Sunday, August 14, 2011

I have moved My Riding Journal to my own website

I have moved this blog to its own website.

Please go to

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Hot summer day at The Woodlot

My bike of choice today was my Rune and the location yet again was The Woodlot. Recently I received information about the logging that is going to take place and I wanted to see if any progress had been made.

At the bottom of the climb there was a sign posted on the side of the trail to inform the area users that logging and trail closures are on their way.

Trail Closure Notice

Further up the climb I took another picture of wall of rock.  It keeps growing every week I ride.  Unfortunately it's going to get knocked down when the logging takes place in a month or so.

Stacked wall of rock

Not too far past the wall of rock there are a number of piles of gravel that are going to be used as the road base for the logging roads.  This material is going to make the climb even easier than it is now up the main logging road.  Another new thing I have noticed are road markers that mark the distances along the woodlot main road.

At the powerlines I turned left to climb to the top and gain access to Krazy Karpenter.  Karpenter is in decent shape given the amount of traffic it sees and the nasty wet year we have had.  It never seems there is enough time to work on all the trails that I'd like to, but there is one stunt that Tim and I would like to finish some time soon and it involves a lot of ladders.  Maybe by the end of the summer.

I then hit Upper Toadstool which is always a blast and then over to Giant Killer.  Ryan has been hard at work dialing in the trail and recently he has put a lot of work into a slight re-route of a corner on beside the long log section.  We had talked about his re-route since Christmas time of last year and I'd say it is one more work day away from completion.

Giant Killer ground re-route

I then hit Snakes and Ladders and then Shotgun to finish off my ride ride for the day.  It was SMOKIN hot today and it felt great to ride in the summer heat.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Misty Golden Ears

I decided to go for a bit of a pedal today.  With my bike loaded on my car I headed to Golden Ears park and Alouette Mtn.

Alouette Mtn trails

My route took me up the Eric Dunning Trail and then along the Alouette Mountain Fire Access Trail to the second shortcut trail.  Along the way I spotted a few not so well known off the map trails that I one day hope to explore.

On the fire access road between the two shortcut trails is this lookout.  Over the years the view is getting smaller and smaller due to the trees growing and blocking the view.  My guess is in 5 years some trees will need to be removed.

Once at the top, I started my descent which is about 20 minutes or so with next to no pedaling.  It's not a bad ride when a nice easy pedal is desired with a fun descent on a smaller bike.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Morning of Repairs

This morning I met Mitch at The Woodlot to go for a ride and to give him an introduction to trail building.  Mitch wants to help out on the trails, but he hasn't ever done any trail work.

While I pedaled my Rune and he pushed his bike up, we were able to talk about some trail basics and other things bike related.

At the top of Cabin Trail we geared up and I began riding down to one of the last bomb hole sections that I plan on repairing on Cabin.  I had Mitch collect most of the rock while I pieced everything together.

Within 20 minutes the hole was fixed and we began riding down. Once the trail leveled out and the pedaling began, Mitch's chain snapped and needed repairing. Then when we rode down Snakes and Ladders, I had a flat. By this time Mitch had to leave so I rode Shotgun solo hoping that nothing else was going to break on me.  I didn't have a good feeling seeing a couple Turkey Vultures circle me in the clearing.

I've had many days without a mechanical, but all it felt like I did today was repair things.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wrong Turn

My plan today was to go for a spin for a few hours and see if I could find an easier way into the UBC Research Forest. I seem to have found a decent route. It needs a few trees cleared off it and there is a significant creek crossing that requires your feet to get wet but it is a lot faster to get into the area than my previous route.

The picture below shows where a bridge used to be located. Several years ago the road in the area had some huge washouts so the road was shut down and the bridge was removed.

If you look really carefully you can see and imprint across the cement that reads "UBC FRST 78"

My plan was to ride to Jabobs lake and then turn around to come home. I made on wrong turn and decided to continue on a logging road that went up to a clearcut that isn't really shown on many maps. The climb was easy and gradual and ended with an okay view of the Fraser Valley, but is wasn't what I was looking for.

