix the lips and trannies on a couple jumps and put my new rake to the test and it worked flawlessly.

After Snakes and Ladders I headed over to Shotgun to ride out to my car. Shotgun wasn't bad and with my current tires, the wet roots kept things on the edge for me in sections.

At my car I ran in to Greg and Denise as well as a long lost friend of mine, Keith White who I used to ride with 15 years ago. Man how time flies.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Burke Guiding

Burke really seems to be on my radar lately. I arrived at the hill and set off on the climb right away. On the way up I met up with a few guys I've seen at The Woodlot before (Andy and Steve) and Steve's wife.

Funny thing is it turns out they were on Burke looking for some trails that they had seen some helmet cam videos of.........hmmmmmm I wonder who's videos they were referring to? ;-) So after the introductions were made I agreed to guide them down Triple Crown, Six, Slayer, Dawg and Hustler.

We had some good conversations about different things and I was able to test out a new camera mount I made. The footage did not work out well and some additional tweaking is needed.

I had a great ride even with a pooched knee but I know in time it will heal.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Woodlot a 'Test Run'

A little over a week ago I had a nasty spill at Whistler. After over a week of icing my knee and lots of ibuprofen I thought today I would test out my knee and also my chest camera mount that I made.

I rode my Rune and climbed up via Stove Top and made my way to Upper Toad Stool and then back up to Tsuga, Snakes and Ladders, Bloggy Style and finally Shotgun.

To be honest my knee felt like crap and hurt the whole ride. It ballooned up after the ride and caused me a fair bit of pain for the next few days after the ride.

Sweet view on the climb up.

The video below is a grab bag of the footage I got on the ride. The chest camera mount worked okay for the first test of my design, but it needs to be tweeked a little to offer more stability. I was neither impressed nor let down by the initial results BUT I know where the improvements can be made.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Whistler - Thrills 'n Spills

I managed to hook up with Steve and Daryl to get a ride up to Whistler where we then hooked up with Dave, John and a few of Steve's friend. 7 guys in total.

The day started off well with a warm-up run on Dirt Merchant and then it was up to Garbanzo. At the top I set up my camera to be a reverse view chase camera. Some of the footage turned out pretty damn good.

I must say that letting others take you on trails you've never ridden before can be a hoot at times. Blue Velvet is a wicked intermediate trail that I have never thought of riding in the past, but turned out to be the most fun trail I've ridden in a long time.

Below is a helmet cam run of Freight Train, No Joke/New Joke.

During that run an incident took place on the roller coaster which took out one of Steve's friends for the rest of the day. He didn't have enough speed to get up the face of the roller and then fell backwards where his head then hit a big rock on the side of the trail. FORTUNATELY his helmet did its job and took the blow. He had a minor concussion and was out for the remainder of the day.

After the Freight train run, we rode over to Angry Pirate which is a tight trail of turn after turn after turn.

Angry Pirate was a hoot but after that twisty trail I hungered for some air time, so A-Line was next on our list. A-Line can be a love hate type of trail and today my love turned to hate after my run. The video below shows how an amazing trail can very easily rear its ugly head and turn a great run into down right ugly one.

I consider myself very, VERY lucky because things could have been a lot worse given my speed and distance traveled going over the bars of my bike. I'll be off my bike for a while but at least I spent the rest of the day at the GLC patio taking in the sights and drinking beer.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Woodlot night ride

Tim and I hit The Woodlot tonight.

We rode Krazy Karpenter, Mandatory Caution,Snakes and Ladders and Shotgun.

Our ride started at 6:30 in light and we descend in dark. My Dinotte lights proved to be a good choice for this ride.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Golden Ears Park - Lush Single Track

I went for an afternoon rip today. Nothing special, nothing technical, nothing but a nice ride in the woods.

I drove into Golden Ears Park and did a helmet cam run of the most lush trail I've ever ridden. In the spring the ferns glow even more than they did today.

