Saturday, November 28, 2015

Vanderwater Exploration

 Due to a road trip to Belleville saw a opportunity on November 14th to ride and explore some where new in Eastern Ontario.  Just north of Belleville is the  Vanderwater Conservation Area near the town of Thomasburg.

Tried looking up any info through Google but there isn't much info on the area. So the only option is to explore. The map online may or may not be accurate but gave a rough idea of the some of the supposed tracks.

It was chilly in the parking lot at the trailhead. Paved road way may or may not be a good sign.

Just after starting spotted local wildlife. A Porcupine busy eating grass and didn't even flinch when I went by so close.

The trails are more double track the singletrack which is more like what we rode 20 years ago.

But looking to the sides of the double track you can see the potential of the area if it was decided to add more trail.

A wee bit of leaf covered downhill.

Future off the grid housing?

Found a little technical singletrack on the way back to the truck.

About an hour and a half  of riding later with the sun setting it was time to pack it in. Vanderwater is nothing  exciting if your looking for singletrack. But still it was a exploration of a new area which is always good.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Gananoque Provincial Wildlife Area

Last February heard about a potential new riding area near Kingston called Gananoque Provincial Wildlife Area.  And noted it for a future exploration in the the year.

Once during the summer coming back from riding in Brockville stopped to take a look. But after looking at it, it was over grown and hard to see the track. So when the oppurtunity arose on November 4th to go ride there I took it.

Trail Head

The trail head is a gate and a park where you can affair. And while there was a big effort to clean it up  earlier in the year the reality is it is minimally maintained. And unlike many I don't shy away from minimal maintenance trails as they are fun in their own way. And exploring is always a good thing. Especially when the system has no known maps.

Initial impression

After getting gear on headed into the system expecting a bit of navigation skills being needed. And initially was what I expected from minimal maintenance but it was a illusion. After a bit of guess the route progress became a combo of ride a bit and dismount to hike and carry bike over/through stuff.

Moss Carpet

Had a nice throw back near the beginning to riding on moss. Throw back to the days of riding in BC. Unfortunately it went from this to something more akin to a navigation exercise or masturbating with a cheese grater. Mildly amusing but mostly painful.

Welcome To Hell

And after a half hour of head bashing fighting through this crap came out onto a quad track. So changed plans and tried to see where the quad track led.  Which was to a swamp and a beaver dam.

After doing a cyclocross like carry along the edge of the beaver dam. Followed the quad track for 10 more minutes. And in the end it was a dead end and a waste of effort...dead end. So back tracked and tried another quad track....

And after a bit of mud had to back track again. So followed the quad track back to the track that paralleled the 401. And headed back to the car with the end result of 2 hours of effort to go no where.

So while there could be potential for winter back country XC skiing. I will not visit it again. It is a waste of time during the riding season to go as it is al ot of energy to go no where.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Half Step Back From Paul's

I had mentioned in my post about this years 2015 Paul's Dirty Enduro that something had been bugging me other then the cold that had been developing. Truth is I had been feeling a bit burned out prior to the start during the week. And while I had some idea what some of it was prior to the Saturday start. It was during the race that it came into clearer focus.

When I looked at the results this year compared to 2010's 30k ride was 25 minutes slower. It was on the heavier Mistress...the original. As seen in the pic below but with SPD's instead of flats. Nothing on that years bike was light compared to the Samurai aka Mistress V2.

Which based on logic should have been faster but as I said something was different. And now that I have had time to think about it after the "Aha" moment during this years Paul's. I can now but my finger on it. I wasn't riding to race...I was riding to finish. Finish because I didn't want to let someone down. The person I care about. A situation made worse because I am not one who asks people for money for causes. And while I wear my heart on my sleeve it takes alot of mental energy to put one self out there asking for support for mental health. And I am one who has always had a hard time reaching out asking others. This made even harder living in a small town.

A week before this years Paul's I realized I am mentally burnt out reaching out for 3 years. As I said it takes alot of mental energy for me to ask others for stuff like this. That it is time to take a half step back from approaching Paul's this way. To worried about everything going wrong and letting my loved one down after the rain year. And this is starting to make it feel like a job which is removing the fun.

