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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—-

Snowing? Wet? Cold? Then Write a Post of the Chilcotins for a Shot of MOTIVATION

Snowing? Wet? Cold? Then Write a Post of the Chilcotins for a Shot of MOTIVATION

Its Feb 2017 on the Sunshine Coast and we are just cleaning up after a bout of snow storms.  Coming from a place that pride ourselves on year round riding, the last month has been crappy for enjoying our sport.  For the last month I’ve been down, really down…I got sick and it lasted a month.  At one point I couldn’t sleep due to a pain on my side.  The doctor diagnosed the pain as a stress fracture of my rib….wow!  Crazy sickness! Anyway, everyday I picked my ass up off the ground and  tried to get motivated, but it was easier to stay low, drink beer and wallow in my post mortem sickness.  Then the sickness broke, the lungs cleared up and my energy returned…just in time for the snow to come and lay a blanket of “do any riding in snow and it’ll suck”.  So I broke out the laptop, found some old videos of my trip to the Chilcotins and pieced it all together.

It was September  2016, a group of 9 guys from Sunshine Coast arrived at Tyax Lodge and stayed in their one and only chalet -Wolverine.  The chalet was large and easily accommodated our crowd, plus gear and coolers of beer.

Wolverine Chalet

Instantly relaxed, we gathered our gear and headed out for short ride on lower Cinnabar Trails

Tyax Lodge is on Tyaughton Lake
The Chilcotins is on the transition to the BC Interior and Coast Mountains.
Alun and Darren shaking out the travel legs
Ron giving out free kisses. No I didn’t reach and grab for one

Rest up, its go-time tomorrow.

On our 1st big day, we had lots of planners on team – who quickly decided that Taylor Creek, Eldorado Pass to High Trail to Lick Creek was the groomers choice.  We drove to the Taylor Creek Parking lot and up the hill we went.  We climbed for about an hour and most of the way, I was feeling like something wasn’t right.  I even said to Alun that wouldn’t it be funny if we weren’t on the trail. It came apparent that the road showed almost no tracks and that’s when I got out the Trailforks app. Yep… the blue dot was about 1km away from the trail. Whoops!  Okay realizing that we went the wrong at the very start of the ride was actually not funny.  We regrouped and decided that we were just under 800m of bushwhacking to the trail.  Do you see where this going?  I’m a forester, so this decision came somewhat natural to me, but for the rest of the group, it was soft sell.  Also, I could tell from the map contours that the terrain was pretty tame.  The group decided to follow me and for the most part, it was tame except for the blueberries that grabbed every little pedal or handlebar or legs making walking with bike difficult. Whats a little bushwhacking to make an already epic day.

I’m standing on the trail head while taking the picture. But we decided to head up the hill…
We are going to be on the top of that ridge
Going up the wrong road and where’s all the bike tracks?….

Back on the trail, we road up the Taylor Creek trail and stopped an old miners shack.  Boy!  They must have had it hard 100 years ago.

Continuing on we made our way to Eldorado Pass.  I don’t know how far up past the cabin when the trees disappeared and the awe inspiring views started but I kept stopping and taking pictures and tried to take it all in.

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Chilcotins 2016

  • Bushwacking
  • Eldorado Vista
    Eldorado Vista
  • Lick Creek Vista
    Lick Creek Vista
More bike pushing – a Chilcotin past time!
On top of Eldorado Pass
Not the worst photo background I’ve seen

The down from Eldorado Pass was exhilarating and seemed endless.  We hooked into High Road and headed left (right turn took you up to Windy Pass – See Day 2). High Trail guided into glades and meadows and up to the Eldorado Cabin.  Actually, there is a hose with running water which I was able to filter out.  Oh yeah, someone brought some whiskey and the group started to gel together nicely.

Wolverines!

From the cabin to the start of Lick Trail was a classic hike and bike.  Still, the vistas made the hike and steep climbs go quickly.

