Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Murphy's Law - Giant Killer Pt.4

Today was suppose to be the last day for working this ladder section on Giant Killer. It won't be.

We had a plan: finish the framing, find more rung, nail rung and do the dirt work. All was going well until I went looking for some more rung. I found a fallen cedar that was perfect for some rung. I start to cut then 3/4 of the way through the cut the tree shifts and my saw is pinched. Stuck. Not moving a bit. F@#K!. I hike up the hill to get Ryan to help me get it unstuck. With us we take a hatchet, axe and folding saw. We managed to cut my saw loose with the axe, but I managed to hit my chainsaw with the axe and I snapped the chain brake. So now the saw is stuck with its brake on and there isn't a thing I can do with it until I get it serviced. I was glad that I managed to finish the final bit of framing before my little axe meets chainsaw incident.

After we went back to the ladder, Ryan and I began nailing in the rung and as it turns out we really didn't need any more rung. We had just enough rung to lay all the decking of the riding surface and a few okay ones to spare.

To finish this thing up, we need a few more nails to hold the rung in place (4 per rung), rock in the lead up to the bridge, rock in the exit, modify the exit turn on the trail (remove a few trees) and last but not least trim the edges of the rung on the ladder. I soooooo wish I hadn't broke my saw because the rung looks a little ghetto without being trimmed. I think I may be grabbing my other saw to do the trimming if I can't get my trusty Stihl fixed quick.

Al things said, I am really pleased with the amount of work Ryan and I completed today especially considering we had a somewhat surprise snowfall in the morning. The ladder is 100% rideable and built to last.

A little summary of what Ryan and I finished today.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Framing Complete - Giant Killer Pt.3

This morning I once again met with Ryan at about 9:30am and we headed up for a few hours of building before the two of us had to attend to prior commitments. He worked on cracking more rung and I worked on finishing the framing of the ladder section.

I'd put the framing at 98% complete. All I need to to tweak a few runners and nail in a few more pieces. Once we have more rung we can do the final assembly. This ladder section has turned out to be a little more work that I had expected.

The ride out today was a little less hair raising than yesterday. My little bike is turning out to be a good bike for hauling the chainsaw.........or maybe I am just getting used to riding with a chainsaw in my backpack.

A video and pictures of the framed ladder section.

It was interesting balancing and filming the beams at the same time.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Demo and Framing - Giant Killer Pt.2

This morning I met Ryan at the parking area of the Woodlot and we headed up to Giant Killer to continue work on the ladder section that we started gathering materials for the other day.

Last night when I packed my building back pack I went to pick it up and could not believe how heavy the thing was. I hung it on my scale and it was 44lbs (chainsaw, 15lbs of nails, hammer, axe, and other tools). I bitched a little when I met up with Ryan this morning and he kindly offered to carry the 15lbs of nails. So with our loaded packs we made our way to the building area and immediately got to work.

I bucked up a log for rung and then left Ryan to learn/practice how to split rung and I headed over to the ladders to dismantle them and then started framing for the new ladders. Things never seem to go as quickly as you want and there was one particular stump that I spent an hour or two on getting things right.

After a few hours a couple of younger riders showed up that I had invited to help out. Garrett and Nick packed the rung, hauled away the old ladders and did the necessary cleanup for the area. Without their help there is no way we would have got as much accomplished as we did. People often think that the 'grunt work' is a waste of time but if fact it is VITAL to getting trailwork complete. While talking with them, Garrett mentioned that he needed volunteer hours for school and I wisely told him that the trail work he was helping with today is considered volunteer hours. The look on his face was the classic 'get the F-outa here!'. Needless to say he'll be back.

Overall I'd say the section is 75% framed and we have 1/3 of the rung we will need. I'll likely be back tomorrow in the morning with Ryan to continue getting rung and framing in the ladders. It will be nice to ride this section again on some solid woodwork.

The ride out down Giant Killer, Bloggy and Shotgun was fun on the little bike (Trance). Riding with a pack can be a handful at times though. I had a moment or two where I though I was going to get up close and personal with a big old spruce tree.

Here is a short video walk-through and some before photos of the section we are working on.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Time to Build - Giant Killer Pt.1

It's been a while since I've been able to commit any time to building, but I have a few weeks to relax.........and get to work on the trails. Giant Killer is a classic trail at the Woodlot that has been around since the 90's. In fact it is one of the first trails I ever rode at the Woodlot. However in parts, the trail has seen better days.

Recently Ryan has started to do a little dirt work on the trail and is putting in some time fixing up the trail. However he has never done trail work before and woodwork on trails is something totally new to him that he needs to be shown. I have been meaning to fix a particular ladder section on Giant Killer for quite some time now so with Ryan's help, we can get the section completely rebuilt and he can learn a few things about working with the cedar. I can remember when I was shown how to split rung and construct a sturdy ladder bridge by Tim and now it is my turn to pay the knowledge forward.

So the day started early at 8:30am at the parking area and we headed up to Giant Killer with me on all things...........a Giant Trance. I had my chainsaw in my pack and a few tools for splitting rung. The goal today was to get the cedar poles necessary for the stringers and also to begin getting rung for the ladders.

We managed to get all the poles we needed from fallen trees in the area and we also managed to get a few rung, but we weren't able to find the big haul of cedar we will need for all the rung.

