Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
No. Just No.
Joined
·
5,424 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
During both years of CTS I have forged some new friendships during stages. The stress of race conditions tends to expose both verbal and non-verbal cues to a one's personality in a brutally honest fashion with no preparation or pretense. Within this situational bubble it is a rare occurrence for me to encounter anyone that I would have any issues in calling a friend, perhaps lending credence to the concept that our views of a person are not coloured so much by who we meet, but instead are influenced largely by the circumstances in which we meet them.

One of those people was Jim Brogden from Guelph, a pilot by trade and relatively new father who found the time this past September to handily mop up the field in the over 40 solo category at Crank. After some digging, Jim had managed to track me down to take me up on an open offer I extended to show him around some of the local trails in Vancouver if he ever had a stopover here. That opportunity presented itself sooner than expected on the weekend of Dec. 4th-6th, with Jim in Vancouver for a few days bookended by coast to coast cargo runs for FedEx.

Given that we had rain in Vancouver on 25 of November's 30 calendar days, the prospect of a forecasted dry weekend in combination with a guest from out of town prompted me to take a Friday afternoon away from the office, as the first leg of what would hopefully be a weekend triple header of rides.

Most of my own rides involve rolling out the door on my bike, for a trip of 50-90 minutes to the selected trailhead for the day, and then the same returning home. Although the distances are not so far in Metro Vancouver's relatively compact geographical footprint, most of the routes are slow surface streets meaning that including time to load and unload it is barely any longer for me to hop on my bike and use the time pedaling instead of sitting behind the wheel. Combined with our status as a single-vehicle family in which I try to leave my car at home as often as possible for family use, that makes it a doubly easy decision. However, for this weekend we had the benefit of a spare car with my wife's parents out of town, and so took advantage of it as a way to maximize trail time for Jim's adventures, instead of grinding him down with 2 hours a day of extra riding on the road with full knobbies.

Temperatures bounced around the freezing mark all weekend, but were dry and often sunny. With the trail selection gravitating heavily toward technical XC trails with many stiff ascents, the work to speed ratio made the temperatures a non-issue without needing to resort to bulky gear. The copious amounts of woodwork ramps, bridges, and log rides on many of the trails were often covered with a layer of frost, but we are fortunate enough to have a plentiful supply of cedar to build with here, often in the form of split rungs that have good grip even in these conditions.

Day 1 ; Friday, Dec. 4th ; Mount Seymour

On the famous North Shore of Vancouver we have Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour as the most prominent mountains in primary view, all topping out at approximately 4000 feet in height. With a limited amount of time of ride before darkness on the Friday afternoon, we set out for Mt. Seymour's lower slopes, destined to hit some of the same trails that were used for stage 1 of the BC Bike Race earlier in 2009. On the menu for the day was a traverse up Fisherman's trail beside the scenic Seymour River gorge, followed by an out and back traverse on a technical XC trail called Bridle Path heavily built up with woodwork and stone, a short detour down the Empress reroute, and then over to Bottletop for our descent back down to Fisherman's and out. The ride was scarcely 90 minutes in total, but a very action packed 90 minutes. No sooner has one feature gone by, when another appears a scant 10-15 feet later. Many pedal kicks, lunges, and careful traction control required throughout, although nothing overtly threatening. Too much fun happening too quickly on this day to worry about breaking out the camera for any pictures.

Day 2 ; Saturday Dec. 5th ; Burnaby Mountain

Although it will never be confused with the plethora of epic riding venues scattered throughout the province, Burnaby Mountain is a very nice, compact trail system essentially still in the heart of Metro Vancouver. It features a number of trails that, like Seymour, are built up with significant wood and rock armouring to help withstand usage in damp weather. The mountain's relatively steep slopes provide passages with somewhat more flow and speed than Seymour's XC trails, but which were more than challenging enough to host last year's BC provincial XC championships organized by our club.

