Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Chance Encounter

I got out of work on time today, did a few errands and was able to sneak in a quick ride on Thorn with my dog.

On the climb I looked back to see two riders pedaling up so I slowed down to see who it was and possibly ride with someone new.  It's not always that you see people out riding at 4pm on these trails.  It turned out to be Nat that I met earlier in the year and another gentleman that I've run into a few time on the trails.  I made sure Tilly was behaved and not chewing on them and we decided to ride Trail Dweller, the new trail that 'Heads Up' and finally OSR.

I was on my Trance today because I have the suspension on my Rune getting the once over.  I was only in cruise mode when riding, but I nearly rode my fastest ever down a trail or two today....weird.

It was a nice quick ride and great to do a quick lap with new people.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

It's great being King

I had a short amount of time to ride so Thornhill was my choice today. It has been dry lately so I figured I'd take the dog and enjoy a rip and she'd get some much needed exercise.

It appears that the city has had a trail crew go along Bear Ridge Trail because most of the puddles and muddy spots have been worked on.  It was nice to see that someone other that me had been working on making the trail run a little drier.

I crossed paths with at least a dozen people; most with dogs.  I was even passed near the bottom of the road climb by a couple guys shuttling, but I passed them at the top when they were gearing up.  I really don't think shuttling is any quicker on thus trail system.

I rode Trail Dweller which is freaking awesome with the new dirt work and then back up OSR to the bottom.

I knew I was riding at a good pace but didn't think I'd dropped 4 seconds off my previous time.

I officially nabbed the quickest time down OSR.



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ripping Fast

I woke up this morning feeling like crap and went to work still feeling like crap, however once I got home and felt the hot WINTER sun on my face I felt like a million dollars so I decided to go for a quick spin.  My quick spin turned into an  absolutely amazing ride.  

I felt fast and strong on the climb and when I pointed my bike downhill I was on fire.  I've been seeking this downhill KOM for a while and today I nabbed it.  There were a few spots where I made some mistakes so I know I should be able to drop a little time on this trail.

Tied for KOM
I did two quick laps in the fading light and I can't wait for the days to grow longer and continue to enjoy these amazing trails.

Happy dog after running free in the forest

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Forest Relics

I was ordered out of the house by my lovely daughters and told I need to go for a ride so they could decorate the house for Valentine's Day.

I obliged and headed to the Woodlot.  I figured it had been long enough since I'd ridden there that 2 days in a row would do me good.  My route was Platinum, Giant Killer, Bloggy and finally Shotgun.

There was a thick foggy mist the entire way to the top, but there wasn't any rain so it wasn't all that bad.  At the beginning of Platinum I looked around in the fog with the feeling that I was being watched.  I didn't see and animals or people but my 6th sense was saying otherwise.  I have learned to trust that feeling so as soon as I had my helmet on, I was booking it along the trail.

Marcus has been doing a lot of work at the top of Platinum and the next time I see him I will be giving him the props he deserves.  Marcus has cut a new line at the start of Platinum that completely bisects the awkward up and down moto trail.  He instead made a flowy line that makes it's way downhill to the main line of Platinum.  I railed the ground line down the trail and can't wait to do it again.  It's a long fast flowy line with huge potential if the trail is reworked to today's trail tastes.

A broken trail relic at the bottom of Platinum

I climbed up Stovetop to Giant Killer where I met Ryan and Brian.  Together we made our way down to the drop that Ryan rebuilt a few weeks backs.

I hit the drop a couple times and then we rode to the bottom and made our way to Bloggy.  Brian is a newer rider so both Ryan and I were giving him pointers on ways to ride certain sections; it was somewhat funny how we were both telling him what to do on certain sections when in reality he was doing fine on his own and was simply stoked to have cleaned a section he hadn't in the past.

Hitting the drop on Giant Killer
Hitting the drop on Giant Killer
At Shotgun we all sessioned the rock roll near the bottom and then headed home with and other great ride under our belts.

The Rock Roll on Shotgun

Friday, February 13, 2015

Familiar Route

I have to admit that I haven't been riding at The Woodlot as much as I used to.  I took Tilly up with me today and had to stop at my usual spot to take a photo.

The south towards Mt. Baker
As I was taking this photo another rider (Aaron) came up the road with a couple dogs that Tilly began to play with so I we joined up for a brief period; climbing up the road.  Tilly and I headed to Blood Donor and Aaron kept going to Goldmine.  

Blood Donor was in pretty good shape; there weren't any puddles or sections that were needing addressing.  It seems as though there had been some recent wood work done that re-opened a broken feature and another feature was re-worked to give it way more flow.

Giant Killer was awesome as always with Ryan continuing to work the trail top to bottom.

I then rode over to Snakes and Ladders which is riding pretty good.  I need to fix a couple jumps but it is flowing AWESOME since Ryan, Ian and I raked it from top to bottom.  