A short section of the West Canyon Trail

After a rip on the West Canyon Trail I drove to the park entrance and hopped onto a random trail. Then for fun at each junction I picked up a stick and spun it in the air and let random luck decide where I would ride depending on where the sharp end pointed.

I finally ended up at Mike Lake down a decommissioned road. The ride back to the car was a blast on a double track horse trail. Random spins in the woods are a great way to ride somewhere new and keep it fun.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Burke Mountain Flow

Several months ago I was approached after a ride at The Woodlot by someone who recognized me as the guy that rides a Banshee and does a lot of helmet cam filming. The person that approach me was a builder on Burke who has over the last few years built several trails on Burke that he wanted to show to others in the form of videos. Pete (the builder) drew me a map of his trails and described to me how they link up. Today's ride was for Pete and his request for some video footage of his hard work.

The really cool thing about his trails is that they are all natural with no drops, jumps or woodwork needed. EVERYTHING is flowing and pumpy and each of these four trails leads into the next. The second cool thing is that the trails are named after his bikes (Six, Slayer, Dawg and Hustler). The bikes used for the names of the trails are all the perfect genre of bikes for these trails; small to mid travel enduro / AM bikes. Therefore my weapon of choice for this ride was my Rune.

I arrived early ~6:30am and pedaled all the way to the top. The descent started with Triple Crown which is basically the highest trail on the hill and then hit Six, Slayer, Dawg and Hustler in succession.

The videos below speak for themselves. In fact even video cannot portray how much pure pump and natural flow these trails have. A friend of mine describes the trails as a series of downhill pump tracks. I could not agree more.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Evening Rip

After dinner I loaded my Rune on my car took my helmet and pack with me and headed to The Woodlot. It's been a while since I hit up the Woodlot. In the summer I just seem to ride elsewhere. Upon arrival I unloaded my bike, raised my seat and pedaled my way up. Lately I haven't been doing much pedaling and it showed on the climb. I just didn't have the legs to get up the hill with speed and ease I've had in the past. I guess late summer is good time to start some carido.

I decided to try a different route mid way up hill and began my descent after a half hour climb to Upper Toadstool. Upper Toad was fun and given the super dry conditions, the long logride was really fast to ride down. I then traversed back over to the skidder road and climbed back up to Mandatory Caution/Fluffy Kitten. It has been a long time since I've been down that trail and it is still for the most part abandoned an rotting in the forest. I rode the ground line of the trail the whole way down to Snakes and Ladders. To be honest, Caution could be a fun rip if there was a traversing reroute part way down to better used the terrain and elevation. It could easily be a nice alternate line mid way down the hill.

At Snakes I dropped in on the trail and just let it flow. Apart from a crappy lip on one jump and a few bomb hole landings, it is in damn good shape. I'll likely be heading up to fix the few trouble spots in the near future and maybe rake the trail for that extra buffed effect.

I then rode over to Shotgun which is riding well and out to my car. Overall it was a good ride. Given the small amount of time it takes to get in a ride like this, I can even see myself doing this ride in the morning before work.

Quick rips are tons of fun.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Seymour Shore Ride

I knew that today was going to be a cooker so I arrived at Old Buck on Seymour early in the morning for my ride today.

I pedaled my Rune all the way up to CBC in the hot morning sun only getting passed my one group of two shuttlers that I caught up to later on the descent.

At one of the look-outs I paused to take a photo of the view.

Once at the top I donned my gear and made my way down CBC, Corkscrew, Pingu and Pangor where I caught the two shuttlers and helped them with a bike issue (flat tire), then finally Slash and Empress.

Below is a full helmet cam run of CBC that I did on this ride.

By the time I was at the bottom it was 8:30am and I was hot and tired so I loaded up and drove home.

Summer dawn patrol on Seymour is a great way for me to get in a good climb as well as a wicked descent without missing out on family life with the kids.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bear Mountain Downhill 2009 - Day 2, RACE DAY

Race Day. So far, I have very few pre race rituals but two that I never skip are the twice over check on the bike the night before and I watch the course on video (helmet camera) several times to memorize lines. With my rituals complete, I was ready for the race.

