Friday, December 24, 2010

RTL - Priest Lake Ride

Yes, there is snow on the ground and a lot of people are thinking about skiing right now.  But, mark your calendars for next years Round the Lake Ride - Priest Lake.  Ride will be August 27th and be in conjunction with the Pend Oreille Pedaler's member camp out at Beaver Creek that same weekend.  70 miles of some sweet single track and there will be some twists this year.  More details to come...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter Riding Opp

Some cities are actually pro biking, so no excuses...

Coeur d'Alene Pedestrian & Bicycle Blog: Centennial Trail Snow Plowing: "For those of you who depend on or just appreciate the wonderful job our Parks Department does in clearing the Centennial Trail of snow with..."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cold Hands? Heated Grips

If you are like me, then it is really hard to hang the bike up for the winter.  Staying warm and hence good gear are the key to winter riding.  Center stage: heated bike grips unveiled by AME.  AME has been making bike grips for some time.  They have also been producing heated grips for ATVs, motorcycles and PWCs but previous attempts at making heated grips for bicycles have come up short...until now.

6 different heat settings and lock on bar mount round out the features.  Cost is limiting at $300 for grips, battery and charger.  However, if you already have a battery for your lights, and it meets tech requirements, than you can just purchase grips and connector for $140.  Better but still spendy.  Cost will more than likely come down as distribution expands.

Click here for more info from AME

Add to your Christmas list!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pilgrams and Indians Ride (Spokane, WA)

A neighboring bike club (The FBC) in Spokane is holding a group ride this Sunday.  Disregard their club name, this a nationally syndicated club with FBC Spokane being our closest chapter.  These guys have done some great advocacy work for cyclists in Spokane.  Many of the their city council members and even the mayor have joined them on some of the monthly rides.  They have also worked at Spokefest and many other local biking events.  But all that aside, they love to ride and have fun!

Here is a link to their site and below is their ride post:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cranksgiving Was Taken

Well Lifetime Members For Life, it's November and time for the 40th Full Moon Fiasco. This month will be the Pilgrims & Indians Ride. You are encouraged to dress as any of your favorite Thanksgiving super heroes and come ride. Get there early for spoke cards as there will be fewer than last time.

We will be meeting at our usual spot of The Swamp on Sunday November 21st at 8:00pm. Be prepared for a medium ride as we make our way across town to our awesome destination. If it snows, well, we will get to ride in the snow.

Anyway, thought it would be fun to go down and join them.  Grab your bike, lights, costume...and of course some beer money, and let's go ride with our fellow Pilgrims and Indians.  Incase you don't know the Swamp is at 1904 West 5th Avenue, Spokane, WA 99201

If you are interested in going down for the ride, shoot me an email

Friday, November 12, 2010

Veteran's Day ride recap

Weather was forecasting rain, but ended up being a nice night for a ride.  No rain, no wind and the temp was rather mild.  Great night ride with a startled cat and deer as animal sightings.  Rode out to the Flea Market area in Sagle and back.  Ride conclusion at McDuff's for burgers and beer. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Veteran's Day ride

Veteran's Day is this Thursday.  The purpose of Veteran's Day is pretty clear; however, it doesn't often get the general public attention that some of the Hallmark holidays receive.  Most of you know I served in the Marine Corps.  While I did serve during a time of war, I never got orders to the front lines.  My unit was packed and waiting a couple times, but it never happened.  At the time, I was bummed I never saw any "action" but looking back I am lucky to still be alive.

So, I thought why not get together on Veteran's Day and ride.  I often do a lot of thinking when I ride, so I know what will be on my mind.  If you want to think about your Betty back at home waiting for you, fine.  Or if you want to think about the $1 beers waiting, that's fine too.  But seriously, this post will be the extent of the soap box, Thursday will be just be a ride and some fun. 

Let's meet at the Pend Oreille Winery parking lot at 6pm and we'll cruise the bike path out to Sagle and back.  Yes, we'll be back just in time for $1 beers at Eicks.  Of course, bring your headlight and a taillight.  Weather looks good.  Hope to see you there!  

