Wednesday, April 13, 2016

First ride of 2016

 Finally the weather has it seems to stop being full blown weird.  Which allowed for the first actual non freezing ride of the year.

Rough route and distance for all those Strava types who worry about this stuff.

April 8th Ride

While the tea leaf readers at the Weather Network said it would only be light rain. One can never trust them so mostly go with little stop and take pictures.

Not really eventful  in the end except for a side track I took that decided in 2016 to have a Bog as part of the exit.

It was definitely still damp. And even non singletrack routes where muddy.

In the end a 21.24K first ride of the year sans thermal kit.

Cambridge Freeze

Weekend of April 2nd took a trip to Kitchener/Waterloo for a weekend away. While I wasn't expecting to ride singletrack as the weather has dragged out this year. but it turned out to be the worst weather in 9 years. Compounded by the fact one doesn't exactly plan to need pack 20 pounds of extra winter kit in April.

By early Saturday Afternoon it began to do this...

And began to see a slow drop in temperatures.  but the ground wasn't frozen so it turned to muck as it was wet snow.

And by Sunday morning it was minus 16 and a skating rink outside. So no riding till later when back in Scarborough.

By evening temps had warmed up slightly and was able to get a bit of a ride in on the Sunday.

The nasty turn of the weather has led to a small pre-positioning cold weather kit at my in laws with all the other kit. Just in case.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

North Fredericksburgh Crown Land

With some info  from a MTB Kingston member about a area of Crown land in Napanee  I had noted down to check into the next time I was in or near Napanee. On December 19th was in Napanee again and went to check it out.

Currently the weather has been mild and very wet so wasn't expecting it to be dry. And wouldn't get very far in. But hey, still better than nothing. Though it was minus 5 out.

The initial entry was rocky and had some sections of water.

Down this track though it got to the point of impassable as I expected.  And while in summer would make the attempt to go further. It is a bad idea at minus 5 and temp will start dropping soon as it was late afternoon.

Back tracked a wee bit and took a different track...

Came to this section which was the creek where the swamp drains.

While couldn't get far in as it was wet and muddy. There was still some sections that was rideable.

While didn't get to far due to lots of water at this time of year. I will try this again next summer when the water levels have dropped.

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.