Once our time was up, we rode down the trails to our cars: Giant Killer, Bloggy Style and Shotgun. One thing is for sure, when you have a chainsaw in your pack, riding smoothly is a difficult thing to do at times.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Woodlot Rip with Cory

This morning I met Cory at The Woodlot. He is currently reviewing a Spitfire for Pinkbike and he wanted to ask me a few questions about Banshee and get my take on a few things about the frame. Seeing as he's been an owner of a Trance for the past few years, I was also able to ask him a few questions about my newly acquired frame. The Spitfire he has is one sweet ride that has the full SRAM X0 groupo as well as a set of Tioga tires, both of which he is also reviewing. Given the amount of riding Cory does and the number of bikes and gear he has ridden over the years, he has insight into what makes a great bike or piece of gear.

Banshee Spitfire: Photo by Cory Hemminger

Our ride consisted of a pedal up Shotgun, Stovetop and the skidder road and then an descent down Krazy Karpenter, Upper and Lower Toadstool, Bloggy Style and then Shotgun.

Lets just say I am out of shape right now and Cory is in much better shape than me. He was doing a fair bit of waiting on the climb and at times I felt like puking trying to keep up with him on the way up.

At the top there was about 3-4 inches of fresh wet snow. At the trail head of Karpenter we dropped our saddles and rode down the trails making good time ripping along. We stopped on one trail where Cory showed me a little trail work that he is doing which will be oh so sweet when it is completed.

My new little bike was a blast to ride but one thing I noticed was that I was only getting about 3" of travel on my 5" fork and I was blowing through the travel in the rear a little too easy. A few tweaks to my suspension will make this bike even better.

Cory and I had a pretty good ride. I certainly noticed that I am lacking in the cardio department but the DH was a lot of fun. Hopefully I am able to get out with him one more time in the next week or so before my life once again get too busy for weekday rides.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Burke on a new bike

I usually break out the hardtail in the winter. I use winter as a time to get back to the basics and ride technical terrain on the hardtail to keep things honest. But to be completely honest, I hate riding my hardtail (Cove Stiffee) and put quite simply, it beats me up.

The other day I went to the Giant factory sale and picked up a sweet replacement for my hardtail: a Trance. The price was impossible to pass up on a brand new frame that comes with a lifetime warranty frame. Once home, within a few hours I had all the parts from my Stiffee swapped over and I had myself a new ride.

Given that I will be using the Trance as a winter AM bike, I figured what better place to break it in than Burke. I parked at Shaughnessy and David in PoCo and pedaled up in the pouring rain. One thing is for certain, this bike pedals substantially better than any bike I've owned and pedal feedback or bob is non existent.

The pedal up Burke is a good test of a bikes climbing ability and today's pedal up was by far the easiest pedal up I've done to date. The Trance climbs without a single hiccup and has ample traction when it is least expected.

I chose a true old school trail to test out my new steed. Sawblade. Judging by the lack of tracks in the snow leading to the trail head I'd say I was the first person to ride here in at least a month. My uphill impressions of the bike were really positive, the downhill impressions we just about as good. The bike took the edge off the bumps and gnarl and is quick and snappy in and out of the corners. It certainly gets a little rough when the speeds increase, but it is a very predictable bike.

After Sawblade I made my way to the Coquitlam River Connector Trail. It seems as though someone has been doing some work on this trail since I was last up here in the summer. The trail is now all clear of blowdowns and is freaking amazing to ride at speed. This trail is a hidden gem here in the lower mainland that I'd rate as a 9.5/10 for AM riding. I don't think I could have picked a better series of trails to test out this bike.

Once at my car I was soaked to the bone and completely bagged. The Trance proved to be an ├╝ber capable bike that has truly impressed me. I can't wait to get out on this bike some more this winter.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Winter Tires

Winter weather is upon us in this part of the world and that means rain, rain and more rain. In order to adapt to the wet slippy conditions one needs to change their tires to a softer compound for additional grip. My winter tires on my Rune this year are a Minion UST Super Tacky on the front and a Michelin Comp 16 rear. They are both super heavy but oh so grippy.

With my sticky tires installed, I pedaled my Rune up to Giant Killer and descended down with a ton of confidence inspiring grip. The thin layer of snow was no problem at all with the right rubber on my bike.

I then hit Snakes and Ladders. Apart from a little section of ice, the trail was fabulous from top to bottom.

I then finished the ride on Shotgun. I think there always an inversion that hovers over Shotgun because there was twice as much snow on Shotgun as there was on all the other trails today.

A fun ride for sure and with snow and ice covering the ribbons of trail there is bound to be lots of slippy drifting fun to be had in the coming weeks.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Damp Spin

I managed to escape to the woods for a couple hours this morning aboard my Rune.

As I pulled up at the Woodlot there were cars parked everywhere. Brody had also just arrived so I joined him and Craig Findley for the first part of the climb along with Craig's his dog Brew.

Brody and Craig were working on Mandatory Caution today. They've put in a fair amount of work to make a trail that was abandoned into a trail that is now fully on the radar of trails to ride when you're at 'The Lot'.

I kept climbing past their building section to the powerlines and started my ride on The Gate. This trail is one that requires some commitment with it's ladders and logrides as well as the few gap jumps that litter the trail. The Gate is a fun rip right up to the old slimy woodwork that is about 2/3rds down the trail. From that point forward (especially on a wet day like today), the woodwork is quite treacherous.