Team Laughing Dog/RAAM sip 'n shop recap

Saturday's sip n' shop/auction at the Pend Oreille Winery was a huge success bringing in over $3,000.  And that amount will continue to grow with the sales of raffle tickets for the Bistro Table.  The place was packed and we killed the kegs donated by Laughing Dog and cut into Steve's wine reserve.  There were many silent auction items and people were very generous on both sides of the table.  I hear you might still be able to get a Grateful Dead Tee if you missed out...

David Barth & Wayne Pignolet
Wayne gave a run down on the RAAM race and the Laughing Dog Team while David talked about autism and his son Jackson (who has autism).

What an amazingly supportive community we live in! Thanks to all.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bead Lake Trail

Saturday Larry and I ventured out to Old Town and rode the Bead Lake Trail.  Larry had never done this ride, so I was excited to introduce it to him.  This is a great little ride that offers some nice views of the lake.  It is 6.4 miles in length and 800' of elevation gain.  Aerobic technical ratings would be advanced.  The best ride is to do an out and back, although you could also work in Road #3215 for a loop.

The trail starts off Road #3215 just up from the campground and skirts the East side of the lake. Along with some cool views of the lake there are several exposed sections of trail. The drops are not super steep or long, but the tread does get narrow as it crosses several rock outcroppings. The first 4 miles of the trail are super fun with lots of short ups and downs.

At the North end of the lake, the trail follows Lodge Creek for awhile and then starts a steep climb up the hillside back to Road #3215. Although not very technical, but there some rocks and roots throw into some steep inclines that make from some very challenging sections. My internal inclinometer was telling me I should stop soon. The last 2 miles are the most challenging, but the whole trail is ridable. This section drew some rumbling from Larry. I got that he was even less thrilled with some of the climbs.

stupid camera flash
 As a side note, there is a trail intersection at the North end of the lake for a trail that heads back down the West side for a ways. There are some fun sections, but for the most part not really worth taking your bike on as it is a hiking trail.

Once you join back up with Road #3215, it is a burner downhill back to car. You don't really realize all the elevation covered on the way out as most of it is fairly gradual. But on your return trip, save for a couple short climbs, it is just a fast return. Even with running rim brakes and having a slight mechanical, the return trip is where Larry started to come around.

there we go...note the smile

The Bead Lake Trail was only a 45 minute drive from Sandpoint, so if you are looking for something new and easy to access this is a good choice.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bike stuff this weekend

Couple fun bike events this weekend. 

First, Team Laughing Dog is hosting a night at the Pend Oreille Winery Saturday from 6-9pm.  Team Laughing Dog is preparing for their Race Across America next June and raising awareness for autism.  There will be beer, wine, food, raffle, live music and silent auction items.  I saw some of the auction items last night at Laughing Dog and there is some really sweet stuff.  So, come on down and check it out. More info at

Then, Sunday the Inland Northwest Cyclocross Series will be at Ephrata, WA.  I know it is a bit far, but there are only 3 more races left in the series.  Click here for race flyer.

Don't put the bike away yet!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Don't like wearing a helmet cuz it messes up your hair?

Yes, it's an airbag for your head.  You can pre-order one for only $375 at but good luck with the reading.  I really don't have much to add to this, you just have to check out the video...

Monday, November 1, 2010

North Umpqua River Trail (Roseburg, OR)

A blog about biking in and around Sandpoint, Idaho you say?  This is the last stop on my tour of Oregon and therefore my last entry.  Heading North out of Ashland I stopped in Roseburg to tackle the North Umpqua River Trail.  Maybe not as "famous" as the McKenzie River or Deschutes River Trails, but it no doubt has gotten some high honors.  It is on IMBA's list of epic rides, click here to view.  The Umpqua River Trail follows the river, duh, for 16 miles between the Swiftwater and Tioga recreational areas.  It is listed as an advanced ride.  It can be ridden as an out and back, loop with the road or a shuttle.  Going North from Swiftwater is the preferred route and the one recommended by IMBA.  It features 2,600' of elevation gain and some great technical challenges.

