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.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Kingston Trophy Half Marathon 2017

3 day's out from the Kingston Trophy was given the medical green light to ride. Well, to ride but be smart.

With that and knowing I missed almost 2 weeks of riding any rocky trail around to be ready as per past years. I always try to ride a few times the trails I know of that are harder then will be in the race.  That being replaced with 4 days in the hospital with bruised ribs and lacerated Kidney followed by 2 and a half weeks of easy spinning.

The day's goal would simply be to finish and get a result. This was decided Saturday morning driving to the Farm. No thought was given the night before. All I did was trail work the day before. Then Friday night directed those camping to the camping area and sat by the bonfire drinking beer.

So on the way to the race as mentioned before the goal was simply to get a result. It was after arriving and while piddling around as it was really just a ride. I thought that just by simply finishing I might have a chance to pull of a top 2 for the overall.

After the start I treated it as the Kenyan's would call it...a training race. Just put in the ride, be smart, and don't do anything stupid. Leave the hammering and heroics till the 30th. With this in mind there really isn't much to write about for most of the day. It was after the technical on route 66 and the Burbrook hill and about a quarter into Pete's Loop section that I seemed to pick up the pace.

Not surprising as it is one of my favourite trails to play on...hey I love rock. Why I still run a retrogrouch bash guard. After clearing Pete's and gimping down the hill rode the rest of the way as hard as I could while being smart. Which worked till a momentary lapse before the left turn to the straight to the finish. Momentary lapse led to standing and try to go hard. Which was red flagged by a immediate pain from my left ribs. Nope.....just spin it in.

While good with it. It was harder then it should have been as for now need to race with a moto style Kidney Belt....hard to breath at times with it. Later was surprised to find out from Sherri running the timing that I had placed 3rd in Clyde. And may have nailed 1st over all.

What...may have nailed 1st overall in Clyde?

Well, that was true. So a unexpected 3rd for the day and nailing 1st overall for the year. Despite barely cleared to race 3 days prior.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Malabar Scrub Sanctuary

In July got to go to Florida for family trip and finally brought my own bike for a trip to Florida. Due to meeting requirements for packing size had to stick to 26" wheels. So while I wanted to bring the Eccentric opted for the Samurai as had not picked up the 12x142 rear 26" wheel yet.


Before we flew had heard from my daughter's Godmother about there being trails nearby and even before leaving had done some homework.





I do admit wasn't expecting grand singletrack and technical challenges galore. I was thinking more exploration and simply riding in new places.



The only sort of trail area was the Malabar Scrub Sanctuary. Which came with lots of sand and some singletrack. As I said wasn't expecting challenging riding but was better than riding road.



Even came with mobile rocks aka the Gopher Tortoise. Apparently some kind of land based Tortoise that likes to dig.

Gopher Tortoise



One bonus was not just the trail head maps but there was also actual trail markers. Which where nice and kind of gave a clue where one was going. Even though I do admit to going the wrong way a few times.

Fortunately was able to get a second ride in at Malabar the next day.

Malabar Ride 2

While it was a brief 2 days of riding it was worth having my own bike. And with word that there will be another visit next year to Florida and my daughters Godmother. Will be ready. Will have the 26" wheels and 12x142 rear hub axle ready to go.