After Snakes I thought I'd make my way along the TCT to PBR to see if anything needed addressing, but I ran into Aaron who had just came down PBR.  He told me the trail was fine so we both rode out together to Shotgun.  On the way we chatted about trails, bikes and the usual things you talk about when riding.

At Shotgun I took the lead and had a good rip down Shotgun to my truck.  I bid Aaron fairwell and headed home to clean up the dog.  

It felt good getting back to The Woodlot.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Global News Interview: Trail Sabotage

I had a busy morning today.  I spent the morning on Thornhill getting interviewed by John Hua of Global TV News.

After the interview I headed up OSR with a shovel to clear out some sections of trail that needed drainage work and rode down to the bottom and headed home.

I sincerely hope that the irresponsible actions of the person laying the logs and debris on the trails stops without innocent people getting hurt.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Local Media Coverage - Trail Sabotage

Dean Wilkes, an avid mountain biker and trail builder, found the traps and fears for the safety of other riders.  - Tim Fitzgerald/THE NEWS
Dean Wilkes, an avid mountain biker and trail builder, found the traps and fears for the safety of other riders.
— Image Credit: Tim Fitzgerald/THE NEWS
Someone is deliberately dragging deadfalls and fallen logs across a trail in Maple Ridge, in a way that could be dangerous to mountain bikers, says a local cycling enthusiast.
So-called “trail traps” have also plagued North Vancouver in the past month, and now are being found in Maple Ridge.
A week ago, Dean Wilkes found five obstacles placed on Bear Ridge Trail – a path that runs between 248th and 256th streets, just north of 102nd Avenue.
“I go mountain biking with my kids on these trails. There’s big potential for someone to get hurt,” he said.
At first, he wondered whether it was intentional. The giveaway was a section where five logs were placed on the path, creating an obstacle that only a person on foot could traverse.
Wilkes said he was the person who originally cut the five logs, after he bucked a fallen tree.
He cut it into five sections, which were still so heavy that only a fit man could move them, and pushed them to the side.
Other sections had single, slim logs dragged across them.
“Somebody had purposely put trees or logs across the trail,” he said. “I’ve been building trails for over a decade. There’s no doubt in my mind they were placed there.”
He said at least one of the obstacles was set up as a potentially deadly trap, in a section where a person on a bike could not see the log and stop in time to avoid a collision.
Wilkes said, fortunately, he came upon it while biking uphill.
“If I was going down the hill, I would have run right into it.”
Seeing it made him angry – an adult might have the reflexes to stop in time, but children have slower reactions, or may panic and “freeze” when they see an obstacle.
“I just stopped and shook my head, that someone has done something so stupid here,” said Wilkes.
“They’re putting other people’s lives at risk doing this – purposely doing it.”
He removed all of the traps, and reported the matter to the police and parks and leisure services.
Then on Tuesday, he found two more obstacles, but on different trails in the system.
Wilkes says trail-use conflict has been an issue in other areas, but not Maple Ridge before.
“Hikers sometimes don’t like bikers – it’s just trail-use conflict,” he said. “But people are respectful. We tend to try to play together as best we can.”
But that hasn’t been the case in other communities.
64-year-old North Vancouver woman faces charges of mischief and setting traps with intent to injure after the latter were found on Mount Fromme, frequented by mountain bikers. Members of the mountain bike community installed hidden cameras on trees and caught footage of her.
Geoff Mallory, city manager of parks and open spaces in Maple Ridge, said no such conflicts have been seen prior to Wilkes’ complaints.
There are step-over obstacles placed at trail heads to keep motorcycles and ATVs off the trails. They are banned, but at Bear Ridge Trail hikers, bikers and horse riders all use the path.
“We haven’t had any reported conflicts whatsoever,” said Mallory.
He said the city has a network of 200 kilometres of trails, and they are “very well used.”
Two city staff members maintain the trails full-time.
As word of the traps spread throughout the cycling community, people are hopeful that Sunday was an isolated incident.
“I’m hoping it doesn’t escalate – let’s nip this in the bud right now,” said Wilkes. “When you put people’s lives in danger, things could go really wrong.”

Logging a few miles on Bear

Tilly and I went for a spin today on Bear Mtn.

It was raining lightly, but just enough to make gortex and merino wool mandatory items.

I climbed up BTLC and then up the road.  The good times were had on Wasp, Lorax, Smoke n Bobo, then back up to Jolly Rancher. 

When done I was soaked and Tilly was the dirtiest she's ever been.  It was a damn good ride.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Quick Rip On Thorn

After dropping the kids at home, I went for my second ride of the day; a quick lap on Thornhill. Up the singletrack to the top of Trail Dweller and then down and over to new line that was put in last year.  It was short but awesome.  My new KOM/X0 wheels and X01 drive-train feel fantastic.