So will be postponing the fundraising till 2017. Paul's 2016 will simply about truly racing the 30k and not worrying about letting someone down. Don't worry, I have spoken with my loved one and they completely understand how I feel. And appreciate all I have done to date.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

2015 Paul's Dirty Enduro

The night before the 2015 edition of Paul's loomed and this year was kind of ominous. I say that as as the evening progressed noted some signs that I was getting sick. Oh, great. Not a third year of Paul's being difficult.

Hoping to at best delay the inevitable, off to bed. Woke up and still felt the same but no worse symptoms. not worse but tried to do some damage control. Grabbed some cold meds and making sure to take them with enough time to still cover the race. Hoped for the best. And off to Ganaraska.

Got there and felt okay. At the start since the year so far has not gone as well as hoped and not knowing how the cold would effect the day. Decided to go out harder than a normally do. Well turns out went way faster then I thought for the first 10k, at least what a course marshal said. Which I was okay with as I knew there was more technical coming and would see how it went.

Now, I do admit to losing some time as was laughing. Laughing you say? Well, there was a section of a kind of quad track which had on the right lot's of shrapnel from windfall and such. Lots of potential derailleur benders and wheel destroyers. So...leading into this section a guy had been following closely. Once in the section he half wheeled me a couple of times but said nothing. I held my line as it's the job of the rider making the pass to call the side. Now with a nice big space on my left that three guys abreast could pass you would think he would. But no....without saying a word. Genius goes for the pass on the right through through shrapnel. Yep...brilliant idea. Let's try and wreck your bike so I can't finish. About 4 of us are laughing at what we just saw. Thanks  for the laughs dude.

 Last years bike but lighter parts this year.
After our laugh of the day. It was back to work.

Unfortunately once into the later sections the cold did have an effect. Didn't have the feel to push it like I thought. But there was something else bugging me which I couldn't put my finger on.  But still didn't have the same speed as 4 years ago on the heavier Stylus. But as I mentioned before this year was not a good year riding and fitness wise.

Got to the aid station and heard it was 10k left. So resumed the steady riding for the finish. After some more flowing through the trees and ups and downs came out on the double track back to the start. Crossed the finish line and got a moist hug from the great KT Misner. Who despite barely knowing me and seeing me once a year remembered me, full name, and only interacting via the web. What can you say about that? Especially when she remembered last years  60k of Pain.

Always happy and smiling
Just glad that this year the most was my usual EIA induced coughing fit. A while later it was great to see my Lapdogs teammate Alex Bowling finally nail the 100k.

Thanks for the always great day KT and the evening hanging out with the legendary Paul's race crew. Think next year will finally camp out Saturday night instead after the 30k.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Guide Filing

It takes time to find the right part to meet your application. It is not always easy to do this. Especially when you are not exactly going to fit and forget.

The Mistress V1 has needed a chain guide for sometime which sounds easy. Till you factor in that I will more than likely be needing to modify whatever I get to meet my needs. Made even more challenging when dealing with ISCG old mountings. So knowing I will need to modify in some way it gets a little hard to consider paying $50-100 for new. So lots of stalking EBay and Pinkbike to meet my needs. With many false starts on Pinkbike's buy and sell.

Finally got my hands on a Race Face guide for $20. Once it arrived it was to the work shop to start the mods.

Lower guide parts where not needed so to work with the hacksaw we went. While not pretty it is simple and effective. After cutting a little bit of filing to remove any rough edges and such.

Next phase....mounting.

And installation of cranks with a quick neighbourhood street text.

Rode Route 66 and nary a chain drop. Did some downhill runs today and no chain drop. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Kingston Cup Half Marathon

Sat Sept 19th was the day of Substance Projects Kingston Cup. And is the last major event prior to Paul's Dirty Enduro aka Riding For My Love. And the way this year has gone my fitness aka waistline is not where I had wanted it to be. Okay...I admit it I am pulling the 3 months of minus 30 and being tag teamed by a line up of various illnesses because no one went outside excuse. And no I won't be posting cutsie Couch Dog Photo's as a distraction. That just wouldn't be my style.

So while I did have insiders knowledge of the trails as I spend many hours riding and doing trail work at the Farm. You never know what Substance Projects course setter is thinking up.

The half marathon course this year was 37km over the singletrack and farm tracks of the system. Sounds good in theory till you add in temps of about 36 degrees celsius then add in supposedly a 75% humidity. Made even harder when you are a Clydesdale and have to work harder than the Greyhounds. In my mind this was the final race before Paul's Dirty Enduro.

