Autumn Sticks

handsome happy dog!
Yesterday Sean and I zipped out to the dump for a rip. Great ride. I brought Yoshi along too and boy did he have a great time!

We started around 10:45 and finished around 1:30. It was a much needed, very mellow ride. It was a nearly perfect autumn ride. The air was crisp and cool, the traction excellent, the dust non-existent.

We ascended Skull trail, headed down inventive, up the regular way to the switchbacks. We took various breaks along the way and chatted lots. Our destination was the new boardwalk on South Ridge.

Yoshi was full of piss and vinegar the whole time. He really needed to run, and he took full advantage of it. Even while Sean and I took a break at the top of Hot Cherry, Yoshi was scurrying about playing with sticks and generally being a bit of a pain.

trees in the mist
At times the fog dropped in on us and the temp dropped a little. I could feel teeny tiny droplets of water in the air.

Sean and I talked about how Autumn is our favorite time of year to ride. Typically the trails are in excellent shape, the air is cool enough that wearing armour won’t cause you to overheat, and there aren’t as many people out as there is in the summer. It is the perfect time of year to ride.

When we got to the boardwalk I was quite surprised by the construction of it. It was done very well. The main boardwalk is wide enough for anyone to ride comfortably. The skinny route is quite a challenge! Is it 8 inches wide, except for where there are kinks (they built up the corners). It is also high enough to make me think twice, but not high enough to hurt yourself on. I applaud the addition of traction material, but I actually found it too grippy. The metal traction made it more difficult to turn.

After the ride we stopped at Francelli’s for a coffe and quick bite to eat.

At home I hopped in the shower and cranked up the heat. It felt great!

Slithering Boogeyman

Mike on a skinny
Getting up at 5 am, does not do a body good. In fact, my body rebels against me whenever I force myself to get up that early. Yesterday was no exception.

I picked up Mike and gang, then bombed out to the ferry. By 9:45 were were on the Seymour Parkway on our way to meet up with some MTBR regulars that I know. I was looking forward to meeting up with PatT and Gregg (Mellow Yellow) who both had come up from Washington state. Other Vancouverites included Tim (rotr no more), JimC, CraigH, and Trevor (006_007).

We headed on up to CBC and prepared for battle.

armour up!

Skip to the pics.

We lef the truxk and headed down to CBC for some real fun. Woops, I think someone spilled their grease gun on CBC. It was very slick, and soon the Victoria crew was heard letting air out of their tires. Wow, I couldn’t get over how slippery everything was. It was a weird feeling to be slithering over rocks, and down ladder bridges. Quickly though I got in a groove and started to feel some flow down the trail.

We found some small hits, and some log rides.





Trevor (007_007)



On the first run we ended up taking CBC, then Corkscrew to Pingu, then Pangor and down to the parking lot. Loads of fun. While in the parking lot JimC discovered that his shiny bullit needs some new Dual Crown forks, and a new front wheel. Here he is trying them out.



The Victoria crew headed up for a second run and decided to skip CBC. This time around we hit Corkscrew, Pingu, then Boogeyman. We were faster down the trail this time, and it was a lot of fun.

Nearing the bottom, on the double track back to the vehicles, I flatted my front. It was pretty silly, and I am not sure how I did it. After retrieving the my truck from the top I drove the remainder of the Victoria Crew for one last run, while I headed down to get some coffee and a snack.

In all it was a great day. Lots of good riding, and it was good to ride with the Vancouver crew again. I can’t believe how long it had been since I had ridden with PatT and Mellow. Thanks a bunch guys.

The ferry trip home was fun, and there was a great sunset.




It somehow seemed fitting that I spent all my sunlight hours travelling. I left home on the dark, and arrived back home in the dark.

Extreme Downside

get off the sidewalk
Today I learned of the Vancouver Island Adventure Games. A bunch of “extreme” games are run in and around Nanaimo. The one that got my eye was the Downhill Mountain Bike competition. This event is run on the streets of Nanaimo. They build up lots of stunts for the competitors, and sounds totally fun.

