Camping Triathlon

falls!This weekend is my first time camping this year! Woohoo! Sue is heading up to Qualicum to do the Qualicum Beach Triathlon, so we are camping at Englishman River Falls. This place is one of my most favorite on this earth. The river is so amazing.

There is a ton of things to get done this week before we leave. Unfortunately Sue is also heading to Vancouver for a requirements training course. Hmm, that leaves me and Yoshi to play the roles of bachelor for a few days! Party time!

South Ridge Seals

Sean on LogGreat weekend for riding. Saturday I was feeling really blah. I had a ton of things I wanted to get done on the weekend, but the problem was on Saturday I didn’t feel like doing anything. I forced myself to jump on my road bike and go for a spin. It felt pretty good actually. Riding usually perks me up, and lifts my spirits. I got out about 10 km’s, and realized that my rear tire was pretty low. Hmm, better turn around now and keep an eye on it. I got home just fine, but I was concerned.

Sunday Sean and I hit up the dump for a fun ride. Up and down, all over the park. We both rode pretty well. The picture above is Sean riding over a large log pile on South Ridge Trail. A couple hours later we emerged from the trails. Very fun ride. I was glad I got out.

Unfortunately for me the seals in my Boxxer are acting up. It is time to replace them. Good thing I get it done now since in a couple weeks Sean, Shane, James, and myself are heading out for a road trip. Bad thing is I don’t have the cash for it. Grrr.

Buccaneer Clown

WAKEY, WAKEY, WAKEY, IT’S TIME TO GET UP, GET OUT OF BED. Imagine this followed by blasts of sirens and horns. Gack! This is what woke me up this morning. It started at 7:15 got closer, then further, then closer, then further. Finally it drove right past our house. Some clown in a firetruck advertising the Esquimalt Buccaneer Days. I have go to assume that there is some kind of breakfast this morning.

Flawless Barrier

me dropping 4I decided a while ago that I needed to buy an armour jacket. I have done more shuttle riding lately, a few DH races, and this summer I plan to hit a few really good ski hills. It was time.

I bought the armour on Saturday, and Sunday was my first ride with it. The destination was Whistler. Click the picture to see the gallery from the trip, or read on.

My girlfriend was going to Vancouver to go see a friends newborn, so I thought that maybe I would come as well, do some bike shopping, then maybe sneak in a ride while I was there.

The trip got complicated really quickly when I found out that JimC and K’endo were heading to Whistler to hit the lifts. After my girlfriend decided to come with me, and just hang out in Whistler for the day, I started to get a little psyched. Riding in Whistler is not like anything else I have experienced. They have a wide range of trails to choose from, all mostly downhill, and all really fun.

When the group assembled in Whistler it was myself, JimC, K’endo, Alan, and Dave. We also ran into a bunch of other MTBR’ers, but we didn’t end up riding with them.

My day got off to an excellent start. Our first trail led to the jump park. There were 4 table tops of increasing size for people to learn on. Just past them was four drop platforms, again, in varying sizes. I practiced the 2nd table top a few times, but that wasn’t really my thing. I then went to the drops. I started with the 2nd one, then did the third one in quick succession. The fourth one was quite a bit bigger than the third. I wanted to do it. I knew I could do it. I had new armour on. All of this added up to a drive to do the fourth drop. I did the third one again, hiked back up, and lined up for the fourth.

I pedalled into it quickly. I knew that the slightest hesitation would make me walk away from this drop. I was approaching it quickly, and the thing that stuck out was that you couldn’t see that landing zone. My fingers moved to the brake lever. I was starting to chicken out! I moved my fingers back to the bar in a determined move to nail this drop. I was up on the platform, then in the air. I sailed for what felt like a long time, and then came the touchdown. Perfect! The transition was absolutely flawless. I had to do the drop again. I went up and did it a second time, and that one also felt great. I was all jazzed up over this. I knew this was the beginnings of a good day.

You see, one of my biggest problems in mountain biking is that I don’t give myself enough credit for the skills I possess. As a result, I have problems committing to a line. I had broken the barrier, and it felt great.

The rest of the day was a series of runs whose names escape me. I know that K’endo and I hit Dirt Merchant, Joy Ride, Schleyer, A line, and others.