First, where the hell is Roseburg?  Well, it's about 2 hours from Eugene and then it's another 22 miles East from there to the Umpqua trailhead.  This is probably the reason it doesn't get much attention, it's out of the way and not super easy to get to.  It would be like coming from out of town to ride Long Canyon.  Well worth the trip, Umpqua did not disappoint.

The first few miles of the trail has a very wide tread and follows close to the river. You pass yet another waterfall, surprise in Oregon. The river had an amazing green color and tons of good looking pools. Fishing is very popular here as almost every variety of trout resides here. Steelhead being at the top of the list. As a side note, steelhead trout are amazing fish. They are native to the Pacific Ocean from Alaska down to Baja. They are born in fresh water rivers, like Umpqua River, were they live for their first 1-3 years. As juveniles they migrate down stream to the ocean to mature for another 1-3 years. After maturation, they follow the scent back up the river to their birthplaces to spawn and live out their days. What a cool cycle.

Beside the river and the sweet looking fishing pools, the forest is amazing.  The trail takes you through some old-growth forest stands of Douglas-fir and Pine.  Many of these giants are as wide as I am tall!  Under the canopy of old trees lies tall ferns and younger growth, all of which seems to be covered in a dense mat of moss.  It feels very rain forest like and damp.  It is hard to stay focused on the trail as your attention is constantly drawn away by nature's artwork.

The natural beauty is obviously a benefit on this ride, but the trail would be great on it's own.  After the first few miles along the river, the trail climbs to the top of Bob Butte and some rocky high-top meadows.  The trail gets more technical and the climbing is fairly steady.  Once you crest Bob Butte it's a ripping down hill with several tight switchbacks.  Beyond this, the trail ungulates up and down as it meanders along the river.  Many of high points on the trail offer some extreme exposure.  I was focused on the trail, but at many points it was at least a 400' drop down to the rivers edge.  If you're not into exposure or intimidated by heights, this is not the ride for you.  Otherwise, I recommend staying focused and on the trail.

As opposed to some of the other Oregon trails, Umpqua is well marked.  Ironically, there aren't really any other trail intersections.  Nonetheless, a well marked trail, even down to each bridge being number and creek names displayed.  

This was a great ride.   I was spent and wet AGAIN.  Ahh, the joys of riding in the Fall.  There are several other rides in this area that are also supposed to be worth checking out.  This was a big IMBA Epic to check of my ride list.

A final note, some of you have asked "if I'm worried to do these big rides alone?"  Or what if this or that happens?  You can play the "what if" game all day.  Yes, there are risks, life is full of risks.  It's about managing the risks.  I always plan and prepare and for every ride.  I treat them all as if they could be "epic.  My packed Camelbak goes on every single ride with me.  It weighs close to 20lbs now and holds gear to address most issues I might encounter on the trail.  Of course, I can't plan for everything, but experience dictates the most probable.  I map and study the trails, options and bail outs before I go.  I let someone know where I'm going, approximately how long it will take and notify them as soon as I'm out...props to Jane.  I've been very fortunate, most of the things in my Camelbak I've never had to use...and hopefully they continue to gather dust in there.

Hopefully something in my blog will spark you to plan your own ride.  Don't take my word for whether a trail is good or sucks.  Do your own research and planning and then go ride.  And please let me know your perspective if you do, I love feedback.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Where's Brian

For those of you wondering, "where in the world is Brian now?"  I just finished another stint at the United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, Oregon.  UBI is the only nationally accredited bike mechanics school in the U.S.  I have 2 other certifications from UBI.  During this trip, I completed the Advanced Bike Mechanics Course.  Now I can add a DT Swiss Master Wheel Builder and a Suspension Technician certification to the wall.

Classes are kept small with lots of hands on and instructor/student interaction.  There is a lot of information and it can be stressful and rigorous at times.  But don't let me mislead you one bit.  I loved every minute!

