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Sunshine Coast 100 – A True Photo Epic!

Sunshine Coast 100 – A True Photo Epic!

I sit quietly trying to think about how to write this story of our Canada 150 adventure. My legs still sore from the events of yesterday, and my body still trying to piece itself together from being shattered from the 92km and 7:58 ride to travel from Earls Cove to Gibsons, BC.  Best to go back to the idea that I posted as an event on Facebook in early March of this year – I then invited my many MTB friends.  It read:

Canada is turning 150 years old and we are celebrating it by mountain biking the BCBR course from Earls Cove to Langdale all in one day! I was trying to find a route that was 150km but alas the coast isn’t that long. Book early and its free. Space is limited to a truck load of my most dearest friends to enjoy this suffer-fest. Expect 100+km of trails – 3000m of climbing and about 10 hours on the trail. Maybe I can convince someone drive us to Earls Cove in the early morning and we ride back. Pick people up on the way up. This is a self supported adventure so bring food, bars and water. We’ll bring the fun!

The idea was simple – ride the famous king and queen stages of the BC Bike Race (days 3 and 4) in one day.  Now,  I’ve marshalled many BCBR stages over the years and enough to see the back half of those riders finishing just one of those stages a complete shell of the person before the race stage began.  Shattered!  But these are trails that we ride almost every day so surely we could ride both stages in one day… Right?

I got instant feedback from the crazy variety – “what the?  100km on a mountain bike in one day – you’re crazy!”  To – “100km on a mountain bike? Count me in!!”  I have to say, the mountain bikers are dear friends and bonafide crazy and they were in!!

July 1 rolled around early, with a cool crisp in the air.  Sue volunteered her day to the cause driving my truck around to provide food, support and ordering pizza.  We arrived at the start around 6:30am at the SunCoaster trailhead near Egmont on the top of Sechelt Pennisula.

The Inaugural group of 9 (Photo: Rod Camposano)
We are off! (Photo: Rod Camposano)

The first part of the ride was a gradual climb up to Klein Lake, then climbing up past Sakinaw and Ruby Lakes

Climb up to Klein Lake
Great friends to have on the ride! (Photo: A. Couzens)
Bob the Legend – Bob is doing this all over again next week!! (Photo: A. Couzens)
Just your average view of Ruby Lake

After stopping at an amazing viewpoint, we headed down a quick double-track.  The last cross ditch was particularly rocky – within 100m past the ditch – 3 riders pulled over with 4 flat tires. I had to break out the patch kit to mend a pinch flat which such a repair is dubious at best.  Oh no – we may be dropping riders soon I thought!

4 flats on one cross-ditch – Tubeless wins this round

The climb from Ruby was something else – and delightful at the same time for those who enjoy climbing. The ride to this point is the SunCoaster Trail which links roads, trails and hydro road together to form a route to Homesite Creek.  Notable trails were Highway to Hell and AC/DC Canyon.  The views are amazing!

Yep this a great stop to enjoy the view
Point to something cool… (Photo: A. Couzens)

Cougar and Old Pole Road are also notable trails with its handbuild BCBR inspired connections.  I have to say that although there was a significant amount of old roads, there were class A singletrack connections that I appreciate the efforts of Rod and his gang to build for BCBR and leaving legacy trails for us to enjoy.  Next stop along the way was at Lone Owl Lake – home of a single owl hermit and about 1/4 of the journey done.

Lone Owl Lake
A little air guitar and April Wine

Past Homesite creek, mountain bikers have spent many hours over the years developing the trail network around Halfmoon Bay and West Sechelt, and so familiar trails started to appeared. Cabin Fever, Deliverance, Beaver Pond and the Matrix trails brought us to our lunch spot at Bricker Cidery (Time was about 1pm).

Wait for Flat number 6 to be repaired
One of many big firs seen along the ride (Photo: A. Couzens)
Lunch spot at Brickers Cidery. (Photo: A. Couzens)

At Brickers, it was so tempting to stop right there and have a few ciders, but all of us knew that another 4-5 hours of riding still stood between us and the finished.  Off we went, but with new blood to add new energy and stoke including Lupin, Lucy and Nick.  The worst part of this ride for me was the heat coupled with the steep logging road.  Exposed to the sun, I was in the basement and forcing myself to drink lots of water.  Most of my friends know me well enough that if I’m not smiling or laughing, I’m hurting and go into survival mode.  Oh, I’ll drift into a state of consciousness to smile or wave, but that long road up to the Blazing Saddles was killer!  Walk, ride slowly, walk some more – I convinced myself that it’ll be over soon.  The group took lots of breaks a lot this stretch probably seeing me as the effort gauge and to make it their mission to guide me home!

