Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Race Face Indy Knee Weighed and Measured

Last year looking up leg armour specifically something a light and easier to carry on the bike. Picked up a pair of Race Face Indy knee at Mountain Equipment Co-op with a few other things as it was through a Christmas Gift Card.



For years have worn Roach or some form of knee with hardshell either internal hardshell like Fox or external like the old Hoots knees. Valuing the function of my knees does make me skeptical of soft shell with essentially lycra holding it all together. Of course getting them in January means one does have to wait till Spring and summer to use.

Once it was warm enough began using them. Felt more like knee warmers and in general stayed in place. Forgot a few times was wearing them. While it was all good there was one initial thing I noted. That the stitching to hold the loop in place on the upper part was pulling a bit away from the lycra creating a small hole.  But it was livable.



It was in the first 8 minutes of a ride in August that my skepticism in these was proven correct. After a low speed crash discovered as pictured above. Ok, I get they are made of lycra but it bothers me that all it takes is one crash and they are garbage now. Wow, is all I can say. I mean your paying at least $95 CDN per pair. So every time you crash you have to buy a new pair? Sorry, but that is just stupid to me. Then there is the consideration with how we are supposed to be throwing out less as cyclists. Well, this as far as I can tell is adding more to it.

So back to the modified Lizard Skins old school full leg. Full leg modified by hacksaw and scissors. A wee bit hotter a sveatyer than the Indy. But able to handle more than one crash which is better than shelling out $500 a year or more to replace after every crash.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

$2,000 Bike Challenge- Dirtbag Edition

 In January there was a article on Pinkbike about the state of bike costs in North America. While it was interesting looking at it from a new bike cost perspective. And left it at that. Or so I thought.

Failing The $2,000 Bike Challenge

First incarnation in 2013


See it kind of connected to some thoughts from a couple of previous conversations about buying bikes in 2017. It resonates with me because I am a Dirtbag Mountain Biker and I have noticed the decline these days of other ways to get the bike of one's "dreams". So channeling both the Dirtbag and the card carrying member of the Retro Grouch Moto Club mindsets thus we come to the,

$2,000 dollar Dirtbag Challenge.

This is the current set up.....

Chromag Samurai Frame       $500
Rockshox Pike 409                $45
Shimano XTR Cranks            $35
Flat pedals                              $20
Time ATAC                           $25
Hope Pro Front Hub               $50
Alex All Terra 650b rim         $20
Shimano Deore rear Hub        $30
Alex AllTerra 650b                $20
Race Face                               $5
Surly Stainless Steel 34T       $10
Chainguide                             $25
FSA BB                                  Free
Enduro BB Bearings              $25
Gravity Dropper                     $40
WTB saddle                            Free
Control Tech Seatpost            $20
WTB Saddle                           Free
Shimano XTR shifter             Free
Shimano XTR rear derailleur Free
Danger boy levers                  $50
Sram cassette                          $20
Sram Chain                            $20
Avid BB7 calipers x2            $30
Suntour Grease Guard HSet  $25
Titec Stem 50mm                  $15
Salsa Salt Flat Bar                 $15
Odi Grips                               Free

And the total is roughly $1,045.

Then also add in the second wheelset  Transition Revolution 26" wheelset acquired for $60. And also add in the MTB Tools 12mm thru axle adapter for $30. Also the old school, crud catcher for $10. And a Roach top tube pad free and a Revelate Feedbag for $40

Winter set up

Total result was about $1,185.

End result of taking my time and not being in a  "Oh..my lordy...so shiny and new...must have the newest shiniest bike and parts" rush is a bike I like. Sure the parts are other riders upgraditis cast offs but the end result is they work well. Sure it took longer and provided no immediate instant gratification.  But the end result is the bike I want and one that I like to ride.


Yep....get what I want for less winning.

Monday, November 13, 2017

McKeown Rd Ride

This was a project I have been wanting to do for a while. I spotted this road last year in 2016 while putting in the route recce for a potential MTB type route to Napanee from Kingston.

With the rains we have had in this year a lot of these routes have not been as accessible. Due of course to the high water table and it taking so long to lower.

Cambden East- McKeown Rd

Beginning of October finally had a chance to try to ride McKeown Rd. The starting point would be the Park and Ride lot at the 401 and Cambden Road East.