 Knowing the easy part of the course at Collins Lake was first plan was to be smart and save energy for Route 66 and Pete's Loop. I knew that these sections where technical especially Route 66 and alot of time could be wasted if not enough energy was saved. This in my mind is where the race actually starts.

Unfortunately screwed up in the beginning as missed the half marathon start by a minute. After a bit of mental ass kicking. Started trying to not over due the ride angry to make up time. Shortly after entering the first singletrack came upon Shannon a friend who had issues with a bent hanger. It became the bike version of the moment in Dante's Peak where the tech is telling everyone to turn around so as to not see the brute force handi this case to a carbon Kona frame. After a few minutes of combat bike surgery. Shannon was back to racing albiet with maybe 4 gears. But better than a mechanical DNF.

After that back to racing. Well kind of as I had to fix a bit of a bike issue and Shannon got away. But eventually caught back up on the long bumpy farm track back. Once the road crossing was done said see you at the finish to Shannon as I could see a rider off in the distance. Maybe it's my time racing Tri and Du especially Tri as a stone with arms swimmer aka the Kenny Souza style triathlete. And being forced to pursue on the bike and run. And have it fully ingrained because my better results are when I am the hunter.

After the Soyfield it was the aid station for a slam down of coke and then into the Fun Track section. Which put us into the first half of home loop. Focused on being smooth and flowing through the track. Then it was Burbrook and a bit of singletrack and then the swamp crossing till reached Route 66.  This is where the work began as Route 66 was designed by Rob to be more like a BC XC trail. So if you keep your focus the whole loops you can nail it. But under race conditions it is a whole different animal as some found out. Made it through no issues other than the right hander around the big rock screwed up the turn. No biggee.

After Route 66 was back across the swamp and through some singletrack back to Burbrook. Then a grind along the gravel of Burbrook to the climb up to Pete's Loop. After a stop at the aid station at the top it was into Pete's. Another trail of rock and twisting fun. It was after leaving the singletrack and coming round the cornfield after ignoring the timer on the bar. I finally took a look and realized I was riding faster than I thought. After stopping again at the aid station before descending the singletrack back down to Burbrook and the grind to the second half of Home Loop.

I had caught and kept close to a guy on a True North singlespeed through all of it. And looking back just before entering the singletrack could see no one behind. Huge ass gap. But about 5 minutes into the last half of Home Loop decided to let him go. I decided I had achieved the goal of the day and it being a training race for Paul's to ride smart....smooth. Though gotta say..nailed the swamp berm perfectly. It turns out this was a smart decision as on the last grunt after the DH and silo panel road. Could feel the heat and low energy levels starting to have an effect. That last hill sucked.

 Was a good day as I had achieved what I set out. Never checked the results as I wasn't concerned. So was surprised to hear I got third in the Clydesdale Category. Happy with that. Guess this means I have to start doing this thing called proper training for next years season.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

2015 Black and Decker.

From a first week of July road trip. Life got in the way and am behind.

5 years ago I road tripped to Brockville to ride the Black and Decker trails. And after a 5 year absence got to ride them again.

First trip. which was followed by the Second Trip to ride the Canadian shield rock at Black and Decker. All info for Black and Decker was found in the Rider Mel's Guide Book.
The map in Mel's book is older so some trails may have changed or maybe new as I did come across some new trail that was a work in progress. 

Some things are the same...the rock...the bugs....the quad track mud bogs. But some stuff has changed. Some features are gone and some sections are more overgrown.

But the rock lines are still just as hard as 5 years ago and require the same skill and focus to clean as then. You can't short cut riding here. Let your focus down on the rock lines and you eat rock. But like it did 5 years ago the Reborn Mistress ate it up.

And with the return of the Mistress, the original. Have been riding her more as she requires more strength to ride and effort as she is a burlier build. Unlike Mistress V2, who is more svelte and emphasis on going for longer with less effort. And in the lead up to Paul's this year want more strength and such that only riding the original Mistress will develop.

Focus needs focus or Eat It.

Could tell I am still getting used to the Mistress as some stuff I know I nailed before am a little rusty in skill.

Found out that there is a pump track on Brockville as well now so will have to make another trip. Also because they have a Brockville weekly races. Would be a good time to go and get a wee push speed wise.