Top of Lick Creek – its all downhill to the lodge from here!

The Lick Creek trail is on almost every rider’s Chilcotin bucket list. The steep downs, the fast tracks through meadows, tricky switchbacks make this trail such a favorite – well mine at least.  Watch my video of the day!

N+1 = Is this the Secret Formula to Mountain Bike Happiness?

N+1 = Is this the Secret Formula to Mountain Bike Happiness?

 

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“N+1”. Is the secret formula that any passionate and slightly mental mountain bikers will tell you is the secret to ultimate happiness.  What is it? Its owning a “N” or number of bikes plus the next one you’re going to get come hell in high water.  Mostly hell comes from your wife who “hell hath no fury” when the cheque bounces because the rent was used on a lay away plan for that new titanium full suspension frame.  My wife is the best, loving and understanding of my mental obsession (she may read this post), who may at any point be planning an intervention with other mountain biker wives to snap me back into reality.   Mostly her line of questioning goes more or less like this:

  • Her -Whats a matter with the other three on the wall?  (Me- I can’t use them at the bike park, have you seen the jumps I will be riding?  – actually that is not the answer she wants to hear…).
  • Her – Whats a matter with your hardtail that you just had custom made (Me – its too hard on my body to ride for 5 hours, a carbon fiber full suspension will be better…besides I want to change that hardtail to a single speed)
  • Her – You’re a fuck head.

I’ve owned a few a bikes and they each have a story in my life and immortalised in this blog (at least until I stop paying the webmaster).  Here they are:

The Cove G-Spot - considered a mini DH sled. Most of my DH Strava KOMs was done on this bike
The Cove G-Spot – considered a mini DH sled. Most of my DH Strava KOMs was done on this bike

 

It start with this beauty - TCR Advanced - Upgraded with SRAM Red and Carbon wheels
It start with this beauty – TCR Advanced – Upgraded with SRAM Red and Carbon wheels

 

One of a half dozen Cove Hummer soft tails. The rear shock is moves about 1" to take the sting of the bumps.
One of a half dozen Cove Hummer soft tails. The rear shock is moves about 1″ to take the sting of the bumps.

 

Lynskey FS120 - amazing titanium ride and very XC
Lynskey FS120 – amazing titanium ride and very XC

 

Brodie Awl - considered a free ride bike and inspired by the Shore
Brodie Awl – considered a free ride bike and inspired by the Shore.  I gave it to my son who didn’t ride much and then we gave it to needy young mountain biker for racing in high school.

 

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My latest bike. A 27lb trail bike converted from a race frame. Its light and very capable.

 

My baby! Designed by me and built by Whishart Bikes. Amazing craftmanship and captures everything about me and my progression of the sport
My baby! Designed by me and built by Whishart Bikes. Amazing craftsmanship and captures everything about me and my progression of the sport
Current setup - 21t Wolftooth SS Cog with a 30 t chainring
Current setup – 21t Wolftooth SS Cog with a 30 t chainring

Ahh – N+1 + significant other support = happiness!

—-WAB1234—-

The Pathway to a Simple Riding Life Isn’t So Simple

The Pathway to a Simple Riding Life Isn’t So Simple

The last time I rode a single speed was 35 years ago when ET sailed across the moon in basket on a Kuwahara BMX!  I needed a BMX I told my dad! NEEDED IT! When I got one, after one of my best tantrums that involving making a deal to wipe my dad’s bum when he’s old; my first ride was sheer bliss!!  BMX parks developed and I raced.  My brother was a natural at it and we were the Hansen brother duo.  My fondest memory was taking my BMX off the beaten path along Chapman Creek and almost prophetic, was my first mountain bike ride. Gears came, I got a road bike and BMX riding along with singlespeed faded into memory.

Over the last week, I had an epiphany that the path to a simple ride is to go singlespeed.  Yes that’s right baby – 30 tooth chainring and a 21 cog in the back!  Of course, I looked up on internet about setting up a singlespeed and over a couple of beers on my birthday, I set it up!

