I woke up early Sunday, I couldn't sleep anymore because I was too excited about the TPMBC Fall Ripper. I packed my riding gear, ate breakfast, tuned up the bike and loaded up, all while the kiddies and Mrs. Bric were still fast asleep. The weather forecast for today was exceptional, perfect riding weather of sunny and 22 degrees. I drove a block away to pickup a riding buddy for the day with plans to meet Mr. B at the venue.
We rolled in early, the club members who camped out overnight at Eco Adventures were still sawing logs in their tents. I was planning on lending a hand with setup but everything had been taken care of so I took the time to talk bikes with friends. I registered and happily threw down my $25 to register for the days activities.
By now Mr.B had shown up and pulled up along side me, smiling ear to ear at the sight of the fat bike I was lending him for the day. He has been considering a fat bike for a while and was jumping at this chance to take one out. He is more of a pavement and rail-trail type of rider but I think the fat bike may bring him over to the dark side of dirt, mud, grit, and blood.
Club President Rob Luke gave a quick speech and everyone was organized into groups. I had volunteered to lead a ride and was going to be guiding about a dozen people out on the trails of TP. No problem, I through together a good loop in my head from Eco and back to get in a bit of everything TP has to offer. We were off, and once onto Root Rock trail I took the first tumble in a tight downhill switchback, putting a nice big scratch on the top tube of the Fatboy. Battle scars, fucking sweet!
We looped out from there into Planet of the Apes, The 226, Saudwinder, The Burn, Dizzy Lizzy, Earshot, Big Mike, Rum Runner, East Ridge, West Ridge, and back to Eco up Pettifogger. It was a good 18km-ish ride. Everyone in the group had a blast. Every time I saw Mr.B he had that ear to ear grin on, he was loving the fat bike and absolutely killing the trail on it.
Back at the trailhead festival, I managed to down two burgers stacked with all sorts of toppings (including chips) without much trouble, after all I am cheeseburger fueled. Mr.B was giving me a glowing review of his time spent on the fat bike, he was hooked. It didn't take much to convince him to take the bike for a week or two and get some real miles in on it. I think I created another fatbike convert. I also ran into some old (and not so old) friends and got to do some catching up.
All in all, the 5th annual TPMBC Fall Ripper was a huge success, lots of riders came out for the day of great trails, new and old friends, bike talk, and general awesomeness on a bike. Can't wait to do it all again next year.
Its no secret that I'm a big dude. At 6' and 250lbs I'm about as aerodynamic as a beer keg and look like I would be more at home sporting leather chaps atop a big Harley Davidson, and I'm okay with it.
Whenever I tell someone for the first time that I'm a cyclist I usually get a deer-in-the-headlights look of disbelief followed by the question "you ride bicycles?". I feel like replying "yes I do, thanks for being a total asshole and just assuming that I'm a lazy fatass" but usually just smile and nod. The follow up question varies, some of the best ones I've heard over the years that have stayed with me were "aren't you a little........ husky to ride a bike?", "are you riding to lose weight?", "you must ride with a slower group then?". My immediate reaction is to punch those people in the face, but I hold back and smile, with the dumbass who made the jerk-hole comment none the wiser to how close they came to having their life flash before their eyes. Just think about it..... would you poke a grizzly bear with a stick? Didn't think so.
I also get a kick out of the 'looks' from other riders at the trailhead and even out on the trail. I've seen the snickers and grins, heard the quiet giggles between friends, even watched as people made gestures that were clearly poking fun at me. I just let it go, knowing full well that I could break these douches in half if the mood arises. Again with the grizzly bear......
I stay calm because I know that their attitude is about to be adjusted. I let them giggle and roll into the trail, still doing their fat guy jokes. I let them get a minute or two ahead of me before I roll out, and put on the gas. I does not take long before I catch most of these jokers, the sound of a fat bike coming down on you must be frightening because they usually pull right off the side of the trail and let me by while I turn my head and give them a big shit eating grin as I pass by. The usual response to this is wide open mouths catching flies while drooling on their Troy Lee Designs jersey. I especially liked it when I passed the douche nozzle on a race bike, wearing a full on sausage suit, with a gps attached to the bars so he could be a Strava hero, while on a big switchback climb. He looked pissed. I especially liked the group of three dudes scoping out a rough section of trail at Puslinch, I heard one say "you need at least 5" of suspension to ride this" as I zipped by on a rigid fat bike through the rough.