From the Gate I rode Tsuga and then Snakes and Ladders where I stopped in a few spots to nail in a few loose or broken rung on some ladders. While doing a repair, the elusive Taylor rolled through riding his XC bike down Snakes.

With my repairs complete, I then rode out to Shotgun and then home.

I was really nice to get out.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Quick Ride in the Park

I was able to get out for a short 2 hours ride in the rain into Golden Ears Park. I took my lights with me so that I`d be able to safely get home in case I was out a little too long.

I pedaled up the horse trails to the peak before the descent to Mike Lake. It was a super fast rip back and an easy pedal home on the road. Surprisingly I saw a few trail runners on the trails as the light was getting scarce.

I had a good quick ride on my trusty Rune and was soaked to the bone by the time I reached home.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Two Flats

What was suppose to be a quick ride turned out to be a massive PITA. I ventured out to The Woodlot on my Rune with some tubeless Bontrager tires. In the past they have been really good to me when ran tubeless.

I pedaled up to and down Tsuga and then made my way down Snakes and Ladders. I proceeded to hit a little jump on Snakes that I've hit many, many times. This time however I got a flat due to a puncture of the tire which spewed tubeless sealant all over the trail. I think it is karma getting back at me for chuckling at Tim when he got a flat on the same jump a while back.

I threw in my spare tube and continued on down the trail. Near the bottom of the trail I could feel the rear end of my bike getting loose and I knew I was getting another flat. It was cold, raining and I was out of time for what was suppose to be a quick ride.

I said F-it and just rode out on the flat tire. I had been planning of replacing the rim and tire for some time so I just rode on the metal.

I wasn't a happy camper by the time I got to my car but any ride is better than no ride at all.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Trailside Grouse

I hit the Wooldlot today on my Rune. It was a cooker of a day and the bugs were about as bad as I've seen them in the trees. I climbed to Cabin Trail and then turned off mid way down Blue Ribbon and then traversed over to the bottom of Snakes and Ladders on the TCT connector. I brought some clippers and a hatchet with me that I used along the way to clear some Blackberry bushes and a decent size tree that had fallen on the TCT connector.

Once I passed Snakes and Ladders I ran into a Grouse on the side of the road. It really didn't move when I came up to it but then I noticed it had two young babies hiding in the bush near it.

After snapping off a few pictures, I made my way back up to the top of Snakes and Ladders and then rode down. It's been a while since I rode it in such dry conditions. I then rode over to and down Shotgun and my ride was over. Not a bad little afternoon ride.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bear Mountain with some fellow riders

I put out the call for anyone that would like to join me for a spin at Bear today and two guys replied on NSMB. Basically we met at 12:30pm and decided on the trails we'd ride while we climbed. It turns out Adrian had never ridden a few trails on the menu but he knew of a trail that neither Mike or I had ridden so it was new trails for everyone.

It seems the three of us are all bike gear heads to a certain degree so the ride up was filled with discussions about tires and forks and just about everything in between.

Once at the top we rode Backdoor to Lorax and had a fast rip all the way down. Adrian was hooting behind me. To say he liked Lorax would be an understatement. We then hit Smoke 'n Bobo which is a really fun trail that I really need to memorize. I nearly went off the line half a dozen times hitting blind corners or going over slight rises.

We then climbed back up the road to the tower and rode Microwave where Mike had a funny little tumble missing a corner just ahead of me. It seems pine needles aren't all that great for holding a line. Once at Corduroy we decided to ride this other trail that Adrian knew about from years ago. It was actually a pretty nice trail that offered a bit of variety rather than the fast straight shot down of Corduroy.

We then pedaled back to our cars where I loaded up and headed home. It's nice riding with others during the week and finding some new trails to ride. Hopefully I can try to make this a bit of a regular thing.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Seymour Dawn Patrol

It's been at least 6 years since I've ridden Ned's so I figured what better trail to ride today.

I've been doing the shelf shuttle thing lately and the weather was sweet this morning so I enjoyed a nice long pedal 17km all the way up to top (all the way to the ski lodge).

I'd heard whispers of a somewhat unknown line that descends from one tower to the next so I had a quick look around and once I found it I made my way from one tower to another. It's pretty much an overgrown straight shot down the hill that exits just above the CBC trail. To be honest, it's nothing great, but it's certainly better than riding down the road if you shuttle up.

Once I was on CBC one thing became immediately apparent; I am out of practice riding skinnies. I was all over the place on anything less than a foot wide. I'd had a nice clean ride down the trail but on the narrow woodwork I was looked a little rusty.

This elevation profile shows the elevation gain and distances of the climb and the descent today. 28km of riding, 17km climbing and 11km of descending. I also marked where CBC and Neds are on the descent. I would have thought that CBC had more elevation gain/loss than Neds, but the GPS doesn't lie.

After CBC it was over to the top portion of Corkscrew and then Ned's. I had a fun ride down Ned's on my Rune today. I'd say it's the perfect bike for this kind of trail. Had I been on my big bike, I could have definitely gone faster, but riding a smaller bike you can use finesse rather that monster trucking to keep speed and skip over the million or so rocks that make up Ned's.

Ned's on my Rune

It was 10am now and I was at the bottom of Ned's so pedaled over to my car on Riverside Drive and loaded up to head over to the Cove Bike shop to see what new bikes they had in. Another great ride on "The Shore".