My first Instagram post was a success with comments like “You’re crazy” or “Singlespeed has three speeds – Sitting, Standing and Walking” or, my favorite, “we use gears for a reason”. Okay I get it – its hard and it doesn’t make sense but the allure of it all was too much for me to ignore it. I’m finding my 12 year old spirit!

Today was my maiden voyage of my setup.  It start well, the silence of no gears was sheer bliss.  Just me and my bike deeply connected to the ground.  Then a hill came up, and bang my chain came off…Grrr!  And then again on another hill…then probably half dozen times more.  Okay so I guess singlespeeds are sensitive to chainline.  That’s the one thing that I didn’t think about during my installation and, of course, 6 beers deep doesn’t help with reading ALL the setup instructions.    So, on the trail and only 10 min into the ride, I just thought I’ll just slide the dropouts more to make the chain tighter.  For the most part, the fixed worked except the hill that I needed to really stand and hammer. The next thing I remember after my chain came off, is driving my knee into my handlebar/lever and planting my chest onto the stem.  An explosion of pain around my knee created this wave of nausea that made damn near cry and almost throwing-up.  Ride over – “Sheer bliss between catastrophic failures” would be the title of my Strava ride.

As I write this post, I’m sitting on the couch with a beer to numb the pain and big ice pack on my knee.  Well back to the drawing board, and the not-so-simple-riding-life continues….

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Ride on!

—-WAB1234—–

 

 

Adding Epic in a ride

Adding Epic in a ride

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Cleaning up Stage 4 on BCBR

“…tagging a ride with ‘epic’ means that within yourself, you’ve established some intrinsic value to that ride and in a year’s time or even for decades, you can close your eyes and re-live that memory”

You always think about it after a big ride with friends and you hit the stop/finish button on Strava.  There, you need to name the ride – should I add ‘Epic’ to the ride then post to Facebook?  Just as my mind was settling down on a Coast MTB tangent blog entry, my friend Cooper Quinn rattles off a great post on “Defining Epic” http://nsmb.com/defining-epic/ . Go ahead and click the link, its worth the read and a good segue-way to my tangent.

I had a great ride with a group of friends the other day. I heard the words ‘that was Epic’. I was thinking ‘umm, no it wasn’t’, it was only 38km and 3 1/2 hours of riding.  Hell, I didn’t even think that the Test of Metal (68km, 5 hours of riding) was even close to being ‘Epic’, but I bet the ‘Epic’ word was being used more often than a empty beer cup after the first pint after the Test was over. So what defines ‘Epic’? Your fitness? Placing well in a race? Did you suffer to get there? I’m sure I would get full agreement that your physical and mental well-being must be tested. Perhaps bonking or really spending time in the basement, dwelling in a dark corner of the room and wishing for this f’in ride to end may be the threshold when to add ‘Epic’ to the ride name or not?  Or, maybe you were just floating along in riding in new area, new trails and just riding where ever the trails will take you.

What about the 7 day stage race of BC Bike Race? Is every day an ‘Epic’ or is it the journey of training for it over the last 6 months, travelling to BC and riding some of the best singletrack trails that the WORLD has to offer? After finishing BCBR, I think that ‘Epic’ could apply here to describe one’s journey after crossing that finish line on the last stage.   I’ve come to the conclusion that tagging a ride with ‘Epic’ means that within yourself, you’ve established some intrinsic value on that ride and in a year’s time or even for decades, you can close your eyes and re-live that memory.

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Will I remember that great ride with friends the other day? Probably not, as it was my day-in, day-out trails that I always ride and really I didn’t suffer too much.  In fact, I had a couple of more hours left of riding in me!  Will my friends from England remember the ride?  YOU BET! And they did add the ‘Epic’ word into their Strava ride.  The Sunshine Coast MTB trails will have that affect on people with its over 300km of singletrack trails that one could spend a good week here and never ride every trail.