Here are a couple pics of the world I've been living in.
instructor bench and my view from the "classroom"

my workbench
  The wheels on the side of the bench were from my test, built to within 1/10 millimeter of variance.  That's not much more than a hair.  On to more riding...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

McKenzie River Trail (Bend, OR)

A blog about biking in and around Sandpoint, Idaho you say?  Still in Bend, Oregon.  On to the granddaddy and the highlight of my trip...the McKenzie River Trail.  McKenzie has been referred to as the best mountain biking trail in Oregon (and I just read it was voted best in the West).  Now these are pretty strong statements and I'm not going to get into debating whether it is or isn't.  But I think it is safe to say that McKenzie is great ride and hugely popular.  It is located in the Willamette National Forest, in between Bend and Eugene.  The 24.5 mile ride features only 900 feet of climbing and is a shuttle ride.  Listed as aerobically moderate and technically advanced (4+ for a good majority and 3 for the remainder).  Although this ride features 1,600' net elevation drop, it is an ass kicker!

I was intending to take Friday off as a rest day before tackling McKenzie Saturday.  I had my shuttle set up with Cog Wild, but weather stepped in.  The weather had been great all week, but a storm was predicted for the weekend.  Banking on the local weather man (never a good idea), I took the odds of 30% of rain on Friday over the 70% on Saturday.  I skipped rest day and headed out.  When I got the trailhead it was raining and had been for several hours.  However, it was time for work.  I suited up and started down the trail.  Less then a mile in, I was soaked but determined to complete the ride.  You see, this trail has been on my bucket list for a long time and nothing was gonna get in my way.

The first 3 miles are great singletrack that leads you along the banks of Clear Lake.  Clear Lake is, well very clear.  It is phenomenal.  A person could take pics at every vantage around the lake and they'd all be perfect.  The clearness and blue/green colors made it look tropical.  I saw a guy fishing out in a boat and imagined that he could actually see the fish swimming around.

Clear Lake

Trail directions indicated there was a trail along both sides of the lake.  The East side trail being full of lava rock and not recommended for biking and the West side being the recommended route.  I took the West side, but do to some lack of signage on the South end of the lake I ended up riding back up the East side.  I got half way up the other side before I realized this.  Too late, I decided to got for extra credit and ride around the whole lake.  As stated, the East side was not very rideable.  Several lava rock fields to cross.  Steep mounds with little run up, at least now I know. 

some sections around Clear Lake had "paved paths" through the lava

pavement didn't last long
My ride was not starting off too good.  I was wet and had done triple the anticipated miles by the time I got to the South end of Clear lake.  No worries though, I was feeling good and marched on. 

After Clear Lake the trail gets much more difficult (4+ time).  Rock and roots galour.  I passed a couple more waterfalls.  Waterfalls are great and all, but they were all starting to look the same.

Koosah Falls
Lava rock has a very interesting quality, even though it was very wet it was not slick.  It had lots of traction and my tires clung.  Not the roots though, same as anywhere else they were slick as hell.  Weird dicotamy. 

One other amazing natural feature along the trail was the "Blue Pool."  For 2 miles leading up to the pool, the creek beds were dry.  The river just disappears and goes underground.  It travels underground and then reappears at the Blue Pool.

For a few miles leading up to and then after the Blue Pool, lava rock was the only tread and the only thing you rode. The trail went through, over and around mounds and mounds of lava.  I would say this section around the Blue Pool was fun, but I'd be lying. The lava rock is very sharp and abrasive, so falling was not an option. I was byself and had to make it to the end of the trail for my shuttle. It was a great challenge.

At the 10 mile mark of the trail (I had 17 miles, damn detours), the lava rock began to subside.  I sat and had lunch to regroup.  I had been riding for 3 1/2 hours, and I was less than half way through the trail.  I told my "shuttle bunnies" that I would be done and at the end in 4 hours total.  The detours certainly didn't help, but I obviously miscalculated my ride time.  At this pace I would be lucky to be done by dark.  I needed to pick up the pace.