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stave and Allouette Epic - The Redux

Call me crazy but the ride the other day to Stave and Alouette was so damn sweet, I did it again today. Nothing really different this time around except that the weather was even sweeter than the first time. My legs felt great and I enjoyed another trip into the wilderness.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Google Earth Epic #4: Stave and Alouette Lakes

I'd been near the end of Alouette Lake about 18 years ago with a buddy of mine. We ended up with near terminal mechanical issues with our bikes and needed to be plucked off the side of the lake by a boater and taken 15km back along Alouette Lake to the boat launch and then a 20km pedal back to my car on the other side of the mountain. My ride today didn't have any mechanical but was epic due to the sweet views and distance ridden.

Once again my ride started at the computer. I found the spot I wanted to get to in Google Earth and then I proceeded to plot the route, printed the map and loaded the info in to my trusty GPS.

The starting point for today's ride was at the parking lot for the boat launch for Stave Lake where I fired up the GPS and began pedaling on Burma Road/Florence Lake FSR and the end was at the viewpoint where you get a view of both Stave and Alouette lake at the same time.

Stave Lake has a long history of being a party place where people take their boats, trucks, dirt bikes and quads to play in the woods and on the mud flats. Often when mixed with alcohol or simply by unfortunate circumstances people get hurt and or die. There was on section of the road where I saw three memorials for people that had lost their lives while in the area. It was a little creepy pedaling past these tributes.

I continued past the memorials and simply kept on pedaling. The route is a nice logging road that weaves along the west ridge of Stave Lake and then turns slightly west upwards to get over to Alouette Lake. There is a junction about 5km from the end where you could descend a switchbacked road that leads to the shore of Alouette lake and the BC Hydro water tunnel that connects the two lakes. In fact this was the spot where my buddy (Greg) and I got stuck many years ago.

This time I was far more prepared and just pedaled past on my way to the viewpoint. In the end it was a little over 22kms to the view point and a hair over 1500ft of elevation gain from my starting point with lots of up and down sections.

This little foray into the woods netted me one of the most spectacular views I've seen in a while aboard my bike.

Florence Lake

Mount Robbie Reid

The narrows on Alouette Lake

The view of Stave Lake (left) and Alouette Lake (right)

The view down Stave Lake

The view of the narrows on Alouette Lake during the descent from the top.

The very end of Alouette lake. The creek on the far right feeds the lake.

Me enjoying the view

Looking south on Stave Lake

The panoramic view from the top and my trusty steed: My Rune

After I took these photos I started the long pedal back to my car. Thankfully the return trip has more downhill than up and it took a lot less time to get back. Another epic ride with an epic view.

For those interested in the route:

View Allouette / Stave View in a larger map

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Two hours to kill

I had 2 hours to kill today so I took off out the garage to get in a ride. I rode my 2 hour Golden Ears/Alouette route and did it in great time.

My photo above really doesn't do this waterfall any justice. In person it is sweet and is about 3/4 of the way into my ride. If needed I'd be able to stop and wet my face or get water from this creek that's fed by melting snow and ice in the hills above.

I had a sweet ride and actually seem to be getting used to riding clipless pedals again. Blasphemy!!!!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Aloutte 2 hour loop

I have been on a quest to find a 2 hour loop from my house and today may have just found the perfect loop that starts at my front door.

Basically I get on the green belt from my place and head east to Alco park and cross the Alouette river to get onto the horse trails. From there I pedaled to the lake for a view and then headed back west along the trails and up the Loop trail.

Once at the peak of the Loop trail you are greeted with a nice view of the lake below and you begin the descent along the Eric Dunning trail.

I pedaled up the road that leads to Mike Lake and turned up the horse trail that leads west. After a short steady climb the descent is fast and twisty on a horse trail to a horse corral. From there I follow some trails to Fern Crescent and then cross the Alouette river again at the 240th horse crossing and make my way home. By skipping the visit to the lake, the ride will take just under 2 hours. I'm stoked to have found a great rolling ride so close to home.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

2010 Bear Mountain DH - Race Day

Race day. One could say I've raced bear a few times; this was my 6th time racing Bear and I've been on the podium 4 times. I was prepared both physically and mentally for this race but for some reason I was tentative this race.

I'd had one prerun earlier in the day and I had the course and all the jumps dialed, but come my race run things just didn't feel right. I came up short on one jump in particular that I've always cleaned. Something just didn't feel right.

My bike felt amazing during the race and performed flawlessly but I as the rider just didn't let it all hang out in my race run. I am happy with the result and getting on the podium in my class, but I am just a little let down at my personal performance because I know I could have and should have ridden to a much better time. I just rode too cautious but there is always next year.

Andrew Knott 2nd, Todd Kaulback 1st, Dean Wilkes 3rd

Saturday, July 03, 2010

2010 Bear Mountain DH - Practice

My schedule was full today. All I had time for today was one practice run at around 9am and then I had to get home for a family function.

I've ridden Bear so many times now that any more practice would just make me slower. I think my only problem is just keeping the pace high and letting it all hang out rather than riding conservative and clean. I must be getting older.......and wiser.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bear DH Course Pre-Runs (Follow Cam)

I tested out my Follow-Cam again today on Bear Mountain. It's much rougher than Rio and has a few more jumps and trees to avoid. I figure a DH race course littered with jumps is a good test for durability and stability. From this ride I have determined the changes that need to be made for improved stability and ease of use.

