Skittish Element

I had been wanting to take Heart out mountain biking since we got her. It has been a long time since I took my a dog of mine riding, and I missed it a lot. Heart is still fairly new to us, and I although her confidence is getting better, she is still a little skittish at times.

My fears were unfounded it turned out. I went for a short spin at the dump this morning, and Heart was a star. She is a great trail dog with some pretty good instincts. She always likes to stick close to Sue and I. I was hoping this would be the same while riding, and it was.

What surprised me though was that she liked to take the lead on the trail. She was happily running in front of me for most of today’s ride. Once free in the bush she carried herself well, and looked very confident. I loved seeing her like that.

We took some easy trails and I made a short loop. During our breaks Heart would roam around a little checking things out, looking down gullies, sniffing the air. She really seemed in her element.

We came to a stream crossing at one point and while I rested she wandered around checking things out, even walking through the stream a little. Heart even took log piles in stride, and easily trotted across a couple bridges without any hesitation.

One descent we were on, I could see her beelining from the side right for where I was headed. At the last second she slowed enough that we didn’t collide.

The only negative thing that happened was on Skull Trail. This back and forth downhill trail is pretty fast, and Heart was keeping up just fine. Until she stopped to sniff something. When I stopped and looked back to find her, she was nowhere to be seen, and I couldn’t hear her collar jingling either. I called for her and I saw her take off up the hill away from me. I yelled her name a few more times and she turned around and raced down the hill to me.

Back at the truck, she quickly climbed into the back seat and curled up for the ride home. Mission accomplished.

For the rest of the day Heart has been pretty quiet. Tonight she is flaked out on her bed and really isn’t moving all that much. A tired pooch is a happy pooch.

Biking Favourite

A couple mountain biking videos for you today. Well, sort of.

Kris Holm is a unicyclist who used to ride some pretty gnarly trails (yes, on the unicycle). You can see some of this on youtube. Looks like he has gotten more into more of a trials/street form of riding.

NAUCC 2010 from Max Schulze on Vimeo.

The next video is sort of a promo for a Contour video camera. I love this vid though. It just gets me stoked to go out and ride. Mike Kinrade is know for his big mountain riding style and it shows here. Looks like he was just out having a great time with his buddies which is my favourite reason to go mountain biking.

Blink Helmet

Friday I was driving home across the Bay St bridge when I saw a cyclist on the sidewalk. She was on the wrong side of the bridge and looking for a sidewalk to ride on. I watched as she turned around, then lost her balance. She fell backwards off the sidewalk and hit the pavement. Her head then whiplashed down into the pavement and I saw her helmet hit the ground pretty hard.

I was surprised at how quickly it happened. I shouldn’t be that surprised though since I have crashed enough while mountain biking to know that it happens in the blink of an eye.

I pulled over to the side to see if she was alright. Another car stopped behind her so she was effectively blocked in. The other driver and I talked to her for a bit and she was definitely a little wobbly in the knees. I mentioned it would be better for her to sit down until she was feeling better.

A large double decker bus stopped and asked if we needed an ambulance which was turned down by the cyclist. I stayed with her for a few minutes, but she insisted she was fine. I also made sure she had a way to call someone and was glad to hear she had a cell phone in her pack.

As the other driver got up to leave he looked into the road where she landed and retrieved three pieces of foam from her helmet. She hit hard enough to not only crack the helmet, but to actually break parts of it off. Very goo thing she had that helmet on.

Switchbacks Blocked

This could have been incorporated into my last post, but I wanted to make it separate. I need to vent.

SIMBS has done it again. Another trail at the dump is drastically changed, and in my opinion, not for the better. Snakes and Ladders has been a favorite trail of mine for a very long time. It is a downhill trail full of switchbacks. There have been a couple Dh races on it, and I know that trail like the back of my hand. It is my go to trail when I want to show new people the dump, or I am just looking for a fun trail to ride.

Today I was railing the trail grinning like normal when all of a sudden the trail turned left when it should have went straight. A new trail had been cut and the old one was blocked off. The bottom half of Snakes and Ladders is gone. SIMBS was revamping a trail called Torpedo Run, and I think they rerouted Snakes and Ladders as a byproduct.

The new section links to an older trail, and makes Snakes and Ladders way shorter. Also, the new section is not nearly as fun. Finally, I am left wondering what happened to the old school trails called Shar’s choice and the Gay Terrace that lay below the blocked off section. I’m hoping they are reachable from Torpedo Run, but I fear they are no longer able to be ridden.

I know SIMBS must maintain the trails, but it angers me when something this drastic is done. I’m hoping there is a sound and scientific reason for the changes. I also know that unless I get involved in SIMBS, I probably shouldn’t complain too much, but I really felt the need to vent. One of the reasons I no longer join SIMBS is that I don’t feel they represent my interests as a mountain biker. This is just another example of that. No, I don’t want to join SIMBS and try to change them from the inside. I know it is a difficult thing to do because of their relationship with the CRD.

Trainer Workout

I’ve been wanting to ride for a while now. The timing this weekend for me to go mountain biking just didn’t work, and I wasn’t feeling up to a road ride. Instead I popped the road bike on the trainer and stayed home for a spin.

There are some things about riding a trainer that I forgot since last time. First, no matter what, get a fan blowing across yourself. A constant spin like that generates a lot of heat and without actual wind blowing over you, there is no heat dissipation.

Second, don’t wear a jersey. This just traps in the heat even more.

Third, a headband would be a good idea for keeping sweat from running down your face.

Fourth, wear gloves. This may sound odd, but I have never worked up a sweat like I have on the trainer. Everything gets soaked quickly and gripping bars with slippery wet hands is not easy. Gloves give traction.

My workout today was 5 minute warmup, 30 minute hard ride, followed by a 5 minute cool down. It was a good workout, and I think I will try to get back into the trainer once a week again.

In the new house, I have a space downstairs to ride which helps keep the noise down. Downside is no TV to watch, but I will just have to create some good playlists for my ipod.

Investigate Broken

I should have ridden to work today. I wanted to ride, but as I was on my way out the back door bike in hand, I decided to investigate a strange metal on metal sound I heard on my last ride.

I found the source. It was another broken spoke. If you recall, this happened pretty recently already.

Frustrating. I had a quick shower, got dressed and jumped in the truck. Disappointing.

Pretty Waxed

I had my road bike in the shop yesterday to get a broken spoke replaced. They cleaned it up real nice. The wheels were pretty dirty, and the frame had lots of road grime. I love Straight Up Cycles, Gerry is awesome.

I rode the bike to work today. The road bike always feels so sleek and fast. One thing I noticed was the seat seemed extra slippery. It almost feels like it had gotten waxed. Weird. Is this a normal thing for roadies?