Well, I’ve used the word ‘Epic’ 12 times in this article to prove a point (mostly in jest) that we misuse the term in ‘Epic’ proportions.  What you won’t find is the E-word in my Strava ride name unless it’s deservedly so, knowing that I’ve truly suffered, ridden trails that most the world’s MTB’ers would give their left nut to experience and I can re-live the moments anytime I want. Thanks Coop for getting this Epic conversation started!

—WAB1234—

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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—

Got It Right – Its Dumb Ass Luck – Whishart 29’er 140mm Long Travel Hardtail

Got It Right – Its Dumb Ass Luck – Whishart 29’er 140mm Long Travel Hardtail

Its taken close to 6 months from design to build to decide if I made a mistake in the design. The build:

– Whishart 29’er – steel hardtail – Paragon sliding dropouts; fillet brazed – Black pearl – Toxic Design Labs – 67deg HT; 73deg ST
– SRAM XX1 Drivetrain
– XTR M-985 Crank with Wolf Components 30 tooth ring
– Easton Haven 35mm Stem (50mm long)
– Chromag 35mm carbon bar
– Easton EC90 XC Wheelset
– RS Revelation RLT 140-110 DP Fork
– SRAM Guide RS Brakes
– RS Reverb Dropper Post
– Nevagal 2.2 Front tire
– Conti Trail King 2.2 Rear tire

Weight 27.2 lbs

Okay – so I know that most people could never afford this type of bike or get why; however not withstanding, mounting these parts to a never ridden; only designed frame.  But, as soon as I mounted the pedals, strapped on my shoes, and threw my leg over top tube, I knew I had winner!  The bike rides like its 27.5 bike on steroids, with short snappy rear end, short wheelbase, stiff & amazing ride.  It climbs really well and similar to other 29’er bike in its stand and hammer on really steep trails.  The downs are amazing on this bike and it seems that there are not many trails that I wouldn’t go down.  In fact, I’m nailing off PR’s on Strava on steep technical steeps that I established on my G-Spot.  This hardtail satisfies my previously empty part of my cycling soul and I’ve been drinking it up as much as I can. Most people will not get it and I can hear the “why bother, its just a bike”, but although I didn’t make it, I was there almost every step in the journey.  Where the bike takes me now is unknown and I’m calling this part of the journey complete. It was fun, rewarding and I learned a lot!

 

—-WAB1234—

Whishart Long Travel 29’er is Born!

Whishart Long Travel 29’er is Born!

Over the last several months I’ve been busy baking my own baby in the oven.  In the Bikecad.ca oven so to speak!  My last post explained why (http://www.coastmtb.com/public_html/?p=9) and since then I’ve reviewed countless bike geo’s, reviews and test rides.  I started with a Chromag Surface design then tweaked the design based on Canfield’s Nimble 9, 44 bikes and the Kona Honzo.  The final design ended up being a short chainstay, longer top tube, short stem, 140mm fork.  The sliding dropouts were added for tweaking the ride and water bottle bosses for bike packing tours.

Throughout the design phase, my good friend Rob Warren from Whishart Cycles www.whishart.com helped me developed and finalize the design.  Once we agreed to it, he was off ordering the tubes, and parts for the build.  The headtube is a 44mm CNC unit, the sliding dropout is stainless from Paragon Machine works.  The tubes are pre-bent (chainstays, seatstays) and the rest is a pick of Nova and Columbus tubes. The design will have 68 deg headtube with a 73 deg seat tube (using 120mm fork).

Rob uses fillet brazing to join the tubes and his workmanship is a thing of beauty!  This is where a bike building becomes a real craft with emence patience and a critical eye.  I visited Rob to see the build which was half assembled and I was like a little kid with a parent. Whats this? Whats that? How did you compensate for twist? Do you cold set? He was certainly patience with me.

