Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Epic Skis!

It's not biking related but I just got myself some epic pimping new skis. Bring on the snow!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sunshine Coast Bikepacking Trip

After a full summer of biking and camping, I had a chance to head out for my first solo bikepacking trip of the season. Asking really nicely my wife's permission, off to the Sunshine coast I went for what turned out to be a fun overnight trip.

I always like the ferry, especially when I take it with my bike. It feels like I'm heading to a far away land. Ok, the ferry ride is only 45 minutes, but still, it feels like it :). I seem to always meet cool people when I'm on the bike for some reason; not sure why. This time I met a para-glider heading the same way for a flight somewhere on the coast. Talking to him for most of the trip and exchanging adventure plans, we realized that we knew some of the same people!  Funny how it's such a small world...

Once on the other side, I rode an easy 30 km on the road to Porpoise bay campground but first stopped in Sechelt to buy food for that evening. Once at the campground, I set up my tent, and since it was still fairly early, I went for a walk around the park. I had been there in July with my family. It made me nostalgic for them, but only for a quick minute.

The next morning I was up a bit late, since I had such a good sleep I couldn't get out of the tent, I was just too comfortable. Finally, I got my lazy ass out of bed, made breakfast, packed up and headed for the hills. As usual in BC, the start of a ride is always a grind up; to the heavens I went...

It was hot that day and most of the climb was exposed, so needless to say, I was sweating. It was a fairly mellow pace, with the hardest part being avoiding the bear crap all over the place. Those bears eat a LOT of blackberries! I'm sure they where craving for meat... luckily I never saw one!

The Sunshine coast has a lot of trails that go in every direction, so it's easy to get lost or miss a trail head. You need to bring your A-game for navigation here. It's easy to take the wrong turn, but just remember if you're lost, just head south and you'll hit the road eventually - hopefully...

The trails are pretty typical for BC south coast, but one section that was really cool was a car graveyard I stumbled onto. I didn't expect that! It was kind of cool weaving through trees and old cars at the same time. First time I've done that.

The point of this trip was really to test my bikepacking gear on real trails, and it was a good opportunity to test it out in preparation for next year's big epics. I was surprised how well my Revelate bags held up to the task. I can honestly say that in most sections of trail I could hardly tell they were there. The only time I wished I didn't have them was on steeps. Those where pretty sketchy, I just couldn't  get back far enough and had a few close calls.

Now it was back to Langdale to catch the ferry home after riding solo in the hills for over 5 hours from Porpoise bay, all in the bush. How cool is that?! Way more fun than taking the road that's for sure. If any of you ever want to hook up or need a guide, I'm always keen. Hopefully I still have time for one more big ride before the season is over. That's if work doesn't get in the way...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Seven Summits


Finally posting something of mine for a change. It's been a very busy summer - lots of camping with friends and family, and of course, lots of riding. The highlight ride was Seven Summits in the Kootenay's, in August, on a family camping trip. If you've never been to the Kootenay's, you're missing out; it's such a beautiful place.

Base camp was Christina lake campground. It was the perfect spot for a family trip and not too far from the trail. The campground has everything you need: warm lake with private beach access, trails for the kids to explore, and it's not too far from amenities. I didn't feel too badly leaving the wife with the kids for the day. There was a lot to do.
PinkBike rip off...
We started the ride a bit late in the morning as we sorted things out at the camp site. The weather looked good with a bit of overcast, seemed like the perfect day; not to hot and not to cold. I can see, that on a hot day the climb could be fairly difficult but on that day it was perfect.

We dropped one car off in Rossland then drove to the trail head. The trail head is well signed and hard to miss, so finding the trail is dead easy. Finally there, we where heading up for the first part of the trail - all uphill to the highest point. An hour later and we reached the top. From there, it's flowy alpine single track until you are back in the forest an other hour or so later.

Navigation is as simple as it gets. The trail is well marked, making it virtually impossible to get lost. The hardest part of the ride is keeping your eyes on the trail. You're always looking at the view thinking the trail is easy. But be warned, as easy as the trail looks, it's easy to get taken out by a rock or loose corner. A few times I had close calls, and the drops on the sides of the trail in some sections are STEEP!

The last third of the trail is super fun. Keep that in mind and don't burn out, as you want to keep some energy for the last downhill section back to your car. The downhill is long! I can't remember exactly how long (at least 30min) but let's put it this way, my arms and hands where hurting! What an ending, small pops/jumps, fast corners, etc. As I said, super fun, I just didn't what it to end.

After 6 hrs of absolute awesomeness, it was over. We headed to the nearest pub for the mandatory beers, and excitedly exchanged our thoughts on the ride. I'll be back, that's for sure. The proximity to a good family campground make it an easy choice. Maybe I'll see some of you out there??

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pemberton and Gravatron

Finally posting something, what can I say it's summer and I'm a lazy bum.


This past Sunday, I had one of the best rides I've had in a long time and headed with a good friend to Pemberton for an all day epic. Pemberton, as many by now know, is one of my favorite riding spots, the trails are special, I'm not sure why, they just are.


