Thorn Laps with the K9

I took my dog out for a few quick laps of Thorn.  This pup sure can climb like the wind.  Thankfully I have a $6000 bike to beat her on the downhill.

We’ve only been for a few rides but she’s already got the hang of it and gets excited when grab her when I have my biking gear on.

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I am looking forward to taking her on longer rides.

Late summer colors

The weather today was absolutley fantastic, so after work I hopped on my bike and took off for a spin. I haven’t ridden into Golden Ears too many times this year so today I decided to take the route through Alco into the park.

With the record heat we have been having, the river crossing was actually a refreshing dip to cool off. I’ve recently installed a 30T ring on the front of my bike and I was shocked at how easily I climbed the steep 200 foot hill in Golden Ears.

The last summer sun and the changing of the foliage made for a colorful ride.

Early Bird Catches the Worm

The weather was sweet this morning.

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A gorgeous sunrise

I had a few goals today: cut out some roots, dig, dig and when I think I’m done, dig some more.

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Lots of work done on the re-route

I was able to move a ton of root infested black punk all the way down to golden loam.

My re-route is getting a lot closer to being completed.  I still have a lot of work to do, but now it is mostly raking, shaping and drainage.

When I was done I packed my saw into my trusty Dakine Builders Pack and ripped down the trail.

All Clear

Given the number of trees that are down on the trails, I decided today I would ride/walk up a few and cut out all the deadfall that I encounter.

The first trail on the agenda was Stovetop.  Yesterday I ran into so many trees blocking the trail that I was out I out of breath from frustration rather than riding exertion.

Once I hit the first downed tree I fired up my saw and went at it.  When it was time to get to the next big tree I saw someone else working away at cutting a fallen tree, except his saw was pinched and he was working on getting it unstuck.  It turned out I knew him (Rich Humphries) and he had already worked his way down Stovetop and this was basically the last tree to be cleared.  WHOOO HOOO!!  I used my saw to cut his loose and we made quick work of getting that tree out of the way.  We chatted for a bit about bikes and trails and we then both departed down the trail.  I headed to Snakes and Ladders and he headed home with a full days work done.

A gorgeous morning in the forest

Once at Snakes and Ladders, I went to work clearing the recent deadfall as well as a few other trees that looked like they were ready to come down on the trail.

I then packed my saw in my trusty Dakine Builders Pack and headed down the rest of Snakes and then Shotgun.

It felt really go knowing that these trails were clear of trees and that I could now concentrate on other trail projects.

Christmas Presents

I hit the Woodlot today on my Trance and with new clipless shoes for Christmas to try out I had my clipless pedals on my bike giving me even more reason to pedal up the trails.  I was also sporting a new Merino wool shirt my lovely wife bought me to keep me warm in the cold weather.

I’d heard that Stovetop had a few trees down on it, but I figured what the heck; I’ll give it a go and see how it was. BIG MISTAKE.  There were so many trees down that I couldn’t keep any sort of pace or flow going.  If I am able to get out tomorrow to build, I will definitely run my saw up this trail to clear the deadfall.

Once past  the deadfall carnage on Stovetop I pedaled to the road, and up to Mandatory Caution where I started my descent.

imageThe ride down Mandatory wasn’t bad and it lead me right to Snakes and Ladders.

It’s been a while since I rode wet slippy wood and technical terrain with clips.  The necessary Ninja Cat like reactions seemed to come back rather quickly.  Eyeopening but lots of fun.

 Snakes is in good shape apart from some fallen trees.  I walked my new line and I think it will work out well with a few tweaks here and there.  It’s going to take a fair amount of digging and sculpting but it will be well worth the effort when its complete.

Pedaling with clips is noticeably easier for me and the short jaunt to Shotgun took no time at all.  Amazingly Shotgun was all clear of deadfall and is rather fun to ride clipped in.  You never know….you might find clips appearing on more of my bikes in the future.

A touch of Snow

I hit the Woodlot for a quick ride early in the morning.  In fact it was so early that I had to start the climb with a light on my bike to see the trails.

I decided only to ride Snakes and Ladders and then over to Shotgun.  I checked out the cut bridge that is used to exit Mandatory Caution before I rode Snakes.  I hope to find out why this bridge was cut and remedy this issue quickly.  I made sure to block off the bridge and flagged the area so people don’t careen head first into the ditch.

The exit bridge for Mandatory Caution cut in half

At Snakes and Ladders there was a few inches of damp crusty snow.  This kind of snow isn’t the greatest to ride in, but it keeps you on your toes…….especially when it covers roots.  I counted 7 trees down on Snakes with a few of them requiring a chain saw to be removed.  I think it is time to haul my little monster up here again and go to town on the fallen trees.  Stovetop also has a pile of trees down so I think if I take the long way up I can clear a few trails in one loop.

My little trail bike

Overall Snakes was okay.  I am getting to the bits of trail work when ever I am up there and aside from the fallen trees, there isn’t much pressing work to be done.

After Snakes I hit Shotgun which is running well right now and I was out to my car.  A fun quick ride in the snow.