 I have ridden the starting sections from Cambden Road, round back of the Onroute and up to Switzerville road earlier in the year. But turned back from Mckeown Rd due to the water levels.




There was still some mud on Mckeown from Switzerville to County Road #5. Some sections did require me to dismount and hike a bike. But the good news was the water levels where low enough to get through.



Once crossed County Road #5 the track was more rideable. And despite a flat near the end of the unmaintained section minimal problems. Though with time running short had to head straight back to the truck via the paved road from Cambden East. But the good news while grinding back to the truck did spot what I thought would be the next potential unmaintained road that could help complete a loop.



Friday, October 13, 2017

Seaton/Duffins Creek

Thanksgiving Monday the original plan after an errand near Stouffville was to ride at Greenwood Conservation area. But like most plans they never survive intact. In this case there was various detours due to construction. So headed to the Seaton or Duffins Creek trails instead.

Seaton/Duffins Creek

Of course no ride at Duffins would be complete with the look out, now with construction.



Then headed south to hit the DH to the valley floor and ride along the creek.


Of course have to go by the creek a few times. You know...to check for aliens.


Though this fall visit would come with a small bonus. Heard some splashing in creek. When I went to investigate...



Yep...nature is great.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

10 Anniversary- All Because of A Bike

What does one say about the woman I love and adore?  And have done so for 10 years?

10 years that began really 17 years ago  because of a bike. On a grey drizzly Vancouver afternoon on the Cambie Bridge a journey that began with a smile and a U Turn to talk to this gorgeous woman who smiled back.

Who made enough impression on me to take a risk and leave all I knew behind to come to Ontario. Who for the last 15 years has supported me and guided me like no one else.





I still have no clue what she the retired National Team Volleyball player saw in a guy who's  first sport was so completely different from hers. And thought spending hours riding around on bikes was a good thing. Come on now...throwing oneself down a DVP hard race course at 100kmh isn't normal in a skin suit ...really.



Whatever she saw in me that got her attention I will never know. She has been there at my best and worst. She has driven with me all over the province to races and sat in chilly parking lots for 3 years.

And am privileged that she trusted me enough to take her and teach her to mountain bike. It was there in 2006 in the Don Valley at the Dirt Camp where I saw her at her best at least in my eyes.

Trying to ride a beam buried in the dirt she slammed into the ground. And when I rushed over thinking "Oh, shit. I screwed up" expecting to be in trouble. She was crying but pissed that she hadn't got it. I was never more proud and in love with at the time my Fiance. A moment when I could see the fight and passion that was hidden. But there would be more to come. You even went down Blue with me once.



When I was worried that my past, social ineptness , and other things would cause problems. Her response was we will do it together. And we have. Even when I had my bad day, she grabbed my hand. Even on my worst moments when my insecurities and anxieties come out she has been there.

I still remember the last defining moment before our wedding on April 12th, a few weeks prior I think it was. After giving up the running and swimming the year before, you know with wedding and a child on the way trying to do the right thing. I came up with the brilliant idea and presented it to Joely. That I would tone down the biking to casual. Her counter argument was very convincing,  "You do that and I will kill you." How can you not love someone who cares that much about you doing what makes you...you?


I  have watched the love of my life go from being a retired National Volleyball Team athlete to a coach. Going from an assistant coach to running  high performance programs. Both mentoring  young women athletes and developing Olympic athletes.  Her evolving from being a retired national level athlete to national level coach. Earning Gold medals at OUA and Canada Games. To now mentoring women at RMCC and being our CISM  national team coach.

If it wasn't for a bike I wouldn't have the woman I have in my life who has spent the last 10 as my wife.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Responding to a Bad Crash

There is frequent what if type discussions about what could have been done and so on when things go south. In mountain biking I have found there has not been a great deal of this. I think we need more of sharing bad moments and our process of what we did.

Keep in mind with this I have my life in the outdoors before there where all sorts of outdoor schools and books at Chapters. I have learned things from others, reading various books and magazines, the military, and simply the hard way. Let's face reality, mountain biking 30 years ago there was very few on the trail. And riding in places like the Cougar Valley you learn very quickly that you have to be prepared to figure out how to extract yourself from trouble or it could be a long pain full hike in the dark to the highway.