I arrived early enough to get on the first shuttle up the hill. In fact, I was the first person down the course today so that I could help with the race set-up. In the photo below I was sporting my FVMBA jersey showing support for the race organizers during my one practice run of the day.

The course conditions were damp but not wet. It had rained the night before, but there was little to no standing water on the course so come race time, the conditions could not have been better.

After my practice run I helped set up the finish line station for the officials and I flagged a trail for spectators of the race. During all this I managed to step on a wasp nest and got stung on my leg while running away. Wasps are tenacious little bastards.

Once the race was ready to be run, I put on my race jersey from Maple Ridge Cycle and rode up the hill on the shuttle truck. There was one delay before my start time due to a junior racer going down hard on his head and neck [released from hospital the next day]. When the time for my race came up I was surprisingly calm and focused. I knew my abilities and what I was capable of and had complete trust in the capabilities of my bike. Overall I'd say I had a descent run. One near miss on the big double at the bottom (slipped/rotated a pedal) but all went well. My bike performed flawlessly. On the right course, setting up a light DH bike (mine was at 34.9lbs) is the way to go, it makes the bike so maneuverable and the way it picks up speed is simply amazing.

In my class I came in third. Three races this year and I was on the podium twice. Without any hesitation I can say that I am very happy with these kind of results.

This is a shot of the big double that I almost messed up on. If you look carefully my right foot has started to slip/rotate off the pedal.

Me on the third rung.

Another year of racing Bear Mountain and another podium for me. I love this race and the vibe it has. Hopefully next year I can repeat my effort and the result.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bear Mountain Downhill 2009 - Day 1

I arrived nice a early at the race in order to get one of the first shuttles up the hill. Once I parked I met up with some of the race organizers and then proceeded to gear up to get in some mandatory runs of the course before the mayhem of 200+ riders begins.

At the top of the trail, the moods was calm and relaxed and people were here to have a good time racing on a sweet DH track.

I know this course well so my runs were just to see if there were any course changes and determine if I can stick to my known lines.

Me during a practice run

My run up top went well and the course was sweet. Unfortunately though, there were riders going down all over the place. In a fast technical rocky section, a younger guy had gone down and smacked his head (6 stitches, scuffed up leg and belly). Apart from that, my run was clear top to bottom. The dry conditions were awesome and made for some good speed on the course.

My second run was much the same but again I saw a rider down on course. This time it was a young guy that had BADLY dislocated his knee. First Aid and course workers took charge of the situation and stopped the riders on course. I feel for the kid because it looked freaking PAINFUL.

After my two runs, the lines were getting HUGE for shuttles and I didn't need to see the course any more. I then locked up my bike and headed over to see what my task was today for volunteering. I briefly helped in the parking shuttle area but then was asked to marshal a corner on the course. I donned my pack and headed up course. Marshaling a section on track really helps you gain insight into the BEST lines for certain corners. In my particular section B9, there were 4 very tricky corners that for most people scrubbed tons of speed, but in watching the elite and faster riders, there were specific spots to hit and others to avoid. I learned a lot during the time I was watching my section.

Greg surveying an 'issue' with his rear wheel.

Tim looking unhappy with his pooched front wheel........ an Alex Supra D rim

A few more course closures were necessary due to rider injuries and then pro practice. After my couple laps and then volunteering I was done for the day and took off home to clean my bike and memorize my lines for the next day's race.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Whistler - 2009

I arrived in Whistler in the late morning with my wife and checked into our our hotel and then geared up for a half day of riding on my big bike: Banshee Legend Mk1

The weather was simply amazing. Sunny with a few clouds to take the edge off the summer heat.

The lines for the lifts were surprisingly small and I only had a few minute wait to get up the lift.

As a warm up, I always ride Crank It Up as a warm-up and it didn't let me down today. Killer flow and super buffed fun rip into Heart of Darkness.