Once on Blazing Saddles, it was more up Eldorado to the crux point of the ride.  The remaining route I chose beforehand was ambitious to say the least (up Rip Nipple, Witches Brew, Wagon trail, Guys, Hwy 103 to Hwy 102) and I knew that I didn’t have it in me to ride this or even to stay with the group.   Secretly,  I was plotting an exit strategy and an easier way to Gibsons.  Yes, I had a myriad of choices – call Sue for the sag wagon, ride down to the highway or ride the logging road to Seven, 454 and on to Reid Road.  The group was ahead at the Crux point planning the next trail routes.  Glen says “Let the Captain decide” – I told them to carry on with the planned route and I was going to sneak off on my own route, completing bailing on them… They weren’t going to support that move so I suggested a route, and we chose the logging road to Seven with a few stops on the way.  The changed route was actually a good choice and it got us to trails that most have not ridden for a long time, increasing the stoke of the group.  I also seemed to get a little recovery too; probably powered by “horse to the barn” energy!

The Lupin Porter (Photo: A. Couzens)
The group before the last downhill to Gibsons. The smiles are genuine. (Photo: A. Couzens)

We rolled into Armours Beach around 7:30pm and jumped into the ocean for quick swim. Then grabbed a beer at Gibsons Tapworks for more backslapping and hugs.  It was the hardest ride I’ve ever done. Most of the group was talking about next year and doing it with more people.  Do it again? Are you crazy???? Okay I’m in!

 

92km, 2100m of climbing and 7:58 riding time!

This ride could not have been possible without Sue.  Her generous support and giving up her time manning the aid stations during her Canada Day.   She even picked up Pizza and tubes for the group!!! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

—WAB1234—-

Its not a competition out there on the trails!

Its not a competition out there on the trails!

2016-05-10 19.27.28Every now and then, my competition side of me comes out to play – Strava as ruined me!  Lately though I’ve been riding just to enjoy the trails and do a little exploring.  This week I had some work with a firm in Powell River and got out into the Penticton Maze trails.  Fairly flat riding with lots of twisty turns and old school loam building (aka rooty sections).  One of the main builders in the area is called the Wizard, but I just call him Ron. Ron has built up this maze right in his backyard and are of great quality.  I had to break out the GPS a couple of times but after a while, I just said Fuck it and end up turning right or left wherever the wind was taking me!  Exploring brought out the kid in me, where usually I would be hammering trying for KOM, I was looking for little kickers to get some airs and hip jumps.  I had a blast!!!  Thanks Ron for the fun!!!

 

 

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2016 Quarterly Report

2016 Quarterly Report

Where has the first quarter of the year gone?  The winter season was filled with two trail projects – a climbing trail out of Langdale Creek and a loop trail around Wormy Lake. Also, it creates a hibernation of sorts from riding as a kind of starvation therapy to make one yearn for the wagon wheels once spring breaks.  First the Langdale Creek trail – In 1990’s when the trail was built, the Lunge was strictly a one way trail down to the creek from Sprockids Park to the Ferry. Now, a lot riders and hikers like going back up this steep trail to get back to their cars.  I and a couple of hardy few, built a longer switchback trail to ease our climbing efforts. 800m and took two months to build.

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January 1st marked the start of trail work on Phareline.  The burn in July 2015 took the life of a logger and friend, John Phare.  Originally when I wanted to build a trail around the Wormy Lake in 2015 and it was going to be called Warren’s Worm.  The project was shelved due to a lack of time but since the fire, many trails were built by the firefighters and much too tempting to be utilized and build new trail.  The fire removed a lot of the understory including all the salal.  This shrubby underbrush can create mats of roots that it makes difficult building.  In this burn ground, digging is pretty productive.

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Phareline
Phareline

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IMG_1977  IMG_1975

IMG_1982IMG_1984

Phareline was born and there were several builders that came out to help.  Thank you!

The trail projects were all leading to the ultimate goal of hosting a 40km Sunshine Coaster Race. On April 1, we held this event in a new area and new venue!  Excellent weather and excellent work on our trails created a fabulous day for all!  I even got to shoot off the starting gun!  It was super loud!

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So that’s quick glance at my quarter year so far!  I’m looking forward this summer for some epic rides including a bikepacking weekend adventure.  Sunshine Coaster Facebook Page

—WAB1234—

I’m a Video Blogger!!!!

I’m a Video Blogger!!!!

I guess it was enviable that I became a Video Blogger or “vlogger” when the thought occurred to me that I should be videoing the trails that I’m trying to showcase.  Actually, I just wanted a camera to document my rides as part of a diary so to speak.  I looked online for cameras to do the stuff that I wanted it to do.  Time lapse, 1080p recording, waterproof, solid construction and the only camera that came to the top of the heap was the GoPro Black Edition.

