Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A little more BC riding.

Making bagels seemed to go pretty well last week for the most part - I was able to get through the last of my three shifts with no little (or large) stuff ups, leave sixty-six dozen bagels in the fridge & finish earlier than I had been the previous week. A more-interesting-than-other-jobs opportunity came up at the temping agency - two or three months working at the cement plant fifteen minutes down the road. It pays a little more & I jumped at the opportunity to get back in to industry a bit & maybe get the brain ticking over a bit. It does mean that with my commitment to the Bagel Co (& a certain fondness for doing a little bit of baking a week), that I will be doing two (maybe three) doubles a week - sadly the first one will be on my birthday (that'll be one to remember). Summer break is due to finish shortly, so the number of bagels required during the week should drop off & make life a little easier.

It seemed that a lot of the smoke from the BC wildfires had decided to visit Canmore on Friday morning & then sit in the valley for the rest of the day - it was pretty hard to see more than a few hundred metres across town (Calgary & Edmonton were worse apparently). Sitting around thinking about the possibilities of the next few days' riding, I got another great job offer from PPP. This one was quite different - basically the owner of PPP (who works in Calgary) was going through town to Salmon Arm for a family reunion over the weekend. Having just returned from vacation, she had heaps of work to do & wanted someone to drive while she sat in the back & worked. So I played chauffeur for the weekend - & in return I got the weekend in BC, paid for six hours' driving each way, put up in a comfortable hotel, the car for the weekend & more than enough spending money to cover the rest of my meals & a lift ticket at Silver Star (more of that later). So I jumped at the opportunity, with the one condition being that I could take my bike, for a weekend on new trails. So after a rush-pack, Nancy turned up at 4.30 on Friday afternoon. I had been dreading having to drive some huge SUV or pick-up for 400 km, but I was pleased to have a nice little turbo Audi (& a stick shift too) to drive around for the weekend (it went like stink). The Friday evening drive through all the construction was a bit of a drag, we eventually got to the family reunion at about 9.30 (gained an hour going in to Pacific Standard Time), I dropped Nancy off (after having been fed well by the rest of the family) & had the rest of the weekend to myself.

When I was riding with Quintin two weeks ago he was raving about the downhill trails (lift-assisted) at Silver Star & also mentioned how there was a good range of trails for different riding styles. So on Saturday, when the smoke didn't look too bad I loaded up the car & made the seventy-five minute drive south to Vernon & up to Silver Star. Here I sort of joined the downhill set; sure, I didn't have a full-face helmet, body armour, flat pedals & 8"+ travel on my bike - but I didn't have to ride up hill for more than five seconds at a time so it was more 'Downhill' than I'd ever been. The day started pretty mild, but fine & I started to hit the blue trails. Super Star was my most ridden - it really did make one feel like a better rider. In parts it flowed really nicely & for once I was actually clearing & landing (modest) table-tops. Another trail, LTG, had lots of wooden features on it - about half of which I could ride. The snaky wall-ride at the start & this series of planks & teeter-totters were most enjoyable.
After ten runs on various trails my hands were pretty sore (by the end of the day I was having to uncurl my fingers by pulling them back with my other hand or the handlebars - I perhaps over inflated my (measly 2.1") tyre in the hope of avoiding more pinch flats. Strangely, I was quite exhausted by 4 pm & as it was getting quite cold at the top of the chair lift I called it a day & headed back to Salmon Arm.
It was a lazy start to Sunday with a nice lie in & then lounging on the couch reading a Rebus novel (Resurrection Men - pretty good so far, not sure how I've missed this one in the past) before checking out. The grey & wet weather didn't exactly have me bounding out the door, but I was determined to check out some local trails before I had to pick Nancy up at five. Five minutes down the road were the South Canoe trails - I managed to start chatting to a couple of local roadies that had ditched the skinny tyres for the day & were heading up the hill on their Giant Reigns.

Once I finally organised myself, we all headed up the fire-road - they were planning on heading up to some lodge & then doing a big loop back to town. It eventuated that they joined me for a bit more singletrack than they were planning on - I was more than happy to have local guides & people to talk to. The forest was really reminding me of riding in Rotorua - damp dirt-based singletrack, through beautiful green undergrowth & big tall plantation forest, & it flowed well too. I was really enjoying it & trying to show the roadies up (not too difficult). After we had been riding up for about an hour (with a brief singletrack interlude), I realised that we were now above the trail network & if I went any further with my new riding buddies, I'd be on fire-road for ages - so I hit the first trail down (Lee's it turned out - this one was quite new). The few features were super slippery from the overnight rain & that made the otherwise easy wood rather tricky to negotiate without losing one's front wheel.
Coming back on to the road we had just ridden up, next it was on to the appropriately named This started out really mild & it got me out of the rain that had started to set in - it came out on to a nice clearing for a while that on a fine day would have given a fantastic view. The trail then changed in to a nice flowy section then suddenly there was a big switchback & the trail plunged steeply down for quite some time. I was pleased to get down there mostly in control & without bailing. All of a sudden the trail was back to being tame again. I was spat back on the road near the transmission tower that we had passed earlier, so in the rain I headed back up for ten minutes to reach Lumpy. This was also a very damp trail that had some nice steep, but easily rideable, sections piled in with some fun little features (also some I wasn't going to touch). Although quite gloomy in the trees, it was still beautiful & nice to riding some smooth & sublime trails. Getting a little cold in my shirt & rainjacket I'd had enough climbing for the day, so continued down on to the lower trails (much tamer & wider) to the car. Of course, when I got back to the car it cleared up & nice warm sunlight beat down to dry me out a little. I wasn't too disappointed - I had some great BC riding & was off to a local brew pub (they're everywhere in North America it would seem) for a late & very large lunch.

We got back to Canmore at a reasonable hour (10.30) & I was determined to get to bed & get some sleep before what will be a sixty-hour, five-day week. Of course, as always when you need to sleep, I couldn't. I think this was mostly trying to work out whether Megan & Alex's sudden trip to Calgary was anything to be concerned about - hopefully it's just precautionary & the little one arrives safely soon. Plus, with the spare car gone & a little confusion getting keys for the other Outback I had to find a new way to the cement factory for my new job in the morning. Steve came through for me & leant me his very new & very large Dodge Ram pick-up - I managed not to knock anyone over & was stoked to find the Steering Wheel Heater - fantastic little device that is on chilly mornings. Despite my tired state, I enjoyed getting back in to an industrial environment & seeing things that are quite familiar to me. They have two kilns there (4 & 5), I thought 4 looked about the same size as one of the ones at NZS - then I realised that the other half of it was behind the building in the middle. It's one long kiln! 5 is more the size I'm used to.

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