Here's Jim looking out from a clearing on the west side of Burnaby Mountain, toward the far shore of the Burrard Inlet as it heads up toward Indian Arm, with the community of Deep Cove nestled along the shoreline. We had just finished a climb of approximately 800 feet, with the last bit being a very punchy steep grade, so a couple of minutes of rest disguised as a photo op were well-earned. Burnaby Mountain tops out at approximately 1200 feet elevation, which is less than a third of the height of the North Shore triplets, but still a handful to pedal up.


From the same lookout point, toward the east end of the Burrard Inlet where it terminates in Port Moody with Belcarra, Eagle Mountain and Burke Mountain visible in succession along the far shore. The following day's ride was all on the slopes above and to the left of the distant housing lines.


This climb up a trail segment called "Cardiac" is classic STIL (Steeper Than It Looks). In fact, it does look quite steep, but it's actually even worse than it looks, with a cruel curve that doesn't give away any secrets about when the suffering will actually end. As the wheel turns, it is only 600 metres, but it's sufficient to have caused one of our provinces best elite category racers - and a 2-time world singlespeed 'cross champ - to go scrambling to a local shop for a triple crank before our race last year to replace the 2x9 setup he had brought over from Vancouver Island.


The grade doesn't really look that steep, does it? You'll make it, but not without exploring just about every tooth you have available in your gearing.


There are a couple of singletrack trails that are suitable for climbing, but are used far more frequently as descents. In order to minimize chances of being steamrolled, it's usually wise to simply do as the Romans do and use the gravelled multi-use trails instead anytime the path turns upwards. For our day's third and final ascent of the mountain, we selected a more forgiving but longer route before bombing back down to the car.


On our return journey, we passed once again through the clearing where we crested our first climb of the day, from which we could see the bulk of Vancouver and surround municipalities stretched out in the distance in between the totem poles. All our ups, downs, overs, and barrel rolls amounted to almost 3 hours of riding.


Day 3 ; Saturday Dec. 6th ; Port Moody & Coquitlam

Sadly, the trails around the Tri-Cities area consisting of Port Moody, Coquitlam, and Port Coquitlam have lost some fantastic trails due to residential development over the past decade. While this route is not what it once was in terms of variety of singletrack, it's still good to mix things up as a 3rd option here in the city, and certainly provides enough terrain to work on fitness especially when including the 1.5 hours of rolling pavement and multi-use trails I have to navigate each way back and forth from my house. There is some new trail construction going on recently that may turn things around, perhaps even to a state where we might be able to organize a point to point marathon XC race in the area in 2011.

After quite a bit of time climbing, we finally hit our high point in elevation for the day at approximately 1500 feet, overlooking Buntzen Lake which is itself at a fair elevation above sea level. From the valley floor along Buntzen's edge, there are some spectacular views upwards toward the sheer walls all around. Pictures from this vantage point will have to come another day, although I doubt they will be as inspiring as in person. It seems I had a droplet of moisture on the lens unfortunately, which then appears as a blotch in the middle of all subsequent pictures, but they should still serve to provide some flavour of the day.


Looking back south from the same position, Burnaby Mountain where we rode the previous day is on the south side of the Burrard Inlet, with the area where I live faintly visible as the dark horizontal line closest to the ground toward the right edge of the photograph, in front of the farthest mountains in the distance behind the haze.


From our day's high point, having completed the "heavy lifting" for the day, we swooped back through some virtuous singletrack, beginning with very natural terrain before encountering a more manicured set of trails closer to the housing line. My point and shoot compact camera, combined with mediocre photography techniques, left me woefully unprepared to capture any decent images from within the singletrack. Therefore I decided instead to play with some silly image editing features instead such as a faux depth of field aperture, B&W conversion, etc. To mask the overall poor quality of the images! Somewhere in between we squeezed in another 2.5 hours of riding, and managed to leave Jim with some very cold toes from the extended descents and the lowest temperatures of the weekend.