Ride and Build

This morning I met up with Ryan to go for a quick spin.  He wasn’t able to stick around for long, so we just rode Giant Killer together I headed over to Snakes to do some trail work.  Giant Killer is in wicked shape and Ryan’s work is really paying off.  Flow is the word that best describes it.

After leaving Ryan I rode over to Snakes where I looked for some tools that I had stashed many months ago and went to work.  In a few months I hope to have the work I started complete, but for now as with most trail projects a little more time will be needed to get it 100% dialed.

When my time ran out I ripped down Snakes and over to Shotgun where I ran into a dusting of snow in the clearcut.  The conditions were fabulous for for railing turns and flowing down the trail.

Fabulous conditions

Couldn’t Nail It

Today was a very, very wet day that I decided to do some much needed building on Karpenter. I bought my chainsaw, axe and hammer to fix the last bridge leading to the clearcut at the bottom of the trail.  I however forgot to bring up some nails so when I arrived, all I could do was cut some wood and lay it in place to be nailed in place on another date.

When I come up again with some nails, the bridge should be an easy fix.  So much needs to be done on this trail that I don’t see an end in sight.  I have to deal with fixes on trails all over the place and try to sneak in a ride here and there that I don’t see Karpenter getting the love it deserves…….at least not from me right now.

The ride out was okay with my saw in my builders pack.  It was the best $100 I’ve spent in a long time.

Toad, Giant Killer, Bloggy and Shotgun were fun combo to ride down in the soaking conditions.

Riding with the Bats

Only once before have I gone on a solo night ride.  Last time I cut the ride short when I got a little spooked by something in the woods.  Well tonight I made a last minute decision to give solo night riding another try.

I mounted my lights on my bike and helmet and set off from home to do my Alco/Golden Ears route.  When I reached Alco I saw something in the forest that caught my eye……..another pair of eyes…….watching me.  I kept my eyes trained on the yellow eyes in the distance and rode straight towards them.  They seemed low enough that whatever kind of animal they belonged to I should be able to scare it away.  At about 50 feet the animal looked like  a coyote, but as I got closer the animal turned out to be a raccoon. At least now I know that yellow beady looking eyes belong to raccoons.

I made my way over to where I cross the river and as I approached I could see what I thought were birds flying inches above the water catching bugs.  Then it dawned upon me that little birds don’t fly at night and swoop over the water.  I then watched the acrobatics again and realized it was a group of bats catching all the bugs.  The way they can swoop around in complete darkness catching little bugs in what looks like a dogfight is rather amazing.

I then started the climb up the trail.  Technical climbing is much harder in the dark than in the daytime.  Being able to accurately judge depth and look ahead is critical to climb steep technical terrain.  I guess with more practice I’ll get better at it.

The remainder of the ride was nice.  My pace was a touch slower than in the daylight, but simply getting out at night under a full moon was amazing.

Not sure if I’ll be doing this regularly, but it sure was nice giving solo night riding another try.

Fall has arrived

My first ride of the fall season took me to The Woodlot.  I grabbed my Trance and pedaled up to the top of The Woodlot to ride Goldmine/Cabin Trail down.

It was overcast today but pleasantly warm and no rain at all.  The ground was moist and tacky which made for loads of grip on the trail.  There hasn’t been any new logging that affects any trails since I was last up for a spin so I wasn’t really having to investigate the state of the trails.  At the entrance/exit where everyone starts and finishes their ride, someone has moved a barrier to gain access with a vehicle of some sort.  I’m not sure what will come of this or if it needs repairing but it is something to take note of.

I pedaled my way up to the top without any issues.  I am loving this bike more and more for pedaling everywhere.  I dropped in on Cabin Trail to discover that a bunch of rock work that I had done last year was now in shambles.  It seems as though a quad had once again gone down the trail only to discover that it is not passable and it had to turn around.  Before I do any more serious work on this trail, I am going to have to address this quad access issue.  Time for a sign and trail alterations to deter motorized vehicle access near the top of the trail.

Riding Goldmine on a smaller bike at speed is a lot of fun and a little scary at times.  I managed to keep the rubber side down and then split off Cabin Train into Blue Ribbon.  This trail is sooooooo much fun.  So natural and duffy.

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Blue Ribbon flowy duff

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A creek beside Blue Ribbon

Several years ago Tim and I found an abandoned goldmine and the remnants of the camp used when they were mining. This little waterfall was used to power a part of their set-up.

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The next exit of Blue Ribbon

The end of Blue Ribbon is a little different now that BC Hydro has removed the trees necessary for the twinning of the powerlines.  I think I have a good idea of how to make the exit a little more fun and extend the trail a little bit.

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Hydro clearing

I took this photo to show where all the trail exits and trail heads are in relation to each other.  The section of the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) that connects Blue Ribbon to The Woodlot has been changed slightly.  Where you used to link up to the TCT no longer exists.  However if you follow the road west (uphill) the road leads right to the TCT and has a small exit off the logging access road.  I think in order to prevent motorbikes/quads and horses venturing down the trail and then having to turn around because it isn’t passable (narrow bridge over a gully) I will need to make some signs and or trail alterations.

I then made my way up to the top of Bloggy and then Shotgun.  Loads of fun getting my bike sideways.  I have missed The Woodlot.