One little adjustment to soften up my suspension and my the Legend was dialed. Fully pinning it at times was a blast and the only thing slowing me at times was fear itself.

My second ride up the lifts took me all the way to the to in the Garbanzo Zone. Original Sin into Freight Train then over to Dirt Merchant and Lower A-Line. The rest of the day was simply a blur of wicked trails and lots of riding time. I managed to get a lot of helmet camera footage that I present below.

Dirt Merchant


Freight Train

Goat's Gully

Too Tight

In Deep

Original Sin


No Joke/New Joke/Freight Train Compilaton

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bear Mountain DH Trail Buffing

I took the day off work today to do a little grooming.

Next weekend is the Bear Mountain Challenge and I figured I would do my part and put in a little time and effort to help with the DH course.

At around 9:30am I arrived with some tools and hiked to the top.

I then proceeded to rake the trail from the start gate to the finish line removing all the loose rocks, marbles, sticks and fallen tree needles that were on course.

To say I was tired when I was done is an understatement, but the trail is 95% dialed and SUPER BUFF after this rake job.

I can't wait to race next week.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Finding Flow

So this morning I was up with the chirping birds....again. Doing a Han ride. You know....Han Solo.

I drove out to Bear Mountain again to get in a little more DH track time and see where I am time wise on a top to bottom run.

It is amazing the lines you discover while walking up a trail. I now understand why walking a track is so important to racing. Once I was at the top I geared up, started the watch and rode the trail top to bottom. I had a reasonably clean run, was a little tired at the end but flowed the sections sections I had been practicing last week really well. My time was a little slower than I had really expected, but it was faster than my race run last year, I had just completed the climb, and was wearing my water pack with tools and gear.

I then pushed back up 2/3rds of the trail to get another couple turns dialed in. On my initial walk up I saw a sweet outside line on a turn that let me stay off the brakes and I just had to give it another go. You just gotta love flow.

So by this time it was only 8am but I had my fill of Bear, so I headed to The Woodlot.

Once there I immediately started my climb up. I ran into some trail runners that were running on some of the lower trails. Funny thing is, I was pushing my bike up a nasty trail with my water pack and full gear as fast as they were running up (I guess I am actually in okay shape for a mid 30's guy).

I pushed up to John's new trail and put on my helmet for the ride down. Even though it is a fall line trail that eats up precious vert really quickly, I really like the trail.

I then rode over to Snakes and Ladders which ripped quite well and then over to Bloggy Style. Riding the Legend on these trails is a touch overkill, but it really shows that the bike is versatile as a DH bike and can be ridden on the skinnies. PLUS it gets me used to pedaling in rocks an roots with a low BB height.

Bloggy has seen better days, but it is still rideable and it actually makes you use your bike's suspension and skills to ride fast. Straight into Shotgun for a rip down to my car and I was on my way home around 10am.

Overall I had a great ride and had some good training for racing.

It all comes down to flow.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Bear Session

So I arrived at Bear Mtn with one goal. To get the trail dialed in my head and figure out lines for the race later this month.

Well I spent four and a half hours sessioning different sections from the top down.

I now have my lines picked and ingrained in my head. It was the 2nd time on the new 2010 Boxxer World Cup and I am rather impressed. Also the I9/Flow wheels were noticeably lighter and made the bike accelerate faster than ever before. The Legend felt great.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

34.6 lb Legend Installation Lap

So my Legend has been transformed into a light weight DH machine.

34.6 lbs is its weight in full trim for DH riding. If I were to ride a super rocky course I'd change wheels to my heavier duty set-up, but as the bike sits now, I will ride MOST DH tracks in current spec.

The major recent changes to my bike have been new wheels and a Rock Shox 2010 Boxxer World Cup and a set of I-9 wheels with Stans ZTR Flow rims.

I've done many things to lighten my bike but these two parts have made the biggest overall difference that noticeably improve the ride and handling of the bike. To say I am impressed is an understatement. The instant acceleration or the ease in which the bike can be tossed around is incredible.