 Near the end of the ride the evening of August 13th while exiting the Don Valley for the SUV for me things went south. Front wheel went out and I slammed left side into the ground. Wind knocked out of me. Never lost consciousness nor hit my helmet at all. Instinctively I did a feel of my ribs and left arm to feel if anything was unusual. Good nothing.  Limbs and such are ok. Definitely breathing based on the creatively worded non repeating vocal response to this.


At this point my biggest focus is to get out of the valley to Loblaws where the SUV is. Coming from the mountains am a big believer in the self extraction method. That meaning if you can get yourself out to the trail head then do so. After getting there loaded everything up and while noting definitely tender and sore nothing was out of place. Texted my wife that was out of the Don and headed to the hotel.

Of course hindsight sitting in front of the TV gives us the perfect what we should have done. But when one is in the middle of it things may get missed. In this case leaving the Redway Loblaws had the feeling of a brewing in the long term Bowel Movement. But at the time was not a big deal.



Heading to the hotel it was about Finch and the 400 that I decided to answer nature's call. At this point there had been no issues breathing or any changes other than the pain of a bruised left side. As well as respond to a text from my wife.  It was at this point that my Bowel Movement let me know there was a problem....blood. Immediately texted my wife of the situation and then called her. As we talked did another quick assessment....looking for anything that felt oddly shaped or firm. Still nothing, so looked up distances to and locations of the nearest hospital. I do admit that I wish I had had stronger urge to use the bathroom near Sunnybrook Hospital. I say this as my Aunt Isabelle would have been there.

Fortunately my wife was in transit and would meet me at Humber Hospital's ER where I was headed. Looking back this is where I made an error, I should have got a container with a lid and brought some of the stool with blood with me. As proof that I wasn't faking it to the triage nurse.

Having my wife meet me at the ER while seemingly insignificant was the right call. It is hard when you are in pain, concerned due to potential internal injury, sweating, and all the other stuff one feels while having to wait. So in this case it was good to have my wife advocating for me as on top of the injury. Was worrying about my daughter and her reaction. Here she was in another hospital 8 months after losing her Granny. Now she was seeing someone else she cared about and was her world in a hospital.

With the help of my wife was able to get in despite the triage desk blowing me off. It was when I urinated in the given sample bottle that things hit the fan. The ER Doc turned the corner and took two steps into the room and saw the bottle....."Is that his Urine?"  When I say hit the fan, next it was this is a trauma and such.  Yep, in less than 5 seconds.

I won't elaborate the rest as it was no longer in my hands. But the next day Aunt Isabelle and her husband Uncle Keith came out to check on me. And talking with Aunt Isabelle a Cardiac ICU nurse through the events of the evening before. I pretty much did it all ok.


Depot Lakes Loop Aug 7th 2017

With the bad summer we are having this year....rain storms galore. And two routes one a old one I created and ridden 3 times. And a new one I mapped out have not been able to be ridden this year.  With that in mind looked for some kind of loop ride to do that was more remote and in paved.

After looking at the Backroads Map Book and looking carefully at Google Earth's satellite view came up with a rough loop around the Depot Lakes Conservation Area.

Depot Lakes Route





With no store at the camp ground nor anything on the rough route. Loaded up everything for both the ride and post ride as well. This would be the second trip like this for the Ranger and changes made since the Brockville trip.

After getting to the Depot Lakes Campground and parking. Got ready for the ride and looking back definitely leaned to the side of hauling to much.  But that was ok as this was an exploration ride. And with the possibility of rain off I went.



Of course this years trend continued apace...less than 10 minutes in. The rain began. A rain that would be there for the entire ride.



Rain like we haven't had enough this year?


Being that this was the first ride of the route speed was not important. More important was making sure to go by the route I had written out and had with me to check against the various side roads. Side roads I was using as  navigation way points.




In truth was bored of the usual K&P type rides and with the usual options under water most of the year. Was looking for another route that was dirt and such....kind of like Fishing Lake Road. But without the crack pot fake cop factor.


Wee bit damp





It was definitely a wee bit muddy.




In the end mission accomplished.