Tzouhalem Stages

On Sunday I was up in Duncan and rode in the first ever Tzouhalem enduro. One thing I learned is that I am terrible with trail names. I’ve ridden at Tzouhalem a number of times before but really only knew a couple trail names. The Island Cup Series team posted the Trail Forks listing of the stages but I couldn’t tell if I had been on the trails before or not.

The event itself was a lot of fun. It turned out I had ridden pretty much all of the trails before, but I still felt like I was racing some of the stages ‘blind’. Some of the trails I had only been on once before so didn’t really know what was around each corner. Other trails I was familiar enough with but didn’t know where the end of the stage was.

Overall I was pretty happy with how the race went. No crashes, one close call with the front starting to wash out. I knew I was pushing on some corners. I think I could have pushed harder through some of the earlier stages, but I was having some wrist issues during the week and wanted to last all five stages.

According to Strava I set quite a few PRs on the trails. I really felt like I was flying down Double D, which is always a fun trail to blast down. Add in a closed course and it is easy to say that Double D was my favourite stage. I think I also did great with the chip sensors this race. I actually got a comment from the volunteers at the end of stage 2 on how well I was able to tap and get the beep.

After the last stage it was back to the parking lot for some recovery food and drink.

Results were posted later and I placed 29/61 in Intermediate Male. Tzouhalem Race Placement

This has left me in 18/72 for the series. Series Placement (4 races)

One of the things I really liked about this race was that the intermediates raced the exact same course as the experts. I’ve always been curious about how well I stack up against the experts but have never been able to really compare times. Well, my total time was 14:58.0. The last placed expert had a time of 14:41 😂 I would have been DFL in expert. Maybe I am in the corret category after all.

Gnarnaimo Blind

A couple weekends ago I rode in the Gnarnaimo Enduro. It was part of an all mountain championship where racers did the enduro on a Saturday, then an XC race the following day using the exact same equipment. Logistics only really allowed me to do the enduro race, so I signed up for that. All the other enduro races I’ve done this year I’ve had the opportunity to preride the course. This was not the case with this race though; I rode it completely blind, never having ridden in the area.

The race went pretty well. The trails were very dry and loose. During the pre-race briefing we were warned about how loose they were. The first stage was a blast. Long downhill, very flowy, good jumps. I wish I could get a second run down those trails they were so fun. I skipped a couple jumps not knowing what was behind them.

I headed up for stage 2 and got set. Dropping in was pretty steep and I started in on the switchbacks pretty quickly. They were pretty loose. Coming up to one right hander I could see the trail dropped away pretty steeply. That was when disaster struck. My front tire washed out, the bike dropped away and I was launched down the trail. It felt like I flew quite a distance and all I could see were all the rocks in the dust. Amazingly I managed to land on my hands and slide, absorbing the worst of the impact. I had to run back up the hill to retrieve my bike. A quick lookover to ensure there was no damage, a quick check up the hill for the next rider, then I was off again. A couple turns down the trail I went to slow down and the lever for my rear brake went to the bar. I almost panicked thinking I was in big trouble. A couple pumps though and the brake came back. At the end of the stage I tapped the receiver and took a seat to recover a bit.

I headed up for stage three. I could feel some scrapes and some possible bruises forming. I was covered in dust too.

Stage three felt like it was a long way up the hill. I was starting to feel tire so I walked more and rode slowly. At the top I took my time recovering and drinking some water. I got myself settled, went to the start tent and got set. I headed off for my final stage. I sure got beat up on this one. It was really long and very bumpy. Lots of roots, dips, and a few drops. I had no idea where the finish was so I had to keep pushing. My arms were getting fatigued though and I couldn’t hold on to the bars very well. I had to either slow down, or death grip the bars (death grip being all fingers on the bar and none on brakes). I tried a little of each until I couldn’t take it any longer. I grabbed the brakes and slowed down. Crossing the line I was grateful I had completed the race.

Gnarnaimo Enduro

I’m happy to say that I placed 27th out of 46 racers. Pretty decent. This also leaves me in 16th overall having done 3 of the 4 races so far.

I am still not sure how many races I am going to be able to do this year, but these three have been a blast.

Conditions Weaving

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Clean bike before race day.

Hammerfest Enduro was today and couldn’t have been under better conditions. Clear blue sky, tacky trails, lots of racers. I pre-rode the stages yesterday and did my best to recover fully for the race today. Seemed to have worked.

I got my chip and started getting race ready before the briefing when I discovered a very loose spoke. None of my tools fit it, so I swung by Scott’s Trek Bike Shop van to see if he had the necessary spoke wrench. He didn’t, but we managed to use a leatherman and a set of vice grips to get it (and one other) tighter.

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Racers briefing. This is what 185 strong looks like.

Racers briefing was the normal stuff, and soon we were off. We were requested to hurry to our first stage, then we could take our time after that (the goal being to spread people out). I got up to stage 2 in fairly good time, rested a bit, got set up for my stage and got in line.