A Ride With My Girls

Today Norah, Danika and I drove to Thornhill to go for a ride and check out the work we had done the day before on a section of trail.
Before 
During 
After

When we arrived I couldn't help but snap the photo below which shows the small, medium and large wheel sizes.

27.5", 26", 24"
Once the bikes were unloaded and I had all their pads in my pack, we climbed straight up the road to the top.  One very friendly rider passed us on the way up and we rode past half a dozen people out for walks with their dogs.

After a quick drink of water my girls donned their pads and we were on our way. Both were a little hesitant given that they'd both just moved up a size on their bikes and this was their first ride on dirt. 

I was a very proud papa watching them cautiously make their way down the damp, muddy and slippery trails.  I told them that these were the hardest conditions there are to ride in and that if they can ride well in these conditions, they will be that much better in dry conditions.  Really they just looked at me and frowned.  

video

Driving home they were both tired and pumped that they had just ridden on trails that they had helped fix the day before.  Hopefully they continue to enjoy both riding and trail building well into the future.  
Happy riders

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

A Walk In The Forest

I went for a quick ride and a walk in the forest to see where a few other trails were and scope out some possible new lines.

Time will tell if my plans come to fruition but I really needed to get out and hit the dirt today.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Trail Sabotage on Thornhill

I did a few laps on Thornhill today.  What someone had done on Bear Ridge Trail really infuriated me, but I didn't let it wreck my ride.

Someone went through some great effort to put logs and branches across the trail in 5 different spots. It's the fact that people can easily get hurt due to the thoughtless actions of this saboteur that upsets me.  Kids, hikers, horseback riders, dog walkers, bikers can all be injured by this persons actions.  I have removed all the obstacles, taken pictures, called the police, called the city and called the local newspaper.  I hope this stops without anyone getting hurt.






The only trail that I found debris on was Bear Ridge Trail.  I continued my ride on a few other trails where I enjoyed the view and gave my dog a good run.
Golden Ears (with no snow)
A tranquil fern lined forest 

One happy dog at the end of our ride.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Riding in Rivers

I went for a quick after work ride to Thornhill.  It was raining; Big Mistake.

I was basically riding in rivers down most of the trails. The trails up Thornhill really aren't designed for wet weather traffic. Today's ride revealed where the trails I rode require some help with drainage.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

WIND

I went for a ride today in likely the windiest conditions I've ever been in.  Near the beginning of my ride I drained a few puddles and have given some thought on making a few How-To peiced to be published online.

NEVER LINE YOUR TRAILS WITH LOGS
NEVER LINE YOUR TRAILS WITH LOGS

It was somewhat windy when I started but it picked up once I was in the trees.


I decided to cut my ride short when a small branch hit me on the shoulder (a bit of a wake-up call).


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Misty Morning at The Woodlot

At dawn I was at The Woodlot with Tilly riding in the mist.

At home it was miserable and raining, but in the mountains I was above the rain filled clouds and in the mist.

The layers of mist in the mountains.

The trails were basically dry and it was warm enough that I didn't need my jacket or toque.  The trails I rode were Blood Donor, Giant Killer, Snakes and Ladders and then Shotgun.

After the work that Ryan, Ian and I did on our night build a few weeks ago Snakes was riding really well; no wet spots or issues that need addressing at this time.  My reroute is bedding in well and only needs a few finishing touches and then I'll be on to the next section.

Tilly had a good run and we made it home without even getting wet. 

Friday, January 02, 2015

I'm back

It's been a couple years since I regularly updated my riding journal, but it's a new year and I've decided to fire this thing back up.

My first ride of 2015 took me to Bear Mtn to ride with Paul, Andrew and Nat.  The ride started with a pedaled up Big Trouble in Little Chaining and then up to Lorax.  Lorax in the snow is a lot of fun but the rock face in the clear cut was a bit of an eye opener being covered in a layer of slushy ice and snow.

We then climbed back to Luge and Sorcerers Apprentice but on the way Nat encountered a flat caused by a piece of wire going through his tire.

The boys fixing a flat

I then ride Luge and Sorcerers Apprentice for the fist time.  Luge is a pinned straight shot of a trail that I'd prefer to do unclipped and on a bigger bike, but it was fun nonetheless.  

The sign at the top of Luge
The last trail of the ride was Jolly Rancher where we were all having a hoot until Nat had a nasty spill that flung him over his bars and on his head.  He ended up with a few cuts on his forehead that we cleaned up, but he will likely require some butterfly bandages or stitches.  Fortunately he was okay to ride out to the vehicles and go get patched up.

Overall it was a great start to my riding year.  I felt sluggish due to being a glutton over the Christmas break but anytime on the bike is a good time.