I ran into Darryl and Todd K. doing some work on the trail in preparation for the race next weekend. The DH course is dialed which should make for a really good race.

I also ran into Todd E. and Dave one course where they has a laugh at my camera set-up but were rather impressed when they saw the footage. Todd E. was also nice enough to give me a shuttle ride up to the top for a second run of the course. I had such a wicked ride today and look forward to the race next weekend.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Woodlot Rip with the Timster

Tim and I met at The Woodlot for a really quick rip and to work a little on the upper wood section on Karpenter.

I was on my Rune climbing up the skidder when I looked back to see Cory on his way up as well. We basically hooked up for the remainder of the climb and he departed once we were at the top.

When Timmy and I met up we chatted for a bit a bout the new section he was working on and then we got to work moving a few logs around. After a bit of work we hit the trails down and took the fastest line straight down. Karpenter, Upper and Lower Toadstool, Bloggy Style and Shotgun.

At the cars I had a few beers waiting for us.

It's far too long between our rides, but when we are able to meet up it's always good times.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Arduum practice

I am racing Arduum this coming weekend so I figured it would be wise to get some time on the trail to get sections dialed and scope out my lines. The weather today was wet with light rain which is also forecasted for the weekend so today was the ideal time to get in my sessioning practice.

I pushed up the trail at a nice pace so as to see any changes that were made to the course since I last rode it. There were a few but nothing too drastic. The lower half of the course below the rock drop is super buff and lined with ripping berms and gold dirt. Above the rock drop the course is much more rooty and has snotty dark organic dirt. Overall the course is dialed and should make for a very entertaining ride not only as a participant, but also as a spectator.

The upper section will likely determine who has the fastest times come race day. It's the nastiest section and is super slick in the wet. The lower section will still be slippy, but it should still be business as usual due to the gold soil and rocks you ride on. Near the bottom of the course I dialed in my line for the huge hip and the final tree gap. I think all I need to do is put a new tire on my rear wheel for a little added grip.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Guiding Girls in Golden Ears

Today I showed some ladies around some of the trails in Golden Ears Park near Mike Lake. The plan was to pedal up the fire access road to the lookout and then descend down the Shortcut trail and Eric Dunning. However running short on time and overcast weather made it necessary to change the original plans.

Stephanie, Jennifer, Stacey and I made our up to Mike Lake and along the UBC Research forest road to ascend the first part of the ride. The pace was easy and the conversations were interesting which helps on a long climb. After a couple stops for snacks and what not, we were at a point in the ride where a decision needed to be made about the route. Long and easy or short and painful.........I chose the latter. Our route took us straight up a steep rooty trail and proved to be a little difficult at times for my companions and I helped at times by carrying a bike and a pack on my shoulders while pushing my own bike. I figured I had got us into this mess so it was my responsibility to get us out. The overcast skies had eliminated the possibility of a view of the lake so once at the top we paused for some food and water and then blasted down the fire road.

Even with a few tumbles and very tired bodies everyone seemed to have a good time. Once at the Eric Dunning trail my companions were tired but still loved the descent.

One thing I can say is that it is certainly different riding with ladies. The lack of testosterone makes for a much more laid back and enjoyable ride.

View Girls Guided Ride in a larger map

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Anthem Demo

I took up a offer to demo ride an XC bike today. I strolled into Local Ride and chatted with Barry (the shop owner) and walked out with a Giant Anthem X1. Once I was home with this shiny red bike I slapped my clipless pedals and seat on it and adjusted the suspension to my liking.

I decided to hit up the trails in Golden Ears Park to see how this XC machine performs. I figured the Eric Dunning trail would be a good test of it's climbing ability and man was I ever impressed. This bike hooked up in spots that I would not even consider in the past. Given that it is Giant's top end XC bike one should expect that it would climb well, but it was shockingly good.

Once at the fire access road I ripped along to check out the access of the road at a few different spots and then it was time to test out how well the bike descended. To say I was surprised would be a massive understatement. I have never been more impressed by a bike after one ride than I was riding this Anthem X. Considering how little front and rear travel the bike has and the XC aggressive 71 degreee head angle the bike the Anthem descend far better than I expected and was a trail shredding machine. After riding the kinds of bikes I've had over the past 8 years, calling a 4" bike plush is something I never thought I would say. When it came time to hand back this bike it was a very hard thing to do and I am seriously considering adding this bike to my quiver by dropping one of my existing rides.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Jamieson in the Loops

For the third year in a row our family spent the Victoria Day long weekend in Kamloops. It's a weekend of play where the wives have a girls day, the guys have a boys day and all the children run wild.

The girls had their spa day on Saturday and on Sunday it was all about the boys. We went golfing in the morning then biking in the afternoon. Rob decided it was time to show me what Jamieson is all about.

Jamieson is a shuttle ride way out of town, which ensures that the trail stays in great shape. There had been some rain over the past few days resulting in minimal dust, traction galore on the twist bits and super steeps where you just hang on and surf your way down.

We both ended the ride with high fives and big smiles on our faces.

