Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Just two weeks ago myself and a keen group of about 8 winter lovers managed to get onto the Larrimac trails and although it was patchy, it may have been the best ski of the season. Our obstacles were dirt patches, tree branches, open rivers and rocks. My skis are a little angry with me.
That same weekend I headed over to the Meech chairlift at Camp Fortune and played on the recently closed slopes. We spent the day climbing the hill and practicing our telemark turns on the way down. Pretty hard to master on 69mm xcountry skis.
Last weekend the same gaggle of skiers came together and did it all over again. We built a few little kickers to attempt a little air time and we even attempted skiing down a narrow chute under the chairlift. Sounds easy but when half the snow is missing and has rivers of snow melt running down the middle, it gets a little nerve racking.
I plan to start riding this weekend for the first time this year, but not before getting a few more tunrs in. We still have snow.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
We were rolling by 12pm. Glorious sunshine and dry roads, Surprise! I had downloaded the route onto my 705 so following the course was really easy. For the first time in my life I was telling people where to turn and I didn't feel lost. It was a life changing experience.
Anyways, there were 2 steep climbs in the first 5 km, not long but steep enough to break things up right away. Overall the course was pretty damn tough. 86 km in about 3.5 hrs. One flat for Anna as usual. We waited for her.
I'd guess it was at least 80% gravel/dirt roads. There were only a couple of paved road stretches that lasted more than 5km. Seemed like we were always turning and always getting beat up by pot holes big sinky gravel or washboards. Awesome! It also felt pretty hilly, I was pretty tired from a long ride the day before but I was still able to tell flat from hilly--it was hilly.
I highly recommend checking it out even if you don't plan on racing it, especially if you haven't ridden in the area before.
Can you believe it's March!!!
Friday, March 19, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
It was a blustery Thursday afternoon that we crammed into a VW golf and rolled out of Ottawa en-route to Richmond Virginia for a extended weekend of super bike geekery.
Although quite a few of our friends had big plans to attend the show the final posse was made up of Thom, Kent (from Phat Moose Cycles), and myself. This worked out since whoever got the back seat got to nap. However the two up-front got a bit more than they bargained for, at least on the drive down.
As a Ottawa resident and after having lived in the Eastern Townships for a number of years, you would expect to be accustomed to driving in rather foul winter weather….well we were in for a bit more than we bargained for. The weather was atrocious, snow, high winds, downed trees, crashed cars and big rigs, and trees down willy nilly all over the road. It was so bad that the interstate was closed to transport trucks, and RV’s because they were at risk of blowing over. Thirty inches fell in some areas and for some reason they don’t seem to plow interstates.
As you may have gathered we did arrive at the show, Friday morning at 4am, alive but a bit tired. We managed about 4hrs of sleep at the hotel then were up. We grabbed a Starbucks, conveniently located in our hotel lobby, and were off to find the convention centre.
My first impression of the show was that it looked a bit smaller than the year before, but after a zip about I realised that it was in was in fact bigger and busier than the Indy show.
Last year we were so excited when we got to the show that we kind of ran willy nilly all over the place. This year we had a more systematic plan of attack. Down one side of a row then back up the other side of the same row until we saw everything.
Where to start, there was so much to see, I was really interested in the small details, seat-stay caps, dropout attachments, lug shaping etc. My pictures will likely reflect this as well. The first row had some pretty cool stuff, I love the curved tubes and drop-outs from Geekhouse bikes. Next to them was Tony Maietta who has a shop next to Hot Tubes in MA, he had fixie with a pretty cool paint job done by a Tattoo artist.
There was lots more walking and talking and I won’t get into all of that, but one other booth I was pretty excited about that day was the Rapha booth, and they were selling lots of goodies. I couldn’t resist purchasing the new Belgium country jersey I had been eyeing online for a couple of weeks.
Before we headed out for the day we went over to the Richard Sachs booth to pick up the box of lugs and fork crowns we had pre-purchased.
Friday night was a tame one, we had some great pulled pork sliders and called it an early night, needed to catch up on Z’s before another big day of isle walking.
We started Saturday morning off right with a big breakfeast at Perly’s restaurant. I think half the convention was there as well, the staff were pretty much run off their feet. Pretty cool to be in a restaurant when a few tables down is frame building legend Sacha White (Vanilla Bicycles).
Ok, it would be delinquent of me not to mention the amount of beards and moustaches at the show. I think it might becoming a requirement for all frame-builders and geeky bike aficionados masquerading as hipsters to grow some sort of facial hair. Even the paintings at the restaurants had them. What do you think Angela, should I grow a mustache?....