The Fraser Valley with through the haze.

Looking west to Gloomy Peak and Gabbro Mountain in Coquitlam.

Once I snapped a photos I headed back to my car and home. Not a bad exploratory ride considering a wrong turn.

View Clearcut East of Jacobs Lake in a larger map

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


I hit the Woodlot today on my Rune. I had a few tools in my pack to do a little trail work on Cabin Trail. I must say that I picked a pretty nice day to go for a ride and do some trail work.

Off to one side of the climb, somebody has been stacking rock for the past several months. This formerly small pile of rocks is getting rather impressive.

On Cabin Trail / Goldmine Trail I have been making an effort to fix the bomb holes that have appeared over the past few years. Most of rocks used in the picture below were collected by a small group of us (five riders) a few weeks ago. Today I pieced them all together to make this section flow again. The rocks are all locked together by gravity (weight of the rocks), wedging of small rocks in cracks and a few pinned pieces of cedar that I staked into the ground. Before this rock was put in place there was a 3 foot deep bomb hole that you nearly came to a stop on when riding the trail. Now it is nothing but rocked in flow.

The rest of my ride consisted of the end of Cabin Trail, Snakes and Ladders and finally Shotgun. A sweet ride, a good build and lots of rock!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Google Earth Epic #7: UBC Research Forest

I have wanted to get up to the Malcolm Knapp UBC Research forest for years. There are three different lookout points that I'd like to explore and today I did one of the three.

My ride started at Mike Lake and using the research I did ahead of time I navigated my way on up into the hills. While climbing the fire road just before Loon Lake, I ran into this bear. At one point it seemed as if he wanted to walk over towards me, but I made a lot of noise that sent him packing into the bush.

The forest in this area is as lush as they come so I paused to take a picture of one of the creeks.

At the top of the logging road that runs North East of Loon Lake you are greeted with this pretty sweet view. For anyone that knows the area they know that not many people get to see this area from this viewpoint. This spot is 15km up a logging road and to say that the logging spurs are like a labyrinth would be an understatement.

I was running out of time when I took this last picture and I needed to turn my bike around and head home. It was pretty cool navigating to these view points and I can't wait to make my way to some of the other higher viewpoints in the area.

My total ride time was 3 hours and a little over 32km round trip. I think some of the view points further into the area might turn out to be a whole day affair. Next time I'll invite a few friends to enjoy the view with me. The super cool thing is that I can start this ride from my house if I want to add a couple hours of XC singletrack to the ride.

View Route to UBC Views - Malcolm Knapp Research Forest in a larger map

Saturday, June 25, 2011

First official ride of the summer 2011

Today was my first official ride of the summer. In usual fashion it was raining.

I decided I'd push my big bike up the hill for a rip and hit a few drops and gaps. The first trails I rode were Giant Killer and then Bloggy Style. At the bottom of Bloggy I met up with Ryan and Curtis where we started back up the mountain to hit some more trails. It turns out that Curtis hadn't ridden Blood Donor in a few years so that was the first trail on the list. On Donor there are a few wooden features that are broken right now that really break up the flow. Hopefully they are able to be repaired soon.

At the bottom of Blood Donor I hit the little jump and then pressured Curtis to hit it for the first time. After a few deep breaths he had this simple little jump under his belt.

We then rode Giant Killer that is running better than it ever has. Ryan has done a bang up job in making this trail ride dry with a ton of flow.

Hoots was next. Ryan took a brush saw down the trail a few weeks ago and now you can actually see the trail in the clear-cut as you ride along. Curtis and I managed to convince Ryan to ride the rock for the first time. It's cool watch people get excited about riding difficult features for the first time.

We then rode Shotgun and had a beer or two at our cars. It was a great summer weekend ride.

Today's ride.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bear Mtn. DH 2011 - Day 2 (Race Day)

I arrived bright and early to do some more volunteering at the DH race. I ended up carrying and setting up the tent at the start line, helped to get the power set up for the start line, carried and set up the umbrella for the rock drop and did the sound check for the the announcer. A sound check is something I've ALWAYS wanted to do....check!, check!, one, two.......Thank You Vancouver!!.......

