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