Now let me make a little side note here. I've been giving Oregon a lot of love lately. No doubt there are great riding opportunities and some amazing trails. BUT their signage sucks! McKenzie is not the first time I've run into issues with signage. Many trails lack signage all together. Others, the map names do not match the names on trail signs. And yet others, are just missing arrows or indicators at key points in the at freaking trail intersections around lakes. Anyway, enough said.

Lucky for me, the trail took a major turn after the Blue Pool and all the lava rock.  Sweet single track was all that was between me and the finish line.  I put her in the middle ring and was flying.  The trail snakes like a serpent as you parallel the McKenzie River.  There were several short climbs that took you up to some exposed ledges, and then you were rolling back down to the flats of the river again.  It was up and down and back and forth for pretty much the final 16.5 miles.  I was in the zone and had no idea how much time had passed between me stopping for lunch and the end of the trail.  I didn't stop for pics, my only focus was the trail ahead.
looking over the edge of the trail at one of the exposures

bridge builders were super busy on this trail, at least a dozen like this
 I ended the day with 32.5 miles and a finish time of 5 1/2 hours.  And my shuttle waited, thanks Jane and Shadow.  The weather and my detours made the ride less than ideal, but I still had a blast!  I would have gotten up and done it again the next morning if I could.  Mckenzie River offers some unique riding and is very diverse.  Later that night, I checked it off my list and started planning for the next big one...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

North Fork-Flagline Loop (Bend, OR)

A blog about biking in and around Sandpoint, Idaho you say?  Still in Bend, Oregon.  The last post was on the Deschutes River Trail, the Disneyland of Bend.  I've moved on to the real trails with the North Fork-Flagline Loop (let's call it NFFL for this post).  The NFFL lies West of Bend in the Deschutes National Forest.  More specifically this particular trail circumnavigates much of the Bend Watershed, we'll get to that in a bit.  The NFFL was a 20.5 mile loop with 2,800 ft of elevation gain.  It is listed as aerobically strenuous and technically rated at intermediate/advanced.  Both accurate statements.  Brace yourselves...this was an awesome ride.

The NFFL starts with a steady climb were you cover most of the 2,800 ft in the first half of the ride.  On the way up you pass 7 waterfalls as you parallel the North Fork of Tumalo Creek.  The climb features lots of roots.  The tread in general is hard pack and was a nice change from all the sand at Deschutes River.  Obviously built with mountain biking in mind, the switchbacks are very wide and sweeping.  It hardly feels like you are riding a switchback most of the time as the sweep is so gradual, it just feels like part of the climb.  The climb was a good grind and offered some good technical challenges, but it was all doable and a great climb.
1 of the 7 falls

if you only new how tricky this shot was...

imagine miles and miles of trail JUST like this

Once on top of the ridge, the great views continued.  The trail meandered through several high alpine meadows and around rocky peaks.  Although less climbing on the ridge, the trail still had many up and downs to keep you sweating.  Weather was much, much cooler up at 7k feet as evident by the frost on the creek crossing...keep the feet dry!
view from the ridge

yes, the mountain is actually red
The NFFL can be broken into 3 different rides: the climb, the ridge and the sweeeet descent. The downhill was a real burner. It seemed to go forever. The grade, like the climb, was kept very gradual. It appears the builders intended to use all the real estate they could and extend the fun as long as possible. The trail featured lots of rock and demanded your attention. It also had several places were more advanced lines were possible: gaps, skinnies, jumps, drops, etc. I kept the tires near the ground but loved every minute.

warming hut used by xc skiers

no shortage of fire wood
As mentioned at the beginning of the post, this trail rounded the Bend Watershed.  In case you glazed over that last statement, let me say it again.  The trail rounded the Bend Watershed.  There were trails that went through the actual watershed also.  Signs were very clear about were you were and some trails were designated as hiking only.  But, bike trails went all around the watershed and some shared the same drainages.  What?  Surely they thought about the possibility of bikers peeing on the sides of the trail.  Surely they thought about the possibility of chain lube flying off chains on those descents.  And surely they thought of the possibility of bikers sweating out all that beer from the night before on the trail (OK maybe not the last one).  Of course I am not familiar with the engineering surrounding the Bend Watershed.  I'm merely a casual observer.  However, it appears that Bend has found some progressive ways for trail enthusiasts to use areas in and around the their watershed.
signs like these are at trailhead that go into the watershed areas