On Schleyer that was a drop that reminded me of the 4th drop I had nailed earlier that morning. I did that one a couple times.

In all I have no idea how many runs I did. They were all great. My riding was awesome, the new gear felt great and certainly didn’t slow me down at all. My bike held up until the last run. It truly is a thrill and a half to ride trails that you see feature in MTB movies, and magazines.

Protecting Fun

Dainese Next JacketWell, today I am heading to Vancouver for a quick overnight trip. Sue wants to visit some friends, I want to do some bike gear shopping, and maybe sneak in a ride. I think JimC is heading to the Whistler Bike Park on Sunday. Hmmm, I am going to have to call him and double check on that ‘cuz that would be super fun.

I plan to pick up one of these armour jackets for this summers riding trips. There is no price on protecting my body that is too high. Well I guess there is, but this one isn’t beyond that price. Smiling

Interesting Solo Ride

zipped spokeLast night I went for a ride. It was the most interesting ride I have had in a long time. Originally I was going to ride with Shane, but his plans involved heading to the Juan de Fuca BMX track, and I really needed to get Yoshi some exercise. What to do? I bailed on Shane, and decided to go to the dump. Problem was that it was starting to rain, and with me riding solo, I had no real push to get me out there.

That is when it dawned on me. What has happened here? I used to always want to get out riding. I remember times when I was riding 4 times a week, and now I am lucky if I hit dirt once a week. I began thinking about how my my drive to ride has slowed a lot. I still have lots of passion for the sport (I almost always enjoy myself when I get out), but my drive is certainly lower. In an effort to improve my physical fitness I recently bought a road bike. This decision was mainly to help get me in shape for off road riding this summer.

But I digress. I was waffling on going riding. I never used to do this. In a fit of disgust at myself I got changed, loaded my truck, and set off for the dump. When I arrived Yoshi was chomping at the bit to get out and run. I reluctantly got my shoes on, stashed my change of clothes, readied my bike, release the hound from his backseat confinement, then took off.

Already I felt good about deciding to get out.

The first trail I took was a tight (really overgrown from Victoria’s last couple weeks of sunshine), twisty, swoopy, and fun. I love this trail. The freshly fallen rain helped make the trail really tacky, but also provided some refreshment. Slicing through the grass wet my legs, and brushing the trees soaked the sleeves of my jersey. It was good to be out there.

Rounding one uphill corner, I nearly had a collision with another rider who was coming the opposite direction. It turned out to be Claire (she use to go by gnarly on MTBR). We stopped and gabbed for a bit, then parted. It was nice to catch up with here for a bit. As we parted I fondly remembered a road trip, myself, Claire, and another friend Mike did. It was a spur of the moment decision. We drove up Island from Victoria, and set up shop at my moms place in Nanaimo. From there we hit 4 trail systems in 3 days (or something silly like that). A great memory from my past. I have since grown apart from Mike and Claire, but I don’t think I will ever forget them or that road trip.

Hmm, the back tire was feeling a little squishy. I stopped and put a few PSI more back into the tire, then continued on my way. Yoshi love going mountain biking, and he is learning to be a better trail dog every single time I take him out. As I slowly make my way up the steepest trail, he takes off sending stones rolling back down into my wheels. A couple minutes later he comes roaring back down towards me to see what is taking me so long. Like I said, he is quite a character.

I realized (right before a stream crossing) that my rear is still too low on air pressure. I stopped to put more air in, and as I am doing so, I noticed the nipple to one of my spokes has sunk pretty far into the rim. In a confused state I tested the spoke for tension, only to find that I had a broken spoke. One quick zip tie, and a couple minutes of pumping later I am ready for the stream crossing.

I climb up the other side, and notice more cheater lines all the time. I know that SIMBS closes as many as they can (and I do what I can to block some of them), but with the parks ever increasing use, it might likely be impossible. I decided to do a long climb that I have not done in a long time. I need to work on my climbing legs so that when I do jump back on my bullit, I can feel comfortable like days gone by.