The downside? The competition was this past weekend. I had no idea it was happening. Damn. I will have to watch for it next year, and put it on my list of events to do.

Hindsight Crispness

clean for once
This morning was my first ride on my Bullit since my Tyax trip. Besides today, I have been to the dump once on my Chameleon. Pretty sad considering how nice the weather has been. The problem is that Sue and I have been extremely busy on the weekends. It has been a lot of fun, but most of the stuff excluded bikes.

Today I decided to take Yoshi out for a spin. We got out there fairly early in the morning, but it was quite warm already. I took him over to the hose and doused him down in a preventative effort to control his overheating. In hindsight, I should have doused myself too.

The ride was hard. I haven’t been out on the Bullit in a long time, and it showed. My timing was off, and it seemed I could never find the right gear. I forged on though, and headed to the switchbacks. This trail has been my nemesis for a long time. The best I have ever done on it was a single dab. Today was nowhere near that record.

I got to the top, and was seriously overheating. I rested for a while, and Yoshi just ran around a bit. He was sort of interested in some birds at one point.

yoshi sees a bird

In the mornings it feel slike fall. A crispness settles in and reminds me that winter is just around the corner. The trees have taken notice and have begun to change.

nice leafs

My bike at one point demanded a rest. It somehow coincided with the crest of a particularly steep hill. Who was I to second guess my bike. Was it tired? Was it overheating? No, that was me, but the bike wanted a rest anyway.


In the end I was tired. I never felt like I had any rythm or flow. I only backed down from one rock face, and my technical riding was fine, but I seriously need to work on my fitness. This is getting depressing. Normally this time of year I am in the best shape of the year.

Maybe this year will be different now that I have the road bike. I will likely get out on that tomorrow.

Whirlwind BC Weekend Mountain Bike Road Trip

Every good MTB road trip needs two things. Good people, and good trails. This past weekend I experienced such a trip.

ferry tripFriday afternoon Shane, Sean, James and myslef piled into a truck, bombed up Island from Victoria to Nanaimo. We enjoyed a nice leisurely 5 pm sailing across the water, then the real trip started. After driving several more hours, passing through Whistler, Pemberton, and a handful of other smaller towns, we ended up near Goldbridge, BC. We found the Gun Creek Ranch, found our “rustic cabin”, unloaded our stuff, and hit the sack at a little past midnight.

After awaking early the next morning, we started madly prepping for our ride. Our flight left at 8:00 am, and we were getting picked up at 7:45. We were flying on Tyax Air, and were on our way to do the Warner Lake tour.

our plane
We prepped on the dock, and got a little nervous about what was ahead for us.

stashed geartakeoff
Our gear safely stashed, we took off.

Our rag tag group of riders consisted of:

James Sean
James Sean
Shane me
Shane and myself.

The flight was spectacular, but short.

flight scenery
flight scenery

In about 15 – 20 minutes we reached our destination.

flight scenery
Warner Lake

The plane dropped us and our gear off, then boogied back to base.
drop off
take off

I can never express how much I love BC! With scenery like this, how can you not?

We geared up, and began our trek. Quite simply this was an amazing day of riding. It was long, not that technical, but definitely there were some fun sections. Overall there was more climbing than we expected, but it was a ride of a lifetime. We went from Warner Lake, all the way back to our cabin some 40+ kilometres away. Lots of climbing, descending, traversing, and spectating. 3 hours in we stopped for lunch in a wide open meadow. Here we were sitting in a large meadow surrounded by spectacular mountains, overlooking a rushing river down below.The trail was true singletrack all the way. At times it was less than 3 tire widths wide.


Along the way we met some hikers using Llamas as support. These animals were used instead of horses, partly due to their lessened impact on the trail. Very cool!
llama packllama pack

We passed many wildflowers along the way.