Great ride, not an epic for me.  The NFFL is a trail a little of the beaten path, and maybe one most visitors would overlook.  Just keep in mind that Bend has many, many great trails, other than the Disneyland rides.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Deschutes River/Sunriver/Blackrock Trails (Bend, OR)

A blog about biking in and around Sandpoint, Idaho you say? That’s the cue that I will be posting about biking somewhere outside my normal area. I’ve moved South from Hood River to Bend, Oregon, and today’s ride was primarily the Deschutes River Trail with a couple smaller additions (Sunriver Trail and Blackrock Trail). 22.5 Miles in all and I’m sure I’m not gonna surprise anyone here by saying this was an awesome ride!! Anyone that follows mountain biking has either done this ride or has read about it. You may be thinking…all the posts have said the “the ride was awesome.” True statement, all the rides of late have been really, really good.

However, I have been in Oregon for 5 days now and when I come to Oregon to ride it seems like heaven to me. Life just doesn’t seem to get any better. Let me describe a typical day here. I wake up and go scout out a new coffee place. There are lots of choices and many good ones. Then it’s off to some riding and Oregon has ALL kinds of good riding. Whether it be road, urban or single-track, Oregon seems to have it all. After spinning, it’s off to sample one of the many micro brews. There are breweries everywhere! Beer seems to flow like water around here. This is all good news for me because without coffee and beer, my personality would hardly be discernable. But I digress.

Back to the topic at hand. The Deschutes River Trail was a great ride. I’ve been sitting here trying to think of how to put the experience to words, but I don’t think words can do it justice. Pictures might get us closer, but as I review my shots they even seem to come up short. Although Deschutes River wouldn’t be considered a destination ride, it is a can’t miss if you are in Bend. This ride had it all minus big climbs and screaming descents. It’s not very technical or aerobically challenging, but it is just 12 miles of plain fun. Don't get me wrong, it's not a trail to bring your grandma on as there are a few surprises.  Do you like variety in your rides?
amazing views and endless photo ops? check

little rock and roots? and check

singletrack that weaves through canopies of oldgrowth? and check
trail that meanders through boulders and rock cut-outs? and check

little exposure to keep the hear rate up? and check

falls and rapids? i could go on
The Sunriver Trail and the Blackrock Trail were nice additions to the day. The Sunriver Trail takes off were the Deschutes Trail ends and goes another 3 miles to the town of…you guessed it, Sunriver. It is a flat, windy, fast, and slightly technical out and back. Once back to the trailhead, I choose to ride out the Blackrock Trail, another 4.5 miles, to the Lava Land Visitor’s Center. It was more of the same to end the trail trifecta. Buff singletrack with the addition of some lava rock to make this trail a little different and interesting.
interesting trail feature on the Blackrock Trail

sign refers to rapids not trail

It was a good day of riding. Not an epic ride, but one that will stick in my mind for a long time. Time to gear up for the big dogs now…

Friday, October 15, 2010

Epic defined

The term "epic" seems to spawn much debate.  It seems like a simple enough word.  Bikers us it all the time to describe a big ride they did.  I myself use it often to describe a ride.  But I'm often met with a puzzled look.  People want to know what "epic" means.  What are the parameters used to define an "epic" ride.  How far/long do I have to ride?  How much suffering qualifies an epic?  And then these question often lead to bigger biking questions.  Does riding an epic trail make you an epic rider?  Does riding a Epic (Specialized) bike make you an epic rider?  Or does riding an Epic bike on an epic trail make you superhuman?  Let me state right off, that I will not attempt to answer all these questions, but I will try and shed some light on what an epic ride is to me.  I use this term on my blog, and so I should be able to give it definition (and hopefully squash some of the debate that it sparks...but probably not).