Part way up the climb I find a shortcut to the trail that was my destination. As I follow the shortcut I realized that this one would make my loop too short. Turning around I took off out of the shortcut, and continued the climb. I got to the top, headed down fun trail, then made my way back to the other side of the park, back to my truck. Yoshi was tired, yet I was feeling. Not long enough to tire me out too much, but still lots of fun. In the end (like so many other times), I was glad I got out. Why don’t I go more?

Part of it is now that I am in a relationship, I am generally more busy. We go and visit friends, spend time together, clean the house, etc. Life is more full now. I think also part of the reason I don’t ride as much any more is because I am in a relationship. While that may be confusing, what I mean is that I now have responsibilities to more than myself. Riding is dangerous, and I have had my share of close calls. I don’t want to strand my girlfriend. Does that make any sense? I also think part of it is that I am aging. I am still 28, but my outlook on life is certainly a lot different now than when I was 25.

In all it doesn’t really matter. I have bikes. I ride bikes. I enjoy riding bikes. I think I will always ride bikes, even if it is not in the same way as when I was younger.

Last night was a very interesting ride indeed. I travelled a lot further mentally than I did physically.

Technical Critique

Well, photography class is coming to an end, but it sure has been fun. The first few weeks were extremely technical in information. The instructor explained the different parts of the camera, how they work, and how they all interact with each other.

Film affects shutter speed, which affect aperture setting, which is also affected by flash. How do different pieces of equipment affect all of the above.

We also covered regular topics like macro photography, night photography, portraiture, travel photography, and the last class will be sports, and nature photography.

I really like how the instructor taught the course. He has a nice range of technical information, common sense, and technology. I would highly recommend this course to anyone wanting to improve their shots, or who wanted to learn more about their camera.

I set up a gallery to show some of the pictures that I submitted for critique. I appreciate any comments.

Tank-like Fun

life behind bars
Yesterday was the first day of the rest of my life. No, wait, that isn’t what I mean. Yesterday was the first day on my new bike. Well, that is a little closer to the truth. Yesterday was the first day I went for a training ride on my new bike.

I am pretty pumped on my new bike. I primarily bought it to help whip myself into shape for the summer MTB season. I have been on a couple rides so far, but yesterdays was the first of any length and intensity. I planned a pretty good route, and set off a little nervous.

It was actually a lot of fun. Compared to my tank-like mountain bikes, this one is smooth, fast, graceful, twitchy, yet surprisingly still fun. The shifting is something new. The brake levers twist inwards for one direction of shifting, and there is a paddle shifter under the thumbs for the other direction. The other thing is that the shifting is backwards from my mountain bike. I am used to the thumb action going to an easier gear, but on the road bike the thumb goes to a harder gear.

I am still uneasy on the bars. Mainly I am not sure where my hands should be resting and at what times. Going downhill is freaky. I feel like I am way over the front wheel, and that I am going to fall. Smiling

Skinny bars!!
Skinny bars!!

no rear suspension????
no rear suspension????

clean straight tubes
clean straight tubes

my sleek and fast beauty
my sleek and fast beauty

Modified Fan Tan Alley

Last night saw the return of Fan Tan Alley to Victoria. No, not that Fan Tan Alley, the band Fan Tan Alley. Matt, Craig, and new drummer (whose name eludes me) played an excellent set, in a venue that was on fire. Well, it felt like it was on fire since it was so hot.

They ripped the stage like only FTA can. They played a lot of new material I hadn’t heard before, and they even played a few acoustic songs. One song to highlight is their rendition of “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. Very funny, especialy some of their modified lyrics.

Nearing the end of the show, Mike came up to me and noted (since he saw their show the night before), that they had removed/slowed down a lot of their up tempo songs, and were now playing more rock ballads. Their songs were great, and definitely a treat to listen to, but the crowd definitely wanted to dance. Just as the crowd was starting to get into a fast song, it ended, and a slower one began. That is my one and only complaint.

It was great to see the guys, happy, healthy, and playing once again. I hope they make it. They deserve it.

Birthday Disservice

Last night was yummy! Dinner at Blighty’s was excellent. We were celebrating Sue’s birthday, so we went to our favorite restaurant.

If you live in Victoria, or visit often, but have never been to Blighty’s Bistro, you have done yourself a huge disservice. Call and book an appointment soon.

Their food is wonderful, the atmosphere unbeatable, and the service impeccable. You won’t regret going.