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Old 07-15-05, 11:18 PM   #1
Maelstrom 
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Well I have been away but not really away. Just been busy riding my ass off (literally)… This past weekend has been truly epic for me. Integrated almost all of my favorite rides topped off by the most intense technical ride of my life.

Tuesday Night
Hit up some single track with some xc riders. I didn’t fare badly, I could keep up to most of the riders and generally caught up and passed them on the descents. A good 3 hour ride on some sweet trails. Nothing out of this world but definitely fun when you are really grinding away.

Wednesday
Some friends came up from Bellingham and one from Chicago (just met him) to ride Whistler. It was a decent day. Nothing too exciting, didn’t burn myself out and didn’t really push myself. Unfortunately with the race on the mountain was incredibly busy and just not as much fun as when you can jam in tones of runs. Only a couple of mishaps and me finding out jumping isn’t my cup of tea. It is by far my biggest weakness. I just don’t find the enjoyment in it.

Thursday - Gargamel
This is the epic day. For those of you who watch vids I was sinking my teeth into a famous hidden (not really, just hell to get to) trail made popular in The Collective. These guys, at breakfast, decided it would be a good idea to ride Gargamel. The featured Whistler trail in the movie.

I was able to get a buddy to shuttle us (THANK GOD). Initially getting lost and going about 45 minutes up the wrong fireroad we had to do a 740 point turn to turn around on this thin fireroad. Come back down the mountain and head up the correct fireroad for another 45 minutes. 4x4 tall truck access only. I can only imagine the climb on a bike, and it isn’t one *I* would ever attempt, definitely not my cup of tea. For those of you that like exceptionally long steep loose rocked climbs, this could be a nice loop

At the top of the fireroad we finally found the trail, which was the beginning of hell. We all figured, “oh we’re at the top of the mountain almost, can’t be much higher”…well it was a 45minute hike a bike to the top. Oh and the first time you THINK you are going down, be prepared one more small climb.

Ok now done with the xc stuff we are at the top. Already nervous from the ride up (we were inches away from cliffsides, it’s a little nerve racking at points) I wasn’t sure what to be prepared for on the way down. Little did I know I was buried in a pile of the most technical riding I have seen. I ended up being in a little over my head being able to ride only 50 to6 0% of the entire trail, hiking down the rest of it and avoiding the stunts themselves. Anyways this is top, pure unadulterated mulchy single track. Green as can be, rooty and just stunning. Beyond that this section was steep…I mean STEEP. Sections were unrideable at my skill level. I can handle steep, straight with a good rollout. This stuff (and all the way down) was steep with 0 rollout, or even better turns, on roots with little dropoffs, in the middle of the steeps. This section had a stunt with a sick run in to a steep rolldown, the rolldown is 100% doable, making the turn at the bottom got everyone, only 3 of the 5 tried it and only 1 rider made the turn.

Terrain change to little more whistler style ground and rocks. Rock faces and boulder rolldowns. The mixture just added to the difficulty but this felt more like the whistler I am used to and this is where I got most of my actual riding in. Still steep and tech, but my flow kicked in and I got some confidence.

Now the bottom which I was warned about. THIS is the movie. This is all the sections they show in the movie. LONG steeps deadly exposure, drops, ladders and just plain INSANE riding. This was a pretty short part of the trail but I bet I only rode 10 to 20% of this secion and 0% of the very ending. It was beyond insane and loose. Lets put it like this, 3 of the 5 made it down (the same 3 stomping almost everything) and they were trying to outrun boulders chasing them. It was just that loose. One particular section was really tech, rolling rock face to a 1 ft ledge where you turn left on the face, which immediately drops (rollable but near vert) which IMMEDIATELY goes right, which then finds more extended rockfaces and rolldowns, it just didn’t let up. Hiking this was a challenge, I was not up to this type of riding at all. After this was the most famous stunt on the trail, the rockface to bridge to little jump. Again, no ridey for me (next time for sure, its probably the most doable) but the 3 good riders cleaned it.

The 2 main drops in the movie are very undersized in the movie. The techy jump, distance and landings do not do the drops justice. Neither drop looks large but in person, the first is easily 12 ft with a very tech landing and an almost immediate left, while the other drop, while smaller, is landing on a freaking boulder tranny…none of the riders hit these and will leave them for another time.