For a very long time I wanted to try a trail called Gravatron but never could find someone that had time or had the skills required to ride it. This trail is high up, around 1300 vertical meters from the parking lot, super steep and gnarly; not the type of trail you want to ride solo or with a beginner. So off we went to conquer the legendary run.


The day was hot and the climb was long but luckily the views are spectacular and  most of the climb is under the cover of trees, so even on a hot day it's bearable.


After lunch and a half hour rest at the top the fun begins! Unfortunately, 6hrs later, like all things fun and exciting; it's over all to soon :( But have no fear, beer always comes to the rescue!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Solidream in BC

Last May, I had the great pleasure to meet and hangout with a very special group of guys. It's not often that you have the chance to meet people like them... Here's a picture with some friends, my kids, the crew and yours truly (in the blue shirt). More pictures here on their website (Nick the guy in the red jacket that's me)

picture my wife

As a bonus; their latest video.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bionicon Chain Guide

I haven't posted in a while now, been riding/working a lot...Last Saturday I participated in the biggest mountain bike marathon race here. The Test of Metal in Squamish, BC is the most popular race this part of the world. What makes it so much fun are the crowds and volunteers; such a good vibe.
This year the weather was bad! I mean really bad. So much stuff on my bike got trashed. One part that got damaged was a brand new Bionicon chain guide. It's a really cool little thing and works really well. When I first got it, I noticed two things I didn't like.One, was the piece of plastic it came with, used to attach the guide to the chainstay; and two, the two-piece plastic guide. Have no fear, I fixed it and made it better. Check out these pics of my wonder work!
***Edit: Not for sale, just made it for fun. But thanks for the interest!***
MTBR thread here
Custom machined brass hinge

Heat shrink on plastic guide


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

2012 Nimby Fifty

This past weekend, for the third time, I participated in the hardest but funnest race I ride all year. The day started really well; not a cloud in the sky, and knowing Pemberton well, I knew it was going to be a hot and dusty day. Before the race started I had the chance to take a picture with Catharine Pendrel and my two girls. I've met her before but this time I asked for a picture - maybe next time an autograph...
I posted a while back about this race and how hard it actually is; it never fails. Even though I raced it before, it was the hardest I have ever done. The course was the same but it was hot and dusty; the dust actually made some sections very slippery.
My starts are never very good. I'm always too nervous and lose a bit of time getting passed by the overly excited riders that bonk early, just to pass them back on the Nimby climb. Funny as it sounds this is where I gain my focus and start picking up speed. The only problem is because of my poor start I get caught behind and have to play catch up. Once the big climb is done you have time to think of what's to come...

My kids, me and the next Olympic gold medalist (photo: my wife)
Overnight Sensation (the downhill section of the course) is hard enough on a good day; with an XC hardtail, the seat all the way up and baby tires, it's a challenge to say the least. Even though I was taking it easy, for fear of flatting (more on this later), a few times I came close to losing it. I finished it without a scratch.
Up to this point, I was doing really well and was starting to pass a lot of riders that seemed to be fading on the second half of the course. That’s when it happened. As I was following a rider that I had just passed on a climb, he passed me back on a downhill. Not wanting too much of a gap, I started to go a bit faster than I should have...
Knowing that my tires were not up to the pounding, I was telling myself to slow down to avoid a mechanical. My ego took over and what had to happen happened. BANG! Pssssss…CRAP! A FLAT! Changing the flat was not a big deal but pumping it was horrible. Never will I bring a pump with me again, it seemed to take forever. Next time a CO2 inflator; that would have saved me so much hassle.
By that point the race was almost over. Feeling a bit disappointed, I pushed on to the end as hard as I could, trying to make up as much time as possible. By the time I reached the finish line my legs felt like over inflated balloons ready to pop. As I was collecting myself, out of nowhere, comes the legendary Bret Tippie who gave me a rock star interview! That was pretty cool - thanks Bret.
Rock star interview with legendary Bret Tippie (photo: my wife)
Minus a few mishaps on the course, I had a great time as usual. The BBQ and beers were a nice reward for what was a hard few hours on the saddle. I'll be back next year for more of a beating, without a doubt.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Handmade




I love bikes. To me cycling is more than just a sport, it's a way of life. When I buy new gear, I know where the stuff comes from, who made it, how they made it. The NAHBS is a big deal to me, the bikes/gear they make are so much more than just stuff. When I look at the bikes, I see sweat, blood, love and passion.

A few years back, after getting my main bike stolen, with a second child on its way, living paycheck to paycheck, busted leg (that's another story), I did what all cyclist do and ordered a brand new bike. It couldn't be any old bike. Still in mourning over the loss of my old one, I decided to get a custom Ti frame. I had been dreaming of a custom made frame for a long time and of course always lusted over the wonder material that is titanium.



I started my research on the NAHBS site. There's no better resource when it comes to custom bikes and gear. With so many builders to choose from, it's almost overwhelming. In the end, I decided to go with Strong Frames

Now it was time to call, place the order and save a spot in the queue. Working on the design with Carl Strong was fairly easy: he gives you homework, than patiently looks over all the details with you. The whole order process made it fairly easy.

Over the next few weeks we worked together on the design, and six months later, it was done. Here are a few pictures of my frame being built that Carl took along the way.