The trail that I always ride as the installation lap is Goldmine at The Woodlot. This trail has all the elements of a great DH oriented track. The fork is amazingly tunable and the wheels feel so damn light it is incredible. When matched to Super Tacky Maxxis Minion UST Tubeless tires, you feel like you can ride on or over anything.

I then rode Snakes and Ladders which was a hoot and stopped at one point to do a little trail work. After finishing up Snakes, I ventured left towards the powerlines to see how far the Trans Canada Trail work had gone. To my surprise, it appear complete. The road at the bottom of Snakes now links up 'easily' with the powerlines which is the new north arm of the Trans Canada Trail.

I then went up to Bloggy which is turning into a nice fast rugged line and then straight into Shotgun. I must say, light bikes sure fly easy. I found myself over shooting trannys and entering corners much hotter than normal.

I had an eye opening rip of a ride and could not be more pleased with the performance of my Legend Mk1.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

2009 Race the Ranch - Day 2

Race day.

I did one pre-run of the course and felt comfortable top to bottom but to be honest I just didn't feel FAST!! It was hot, windy and dusty which is typical for Kamloops so the course was fast and loose.

My race run went okay but I seemed to be holding back a little and because of this, my race time was not a good as I had hoped.

I'll be back next year for another stab at The Ranch.

Me caught mid air on the lower part of the course.
Photo courtesy of Dave Mackie

Saturday, June 06, 2009

2009 Race the Ranch - Day 1

Once again I attended the Race the Ranch in Kamloops. One year older and a new bike to ride on a dry dusty course in Kamloops.

The day for me started early at 5:30am so as to have an easy relaxed drive up. On arriving in Kamloops I got myself a coffee, went and signed in for the race and then headed over to Rob's place to get our bikes ready for the race.

By 10am we were both at the race course and doing some practice runs getting used to the changes made to the course. There weren't really any features that I didn't want to hit but there were some lines that were a lot faster than other, so getting them right was imperative.

I followed Connor down the DH course to get a good handle on the course and footage to review later that night.

Race the Ranch DH 2009

Later in the afternoon Bryan, Rob, Karaleen, Conner and I did a few laps of Harper Mountain which was a hoot to say the least. Video below.

Harper Mountain

I then hooked up with the Trident Banshee team and did a few runs of the course with them. I was really the first time I had met these guys and the first time I has seen another Banshee bike.

Jay from Banshee was at the bottom of the course snapping photos and took a few of me.

Then after all this, I went to Rob's place for beers and a BBQ. I went to bed with a full belly and a mind completely consumed with thoughts of the race the next day. Rob provided good times and was a great host.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Loops

This long weekend was spent with Rob and his family at his place with two other couples and everyone's kids. 8 adults and 8 kids in one house. At some points it was a gong show, but a great time was had by most everyone this weekend.

A rather loaded car

Happy kids=Happy parents

Bikes for Daddy and a buddy to ride.

The girls had their day out spending time at the spa, having lunch and shopping and then boys had a day golfing and SHUTTLING in the hills of Kamloops.

We were able to get in 2 full runs which included Rio Escondido and Broken Shoulder.

I have yet to ride a trail that has more flow than Rio. Absolutely awesome!

A BIG thank you to Rob and Tara for hosting us and I cannot wait to get back up to Kamloops some time soon to ride the trails again with Rob.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

After work rip

I managed to get out after work for a quick rip at the woodlot. On the Legend I climbed up to Cabin trail up to the snow line and rode down from there. The trail is in fabulous natural gnarly shape and was a blast to ride.

I then rode to Snakes and Ladders on the easy line of the whole trail to make sure all was well along the ride around line. Thankfully nothing at all needs any work.

Then it was over to Shotgun for a fast blast down the trail in the light of the setting sun. Almost nothing beats an after work rip on some flowy trails.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Tim and I met early at The Woodlot today. I was on the Legend and Tim on his Six. We climbed up to the top and rode down Krazy Karpenter and discussed some building options for the trail and how we would go about the work that is needed.