While I realize riding 50% of a trail isn’t normal to be posting, this just needed to be put somewhere. The experience was amazing, the 4 hour decent was just awe inspiring and the immediate progression was worth it. I haven’t wiped the smile off my face in the day since I hit it and likely won’t get it kicked off till I ride something else. I rode within my range while still allowing me to progress. I pushed my limits, knew when to pull back and REALLY improved my steeps. The trail comes out a really popular xc/fr trail that has existed a while, I have always been a little freaked by the steeps on this trail, lets just say I didn’t notice them this time round. Gargamel is definitely a pro level trail making most other trails in this town look like groomed trails. Another thing I know, by the bottom my confidence was high enough I likely could have ridden 60 to 70% of the trail.

The only thing that sucked, was the 45 minute road ride back home. But the burgers and beers at the end of the ride more than made up for it

Well I am out, my legs, back, shoulders and arms are beyond stiff. This was my epic ride for this month
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Old 07-16-05, 12:10 AM   #2
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Nice story, sounds like a ton of fun. I must go back and ride the harder parts on a certain local trail, they're tame compared to your description of that stuff.
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Old 07-16-05, 12:39 AM   #3
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Wow, sounds like you had fun (i think )
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Old 07-16-05, 03:24 AM   #4
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Fantastic! Inspirational stuff, roll on tomorrrow morning.
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Old 07-16-05, 04:49 AM   #5
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What part of the collective was this trail in? Was it the end section with Tyler Moreland? It sounds like a good time fer sure. Well its 6:45 and I'm heading out to get an all day ride in Don't know where I'm going or how far but it won't be anything like you rode.
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Old 07-16-05, 04:49 AM   #6
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Then why werent you taking pictures 40% of the time?


Sounds like it would have been awesome
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Old 07-16-05, 04:57 AM   #7
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Then why werent you taking pictures 40% of the time?


Sounds like it would have been awesome
Dang straight!!! Why don;t we have more post like this anymore? This time of year we should be getting a lot of trail , ride reports with pics.It sure would break up the "my hub is making a noise" threads.
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Old 07-16-05, 06:41 AM   #8
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you guys don't know mael. he don't like cameras .

man, i really gotta get my butt out west. i know i'll get it whooped on the easiest of trails there, but i know it'll be fun.

damn you mael , now all i'm going to be thinking about on my don run today is trying how much itll suck compared to what you described above .
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Old 07-16-05, 08:43 AM   #9
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Funny thing 3 of the riders brought cameras and there are some pics (I will try to get them) but it was already long enough. Keep in mind, the 40% I wasn't riding, I was rock climbing/traversing down. Its not like I was standing there

Yes this is Tyler Morlands part of the movie. 3rd scene
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Old 07-16-05, 09:44 AM   #10
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Nice writeup, sounds like a lot of fun and challenges for next time.
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Old 07-16-05, 09:45 AM   #11
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Oh yeah, does the trail actually end in that guy's driveway?
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Old 07-16-05, 10:08 AM   #12
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Sort of. You can still get there but you have to go out of your way to find it. Now it ends at another trail and/or fireroad.
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Old 07-29-05, 06:15 AM   #13
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hey Mael!

sounds pretty sweet!!

just to continue the mood i can report a similar experience yesterday: (not quite as epic but the "feeling" of awe was similar)
the weather forecast for the coming weekend is bad - major cold front coming. so a friend suggested cutting work early Thursday and doing a short but sweet ride... a hiking trail i have heard stories about for a while now... 4:30 leave work. 6:15 start up the forest road - 7:15 2400ft higher at the top (on my 38lb Kona Coiler that ain't bad). then 40 minutes downhill of major technical stuff with everything - big rock faces, major roots, drops, jumps and over 50 tight curves! unfortunately only a few cool photos... but WOW was it awesome. to my surprize we only had to walk 2 sections (both stairs to >1m drops with huge exposure and almost no runout at the bottom) -- although many sections we had to try more than twice to clean --- we were SO stoked that we were able to confidently ride SO much --- my riding has really improved!!!