All in a great set of rides, and fantastic company from Jim. He handled all the local trails with aplomb, at a much higher level of proficiency than I did seeing them for my first few times. This invariably seems to be the case whenever I have guests from other locales riding here, much to my chagrin. Nevertheless, it's always good times hosting guests on hometown trails, and consequently I will eagerly await the next episode of cycling's equivalent to "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" Your guess is as good as mine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
685 Posts
Great pics Circlip! I was in Vancouver and Seattle in mid November, thought I'd get some riding in, but it rained every day and usually all day for the 9 days I was there. Got to Whistler for some snowboarding though, it was great! You guys have it all out there, I wouldn't mind living there, but I don't think I could put up with the rain!
 

·
Evil Jr.
Joined
·
6,567 Posts
Nice!

I was really surprised at the quality of the XC riding we saw on Day 1 of BCBR. As a "flat lander", when I thought "North Shore" the only words that came to mind were "big" and "down". Even on my rigid SS, it was great fun!
 

·
No. Just No.
Joined
·
5,424 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
langford said:
Great pics Circlip! I was in Vancouver and Seattle in mid November, thought I'd get some riding in, but it rained every day and usually all day for the 9 days I was there. Got to Whistler for some snowboarding though, it was great! You guys have it all out there, I wouldn't mind living there, but I don't think I could put up with the rain!
It's always a mixed bag here for weather. November does have the most precipitation historically according to stats, but this year was even worse than usual. Some years I could probably do these same rides every weekend all through the winter under similar conditions as seen in the photographs. Last year we took it on the chin with unexpected heavy snow before Christmas that stuck around for ages and wiped out the whole winter season of mountain biking, as it's not very much fun (i.e. walk) uphill with a bike for an hour at a time.

garage monster said:
I was really surprised at the quality of the XC riding we saw on Day 1 of BCBR. As a "flat lander", when I thought "North Shore" the only words that came to mind were "big" and "down". Even on my rigid SS, it was great fun!
Most of the North Shore trails are on the steeper side, but there's enough left over to qualify as plain old technical XC albeit hitting the same bunch of trails with regularity rather than being able to draw upon the full set of trails, many of which are best left to big hit bikes and armour. I know some riders out here who are on 29ers, or SS, or rigid, or even all of these, but not many. Having these spots accessible by rolling out my front door on the bike is great, but by the time spring rolls around I'm still itching to get out to Squamish, Whistler, Sunshine Coast, or other spots around B.C. Each year when I start to get a taste of these trails out of town it reminds me that riding in Vancouver is actually a bit claustrophobic if you can believe that.
 

·
Team NFI
Joined
·
5,304 Posts
Circlip said:
I

Most of the North Shore trails are on the steeper side, but there's enough left over to qualify as plain old technical XC albeit hitting the same bunch of trails with regularity rather than being able to draw upon the full set of trails, many of which are best left to big hit bikes and armour. I know some riders out here who are on 29ers, or SS, or rigid, or even all of these, but not many. Having these spots accessible by rolling out my front door on the bike is great, but by the time spring rolls around I'm still itching to get out to Squamish, Whistler, Sunshine Coast, or other spots around B.C. Each year when I start to get a taste of these trails out of town it reminds me that riding in Vancouver is actually a bit claustrophobic if you can believe that.
Ladies only, Pipeline, Natural High, Lower Griffen, Espresso, Big Bad Scary Executioner, Lower Oilcan, Severed Dick, and Ned's just to name a few are fully doable on Circlip's XC bike.

That does it, time to build up the 29er as a hardcore HT.
 

·
No. Just No.
Joined
·
5,424 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Enduramil said:
Ladies only, Pipeline, Natural High, Lower Griffen, Espresso, Big Bad Scary Executioner, Lower Oilcan, Severed Dick, and Ned's just to name a few are fully doable on Circlip's XC bike.
Many more in addition to this list, if the aforementioned XC bike had a better pilot on top of it. :eek:
 

·
No. Just No.
Joined
·
5,424 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Enduramil said:
That's what you get when you focus only on the engine.It's the technical skills that can make up time.
Wouldn't we all like to descend like Sam Hill, and bust up the climbs like Julien Absalon? Unfortunately, there's only so much time in a day and choices have to be made. Even on layouts that tend toward the technical side within the XC genre, big engine and passable skills trumps passable engine and big skills 99% of the time.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top