Jamieson is a whole lotta fun!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Alco Entrance

After living in the area my whole life, I decided it was time to do some real exploring of the trails in my area. I has a close look on a few maps and realized I can ride from my house and cross Allouette River a few minutes from my place to gain access to Golden Ears Park.

After the river crossing I pedaled into the park along some single track and then made my way back home crossing the river at a different point. This may turn into a very cool way to ride from my front door into the single track trails of Golden Ears Park.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kamloops Race the Ranch 2010 - BC cup #1 - Day 2 - RACE DAY

Race day.

It's when the whole weekend and all the training culminates into a 3 minute test of the mind and body. To be honest, I don't really take racing very seriously until I am on course. I don't really train apart from riding a fair bit, I don't collect UCI points in the quest for World Cup glory and I certainly don't have any sponsors to please apart from my lovely wife.

Given the wacky weather we'd had yesterday the course was tacky in the morning and then dry come race time but without the typical powder dust that Kamloops is famous for.

The course this year was in amazing shape due to the work put in by the course designer Wayne Parsons. We've know each other for years in a round about way. In fact, I bought my Devinci Ollie from him a few years ago. When I spoke with Wayne, he said how he did all he could with the terrain to make the course technical and sustainable for future races. I must say I was impressed.

My race run was okay, but I royally screwed up several sections. I crapped the bed on the top flat sections and then messed up the rock face a bit giving the crowd that gathered a good show of how to drift and monster truck your bike on the razors edge of control down a nasty rock section. Due to my "line adjustment" on the rock face I ended up having to ride around the road gap because I was simply unable to line it up. The rest of the course went fairly well. I hit all the jumps that I'd been hitting in practice and flew over and through the rock section at the bottom.

Here I am mid way down course.

Rob and I have an ongoing joke called 7 seconds. Rob is getting faster in Kamloops. I used to beat him by 10+ seconds in races but last year I only edged him out by 7 seconds and yet again this year it was 7 seconds. I told him that when he beats me, I retire from racing. I vow to ensure that will never happen.

After our race, Rob and I locked up our bikes and headed on course to spectate and heckle the rest of the riders. I brought my cowbells that I had during the 2010 Olympics so I was there to have a good time and make a lot of noise. We soon had a bit of a rowdy crowd around us watching the race at a gap jump. Good times for sure.

Johnny mooning Daryl from PinkBike
Some dude throwing out some style.

At the end of the day I placed 5th in class and no spills during the weekend. I had some shoulda, woulda coulda thoughts right after the race but in the end I did the best I could. Hopefully next year I'll be back for some more fun in Kamloops.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kamloops Race the Ranch 2010 - BC cup #1 - Day 1

This morning Rob and I made our way to the Kamloops Bike Ranch to pick up out race plates and get in some practice on the Dh course. While strolling through the paddock I saw many familiar friends and faces from the lower mainland.

Rather than doing shuttles in the bus and trailer that were provided by the race organizers, I hooked up with Kim and his group which worked out really well. During practice I managed to get in 5 laps with little to no waiting and lots of time to look over the course.

Overall the course was flowy, fast and full of jumps. The upper section was a slow rock strewn wasteland that takes a bit of finesse to ride fast. Then after that, there was "THE CORNER" which was steep, rocky and had a lot of riders falling all over the place. I seemed to have the inside harder/steeper line under control which then led into the roadgap. Once lined up, the roadgap was quite easy and offered as much or as little hang time that you might want. I hit it a few times and was confident for my race run tomorrow.

The lower section of the course was flowy with jumps all over the place. The final leg is a blind stepdown to a nasty rock garden and then a all out pedal on flat to a table jump. The one crazy thing about today's practice was the weather. We had rain, hail, snow and blazing sun all in the the span of 5 hours. Hopefully tomorrow we get a little sun for the race.

I was confident with what I was able to do on the course so with that, Rob and I ate lunch and then headed out to ride Rio.

I had my new Anti-Gravity Follow-Cam with me so Rob was stoked to get in a run on what is quite possibly the most popular trail in B.C. apart from A-Line.

After this run of Rio we headed back to Rob's place and our day of biking was over. I had a good nights sleep dreaming of the race and Rio all night and couldn't wait to get back on the race course the next day.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Back to my roots

The first place I rode a mountain bike was Golden Ears park up on the Mike Lake fire road access and the trails that linked up the switchbacks. It was when bikes were fully rigid with cantilever brakes and under the BB U-brakes (around '91).

For the first time in many years I ventured up there to the Look-Out and a little beyond. At the parking area I ran into another rider that I had not seen for quite some time (Jamie Blog). We chatted for a bit and then took different routes to get up to the top: he pushed and I pedaled.

I made my way up familiar trails and logging roads to the top and turned around when I hit snow. It was a little over an hour to pedal up to the snow and then about 20 minutes down. The trails are a lot easier now on my Rune than when I rode a rigid bike in the past. There was one trail that had several larger blow downs on it that need clearing. I may just sneak up there one day with the proper tools to do a little maintenance on these nearly forgotten classics.

It's cool every now an then to ride the trails of yesteryear to see how far your riding and building practices have come.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Sweeeet! That just about sums up the ride I had this morning. You know you had a good ride when you forget you had a flat tire at some point during the descent.

I was up at sunrise and on the road to Fromme before 6am. I started my pedal up with not a soul in sight. The sun was beaming through scattered clouds and even the birds were chirping in the trees.