After my moment of glory I then went back to bike loading and unloading for the practice shuttles and the racers. Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to do a practice run today before the race, but I was so damn tired that I think it would have killed me do do more than my race run today.

When my shuttle time was announced I once again loaded bikes and rode up to the top. At the start line things weren't really what they were suppose to be. There wasn't anyone wrangling the riders getting them in their race start order. Basically the start line was calling names out two at a time with a buffer of 2 minutes. Anyone that has raced before knows this is a recipe for disaster and it was stressing the race commissaries to the brink.

Once it was my turn at the start line I felt okay; not good, not great, but okay. My left knee has been swelling on a regular basis and all the stand up pedaling required for this race makes me wince in pain. For this reason, I love the top of the course where there is limited pedaling and it's all about bike handling in the steeper sections. The rain doesn't really affect the top of the course, so it remained in great shape. However once you hit the first gap on the course, things get soupy and the pedaling begins.

In the race I think I hit 50% of the jumps. I just simply couldn't get the speed needed to make the rest. Most corners were super moto rutted and the run ins were slick as snot.

I was able to pass the rider in front of me which made me feel good for a bit, but when I did a 180° powerslide to a complete stop, I knew I wasn't going to make it to the podium.

At the finish line I felt okay. I'd negotiated the course in one piece, though muddy and out of breath. I finished in 12th place.

I then made my way to the concession area where I spoke with a few of the race organizers letting them know that there wasn't a wrangler at the top of the course getting the riders in order. After some discussion I volunteered to do the job. I changed and boarded a shuttle truck to get things in order at the top. When I arrived I grabbed the start list and proceeded to get people in order. With a few minutes I had things in control and the racers were lined up ready to race.

Unfortunately, unbeknownst to me my mom and daughter had, come to see me at the race . They saw me ride past in the mud, but I didn't get to see them at the bottom because I took off to volunteer before they could find me.

Once the race was over I helped pack up a few things at the top and then caught a ride to the bottom with Steve in his pick-up. At the bottom I caught up with a few of the B-Team (Darryl and Stan), watched the awards and drove home.

Maybe next year.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bear Mtn. DH 2011 - Day 1 (practice)

I arrived bright and early to attend the XC course marshal meeting, but it turned out that there were far too many race marshals for the race so instead I worked as a bike loader for the DH shuttle trucks.

The weather today was rather miserable. Raining and cold. By the time I was able to grab a shuttle to the top and do a mandatory run, the course was ripped up and a sloppy, muddy mess.

Dave Mackie (photographer extraordinaire) and fellow rider snapped the sweet picture of me below at the the rock drop double gap section of the race course. Dave never fails to impress me with the photos he takes especially today given the wet conditions.

Photo by Dave Mackie

After loading some more bikes, I did my second run of the course and then called it a day. The course up top is in great shape, but further down it is wet, muddy, rutted and ripped up.

The weather tomorrow should certainly make for an interesting race.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Golden Hour

I had a very limited amount of time to ride today. I grabbed my little bike and headed to Golden Ears Park. The single track climb into the park is a sweet escape and a good workout when you pedal at a decent. I pushed as hard on the climb and turned around well into the park near Mike Lake when I reached the 40 minute mark.

The ride back is mainly downhill so what took 40 minutes to climb only took 18 minutes on the return.

It was a sweet ride given the short amount of time I had.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Helmet.....what helmet!!!

Today I was riding my Rune at The Woodlot with Brody, Craig, Jen, Ryan. The weather was actually rather nice which made for a pleasant group ride.

When I ride I have a normal routine I follow when I unload my bike and pack my gear into my backpack. Today when I arrived Brody and Ryan both chatted with me as I was getting ready. I must have been a little distracted because I forgot my damn helmet. When I realized I forgot my helmet I was past the point of no return on the climb and decided to just ride without it.