I realized then that I was on a journey of cycling learning.  I had to understand why mountain bikes were designed in the past, what worked and what didn’t and where design was going.  Also,its not like I just visited the bike stores and chose an already built up bike like most folks.  I had to really think about the essence of what trails I ride and why I ride.  A bike design and its designer really needs to have a vision of what the rider is looking for.  For larger bike companies, its a faceless rider; for small companies, maybe its for their local area.  I chose to jump on a journey without not knowing the end result.  Truly a trail less travel and I still don’t know if the bike is a dud!!!  It could very well be a mistake or hopefully the best ride ever!  We all know that a first design is a prototype and its design tweaked with later iterations.  We’ll see about later revisions…but thats part of my life long cycling journey.

The rear stays are on the jig

 

This is a beautiful join of the a bent seat tube with the seat  post insert

 

Bottom bracket area – the chainstays are crimped to allow a 2.4 Ardent tire

 

Front triangle on – rear seat stays last thing to join.

 

The bike 99% complete and getting ready to paint

 

She is a thing of beauty!

—-WAB1234—-

Give Me Something Simple in My Mid-Life Crisis

Give Me Something Simple in My Mid-Life Crisis

Life is complicated. Simply put. I don’t yearn for the days of a simple lifestyle as I get older because I like the rewards of having an complicated lifestyle… Its hard to put that into words, but for some things I do wish for less complicated things to keep me happy.   Take cycling for example; I ride both road and mountain bikes – I like riding on the road, its simple, my mind can drift off and I can enjoy the view (when not on a busy road).  I like when its done, it’s clean, clothes aren’t muddy and bike is put away dry and as new as the day I got it.  But riding on the road is boring, and if I didn’t have music, I would be falling asleep at 50 km into the ride.
I also like mountain biking, the trails keeps me concentrated on my balance, my skills and on the flow.  But my mind can’t drift and to be set into auto pilot to solve work or life problems.  50km into a mountain bike ride, I AM EXHAUSTED.
My bikes are complicated – Double tap, carbon frame, hydro formed aluminium, booster valving, dropper posts,  high volume tires, tubular tires – 20 years of fiddling with bikes doesn’t make me any more comfortable breaking these parts open for routine maintenance.
So what’s it going to take to push me into enjoying the simple things?  I think that I may have the answer – 29er hardtail.  It’ll be a custom made fillet brazed bike.  The bike will be simple and I designed the bike to be simple.  The oxymoron was that my journey of designing the bike was very complicated when trying to understand what are the best bike qualities I like the best.  Head angles, chain stay length, reach, stack, stem length, bottom bracket drop all play a role in building a bike. Not having an appreciation of their effect on bike could mean that the bike could suck in one regard but be stellar in another.  I just wanted that goldilocks of bikes to be justttt rightttt!  I discovered that riding a bike is based on set of compromises and one bike CANNOT be the only one in the quiver.  I thought so with my TCR road bike – it was fast and light, but 5 hours on it has your back screaming ‘uncle!’ I thought that my Cove was an one bike slayer but its too heavy for climbing hills fast or it’s not a Whistler Bike Park DH sled.  So I think its about having a bike to suit the majority of your everyday trails and not heavily investing into other bikes that may or may not use 6-10 times/year.  Oh you should still have those bikes on hand just in case you want to ride outside your everyday riding comfort zone.  Gosh I’m complicated!

Long-travel Hardtail 29er 

My solution is a bike that I can take on an adventure ride or short XC ride on the Sunshine Coast. Single chain ring up front (no derailleur). Short chain stays to be fun in tight twisty trails, but can be lengthen to provide that 29er straight line stability when carrying a load (Chilcotin). Dropper post? Are you kidding? I said simple, not to go back to the stone age. Will this be the bike to help me on my mid-life dream of simple life?  Maybe – I do know that it will definitely be a ride that is simple to ride and that’s a step in the right direction.

—-WAB1234—-