I won’t go into detail about all the bike companies, but some things standout.
The Vanilla paint jobs and custom drawn tubing, Dario Pegoretti’s bikes and paint,
Dave Kirks lugwork and new logos, Ellis’ lugged frames, Black sheeps Ti dually 29er, and the Dean Dirt drop Ti bike mmmmm.
Saturday night was a bit more eventful. It started off with us picking up a seat-stay mitering jig from Mike Zanconoto, then heaving it around the Marriot's lobby bar.
Had a few drinks with Paul, yes THE Paul of Paul’s components fame, and the women from Momentum Magazine. This was cool since we thought Momentum wasn’t too fond of us, turns out we were wrong. Then had a few more drinks with Tony Maietta and Brian from HPV Ottawa who had arrived via train.
Next we were off to find the COG magazine party which ended up being a bit longer walk than Kent had estimated. Once we got there we squeezed our way in through a hoard of super hipsters towards the free drink table, of course the Keg’s were dry…however it wasn’t long before Kent managed to befriend someone who had access to a secret supply of PBR. Why is PBR so popular? It’s pretty much water.
Before long we had enough of being sardined in with the hipsters so we headed back outside. We were just about to take off when Paul and the women from Momentum showed up, they told us to wait around for them. So we waited while they checked out hip-fest, then we all headed down to a local dive bar the Imperial.
A night of debauchery ensued in which we convinced Paul and Tammy (who works at Paul) that it would be cool to get a bunch of parts anodized green for the team…so cool. We also ended up have to sneak Suzanne from Poka bicycle accessories in the back door after she forgot her ID. All in all it was a pretty Canadian night with the women from Momentum, ourselves, Suzanne and Noah from Velo Colour. Paul and Tammy were surrounded.
Well that’s all, the drive back was uneventful and at least 4hrs shorter.
For all my pictures from the show check out the Tall Tree Flickr.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Sunday's hardcore points go to Martin and John for riding fixed.
Martin was driving the pace all day and John was brakeless. Heroic and epic. Heropic.
Andy and Mark suffering up the Eardley-Masham climb. We all did.
Beautiful gravel and a tail wind to boot.
Cross Loop was in great shape too.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Sure, its only March 7th, rather early to deem the month Spring, but after a weekend of highs around 8 its difficult not to be optimistic. Apparently, I'm an optimist, and I already decided it was spring leas week, so I'm going to throw caution to the wind, go out on a limb, and say this is shaping up to be a March even better than last year's. Sun, dry roads, clear dirt...what more can we ask for? Gatineau Parkway clear of snow? Soon enough!
With spring in the air it was easy to get a good sized group together this morning. Some already had hundreds of kilometers under the wheels this season, others none. All the same, we rolled West together through Aylmer, headed for Eardley Rd., which would take us North through the farthest reach of the Gatineau park. While the route was quite flat, the wind was another matter...a little taste of Belgium perhaps. Much of the dirt roads were covered with fresh loose gravel, squirrelly indeed. No matter, riding no-hands isn't really necessary anyhow.
40k in we hit Highway 148, at which point a couple of our amigos opted to return to town for 80k total, while the rest of us continued on. Option one exercised.
A short section of the 148 delivered us to Eardley, and its brisk 18% climb. Now paved, its still sprinkled with dirt, but standing is possible. We fared better than a pick-up that had to concede defeat after failing to make it up the first pitch. Good snicker for us. Get a bike.
The dirt through the park was smooth though sprinked with gravel, rolling fast. Upon arriving upon Highway 366 at kilometer 60, option 2 was exercised as three of our cadre split off to roll on to Pipolinka for snacks. The rest of us kept the pedal to the metal and headed North then west on the dirt, looping clockwise to Wakefield. We seemed to surprise the others, arriving at Pipolinka only a short time after them. Good food all round, then rolling en masse back along river road, including Cross Loop, which is in great shape. Two flats for the day (quite acceptable) lots of fabulous sun, and good sensations for everyone (pain is productive, right?). The full 120k loop contained a nice mix of elements, a solid option, especially for those times of year when its best to keep the climbing moderate.
Map and pics to come.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Brad appears calm and collected despite riding his fixed gear down and then up the Mont-Cascades trench. Martin was eqaully spritely on his fixed. Kudos.
Matt on the dirt near Aylmer
Matt's Steelwool Secteur 18 avec matching tops and tails.
Mais c'est magnifique!
Speaking of Matchy-Matchy, check out these hilarious green socks I found the other day while shopping for pants for my son. They even match my pedals!
I arrived at my Mother's for dinner and this was hot out of the oven.
Thank lemony goodness.