First, some definitions.  Webster's epic: "(1) of, relating to, or having the characteristics of an epic."  Umm, really?  No help.  How about "(2)  extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope, heroic."  Now we are getting somewhere and I like heroic!

One more definition.  Let's turn to IMBA.  They surely should be able to clear this up.  IMBA loves this word as they have compiled a whole list of "IMBA Epics" that span the whole U.S.  It is basically a bucket list of sorts.  What parameters do they use?  "The IMBA Epics are selected by IMBA staff, including our Regional Directors. The directors consulted closely with club leaders to find out which trails in their territories are having the biggest influence on riders, as well as land managers and decision makers. These rides are the models that shape our conception of what is possible for trail recreation on public lands."  What the #@&*?!  Terms like "influence, models and conception" have NEVER come to mind when I think of an epic bike ride.  However,  I think there is something here unstated that can help.  IMBA has gathered a list of trails that are elite and deemed as necessary for any calling themselves a mountain biker.  These notches on the water bottle give the rider credibility.

OK, so we have a couple concepts to build on here to define epic rides: 1) rides are beyond ordinary, 2) size and scope are beyond the usual and 3) rides leave an impression on the rider and carry allure of something new or a must-do.

Now I have thought long and hard about this and I have several factors that go into determining if the ride is epic.  The list is long, but not exhaustive.  You do not need to meet ALL the factors, but you are required to meet half (6) of these to call a ride EPIC:
  1. Getting lost
  2. Drawing blood
  3. Have at least 1 mechanical issue
  4. Running out of food
  5. Running out of water
  6. Taking longer than at least an 1.5 hours
  7. Asking "whose idea was this" or stating "I will never do this again" then a week later saying "that was a great idea" or "I would do that ride again"
  8. Riding out in the dark (unplanned)
  9. Hiking your bike...sometimes way more than planned
  10. Have to be with at least 1 other rider
  11. Pain and suffering
  12. Ride at least twice the normal distance/time you normally would
In the end, an epic ride is just about going out and suffering and having fun with your buddies.  Don't worry about definitions, but if you MUST define every ride than you can refer to my list.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Canfield Mountain - Tail of 2 Trails

Had some errands to run in CDA and decided to throw my bike in for a loop around Canfield Mountain.  For those unfamiliar, Canfield Mountain is an ORV park located due South from Hayden Lake proper.  And for those acronym deprived, ORV (Off Road Vehicle) is an area open to motorcycles, 4-Wheelers, etc.  For a detailed map and more trail details click here.

Now, I can hear some groaning already...ohh no, motorcycles!  I have ridden Canfield several times and although it is heavily used by motorized vehicles, I have had very limited encounters.  Those I have had, have all been positive.  I do usually go during the week and seem to have the place to myself.  Trails are marked as single-track or double-track and specify the type of traffic allowed.  Tread can be steep, loose, rutted, rooty (if that's a word) and overall challenging.  But there are over 30 miles of very diverse trails with lots of good trails for mountain biking.  Because of the dramatic differences between trails it is a good idea to consult the map before planning your trip.  Bottom line, it is another great riding opportunity close by with unique riding/challenges.

For my ride I started on the Fernan Lake Road trail head parking lot.  I started with a short 2 mile ride that followed the creek.  It was a nice trail that snaked through the tall grass and went through several, mild rocky sections.  Lots of mountain bike tracks.  This is an unmapped, out and back trail. 
From there I went up Trail #10 which had some very nice single track with big rounded switchbacks to start off.  However, it progressed into some very steep and loose climbs that were very challenging to clear.  A couple sections also had areas were the motorcycle had made grooves in the trail so deep that they were unrideable because you would hit your pedals.  I would not recommend going up this trail, down would be fine though.
motos rotor till the ground exposing rocks
 Once on top of the ridge I took the Jump Trail down which was super fun!  Fast track with some banked turns.  The Cave Trail is another option from here and is also a very enjoyable downhill.

Good afternoon of riding.  A little of everything and didn't see a soul.  Did I mention it was muddy...