The forrest is wet, but that tree is on fire.

Today was the best ride I have had in a long time. The air was a crisp, the ground slightly tacky, the rocks dry, and the riding group fun. We met at the dump at 9:30, and proceeded to do one of my most favorite loops.

Up Skull, down Inventive, up to the Switchbacks, through the Twister, up Phase 2, down Daves Line to Champs Cafe. Down South Ridge a bit, then a quit jaunt down part of Falling Satellites, over to Green Ribbon, then down and out.

Did you catch all that?

I have begun to realize lately that I can’t ride hard from the parking lot like I used to. I have to warm up, and once warm I can push hard up hills. Today was no different. As soon as I began Skull I could feel myself pushing too hard. I backed off and allowed my muscles to slowly warm.

At the base of the switchbacks I decided to walk. I wanted to conserve energy on this climb as it kills me every time I attempt it. After the group rested at the top, we headed out for the Twister. This has always been a fun trail for me. There are lots of twists and turns. The trail is quite long, but it is packed into a tiny area.

After making the climb up Phase 2 it was time to bomb down Dave’s Line to Champs Cafe. While heading up a short climb, I looked across a ravine, and there, standing amongst the Evergreens was a lone shockingly yellow-leaf clad tree. The yellow was as bright as a flame, and against the dark green background, that one lonely tree really stood out. I couldn’t help but revel in how truly wonderful nature is.

Through all this I was feeling great. My climbing was going pretty good, and I was feeling pretty confident on the descending. I had the feeling this was going to be a great ride, but I didn’t know how great.

The destination trail was Green Ribbon. There is a side trail called Falling Satellites, that loops off of, and back onto Green Ribbon. The drop onto Fallin Satellites is pretty steep, into a 2 foot pullup at the end. Somehow I managed to get down there in full control, then do the pullup nicely. I was beaming as a bunch of guys congratulated me on the descent.

A little later on Falling Satellites I rode a steep rock face that I hadn’t ridden before, and that only one other person in our group of 10 rode. I knew this was one of my “on” days, and I was looking forward to the rest of the trail.

Further down I rode a couple more drops that i had never done before. I have watched many people go off these, and have always wanted to try them. I knew I had the skills, and I definitely have the bike for them. Well, I was in the right frame of mind, and gave them a go. That is such a feeling. I can’t completely describe it, but it is almost like a weight being lifted from my shoulders, coupled with intense relief, happiness, and shock, followed quickly by the adrenaline rush of doing something that scares you. I love that feeling.

The rest of the ride was pretty unremarkable, but was still enjoyable. I was on the high of a great ride!

In a fog today.

foggy downtown victoriaOK, it’s not a hard concept to grasp. When a fog settles, it is time to make yourself be seen on the roads. This also means it is time to be more careful and aware of your surroundings when driving.

This morning on my way to work, I couldn’t believe the sheer stupidity of people. In this day and age I expect people to be smarter because of all the information that gets crammed down out throats. Sadly, this is not the case.

I saw all manners of stupidness. The first being vehicles driving with no lights on. It was still dark out, and foggy. Come on. Hit the little button, turn on the lights, and voila, you can see where you are going. As an added bonus, others can see you too!

The other stupidness was tailgating. While I think this is a bad enough habit on its own, doing this in the fog is extremely dangerous. What if the lead car had to slam on their brakes due to an obstacle suddenly appearing? Someone is going to get creamed.

The worst fog offender I saw was a cyclist. I have nothing against cyclists (I am a big cyclist myself), but I just have to shake my head sometimes. In one particularly dense section I saw a rider, in the left lane of the oncoming traffic. I have no idea why he was there. There was no left turn coming up. He was definitely going slower than traffic. To top it all off, he had no lights of any sort. He was a sitting duck, just waiting for a car to squish.

Smarten up people!

Pounding the pavement for fun???

Today I did my first running race. The Royal Victoria Marathon has differing lengths (a full marathon, a half marathon, an 8km race, and a 1 km kids race). Since I was too old for the kids race, I entered the 8km.