Soon it was go time and I took off. This stage was pretty long and I managed to remember all the little bits I thought were important. I bobbled a couple corners, and was pretty slow on one sharp corner, but overall I felt pretty good. At the end I tapped my chip, didn’t hear the beep, tried again before realizing it had fallen to under my wrist. I lost a few seconds there.

Then came the second climb to the top. I got to stage 3 and there was no line up at all. I sat for a bit to recover before I got setup for the descent. Again I punched it as best I could. Bobbing and weaving through the trees, pumping the dips, prejumping rises and logs. The end of this stage had a bit of pedalling so I tried to save some reserve energy for that. I ended up passing one other racer on the stage before getting to the end and tapping the chip.

Once again, the climb up was in order. Even slower this time I walked more than I had the other ascents. At the top I sat for a bit, drank some water, had some food and let my legs come back before stage 4. The longest, with the most pedalling.

Lining up I felt ready for the final stage. I knew it was long and the bottom half had lots of twists, turns and pedalling. I tapped my chip to start my time and I was off. I felt pretty good on Pumpinator railing the switchbacks and turns. I nearly washed out on the same one I nearly washed out on yeaterday, but managed to keep upright and moving.

After lots of pedalling I got to the end tapped my chip and I was done. Wow, lots of fun.

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Back at the car I got into some other clothes, returned my chip, ate some food, and waited for the results.

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Post race loam coating.

After a bit I went and got my chip times. Woot! Pretty happy with them.

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Chip times. Look at the second column of numbers, on rows 2, 4, and 6.

After quite a bit of waiting I ended up having to go before results were announced. I later learned that one of the guys I was chatting with came in first place! As for my results, I had to wait until I got home, but I’m more than happy. I tied for 16th out of 60 racers.

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Another great race done. I am not sure how many more (if any) I will get to do this season. Big bonus that was just pointed out to me was that I am currently 9th in the series after the first two races.

Weather Avoiding

I knew today was going to be a wet ride. After I got up I could hear the rain pounding on the roof. I grabbed most of my wet weather gear and headed out any way. I was meeting some people over at Partridge and I decided to do some trails at the dump first.

As I started out, I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going to ride before getting to Partridge, so I headed out Shock Treatment. Puddles everywhere. I meandered a bit, thinking I had lots of time. With 20 minutes until I was supposed to meet up, I realized I was waaay behind. I just don’t have the same fitness I had in the summer. Imagine that.

I took a couple shortcuts before hitting Trillium, then down to Partridge. I arrived thoroughly wet and muddy.

We roamed around Partridge hitting a fun loop, but avoiding some of the larger lakes that dot the area. My hands were cold and wet, but not too bad off. My feet were aching though. Normally they warm up and are fine but I couldn’t keep moving enough to get the blood flowing to keep them warm. The descents were fun and messy. There were more than a few two wheel drifts through the sloppy mud.

Exiting Partridge, one of my riding buddies gave me a ride back to Hartland where we all got changed.

Mud everywhere. Caked onto my knee pads, shorts and shoes. Anything that wasn’t muddy, was soaked. Getting into dry clothes was nice, but without a towel, I also transferred a bunch of mud. We stopped for coffee and a bite to eat. Felt great to get something warm on the inside. Back home I filled up on some soup and tea.

Then it was off for a shower to clean myself up.

Rides like that remind me of when I first got into mountain biking. We’d ride in any weather, get messy, and have a blast.

Portland Scenic

My Portland Ride was a lot of fun. I pinged some friends to see if they could recommend a trial to me. One guy I know in Vancouver who does a lot of road trips, had never ridden in Portland, but strangely enough was there the same weekend I was, so I ended up riding with them for the day.

The drive from Portland was a little over an hour long, but it was more than worth it. The trails were a lot of fun, and completely different from what I am used to. Very open, very skinny, very smooth. Oh, and lots of fun.

We started off with a climb through a field. It zigged and zagged a long way up from the river. By the time we topped out, the cars below looked very tiny.

It was a perfect blue sky as well.

Just before the main descent we stopped for a break. We had a little visitor.

It was quite the scenic place.

There were even some technical bits to keep everyone on their toes.

The trail took us right next to the cliff edge.

In all it was a great ride, with some very fun people. Back at the car I quickly changed, stowed my bike and gear in the car and booted back to Portland. Great ride!


View Syncline in a larger map

Duallies Loop

Last weekend I hooked up with a couple internet friend to riding in Duncan up at Tzouhalem. That mountain is pretty fun. Long climbs, rewarded by super fun descents. Lots of work has been done up there in recent years and it shows.

Though the ride was a little shorter than I would have liked, I still had a great time. I got a little beat up on the descents though. Hardtails are great for riding, but you sure feel every little bump, rock, root, and rut when you are chasing a couple duallies down a hill.