The trail would dive down to the river, then climb up high again. It would traverse a while, dip into a meadow, enter some stands of trees, then spit you out into a scree slope traverse. Quite simply this was an amazing trail. Below are some more shots from the trail, in no particular order.


We were pretty tuckered by the time we got to the cabin. It was all we could do to lift the ice cold beer to our awaiting mouths.


The day was amazing. That is definitely the longest I have ever been out on a trail. Our group didn’t have any real crashes, no equipment failures, and no injuries. The scenery was out of this world, and the trail was incomparable to an other I have been on. If you are looking for an epic day of riding, I would highly suggest you email Tyax, and get more information.

That was Saturday. Sunday was a mighty fine rest day. We goofed around at the cabin, explored the ranch, obeyed the rules, went to town for some much needed groceries. and ate tons of food.

small town
safety first

Monday morning we got up super early again, packed the truck, then headed out for the long drive to Whistler. Along the way we squashed many bugs, again saw lots of amazing scenery, almost got squashed by very big trucks on a very tiny road, then got to Whistler.
packed again
squashed bugs
almost squashed like bugs

Whistler is so much fun, it is hard to stop and take pictures. We warmed up at the jump park, then started to hit some of the other trails. I ended up getting us lost a couple times, but we always ended up on fun trails. Unfortunately for Shane, he munged his ankle in the jump park. He went a little too big of the largest platform, missed the nice transition, and landed on the flat. Ouch!
air shane
air sean
air james
air me
shane tapes

I was having a great day at Whistler, and had made up my mind before getting there that I was going to hit the biggest GLC drop. I am happy to say that I did just that! I was pretty stoked afterwards, and my legs quivered for a bit, but I had done it. Over the course of the day I did it one more time to prove to myself that the first wasn’t just a fluke. Seaners looked at the middle GLC drop a few times, and decided he was going to do it before the day was out. He also stepped up and did it, and I htink James followed suit too.
middle sean

Our last run of the day was our fastest rip of the day down A Line. That is such a sweet trail that even thinking about it now brings a grin to my face. I was clearing tabletop after tabletop. I was even tweaking out my airs a little I was having such a great day. Alas it had to end. We crammed back into the truck just after 5pm, zipped to Horseshoe Bay, and got on the 7PM sailing to Nanaimo.

It was such a great weekend, and all four of us were pretty fried by the end of it.
fried shane

Loads of riding, good friends, constant joking around. What more is needed in a road trip?

The above has been a sampling of some of the pictures I took on the weekend. To see them all go here.

Gorgeous Mishap

peace outWhat a gorgeous weekend. Yesterday was a busy one. First it was Emily’s Christening, then I was off to my photography class field trip at Beacon Hill park. For dinner Sue and I had a couple friends over. In there I also cut the grass, and tidied the house. Phew, I was beat my 10pm.

Today, Mark, Sue, Yoshi and I went for a nice easy ride at the dump. Absolutely awesome. My wrist is still a little sore from last weekends mishap, but I did my best to take it easy. I walked way more things than I would have had I been completely healed.

I hope all had a good weekend, and got outside to enjoy the weather.

Instinctively Nervous (long and painful)

Hammerfest Ten is now over and what a weekend. Shane and I headed to Nanaimo on Friday so we could do practice runs on Saturday. No problem. We got up at a reasonable time Saturday morning, made our way to the course, grabbed a shuttle, and began our day.

The first run down was a slow roll. Shane needed to see the course, and I needed to see what had changed. There were a couple new sections that were a little tricky, and the last section to the pits was brand new. Actually the end bit was pretty nasty. A sandy uphill section, that then dropped into some really loose sandy berms before a step down jump to the finish line. We headed back up for a second slightly quicker run, and I felt a bit better about the berms.