I signed up with no intentions of grandeur. Even now I am not sure why I entered, but I thought I would try a running race at least. I have been running lately, but nothing great. I am not sure, but I don’t think I have even run 8 km straight.

Jump forward to this morning. An early rise, for an early starting race. “She” was doing the half, and since that started at 7:45, we had to be downtown around 7:15, and we left home late. We did get there on time for the half marathon start, but for a little while, some of the people in our party were a little stressed.

It was a chilly morning, but the sky was clear and cloudless. As the sun rose, my anticipation grew. After I made my way to the 8km starting chute I found myself at the front of the pack. Learning from my mistakes in cross country mountain bike racing I let theose people who wanted to be in front of me move past.

Soon enough my group was off, and all I could think about was holw cold I was. I quickly realized that I was pushing myself too hard, and that if I kept that pace I would blow up before I could finish my race. I backed off, and settled into a comfortable pace while dozens of people streamed past me.

Running into the sun was a great feeling. It warmed my core. The downside is that I was unable to see any of the cheering crowd.

Throughout the whole race I never felt great. I had woke up tired, felt a little sick, and never really felt like running. As I progressed throught the race, I slowly started to feel a little better, but not great.

As I entered the designated cheering section, the crowd making all the noise caused me to run just a little harder, something I did not want to do. As soon as I exited the section, I realized what I was doing, and slowed down.

The run took us along Dallas road up towards Beacon Hill park, into the park to the turnaround point, and back along the same route.

Just before I got to the turn into Beacon Hill park I heard some of my friends cheer for me. I had been told by many people that my cheering had been a great boost to them in theor races. Well, I got to experience that first hand. It truly was a boost. For a few moments I felt great. Then I entered Beacon Hill Park.

I knew the tirnaround was up ahead, and I kept wanting to check my watch to see how my time was doing. I decided I wouldn’t look until I finished. As I ran through the park, I saw Spiderman. Someone was running the half marathon in a full Spiderman costume! It was quite a sight to see. The turnaround eventually came, and I marked the time in my watch, and merged into the half marathoners.

The stream of people heading back to the start line was amazing. I was almost shoulder to shoulder with other runners, and only a few feet off other runners. It was almost claustrophobic feeling.

I had to pickup my pace to keep up with the mob. I soon developed a really bad stitch, and I knew I either had to start walking, or change my pace. My main goal was to run the entire distance, so I opted to slow down and to change my breathing. The stitch got worse and worse, but I kept the slow pace and shallow breathing. Eventually it subsided.

I exited the park, and began the downhill back along Dallas road. I passed the cheering section, and heard them again. I knew that I was over half way, so I plodded along. I couldn’t get over the feeling of slowness. Maybe it was the lack of coffee, maybe it was the air temperature, or maybe it was the early time of day. I am still not sure.

As I got closer to the water station my mouth was extremely dry. I decided to not get anything though because I didn’t want my stitch top return. I decided to run through the station, which proved to be a little difficult as most people stopped to get a drink. I dodged my way through, and kept running.

When I got to Fishermans Wharf I decided to pick up my pace. I extended my leg stroke, but within 5 strides I knew I had to return to my previous pace or I wouldn’t be able to complete the run to the finish line. After slowing again I felt better.

Before I knew it I crossed the finish line, and my race was over. Or was it? I quickly discovered I couldn’t just stop running. I had to do a cool down walk so I got my timing chip clipped, then proceeded to walk around for a bit. After a 10 minute walk I had cooled down enough, and felt much better.

I returned to my truck, put on some dry clothes, then made my way back to the finish line to watch her finish.

My finishing time was 46 minutes 49 seconds, but I am not sure what my official time is. My time to the turnaround was 22 minutes 42 seconds, and my time from the turnaround was 24 minutes 07 seconds.

Turkey Update

The dinner went off well. “She” did an awesome job of cooking the bird. It turned out amazing. The supporting cast was potatoes, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, gravy, carrots, stuffing. Much wine and beer was consumed. The conversation flowed as our families met for the first time. It was a great evening.