P.S. my 5 week Colorado/Utah/Arizona trip in May/June was the bomb!! so many singletracks! Fruita Colorado (Moore Fun!!!) and Keystone were my favorites!!!
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Old 07-29-05, 06:50 AM   #14
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Great write up Mael. Guess now when you look at your regular rides you will think,"Man, this shyte is simple." Glad to here you had fun even with ALL the hiking.
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Old 07-29-05, 07:46 AM   #15
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man... after my first real taste of dh this past wednesday @ blue mountain, i'm yearning for a trip out to bc to hit up whistler. i rode from 11-6 with one short break for lunch. only got in about 15-20 runs, but that's cause i rode most of the trails really slow (since it was my first time on any of those trails) and rode a lot of the easier trails which weren't too close to the lift.

i'm still recovering from the beating my body took... even with 5" in the front and back, i got rocked. whoever says that dh isn't physically demanding is either superman or someone who doesn't know what the heck he's talking about, heh.

i'll try to post a write up of my first dh experience when i get the time. right now, it's time to rest and reflect on a great day of fun riding.

peace y'all.

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Old 07-29-05, 10:08 AM   #16
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Great write up Mael. Guess now when you look at your regular rides you will think,"Man, this shyte is simple." Glad to here you had fun even with ALL the hiking.
Sure did. Got up the mountain last night and everything I used to think was 'steep' is now completely rideable. Amazing how much you progress when you ride a freaking scary ass trail

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man... after my first real taste of dh this past wednesday @ blue mountain, i'm yearning for a trip out to bc to hit up whistler. i rode from 11-6 with one short break for lunch. only got in about 15-20 runs, but that's cause i rode most of the trails really slow (since it was my first time on any of those trails) and rode a lot of the easier trails which weren't too close to the lift.

i'm still recovering from the beating my body took... even with 5" in the front and back, i got rocked. whoever says that dh isn't physically demanding is either superman or someone who doesn't know what the heck he's talking about, heh.

i'll try to post a write up of my first dh experience when i get the time. right now, it's time to rest and reflect on a great day of fun riding.

peace y'all.
I was just back home, I give you a lot of credit for riding in the shyte conditions you did. The humidity knocked me out just sitting around, I couldn't imagine actually riding in it, especially in armour I wanted to hit up blue but didn't have a chance, got really busy.

I have a 6x6 and would love some more on the more tech trails. Heck even a higher quality fork would be nice
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Old 07-29-05, 10:17 AM   #17
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Glad you enjoyed yourself Mael. So when are we going get those "lousy t-shirts"?haha

The description of those trails, dang. To make a better comparison it would be like surfing. You went to Pipeline, and I have been floating in a inflatable pool. Yet one more reason to get the heck out of Houston.
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Old 07-29-05, 01:44 PM   #18
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Funny thing 3 of the riders brought cameras and there are some pics (I will try to get them) but it was already long enough.
Still waiting for the pics
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Old 07-29-05, 01:49 PM   #19
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Ironically enougn, I am too. Hopefully in the next day or two...
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Old 07-30-05, 07:12 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Maelstrom
I was just back home, I give you a lot of credit for riding in the shyte conditions you did. The humidity knocked me out just sitting around, I couldn't imagine actually riding in it, especially in armour I wanted to hit up blue but didn't have a chance, got really busy.
the humidity wasn't so bad up at wasaga and surrounding areas this past week. toronto and a lot of the southern cities have it a lot worse because of all the smog in the air. it rained heavily on the tuesday we went up to wasaga (where my sister-in-law's cottage is) and again on wednesday morn. when i got to blue the sky was still a bit overcast and they only had 4 trails open cause most of the others were all too slick to be ridden (or so they say). the skies started clearing up after a little while and they opened more as the day went on and the trails dried out. i didn't really notice the humidity all day... near the end of my day at blue it was actually a bit breezy and cool. great riding conditions with nice weather and super tacky trails.

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Old 08-10-05, 06:06 AM   #21
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Congrads on the Epic ride of the year Maelstrom.
I did my first Epic a week and a half ago.
Revved and wanting to go and just give it. Unfortunately it is exam time and I have to do study (drag). I think I will have to force myself to get out more on epics in different parts of the country or world every year.
Rasheed:
Ya, the rain was crazy. We did Sauble, Wiarton, Owen Sound, Chatsworth, Beaver Valley then thru Georgian Peaks. 10 and 12 hours, 198 Km trying to keep up with our ex. Expert class XC racing guide (Shane Jolley from Alternative Wheels in Owen Sound). I did not stay with him when torqueing up hills and I did not attempt the some things that he did and I did not break any bones. Endoed twice. Once into the ground, and caught a tree on the way by (by Old Baldy top of Beaver Valley) on the second one. I have recovered now and want to check out Blue after exams. I go to Georgian College in Owen Sound.

Yes I think this is life at its finest. I only hope that I continue to hear of these epic rides so that each year I remember to get out and make it happen.
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