Now, I'm not saying all other riders are assholes. For the most part, everyone is nice and accepting of others in all shapes and sizes. There is no cyclist mold, we come in big and small, and most riders know it. Its usually the "bros" or "amateur race types" that like to have a good laugh at my expense, even though its short lived after I come rolling down the trail, smashing their self inflated ego. Sometimes they are fast and I can't catch them, but sometimes not. Just because I'm fat does not mean I'm slow.
I know some other riders who a big fellas too. I can't really say any of them are slow. Matter of fact, their is an owner of a well known bike shop in London who is a bigger fella and can absolutely rip the trail up. I've seen lots of "big dudes" and "large ladies" that can haul it through the singletrack at break neck speed. Don't assume that because we are bigger, we are slow or handicapped in some way. We ride trails, we ride road, we ride 100km epics, we ride 1.5 hour after work jaunts, we race, we pull our kids around in trailers, we ride for fun.
I love riding, but I also love a good post-ride cheeseburger. That and my wife is an awesome cook. I'm okay with fat. Ride on!
I hadn't been out to Guelph Lake in quite a while so I decided to take advantage of my day and head up there. I started in the park in town and rode the community pathway out to the GORBA trails. Guelph Lake is home to some nice rolling trails through mostly pine forest. Trails like South Park, Mad Hater, Devil's Backbone, and Child's Play are all classic pine forest riding. Jurassic Park, Firefly, Upper Jurassic, and Dragon's Tongue are some tougher trails rolling up and down from the lake shore area. I did notice that the signage was in poor shape. The trails use to have excellent signs and maps but in the few years its been since I've ridden here they have degraded badly. For an out-of-towner like me, it was frustrating as I've only ridden here about 5 times over the last decade and need a reminder as to what is what.
After coming out of Beach Cruiser, you are greeted with excellent views of the lake. Beyond this there are some unofficial trails along the shore line near Highway 24. These trails can get pretty rough and tricky near the shoreline. Stay on your toes.
Heading back to the main trails I usually link up Firefly, Devil's Backbone and Link. Head into the tougher stuff on the south edge of the river (north most trails) for some serious rock crawling. The forest is so dense in here that it stays damp and dark all the time. You can almost catch a chill, even on a day like today with 36 degree plus humidity. Make no mistake, these trails are rocky.
After playing in the GORBA trails for a few hours I headed back out the community pathway to the park where I started. There are some singletrack trails coming off this pathway, these trails have some super tech challenges with alot of gnar tossed in. Roots, rocks, and more roots abound here.
Not a bad way to spend a few hours on a bicycle. Guelph Lake has everything from beginner singletrack, to the gnarly stuff that you might feel safer wearing armour for. Thanks GORBA for making an awesome trail system!
I hit the road looking to ride something different than my usual Turkey Point or The Pines. After a bit of thought I decided upon Puslinch. Its just over an hour away and is home to some twisty pine forest singletrack that slowly progresses into technical hardwood riding with roots and rocks.
I arrived at 9am, the trailhead was busy but not too overwhelming. I geared up and headed out into the bush. The soil was tacky with a couple of small wet areas throughout. For the first few kilometers its a nice winding ride in the plantation forest along the 401. You can hear the traffic from the 401 along the entire North edge of the forest, but it quickly fades as you progress further to the South East.
Route finding is a little on the tough side at times. The full loop is marked with blue blazes on the trees that are not always easy to find. It also appears that an easier loop is marked with green blazes. I kept following the blue markings and making my way into the tougher more challenging trail. Like I said before, the further you go the more challenging it gets.
The Fatboy seemed to swallow up all the nasty roots and rocks without too much trouble. I've never cleaned so many sections here before, I have to give credit to the bike for this one. I seemed to have great traction wherever I was. I also got the usual comments from onlookers and other riders to the tune of "isn't that thing slow?" "I bet that takes alot of work to ride", etc etc. My answer is what it always is - the bike isn't holding me back, the only thing that does is my skill and nerve.
If you have never been to Puslinch (or Twin Ponds as some call it), its worth the drive. Its a great place to ride if you like technical singletrack or are just looking to break up the routine of riding your local trails. The entire loop can be done in under two hours if you are of average skill and fitness level (me), much quicker if you are the racer type. It also drains well after a rain fall, adding to the appeal of the trails. Get out there, you will have fun. I promise.
My 3 year old son took his first mountain bike ride the other day out at Turkey Point. He managed to ride all of Saudwinder while dad was there with the camera to capture the moment. A few crashes and lots of laughs later and I think he's hooked.
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.