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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!

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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Karma is Sweet, Loving and Cares for Mountain Bikers!

Karma is Sweet, Loving and Cares for Mountain Bikers!

So I’m back on my project in Terrace visiting the trails and brought my bike again to ride for my 10 day shift.  The first day, I was super stoked and rode up the paved road with vigour to get to the trails.  I got about 500m into the climbing and ping my spoke blew and my tire stuck to the side of chainstay like a fly to a pile of shit.  The spoke broke inside the spoke nipple and there was no way to get the broken piece out.  Game over… I loosen up my sliding dropouts to cheat the tire over to one side, but it rubbed so hard making pedaling difficult going downhill.  Anyway, as I got down to the trail head I stopped to talk to a fellow mountain biker.  I told him where I was from and loved their trails and how I unfortunately broke a spoke.  Dean was sympathetic to my issue as he had wheels like mine and difficulty finding parts to fix a broken spoke.  He has since moved to different wheelset because a lack of support.  Then Dean said “Wait a minute!” and proceed to go into his stuff in the back of his truck and pulled out a spoke nipple that fit my wheel.  WTF! Unbelievable that I happened to stumble on the only guy in Terrace (and maybe all of north-western BC for that matter) that had spare spoke nipples.  He didn’t have a spoke but I was 50% of the way there! The next day I went to Wild Bike Shop in Terrace and talked to the shop owner there.  They bent over backwards to find a spoke that fit.  Unfortunately they didn’t have the exact one but they did have one that I could straighten.  And straighten it I did!!!  I stuffed the straightened ‘j-bend’ spoke into my hub and threaded the nipple and IT WORKED!  OMG!  This was my first two days of 10 in my trip to Terrace! and it was looking like Day 3 was going to be awesome!

Day 3 – I rode up Terrace Mountain and back down the T2 trail to a parking lot.  A riding group was gathered there and we chatted for a bit.  They invited me to ride a brand new trail they just finished off that day.  What the? What kind of awesome timing is this? Go on, please I don’t deserve this awesome experience..well okay if you insist.   The new trail was just that! New and fresh and I was the third bike down the line.  Lots of bermed corners, tons of flow and tricky rock rolls.  SO MUCH FUN!!!!  These riders were super passionate and loved their sport.  I felt privileged to be in their company.  After getting back to the parking lot, I made my way back home and bumped into a couple more riders.  They invited my to ride a lesser known trail called Lower Wheel.  Tara warned me that the trail was steep but she didn’t tell me that it was super steep with rock rolls and drops!  I should have known after she told me that she just got back from the BC Enduro event in Williams Lake.  Tara was skilled!

When you’ve paid a substantial amount of money to Air Canada to travel with your bike and then you break your bike, you’d think that Karma is a bitch.  She was just pointing you in the right direction to meet some awesome riders, awesome trails and making my trip an awesome experience.  I say that Karma is sweet and loves mountain bikers!  Thank you Karma!!

A selfie off of Flathead trail
At the bottom of Broken Bridge the trail spits you out on the road near the Skeena River. Awesome views!
At the bottom of Broken Bridge the trail spits you out on the road near the Skeena River. Is that a rainbow?
At the bottom of Broken Bridge the trail spits you out on the road near the Skeena River. Awesome views!
At the bottom of Broken Bridge the trail spits you out on the road near the Skeena River. Awesome views!
Just one of many rock rolls on the Flathead trail
Just one of many rock rolls on the Flathead trail

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—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—

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—-

This Year’s Goal is….To Ride

This Year’s Goal is….To Ride

Its a pretty simple goal and a bit of cop-out.  Everyone needs goals to strive or reach for.  They make us better riders in skills or in fitness.  Over the last couple of years, I’ve chosen Granfondo’s, races and other self imposed events to help me keep motivated to do better.  At the end of season, I get burnt out and it takes all winter to get back the motivation to ride.  This year will be different for me.  Cycling is passion for me and to fuel that passion is to ride – ride with friends, ride different areas and trails and ride for life.  This goal keeps me motivated like you cannot imagine and I feel that it will help me enjoy cycling.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve in touch with old friends and met new ones.  I’ve been to areas like Squamish and thoroughly enjoyed those trails giving me a whole new set of skills and knowledge.  For me, this year is to ride smart (not dumb and get hurt) and to ride for me.  Plus I have other goals like losing weight that will often come secondary but a much needed achievement.

Cycling is my passion and riding is my goal.

—-WAB1234—-