After Karpenter the plan was to ride Tsuga, but we saw a sign on ground written in pine cones saying "OPEN", so we figured we would ride the 'new trail' that is now open next to Tsuga. I'm not quite sure what it is called, but it is a fun flowy fall line trail that is fresh cut and has a few gnarly rock faces as well as a big drop on it. Not really knowing the line, I had a little mishap on one of the rock faces and cut up my knuckles, but overall I had fun riding this new line. I likely won't be riding it a lot as it is a little short length wise for the climb required, but when I need a gnarly rip, it is the one to hit at The Woodlot now.

At the bottom of this new trail we ran into some familiar faces (Dave, Cory and Bryan). We chatted for a bit then Tim and I headed up Goldmine trail. Once we hit snow we ripped down the trail all the way without hesitation. I'd just had my fork worked on by James of Suspension Werx and my god what a difference he made to my Boxxer WC. PLUSH and SMOOOOOTH. The Legend feels like a rocket ship.

At the bottom of Snakes and Ladders we noticed the road was extra clear of debris on the road which was nice. It seems someone has cleaned up the road a little. So up and over to Shotgun it was and it was a game of cat and mouse all the way down with a slight pause half way down.

At the cars we met up with a bunch of people that we had ran into during the ride (Dave, Cory, Bryan and a group from Maple Ridge Cycle) and shot the shit with everyone before we left.

Tim and I had a good ride and were able to chat a lot about the trails, building and riding. Lots of new lines were explored and lots of good things are on the horizon. The desire to get out on the trails to build and ride hasn't been stronger in me for a long time. I am really looking forward to the spring and summer season.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Opening it up

So I hit the Woodlot this morning in the rain. I took an axe with me so that I could cut some trees out in certain spots and then stash it on the trail.

When I arrived at 9am there were a couple cars but nobody to climb with, so I set off up the hill solo on my Legend. I stashed the axe at the Snakes and Ladders trail head and decided to see how far the snow had receded up the hill, so I pushed up Cabin trail until I hit the snow. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the trail is clear of snow on the lower 75% of the line. Nothing until the first bridge on the trail. While pushing up, I did find some interesting lines on the trail that proved to be a blast to ride when my bike was finally pointed down hill. Thankfully the trail was all clear of deadfall and was a total rip to ride. Cabin trail is what I normally use as a base line measuring stick for any new bike I get. If it rides well on Cabin then I know it will ride well practically anywhere. I already knew well ahead of time that the Legend would ride well on Cabin but what surprised me was that in spots where I'd usually just be able to let off the brakes and hang on for dear life, I was able to pedal and confidently ride the trail significantly faster than I ever have on any bike. I'm just now getting used to riding trails at what I consider stupid fast speeds.

By the time I was at the clear cut I was in a total downpour and hail. The weather sucked. So back into the forest it was and down to Snakes and Ladders with the axe to open up the new reroute a little bit.

The reroute that was started a few weeks ago is now 80% rocked in but the entrance to it sucked until today. I moved a log that was blocking the entrance to the line which now makes the line flow a lot better. With a chainsaw I will be doing a little more magic and then I'll shape some dirt, rock a little more and the line will be done. The flow of this line will be significantly improved when I am done and just in time for the spring and summer masses that flock to The Woodlot when the weather improves. I am pleased with how the reroute is coming together.

After cleaning up and gathering the tools, I set off down the trail and over to Shotgun to go home.

On the way down Shotgun I noticed the front end of my bike was feeling harsh and I was getting bounced around. At my car I compressed the fork a few times and noticed I was only getting 4" of travel and then the fork got stiff. Looks like I need to have it worked on. [EDIT] I took my fork ('08 Boxxer WC) to Suspension Werx and it turns out I ripped an o-ring in the rebound cartridge and the fork dumped all its oil into the lower chamber.