Now to concentrate on the rest of the weekend. We have a large pasta dinner to prepare, a birthday party of sorts to arrange, and a run to do. I am doing the 8km race in the Royal Victoria Marathon, but “she”, and some of her family, will be running the half marathon.

The weather so far has been amazing. I am hoping it will hold.

Blogchalking the new way to be seen?

I stumbled upon BlogChalking today. You can read about it at

I signed up mainly just for fun. Here is mine:
This is my new blogchalk:
Canada, British Colombia, Victoria, Esquimalt, English, , Greg, Male, 26-30, Mountain Biking. 🙂

This seems like a great way of finding blogs like yours, or blogs made by people close to you. For example, this google search is for all the blogchalked blogs near me in Victoria that speak english.

Gobble gobble!

gobble gobbleIt’s that time of year again where we get together with friends and family to feast. This past year for me has been an excellent one. Much in my life has changed, and definitely for the better.

This weekend marks a bit of a milestone for me. Both my family, and the family of “she” are converging on our home. For me this is the first time my family has me the family of my girlfriend. Not only that, but we will be cooking our very first turkey dinner. While we are very excited about this, it is a little overwhelming. I will let you know how it all works out.

I hope you all have an excellent Thanksgiving weekend.

A North Shore Ride Report (how I break my brakes)

This past Saturday found me in Vancouver. A friend of mine hopped on the ferry from Victoria, and I was to meet KirkH, and rotr no more for a spin on the shore.

I picked Mike up at the ferry, and the first surprise was that another friend Jason was there too. Seems Jason had returned from his year long stint in Yellowknife a little early.

We loaded my truck, then set off for Mt Fromme. After arriving, we strapped our gear to ourselves and poceeded slowly up the long climb. It was quite eery because of the low laying cloud. Peering through the trees all we could see was mist. People disappered and reappeared from the mist frequently. It was surreal hearing people make their way towards me, or away from me, but not being able to actually see them.

After what seemed like a couple hours (really only about an houre) we reached the first trail we would take. Upper Oil Can was the choice. We donned our gear, ate some food, lowered the saddles, and soon it was time to ride. Only a few hundred yards into the trail I started to hear an odd clicking noise from the rear of my bike. I stopped to check it out, but couldn’t find anything. I rode another few yards, ad heard it some more. I stopped for a more thorough inspection, and that was when I found it. My rear Hayes caliper had broken! It looked to me like the bottom bolt had follen out a while ago. As I continued braking over the past couple ride, the metal in the mount for the caliper was bent, and rebent repeatedly until it finally let go.

I was quite unhappy. How do you finish a ride with no rear brake? With a little ingenuity, and a few zip ties (thanks Tim), I was able to get the caliper to stay in place while I continued my ride. My conidence was shot on the first few drops so I walked, but I soon began to trust the hacked together repair job. I still had rear brakes, they just felt a little mushy. I did a few drops to test the strength. I found I could still come to a stop quickly enough.

Soon enough we finished Oil Can, so we headed down the fireroad a couple minutes to Expresso. Here we met up with Dave K and Meagan. His previous plans were cancelled due to the inclemant weather. I had never ridden Expresso before, so I was excited to ride something new. It was a very fun trail. There were a few ladder bridges, steep rock faces, root drops, log rides. All sorts of stuff a visitor to the North Shore trails wants to experience.

After dropping onto Baden Powell we traversed back towards the vehicles. Meagan pointed us towards an older North Shore trail caller Digger (I think that was what we rode). It was also a good trail. Some steeps, some loose stuff, and some drops.

We were spit out on a street not too far from the vehicles. We debated on whether or not to head for food, but in order for Mike and Jason to make the 3pm ferry, we needed to leave immediately.

That was our choice, so our day on the North Shore was over. It was a blast. I should have some pictures in a couple days.

Thanks again to Tim and Kirk for riding with us, and showing us around. It was a lot of fun.