Time for the third run. I thought I would pick up my speed a little and check out some of the sections at a little more speed. We got to the top, I got on the platform to start, and off I went. Shane was to follow me a few seconds later. I started off well, and felt pretty good. I got to the ladder drop, and decided to air off the top. I landed my rear wheel exactly where I wanted, and the front touched down a millisecond later. I went to slow and turn to avoid a tree when disaster struck. My right hand slipped off the bar. I couldn’t slow, and I couldn’t steer. I headed straight for the tree. All I was thinking was “Not again!“. I was going in, and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. I instinctively brought my hands up to protect my face. I hit the tree hard, then my bike hit, and I bounced off landing on the ground with a thud. I lay there in the middle of the trail a little stunned for a couple minutes. I wanted to get up, but I couldn’t. A couple other riders that were watching came to see if I was alright. One of them must have had some first aid experience since he was checking the bones out. I heard the other guy yell rider down, just as Shane rounded the corner. My wrist was starting to swell, and I knew I had to go get it checked out. Shane seemed pretty concerned (thanks Shane), but I told him to finish the run, and I would meet him at the bottom (I was headed to the shuttle point to take it back down).

At the bottom I got checked out by the ambulance attendant. She poked, prodded, bent, twisted, pushed and pulled on my wrist, and after each test she would say that is good (since I wasn’t screaming in pain). I got off very lucky with only a sprain. The attendant wrapped my wrist, then taped it, and told me to test it out a bit before doing another run. I had a dull ache, so I took a breather for a couple hours while I iced my wrist. I lent my goggles to Shane, and told him to do a few runs. I ended up doing two more runs later that day, and for both of them my grip was a little weaker than it should have been, but at least there was no pain.

Sunday morning arrives, and I am tired, and more than a little sore. Shane and I are slow to get going, and that turned out to be a very bad thing. We got to the site, just in time to miss the last shuttle to the pits. We needed to get our mandatory training run in by 10, and it was around 9:30. Crap! We had to hoof it up to the pits pretty quickly. We then barged through the shuttle line, and crammed ourselves into the cube van. The van dropped us off at 9:55. We still had to get to the top of the course by 10. We hustled, and got there just in time. I finished suiting up, then ripped down the course. I felt pretty good about that run, so we waited at the bottom for our start time.

Race time approacheth. We jumped into the cube van for the last time. We got to the top with plenty of time to spare. We sat, rested, ate, and drank. Setting the gear up one last time for one last run. My race face comes on when I get into the line up for the starting gate. I down my PowerGel, snug up the straps on my pads, don my gloves, and flex my fingers to get some warmth. I set my bike in the right gear. A nervous energy fills me. Shane gets up on the starting block, the beeps count down, and he is away. I climb up, and mount my bike. One last time I flexed my sore wrist. It felt pretty good. I knew it only had to last at most 5 minutes longer.

All too soon the countdown beeps start. I think “wow that was quick”. I set my mind, I focus my stare, and I launch down the start ramp. The first little jump I get too sideways, and almost go off course. I curse myself to stay focused, and I slip in a couple pedal strokes. The ladder ramp/launch that I messed up the day previous is nearing, and I instinctively tap the brakes to slow. I curse myself, and move my fingers off the brakes, I pull up off the ramp, land, slow a bit, and slither past the tree that claimed me the day before. Yay! With that roadblock out of the way I pick up speed. I conserve energy where I can, but still keep my speed up. I near the first road crossing, and prepare for the drop. I messed up, and ended up way over to the left on the road crossing, so I hit the binders hard, and lean to the right. I dropped off the far side of the road, nicely lined up for the mud pit. I got sucked into one hole pretty bad, and I lost a lot of momentum. A few pedal strokes later I was again hurtling down the course. Over a couple jumps, around a few turns, and I was back into the trees. Over the rutty roots, and ahead is my least favorite corner of the run. I messed up badly. The turn before I needed to put my right foot out to save my balance. This meant I was ill prepared for the sharp left. As quick as I could I rolled the bike to the left, got my right foot on the pedal, and stuck out the left foot to push myself around the corner.