While climbing, Craig, Brody, Ryan and I talked about the changes that will likely happen with the trails in the area with the upcoming logging and what will be needed to fix the damage from logging.

At Cabin Trail we all got ready and headed down the trail. The few spots that I have stacked a rock seem to be working out. I'm not buffing the trail, just filling the bomb holes. At one particularly nasty corner we all stopped and I showed everyone a spot that needs a big pile of rock. We all spent about 10 minutes stacking rock and filling the nasty spot to make it much more rideable. The next time I am up on the trail I will bring a couple tools with me to dial in this section but for now just placing the rock will suffice.

At the junction of Snakes and Cabin Trail, Ryan I split off and headed down Snakes and Ladders while Craig, Brody and Jen headed up to Mandatory Caution.

Ryan and I casually rode Snakes and then made our way over to and down Shotgun. A good ride nonetheless, but I found riding without a helmet really hard to get used to.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Bear vs. Unicorn

I did a little modification to my latest camera mount creation.

After asking people online about my first run with the Unicorn-Cam, I gained some feedback on what needed to be improved. I tweaked my set-up by adding a fish-eye lens to my camera and tested my newly modified Unicorn-Cam by doing a top to bottom run of the Bear Mountain DH course in Mission.

My opinion is that it turned out pretty damn good. It's a little difficult to keep your head up and focused on the trail at times, but I can see myself doing a few runs every now and again with this camera angle.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Peak views

It had been quite some time since I went on a long ride to grab an epic view, so today I revisited a ride I did 18 months ago. With my GPS in my pocket I headed up to see what the views were like today and see exactly what it looks like at the peak.

It hot and sunny today and while starting my ride I crossed paths with a bear near the bottom of The Woodlot. Fortunately for me I scared it away when I rolled up on it, but for the remaineder of the ride I had my head up and ears open looking for any more wildlife.

When I negotiated my way to my destination I was met with some pretty sweet panoramic views.

The view looking east.

The view looking south.

Nothing like a turkey vulture circling you at the top of a climb.

Stave Lake from the top looking south east.

The ride back to The Woodlot is a super fast blast down the mountain and then a logging road climb back up to to The Woodlot and then a sweet ride down the trails I have come to intimately know for the past 8 years.

This ride is a nice long pedal with a rewarding view and then a sweet return ride on singletrack.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Unicorn at The Woodlot

I went for a build/ride/test-run on my Rune today and brought my pruning loppers to trim back some of the spring growth on the trails edge.

I pedalled up Stovetop and then up the logging road to the skidder road that leads to Blood Donor. An excavator has been up the road recently that cleared the trees that line the road to Blood Donor. Looks like the logging is going to start soon.

I then rode up to Cabin Trail. On the way I met up with a group of older riders. Some were friendly, some were not, and one was quite simply grumpy.

I stopped in a few spots to repair some bomb holes on the trail by doing some rock work. If quads avoid the trail, the rock work should hold up to the traffic the trail sees.

Further down the trail I hiked some rung to a rather dangerous bench section of the trail. If things go to plan, the ladder will make a formerly dangerous section a total blast.

I then made my way to Blue Ribbon and cleared a few fallen trees as well as trimmed a few bushes near the exit. Today I brought with me my newest camera mount. It is a 'Unicorn' cam that puts the camera in front of the riders face looking back. I rode the whole ride with my camera filming to test this new angle.

This is the view down Shotgun with my new camera mount. With a few tweaks I should be able to get a dialed setup.

Unicorn-Cam - Test Run

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Friends Help Friends

A few weeks ago Tom from the FVMBA put a call out to people to help relpace a bridge on Red Mountain. The bridge in question is a 35 footer on Red Rider that is a little over 4 feet wide that sees a fair amount of traffic during the year and the Red Mountain XC race. It is super sketchy due to flexing and slipperiness.

At 8am the group (Tom, Steve, Kim, Gary and I) was assembled and shuttled to the top of Red Rider. I was the only on that brought a bike so it was a quick little zip for me down the trail to the bridge we were replacing.