Over all a good little ride with some building thrown in there for good measure.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Playing in the woods

This morning I got out of bed with the rising sun and headed out the door with the wife and kids still sound asleep.

My ride today started at Bear Mountain in Mission. I headed to the top on my Banshee Legend with a few cameras in my pack and a body full of stoke for the ride. I experimented a little with the filming today one camera on the bike and another on my helmet. The result is the video below.

My ride at Bear was done by 10am and back at the parking lot there were a dozen or so people just getting ready to hit the trails but I was on my way to go for another ride but this time at The Woodlot.

Upon arrival at The Woodlot I saw some buddies of mine (Dave, John and their wives), so I hooked up with them for the climb. On the climb, Dave and I talked about this and that and of course bikes. Unfortunately I only had time to ride a couple of the lower trails so I split off from them early and wish them a safe ride.

I hit Bloggy Style, which I am beginning to really like and then onto Shotgun which is was a total blast. The Legend has certainly enabled me to ride a lot faster than I ever have before. Knowing I have a bike with capabilities that exceed my riding abilities allows me to push harder and ride faster with complete confidence in my equipment. I just love playing in the woods on this bike.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Norah makes Daddy proud

Well today was the day where Norah rode her bike for the first time without any training wheels. She'd been ready for a while, so we went down to the workshop and took the training wheels off her bike. We then went out on our road and with some encouraging talk and trust that daddy was close, she rode her bike all on her own for the first time today. I think I was smiling more than her when she came to a stop. No spills and no tears.

Then when we went inside, she did the most amazing thing ever. She picked up her training wheels and handed them to her younger sister telling her that she didn't need them anymore and she can have them. I happened to have my camera on and ready for the shot. One in a million, one in a million.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Snow ride with Tom

Today I rode with Tom Thornton for the first time. He and I were introduced through Keith of Banshee Bikes so we hit The Woodlot for a ride and a building session.

Tom rides a Banshee Scythe and is a very solid rider, in fact I'd say he is damn fast. Most times I bring someone out for their first ride at The Woodlot I wait on the trails for them to make sure they are okay or don't get lost. Not with Tom. He was on my wheel no matter what we were riding.

We rode Upper and Lower Toadstool (covered in snow), Snakes and Ladders, Bloggy Style x2 and then Shotgun (covered in snow).

On Snakes and Ladders, we roughed in the new line around the washed away section of trail. A really good start was made on this section and it should be complete within no time at all.

I had a really good ride and it was nice meeting someone new to ride with on the trails.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Legend Photos

Dave, a buddy of mine called me up the other day and asked if I'd like to do a photo shoot with me riding the Legend. I've done one other photo shoot before on my Rune and got a few banger shots so I was really looking forward this.

I had just got new forks for my Legend (Boxxer World Cups to replace Fox 40s) so sessioning sections was alright with me for dialing in my fork during the shoot.

We shot on Lower Toadstool and Bloggy Style for a few hours. 40 or so shots were taken which means 40 or so times up and down a section. In the end there were a few very nice shots taken by Dave. He had to leave a little early so once he was gone, I went up to Snakes and Ladders for a quick ride and then down Shotgun.

Overall it was a great day of shooting and I had a good ride as well.

All photos are property of Dave Mackie

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Woodlot filming on the Legend

Well this week saw me riding with the same guys as last week, but this week they decided we would do some filming.

So with that in mind we made our way to The Woodlot again and rode Snakes and ladders and Shotgun. When filming for people you tend to do a lot of repeats for different angles and additional footage. In other words you really get a workout and do a lot of riding when filming.

Brody made up a 'webisode' and it was featured as a PinkBike video of the day. Most of the riding was shot over two days where I attended for one. Overall the end product turned out pretty good.

During the day we were shooting, we saw LOTS of people on the trails because of the decent weather and the fact that the Woodlot is the only place locally where there isn't a ton of snow anymore.

Overall a great day of riding and good time filming and once again the Legend Mk1 showed me just how much fun and easy it is to go really, really fast on a bike.