With that out of the way I pedal some more, do a couple drops, prejump the nasty rock garden, the drop to the right of a gap jump. Railing the berm I pedal hard to get through a bumpy section. Cutting the corners I try to make the straightest line possible, but by this time my thighs are burning. The first of the uphill climbs is right ahead. I sit and pedal hard as I ascend the ladder bridge. As I near the crest I am about to downshift, but I realized I was too far to the right, and I wouldn’t be able to make the corner which was fast approaching. Right at this instant my front tire washes out off the course, and I go down. I jump up, grab my bike, and run to the top of the hill. I jump back on and get set for the off camber rooty turn that is next. As I approach it I find my brake lever is twisted up from the crash. I bang on it to get it back in place while rolling down the course. I come to the third road crossing, and I almost had enough speed for the stepdown. In the back of my mind I hear Sue and Cathy cheering and yelling. I hear them say my name, but I was too focused to look around. Across the road, down the other side, and back into the trees.

Down, the up. There is the log crossing that claimed me a couple years ago. I am still feeling pretty good. One last road crossing, and one last uphill. This one is killer. The rain has helped pack it down, but it is still pretty loose. I keep up my speed, and wait until I can do some good pedaling. I crest the hill, shift up one gear, head past the nasty log (last one yay!), then into the berms. I managed to upshift again, but I should have gone up two or three times. I exit the berms, lift off the lip, get a little squirrely, launch the best I can over the last step down, then pedal as fast as I can across the line ( here is where I needed the extra high gear).

My time was 4:33.57, and I placed 22 out of 28. When all is said and done, my race run was definitely my quickest run on the weekend. I am happy with it, but reading back on this, there is definitely room for improvement. I had a good time this weekend, but I am a little stiff and sore today (especially my wrist). I may head home early today and ice my wrist.

Coaster Casing

Last night was supposed to be an easy ride to loosen the legs. It turned out to be much, much more. I met up with Shane and company whose destination was Sofa King. I had been to the trail many times before, but I am not a big fan of gap jumps. I decided to give a couple of the smaller ones a try. Hmm, I think I can now see why people like them so much! When you nail one, there is no other feeling like it. It is almost like a roller coaster cresting a hill. You feel the upwards motion, you feel a little weightlessness, then you feel a downward motion. There is no hard impact like doing a regular drop.

For me the hard part is getting over the hole in the middle. I am worried about coming up short on the gap, casing, and hurting myself. I rarely give myself enough credit for the skills I have. Maybe some day I will do all of Sofa King from top to bottom. I am almost ready!

Why was the ride so good? I am not entirely sure. It felt great to be on my bike again. My bike itself felt great. My cardio was hurting a little. It had to be the shoes. I bought new shoes for riding while I was in Kelowna, and they were amazing. I am not sure if they are a little too big or not. Haven’t decided. They certainly stick to the pedals though. Wow. I need to decide if I want to race in them though. I will probably do my practice day in them and see how it goes.

I am ready for Hammerfest. My bike is prepped, my gear is cleaned, and mentally I think I will do fine. My main goal is to go an have fun! I am definitely ready for fun.

Smoothly Weird

leaded BoxxerLast night I attempted my first ever oil change on my fork. After getting all the tips and tricks from CraigH on MTBR I felt confident that I could do it. The steps seemed easy enough.

I picked up a couple tools to help in the process, and around 9pm started on the job. Everything went very smoothly, and by the time I was done I felt pretty happy with what I had done. Then I decided to hop in the bike and see how it felt. Therein lies the problem. The fork wouldn’t compress at all! Crap, what could I have done wrong?

I reread the steps, and confirmed I followed them exactly. It all seemed so simple. Well after rereading the Boxxer manual I noticed the following little words: with the fork leg fully compressed without springs. Crap. I had set the oil level with the fork uncompressed! I was wondering why it took so much oil to fill. Tonight I will have to attempt to remove a lot of oil from the legs. Smiling

BTW, ever ridden a rigid Boxxer? It is a very weird experience.