View Tzouhalem 10/03/2013 11:04am in a larger map

Total distance: 6.69 km (4.2 mi)
Total time: 1:18:44
Moving time: 56:11
Average speed: 5.10 km/h (3.2 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 7.15 km/h (4.4 mi/h)
Max speed: 35.35 km/h (22.0 mi/h)
Average pace: 11.77 min/km (18.9 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 8.40 min/km (13.5 min/mi)
Fastest pace: 1.70 min/km (2.7 min/mile)
Max elevation: 458 m (1503 ft)
Min elevation: 203 m (665 ft)
Elevation gain: 384 m (1261 ft)
Max grade: 18 %
Min grade: -56 %

This past weekend I took Heart out for a ride at the dump. I wanted to climb, so I figured I should head to the far side, climb up the back side of the park, hit Trillium, then Who’s Yer Daddy. It was a great loop, with lots of climbing in it. The hardtail was a good choice for this loop, until I got to Who’s Yer Daddy. This trail is in flux right now, and is getting smoother, so pretty soon this will be the perfect loop.


View Dump Ride 16/03/2013 in a larger map

Total distance: 10.83 km (6.7 mi)
Total time: 1:54:11
Moving time: 1:34:37
Average speed: 5.69 km/h (3.5 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 6.87 km/h (4.3 mi/h)
Max speed: 29.72 km/h (18.5 mi/h)
Average pace: 10.54 min/km (17.0 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 8.73 min/km (14.1 min/mi)
Fastest pace: 2.02 min/km (3.2 min/mile)
Max elevation: 313 m (1028 ft)
Min elevation: 111 m (365 ft)
Elevation gain: 497 m (1631 ft)
Max grade: 11 %
Min grade: -19 %

Trillium Ridge

I had a interesting ride today. My goal was to ride Trillium, but do it the “correct” direction. Each time I have ridden it, I went up the trail instead of down.

I started off from the parking lot, and went up Skull. It was a little chilly and a little foggy out. My tires were sliding around on everything. I think I had pumped them up too much, so I let a little air out of both of them. That seemed to solve the problem, so I kept going.

At the top of skull I headed up the fire road all the way to Trillium. At one point Heart stopped following me, and deked off into the bush. I couldn’t see her for a minute, and she didn’t come when I called her. Odd when I have cookies in my pocket. I figured she found a bone that a crow had carried off from the dump, so I went back to get her. Sure enough she had something in her mouth. I grabbed it, and as I was tossing it further into the bush I saw that it was a plastic food covering that had some pastey, liquidy, white goo in it, and good god did it ever smell awful. And I got it all over my right glove. And my glove has holes in the fingers, so I got some on me! I wiped it off as best I could, but I could still smell it. I ended up having to take off my gloves and ride bare handed. Not ideal.

The ascent up the fire road to Trillium took me a lot less time than I thought it was going to, so I didn’t even take a break at the top. The descent down Trillium was fun, but a couple times I felt my tire bottom out. I would have to be careful I didn’t pinch flat.

After Trillium I headed up Sidewinder, then along North Ridge. While heading up North Ridge I could see a few sun rays beaming through the mist. Very, very cool. After North Ridge I wanted to hit Snakes and Ladders. I also wanted to do Who’s Yer Daddy, since I saw some new trail work there that I wanted to try. What to do?

I chose to do both. I rode to the top of Snakes and Ladders. At the rest break at the top, the sun was out and it was beautiful. The clouds were still hanging out down below, which meant I couldn’t see the parking lot. I love when that happens. I did a quick descent of Snakes and Ladders, then went back up the fire road a second time to catch Who’s Yer Daddy. Good call. The climbing was doing me some good.

The new sections were pretty good, and I even caught a bit of air. Sure enough though, two thirds of the way down my back tire felt a little squishy, and when I stopped I could hear the air hissing out. Damn. I unpacked my tools and set about changing the tube. It didn’t take me that long, but I did discover that one of my tire levers was broken.

After WYD, I ended with the trail that drops in to the TTA. All in all a gorgeous ride. Back at the truck the dog was pooped, and I was feeling the post ride afterglow.


View Dump Ride 02/02/2013 in a larger map

Spectacular Lot

I got out for a wonderful ride yesterday. The conditions were spectacular. It was a little chilly out, but not very cold. Basically if I stopped for too long I got a chill. I just tried to keep moving. There was very little mud, no running water on the trails, and traction galore. Just lovely.

Heart and I took Shock Treatment to the far side of the park, then started climbing up the back all the way to the top. From the top we came down Snakes and Ladders, then hit a couple more short trails to take us back to the parking lot.

The only bummer on the ride happened at the top of Snakes and Ladders. I was taking a breather when another guy and his dog came up Snake and Ladders. I noticed his dog had a muzzle on, and that got me to wondering. Sure enough, the dog saw Heart and started advancing. Once the guy saw this he called his dog who then rocketed off at Heart and jumped on her snarling. Thank goodness for the muzzle, but I just can’t help but wonder why he was bringing this dog out in public if this is how it behaves.