I pedaled up the mountain to try out a trail I'd never ridden before: Bookwus. It was suggested to me by a friend of mine and with a few pointers of where to find the trail I was on my way to find it. Once I found the trailhead and geared up, I snaked down this all natural, rooty, steep and twisty trail. It's a trail that likely sees little traffic and because of this, there is no need to armour up the soft spots or pave the trail. I thoroughly enjoyed the trail and will likely hit it again some time soon. My Rune with it's newly installed head angle reducer cups made the steep tricky bits less scary and allowed me to ride the trail sight unseen without issues. issue. I had a pinch flat half way down, but given the fun I was having it didn't phase me at all.

Bookwus finishes on 7th secret near the bottom, so once was out on the road, I made my way down to Ladies Only. I've ridden ladies once or twice before about 7 years ago, so really I have very little memory of it at all. Ladies was suggested to me by my friend that also suggested Bookwus. He said it's recently seen a bunch of work and my god was it awesome. Ladies is completely DIALED right now. It is quite simply amazing. Everything has been buffed and or rebuilt while keeping the trails original character. I wish I had my helmet camera going for this ride because I would have liked to hear my comments that I whisper as I ride.

I rode Ladies Only straight into Lower Ladies which isn't quite as super dialed as Ladies Only, but it is still in really great shape. Did I say I wished I had my helmet camera going today? Next time for sure. Riding these North Shore classics makes me glad I have the bikes and ability to enjoy such a sweet trail system.

At the bottom of Lower Ladies I turned left up the road and hit Natural High. It was my second time down this highly buffed, armoured and sculpted trail. Its a nice way to end a ride on Fromme.

As I was on my way over to my car the skies turned a little darker and it began to rain. I must say that today the weather gods were on my side as I enjoyed a warm dry ride on The Shore. I guess this early bird caught the worm.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Gap, Gaps and more Gaps!!!

Catching some air time is damn fun. I don't think anyone will ever hear me complaining about a lack of trails to ride in my area. Within a 30 minute drive of my house, I can ride The Woodlot, Burke, Red, Bear Mountain and depending on traffic even Sumas. So today I figured I would hit Bear and Red to practice up on jumping my big bike.

I first made the push up Bear to check out the condition of the trail and see if there were any new additions to the DH course. With a bunch of jumps to catch some air I progressed down the course only skipping two jumps that I simply refuse to hit any more due to some massive wipeouts I've had in the past. I have a good handle on most of the jumps there so I sessioned one or two for a while and moved on when I'd had enough.

I then made my way to Red where Arduum has very recently seen some new work. There is a new gap/hip near the bottom that will most definitely separate the pros from the bros. In addition to this new jump further down the trail, the final tree gap has a new case pad. I decided it was time to pop my cherry on this jump as it's been a nemesis of mine for a couple years. After a couple run ups, it was smooth as silk.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

FVMBA Burke Ride

This morning the FVMBA had a meeting and then a ride on Burke. I was not able to do the whole ride with the group because of time constraints, but I was able to get the boys pointed in the right direction up the hill and gave them a good mental map of their way back down. Turns out the kind of got lost but eventually made their way back to their vehicles.

All I rode was Bullet Dodger. This week I had installed some head angle reducer cups (HARCs) on my Rune, so I was riding with a slacker head angle than a stock Rune. I must say that I really liked the feel of my bike with these HARCs. Going from my standard 1.5" reducer headset to my new set-up the front end is lower in height and slacker by about 1.8°s . This might not seem like much of a change but now with a 65.7° head angle the Rune goes from a capable all mountain bike to a single track killer with mini DH manners when it is pointed down hill. I thought that having a slack angle on the front might numb the bike, but the cups lowered my front end and slacked out my bike just enough to keep technical climbing still in the books and made going downhill even more fun than before. The only real change that I needed to make was to adjust my weight on the front of the bike to get the nose up for drops. This is due to the lower bar height from the integrated style headset that the HARCs use. I even dropped some weight using this new headset configuration.

Bullet Dodger has a few steep spots that in the past were a touch........dodgy but with a slacker front end, they were substantially easier and a lot more fun. The added stability my Rune now has when going full out is amazing. I had a blast on this ride and can't wait to get out some more on my newly tweaked Rune.

Monday, April 05, 2010

1 Week Post Vasectomy

Last Monday I had the snip snip performed and so I've been off the bike for a week but with the go ahead from the doctor I headed up to The Woodlot for an easy ride.

I decided that I'd try out my Legend in the 7" mode and put a 6" single crown on the front to see how it rode. I was pleasantly surprised and could see this being a really fun bike set-up for days where steep twisty trails prevail. Vedder comes to mind.

A low, slack trail eating machine

I rode Karpenter, Tusga, Snakes and Ladders and then Shotgun. Overall my ride was good. No post op pain and the trails are in really good shape. I got a little wet from the downpour but it's BC, and that's what we get in March.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Altered Persective

For those that know me, I tend to think outside the box and believe that almost anything is possible if you put your mind to it. With that said, I've been known to do a lot of helmet camera videos that some call "point of view" filming and for the most part all the camera set-up I use are custom with mounts hand made by me. I've thought for a long time about making a mount that is different, I mean really different and never really done before. So with a bit of work in the garage and a few mock ups out of different materials, I made a mount and decided what better way to test it than on THE SHORE.