Tom gave us all the rundown on the situation and we split off in crews to get the job done. I worked on splitting rung, Steve hauled the rung, Tom, Gary and Kim gathered new stringers and demolished the existing structure.

Kim starting the demo

Due to the length and width of the bridge, a lot of log rung needed to be split using a froe, wedges and a couple axes. Most of the rung I split were 4-5 feet in length and an inch or so thick.

Tom 'supervising' Kim's Demo

Dragging the stingers out of the woods took six people and a lot of effort.

The stingers getting put in place.

I was able to stay until the framing began but then had to leave due to prior commitments. The guys were able to finish off the structure a few hours after I left.

The bridge completed and only needing a trim and little rock work.
I finished off the day by riding the rest of Red Rider, Momentum and Black Tie.

It was a really productive day and a welcome change to build with a group of people equally passionate about building great trails.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rocking on Cabin

This morning I arrived around 7am at The Woodlot and was met with two piles of garden waste dumped in one of my usual parking spots. The Woodlot is a somewhat remote area and has seen it's fair share of waste dumped here. Most of the time it get discarded on the side of the road but this time the ass hat decided to dump in the middle of the road. Luckily today I had a shovel and bucket with me in my car that I was going to use on the trails. The clean-up didn't take all that long, but it's things like this that just make me shake my head at people's stupidity.

With the clean-up complete, I boarded my bike (Rune) and pedaled up the mountain. It was raining today but not so heavy that I was getting soaked, just a little wet.

When I made it to the powerlines I was literally in the clouds and hardly see in front of me. I'm normally met with a view of Mission to the east, but all I could see was white mist. Seeing as I had a shovel with me and my goal today was to get some trail work done, whenever I rode up to a big puddle on the road to Cabin Trail, I went work draining it. I was able to drain three large puddles that should remain dry until the snows come in December.

Last week I decided during my ride that I would begin doing some much needed rock work on Cabin Trail / Goldmine trail. A couple years ago a pair of quads went down this trail, got stuck and had to winch their way out of the trail. (Here is a link to some mountain bikers meeting the quads - WARNING- Explicit Language used) In doing so, several sections of trail that had previously been armored with rock were left in very bad shape and have since significantly eroded. I have made it a goal of mine to 1.)repair the vandalized cabin just off the trail and 2.)fix up eroded sections on Cabin Trail to make it safer and more sustainable by the end of the summer. Below are pictures of 3 sections that I repaired this morning.

When I finished the rock work, I stashed the tools I brought up to the trail and then began my ride down. I made a pit-stop at the cabin to see what kind of condition it was in. Structurally it is in okay condition but the roof needs a brace replaced and a few roof slats need to be installed. Also a few walls have been kicked out so they need fixing and the door needs to be re-installed. It may turn out to be a lot of work and I might need some help from friends, but I feel it is worth the effort to fix this old mining cabin rather than watching it disintegrate and rot in the forest.

After passing a couple younger riders on their way down Cabin Trail, I zipped down Snakes and Ladders, the over to and down Bloggy and then down Shotgun. It was a very productive day of building and a great ride even in the May spring rain.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Change and Renewal

Two weeks off the bike really made me want to go for a spin. This morning I took my Trance to the Woodlot and began pedaling. The weather was rather nice for a change and I was even met with a few rays of sunshine when I passed by one of the clearings. I had to pause and take the picture above because I couldn't believe I was actually witnessing sunshine.

I made my way up the skidder road and then up Stovetop. I have been in touch with the managers of the Woodlot recently and it looks like there are going to be some changes to some trails in the near future with new skidder access roads and logging to take place soon. Unfortunately Mandatory Caution and Upper Toadstool are going to have skidder spur roads cut across them. I walked the flagged spurs with my GPS to see where the skidder roads are going and put the data onto a map. Hopefully the impact will be minimal on the trails, but things can always be rebuilt once the logging is complete.

