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.