I had to drop off a fork to get looked at by the legendary James of Suspension Werx, so while my fork was getting worked on I pedaled up Fromme and went for a ride with my new creation.

The District of North Van was doing some hazard tree removal today and I just happened to pass by as they were taking the top off a pretty big tree. I must say the guy up the tree is truly fearless.

I was riding my Cove Stiffee that usually gets ridden maybe once or twice a year, but with both my full suspension bikes in pieces with both forks and rear shocks in the shop, it was my only bike.

The pedal up Fromme is a nice sustained climb that is rewarded with some of the best trails in the world. I rode 7th Secret, Pipeline, Lower Ladies and Natural High. With my new camera mount I recorded 7th and Pipleine. The video below is my new perspective that I will offer from time to time in the future. This is the first time giving this new mount a try so I can pretty much guarantee it will improve over time as I dial it in.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rip with Timmay

Tim and I managed to hook up for a ride at The Woodlot. It's been a while since we hooked up just to ride. The weather was agreeable and we decided our route was Krazy Karpenter, Fluffy Kitten, Snakes and Ladders and then Shotgun.

I brought along the GoPro HD camera that I had on load from and I had made up a new way to mount it. Once we figured out where to mount the camera on Tim's bike, we were on our way.

A little ways down the trail the camera got knocked and moved but maybe another day I'll get this perspective dialed.

Tim and I had spoken the Brody earlier in the day and Brody said that he was going to be on Fluffy Kitten doing some work. When Tim and I arrived we talked with Brody and his buddy for a bit about building and we were on our way. It's going to be nice to have another resurrected trail to make our way down the hill.

Snakes is dialed, it has been for a while. It has certainly taken some time to get to this point, but the trail needs no work and has not needed any work for quite some time. Tim a I paused at one point on the trail and discussed how pleased we are with the condition of the trail. Finally!

After Snakes and Ladders it was down Shotgun and the a pedal out to our cars. It was a great ride once again with Tim.

Monday, March 15, 2010

New gear!!

Today's ride was about as sweet as they come.

I had all the time I needed, I had a freshly tuned suspension that had just been serviced by Suspension Werx and I had a new Race Face Carbon SixC bar as well as a new helmet. Nothing gets a guy more stoked to ride than that.

I was on my Rune with my Boxxer affixed to the front and I decided to see how well the bike would climb with a 8" fork on the front. I climbed up The Woodlot via Stovetop and the skidder with no issues at all. Even with the taller front end, the bike climbed with ease.

Once I hit Cabin trail, I lowered the seat and set off down the hill. The fork and rear shock were butter smooth and the SixC bar actually felt like it reduced vibration on both the descent and the climb. I never thought I would say it, but this bar impressed me.

After Cabin Trail it was over to Snakes and Ladders and then Shotgun. I had an absolute rip of a ride and was impressed with every bit of new bike swag I was on today. Turns out I had the full Race face kit today as well: jacket, shorts, knee pads and handlebar.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Hard tail trails

Rob and his family were in town and at the last minute they decided to spend the night at our place and in the morning Rob and I went for a spin at The Woodlot.

Rob brought his hard tail and the only bike I had in one piece today was my hard tail, so we loaded up the bikes and hit The Woodlot.

Rob is now living in Kamloops where it is dry and desert like. Whereas down here on the coast it is moist about 80% of the time. His re-introduction to the wet slippy roots was a little hairy at times today, but we both had fun and nobody got injured.

Our route took us down Karpenter, Fluffy, Snakes and Ladders and finally Shotgun. It's been a long time since I rode my hard tail at the Woodlot. To put it simply cannot jump my hard tail anymore. I was rear wheel casing everything and was getting bucked on every tranny and drops were rather brutal. I think I even heard Rob snicker on a few of my choice moves.

When it was all said and done, Rob and I had a great ride and enjoyed catching up on things while physically getting beat up by our bikes. I certainly have a renewed appreciation for people that ride hard tails on technical trails.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Google Earth Epic# 3: Eagle EPIC

My ride today took me to the top of Eagle Mountain that rewarded my efforts with yet another epic view from the top.

Eagle is a mountain that not many people ride for one simple reason. The unrelenting and brutal climb up. Ask anyone that rides Eagle and they basically groan when they mention the climb. For this reason, it is rare to run into people riding up Eagle even though it is rather accessible at the base by roads. Lately I've been on the hunt for local epic rides so I looked around on the net and found what I needed to plot a route to the top. With my GPS, camera and map in hand I made my way up Eagle on my hard tail.

The first couple lookouts are ones I had been to in the past, but I had found some really great photos on the net taken by hikers much further up the hill, so I ventured further up the slope.

At points I was pedaling over snow and carrying my bike up some steep hiking trails but what welcomed me at the clearings was nothing short of spectacular.

The view at one of my stops was nearly a 180° view of the Fraser Valley. The second view point revealed a spectacular view of Deep Cove and Vancouver. Unfortunately for me the weather was nice when I started my ride but clouds and snow rolled in on me. As soon as I took my last photo I donned my jacket and headed down the mountain to get out of the coming snow.

Once the warm spring weather is upon us I will definitely go up there again to take in the spectacular views.

I made my way down Massage Therapy, Man Handler, Randy's and The Backyard Trail. Lots of very, very nice work has been done on Man Handler lately and it was a joy to ride.