This is a really neat little camera and I mount it on a Chesty for that full “your riding with me” feeling.  I’ll post a review of the camera soon I’m sure.

Here’s a couple of samples of some video taken to date.  One is a time lapse every 5 secs of a ride from Spin Cycles Bike Shop in Gibsons to Roberts Creek and back.  The other is a trail in West Sechelt called Cheap and Easy. Hard to find but worth the search.



Want to watch more video?  Go to my blog page here

A Trail Doesn’t Define Your Day

A Trail Doesn’t Define Your Day

So there is a new trail in Sprockids Park in Gibsons.  It was built by the Mountain Bike Program by Capilano University.  Its a great trail with lots of trail features like a pump track, ladders, table tops and drops.  One such feature is a 4 foot drop into a really nice transition.  I’ve ridden to the lip of the drop 6-7 times on two different occasions and it just sketches me out.  The reason being, I figure, is that I can’t see the landing until the last second.  Its a confidence and trust thing that I can’t seem to wrap my head around it.  I wear all the gear that should protect me if  things go wrong. But this is a real mind over matter thing.  Two  times now I’ve eventually taken the chicken route and I have beat myself up about it for the rest of the ride and for a good long time after the ride.  I’m literally depressed about it.  It didn’t matter if the ride leading up to the drop was totally great (which it was) as I defined my ride and my remaining day based on this one failed accomplishment.   In fact, after not doing the drop, I rode the Relax log feature (40′ log skinny) which I should have been jumping for joy! Have you been there?

I realized that defining my ride is not about mastering every single feature on every trail on every ride. That the whole ride is made up of several trails with dozens of trail features to master in time.  The key is to master features in time.  One trail feature passed by out of 30 plus features that I did do is a pretty good score on any test! I know there will be a day that my mind and body will tell me to go for the drop, but until that time, I’m in no rush.

—WAB1234—

A series of decisions leading to an unfortunate event

A series of decisions leading to an unfortunate event

I’m sitting in a chair at the hospital waiting for my x-rays to be looked at by a surgeon.  My shoulder in a sling and elbow resting on the arm of the chair.  There doesn’t seem to be a comfortable position to keep my throbbing collarbone from aching.   My mom just came in to give me crap on messing up my shoulder and my wife is equally as mad.  Both of my loves are angry from worry I suspect.

It’s always good to look at any event in post-mortem and waiting for 3 hours can do wonders on any reflection.  Racing the Sunshinecoaster Race was a goal of mine when I first threw my leg over the my new G bike in January.  Mountain biking was just the ticket to get a early start on this spring and summer road riding.  As I started riding, my confidence grew and my fitness gained quickly.  Two months ago I registered, and last month I started pre-riding the course.  The course itself is a very hilly course with lots of steady 12% grunts.  My G bike although good at climbing is still a beast at 34 lbs but on the downhills, it eats roots and boulders for breakfast.

As I got closer to the race time, I have a friend that offered the use of his bike. Its a Cove titanium 22.75lb (yes I weighed it) with SRAM X0/XX components.  Its hugely light and being titanium, its lively (I call it squirelly) on the downhills.  Riding it, I would be able to climb the hills in no time and traverse the roads in short order and try to keep upright on the downhills.  I should get a PR time and much glory!

Prior to the race, I worked on the race bike.  I put new brake pads in which made the braking super sensitive, cleaned the drivetrain and pumped up the tires.  The tires were leaking air so I put Stans in for re-sealing.  Taking the bike out for a quick burn around the block, this bike felt so foreign to me.  Something was nagging me to use my old bike, but I shrugged it off thinking it’ll be worth the bike switch as I’ll be faster on the titanium bike.

So the day of the race, last chance, I threw the titanium bike into the car and off I went to the race.  My warm-up I rode down the last section of the race course which was a new, bumpy, tight singletrack that my bike kept diving into the holes, stop at all the roots and I hated the brakes.  I pre-rode this section of the course with the G, and I didn’t noticed the roots and stuff then.  I stopped to talk to my friend about me using the bike, and she said that I should be using the G.  I know…..I told her.

