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.