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 PinkBike.com 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.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Google Earth Epic# 2: McNutt EPIC

After dropping the kids off at daycare I looked up at the local mountains and saw a clear view of the peaks and a thin layer of high cloud.....to me this means no rain and epic views.

I raced home, grabbed my bike and the appropriate gear (food, water, GPS, clothing etc.) for an epic ride and headed up to the Woodlot.

A few years ago I found a unique route that links The Woodlot and McNutt so today I decided it was time to do this epic ride for the view from the peak.

For the first 3 hours of the climb things were good: the ground was damp and the trails were clear. Then I hit snow. First it was only a little on the ground, then it increased in thickness as I gained elevation. Being the stubborn person that I am, I carried my bike when it started getting too hard to push through the snow. In the end I carried my bike over 4kms of the ride up the hill on the snow.

What would normally take only one hour took 4 hours. But as I said before I am stubborn and determined. I'd been to the top a few times before about 20 years before on a rigid XC bike so I knew what to expect from the terrain but if my memory serves me correctly I last made my way up to the top in the summer.

The view from the top is quite spectacular. There are views to the south of Mt. Baker and to the immediate west of The Golden Ear as well as a view of the Fraser Valley and the North Shore mountains.

I took as many photos as I could as quickly as I could because I knew that if I didn't start heading home soon, I'd be hiking out in the dark. Even though I always ride with enough emergency supplies to spend a night or two in the bush, it wasn't something that I wanted to test today.

As quickly as one can descend in the snow I made my way down. Once I was on solid terra firma it was 5pm and I was loosing light pretty quick so with a fully head of steam I ripped down the skidders and logging roads back to my vehicle as fast as I could. Round trip, my ride was 6 1/2 hours.

View McNutt Epic in a larger map
View the route in Google Earth

At my car I asked myself: was it worth it? hell yeah!, would you do it again in late winter? Hell No!!