Proposed spur roads shown in purple

After walking the proposed spurs with my GPS in hand I jumped back on my bike and pedaled up to Cabin Trail. By this time the weather had gone from sunny with clouds to just plain old rain. At Cabin Trail I began my descent and then stopped to have a look at the trail in one of the particularly nasty spots. I decided right then and there that I was going to make this trail my summer trail improvement project. I am going to fix the nasty spots of Cabin Trail /Goldmine without dumbing it down and while keeping the trail all natural.

I then put on my work gloves and went to work stacking rock in a big bomb hole section of trail. I didn't have a shovel around to move any dirt, but I was able to get the rocks in place that I'll cover in dirt when I bring up a shovel.

When I finished stacking rock, I boarded my bike and rode the trail down to the powerlines, then Snakes and Ladders and finished my ride off with Shotgun.

It seems I may have unintentionally started a hefty project but one that is much overdue and in need of some TLC.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Big Bikes Rock!!

Last week I rode my Rune. It's a solid 6x6 bike that climbs well and rips on the downhill. Today I rode basically the same trails I did last week, but this time I was on my Legend MkII and what a difference the bike made on the downhill.

The ride started around 8 am where I met up with Curtis and Mark where we started the push up tot he top. Pedaling the Legend just isn't in the cards and Curtis doesn't really like to pedal, so we chatted during the push to Cabin Trail. There was a little less snow on the road this week compared to last week which means I can soon start doing some epically long rides into the wilderness.

The three of us (along with Mark's dog) rode Cabin Trail down to Snakes and Ladders. We then stopped for a few minutes to fix a section of trail that was in need of a little repair. Once we were done, we finished riding the trail and pedaled over to Bloggy Style. However on our way to Bloggy, we made a little pit-stop to check out a new line that someone has started working on. This trail is unsanctioned and work needs to be stopped. Fortunately for me when I walked down the trail there were two guys working on the line. I basically told them the reasons why they needed to stop building and about the options they had if they want to work on trails in The Woodlot. Hopefully they will stop building and remove their tools. If they follow my advice, I'll be able to get them working on another trail and show them some better trail building techniques.

Curtis, Mark and I then headed up to Bloggy Style where I put my helmet camera on and chased them down the trails.

The good times were topped off with a beer at the cars.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Spring has Sprung

Spring seems to have finally sprung around here. We've had the coldest and wettest spring on record this year so when the sun was shining today I was ecstatic that I was able to get out and ride wearing only a t-shirt and not my typical thermal layers plus a jacket and a toque.

Several weeks ago I had fixed a bridge on Snakes and Ladders that sustained some damage from a fallen tree. Until today I had not had time to clean up some of the mess in the area or trim the edges of the bridge to give it the finished look. So with my pack loaded with building supplies, I made my way to the bridge and went straight to work finishing it off. Once the bridge was trimmed, I started dragging the old broken pieces away into the forest. Luck for me, three guys rolled up the offered to help me move the heavy stuff. Without their help this work would have taken much longer so their help was really appreciated.

Before and after.

After things were cleaned up, I pushed my bike up the trail and back up to the skidder road. I then pedaled up the road where I met up with a big group of riders that I have known for several years now. We were all headed to the same trail, so I joined their crew for the remainder of the climb.

Once we hit the powerlines there was little snow here and there in the shade, but nothing that stopped us from enjoying the ride.

I rode with the group down Cabin Trail but then split off at the powerlines to ride Snakes and Ladders and then Shotgun.

The weather today was amazing and it was great to do some trail work and get in a nice ride with some fellow riders.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Caution is Mandatory

I hit the Woodlot for a quick ride today on my Rune. I pedaled up to Karpenter which is running really well especially considering the wet weather we've had lately.

I then hit Mandatory Caution. It's been a few months since I last rode Mandatory with Brody and was I ever in for a pleasant surprise. Brody and Craig have been busy on the trail building lots of fun hits scattered along the trail. I wasn't feeling 100% on my game so I skipped a few of the bigger hits, but the trail oozes with flow and fun.

It was then a quick ride over to Snakes and Ladders and finally Shotgun.

Great ride today and a bast to hit some new stuff on Mandatory Caution.