And off we went.  I started out too hard – 175bpm.  A very unsustainable pace, but I was climbing well, up ITL lands and B&K, down Black Tower (couldn’t go fast due to other riders), up Patrick’s Pass and Up Pumpkin Patch.  Back up B&K to Dude’s Bypass – wait, I felt a twinge in my calf – yes, okay back it off and start eating (I’m a chronic cramper, so anything longer than 1 hour, I start to cramp without something with Mg in it).  Down and up Grant’s Grind, along Wagon Trail.  About this time, I was thinking that I was definitely losing it and started thinking about the short course.  I’ll make the decision to at the bottom of the tube.  Tired and crampy, I started down the Tube.  I usually fly down this course with my G bike, but this bike made me really nervous and to be more on the brakes.  I got to a small section of sloping off-camber roots, and I must of  touched the brakes cause I went down hard.  Was that stars?  What was that sound?  Another rider stopped and helped me up and my bike (thanks by the way).  I was done.  I couldn’t move my shoulder or lift my bike so I knew it was a collarbone.  First Aid was on me in no time and had me whisked away in an ambulance.  I had a cracked helmet, which was why they were concerned.  Lots of questions and adding math to check if I had a concussion.

Learnings from the race:

 1) A lighter bike will not make you faster if you are not confident with its abilities.  The brakes were too sensitive which made it difficult to feather hard sections of the race.   Actually, I put my ride into Strava and on the climbing sections, I was faster during my pre-ride  with my G!!!!  Unbelievable!
2) Match tires to the course.  I used a Maxxis Lust which is a summer, hard pack tire.  It wasn’t the tire of choice on this greasy, root infested trails of the course.  My G has Conti Trail King which wouldn’t have been a problem.
3) Be smart at the start and pace yourself for the whole ride.  I’m sure that I would have burnt myself out sooner than later.
4) Listen to that nagging part of your mind that says “don’t introduce any new bikes or components that you are not familiar prior to a race”.
5) PR and personal glory is not an excuse for increasing your chances of getting hurt.  Next time it will be different – way different!

I just got an email from the Race Organizer – Sue – and she’s offered a free entry into next years race.  Awesome!  Thanks Sue, Search and Rescue and the other volunteers for great first aid and taking care of me.  Yes – I will race it next year and I’ll have 364 days to develop my strength to peddle my G-beast up hills and skillfully go faster on the downhills!

—-WAB1234—-

Mixing it up makes all the difference!

Mixing it up makes all the difference!

Woke up at some un-godly hour to complete a ride into Vancouver.  I usually complete a nice loop from Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal along Marine Drive to UBC.  I added a nice little loop to Iona Beach which considering my motivation level lately, made all the difference for me to enjoy the trip.  100km in the bag.

On the way back on the ferry, I bump into a rider that I passed along the way a couple of times enroute along Marine Drive (I stopped for coffee) and she was on a older mountain bike with normal clothes on.  I probably looked so foreign to her with all my biking specific clothes (called a kit in our circles).  She complained that her seat made her butt sore, but she was really looking forward to seeing Gibsons (somehow the pain would be worth it when she got to her designation).  She said that she’s  never been to the coast and decided to take her bike from the west end to the ferry and to Gibsons- good for her! She wasn’t too keen about all the hills and I gave her some suggestions to avoid them.  I asked if she was visiting friends and she said No, and that she had a couple of hours to spend and wanted to visit Gibsons cause it was there.  For some reason, I find this surprising to me just like people who want to retire to Nicaragua (don’t laugh, I know a couple doing it) or people who want go to visit Mongolia, so why Gibsons?  I suppose it’s a town that starts with “G” and needs to be visited….I jest and told this rider to visit Lower Gibsons for a really scenic experience, will avoid some of the more nasty hills and to visit the artisan shops along the water.  My point is that her comments really offer me a chance to reflect that Gibsons (and the Sunshine Coast for that matter) is great place to visit, has places that starts with “G” (and many more from the alphabet) and she opened my eyes to reflect that I really appreciate this beautiful place that I live in.  Riding the Sunshine Coast is really worth the sore butt to visit.

When cycling becomes a right of passage

When cycling becomes a right of passage

Okay, a couple of weeks ago I hit a nice peak and I wanted to ride all the time.  I put 900km in the month of July and my avg km/hour basically bumped up a couple of k’s.  So, today I forced myself to wake up early, decided to drive to Sechelt and join a group ride to get me motivated.  So I waited at the meeting spot and no one showed (or bothered).  I started with the motivational talk with myself – do a long ride and you’ll be better for it. Trust me you’ll be glad you did…F-it was my body’s response.  So, do a short ride. At least you can justify driving for 1/2 hour to get here.  F-it was the response again.    Why don’t you turn around, go to a lung association fundraiser breakfast and talk about cycling.  Ah! that is an awesome idea! – So I turned around and got a 8min ride in.

So this is the lows of cycling – two to three weeks ago I had awesome energy and power.  This week – well I need someone like Tony Robbins to keep my interested in riding and complete this right of passage.  I think its boredom of the same routes and trying to ride early when I’m tired.  I think I’ll try a Vancouver trip this Sunday as part of re-motivation plan.

—WAB1234—