Not many words today.
Its been years since I rode at Kelso and was itching to get back into the gnarly rocks of "X-Tream Trail" and "Rough Trade". Having not been in a long time, there were some re-routes that I was unfamiliar with but everything flowed together nicely. The fall colours were in full swing and there were lots of hikers on the trails. The view from the top of the escarpment was beautiful.
Kyle and I put our technical riding skills to the test battling the rocks and roots. A couple of small wipeouts and a shoe malfunction were the only unplanned accidents of the day.
After a few hours of toughing out cottage traffic the family and I arrived at the cottage of my wife's cousins. We had made the plans earlier in the year to have a weekend on the lake visiting her extended family and there was no way I was going to leave my bike at home with all the great riding I could do up there. Saturday was a nice day at the lake followed by a Turkey dinner, but Sunday morning was my chance to sneak out for a few hours.
I was out the door and running immediately after breakfast. I had my sights set on getting out to Buckwallow (which was only 10 minutes from the cottage) as I had not been there in over five years. I pulled into the parking lot and was immediately greeted by the owner Mike, who was genuinely interested in talking about trail conditions and what my plans to ride were. In no other pay-to-play trail system have I ever been met by the owner and had a quick chat, maybe its the Muskoka-Friendly attitude or that life moves a little slower up there.
After paying my $10 fee I set out to battle the rocks of the Canadian Shield. I had forgotten over those five years just how tough and technical these trails are. I had to quickly adjust to the unfamiliar terrain or suffer greatly.
I'm not going to lie, the terrain here is steep and brutal at times. I was glad I had the extra traction of the full on fatbike with me but still had the occasional loud howl of my four inch wide tires sliding across the rocks when I would grab a little too much rear brake. All the rocks also made for plenty of opportunities to tear my big tires to shreds, although I did make it out with just a little bit of sidewall rash on the rear tire. These 3 year old Floater tires are darn reliable.
I got deeper into the trails and onto old Buckwallow classics like West 'D' Nile and The Missing Link. These sections are an odd mixture of pleasure and pain. I have to come clean too, I did have a few hiccups and colourful language while out there. I also had to be careful not to go down too hard, as the saying goes about "an unstoppable force meets an immovable object", I'm sure I would have had broken bones if I pushed too hard.
After a few hours of beating myself and my bike senseless, it was time to call it in. I had ridden everything that Buckwallow had to offer, then some sections over again for added self-induced trauma. I headed back to the cottage and enjoyed lunch, then sat on a comfy chair on the dock and relaxed the afternoon away while watching the family enjoy the boats and water skis. It will likely be another five years before I ride Buckwallow again but it will be well worth the wait.
The plan was hatched late Friday evening that we would ride early Saturday and beat the heat, or at least try to. It had been a while since both Kyle and I had been to the Hydrocut and we were both feeling an itch for it that we needed to scratch. Kyle showed up early and we were on our way after a fuel and drink stop. The drive up was full of our typical bullshitting about bikes, motorcycles, and diesel powered units.
We started out from the Snyder St entrance to the Hydrocut, which in my opinion is the better of the two parking areas. A quick ride down the multi-use trail and we started our 'Cut ride on Creepy Corner. It had been a few weeks since I've ridden the Torrent, due to a rear wheel failure and subsequent rebuild, and I was getting accustomed to the aggressive nature of the bike again. We came across some new trail sections, Medusa and Godzilla, and I went full bore on the huge rocks at the entrance. I caught myself by surprise by getting up and over such a large obstacle that I never would have tried in years gone past on my more modest bikes I've owned.
The gnarly freight train kept going. When Kyle and I ride it usually turns into a duo of grown men laughing and yelling through the woods. We push each other in different ways. Kyle pushes me faster and I push him harder in the technical sections and tough obstacles. We came out of the Frankenstein trail into a group of riders who appeared to be from Brantford. One remarked to us that we were "scaring all the woodland creatures" to which Kyle and I laughed and kept moving. We later joked that we were just practicing for our Mountain Dew commercial.
With our water running low and the heat of the day starting to get to us, we decided to slow the pace a bit for the remainder of the ride. We finished off without incident, opting to take the easy route on Kamikaze as our arms were tired and our concentration fluttering. The first "Buddy Road Trip" of the year came to and end with plans on doing much more together before the year is out. Where will we ride next? Kelso? Ravenshoe? Dufferin? We will see.
I've realized (after a few emails) that some of you might have noticed that I'm posting less on the blog. Fear not, as I'm still in the game and have a few things coming down the pipe soon. My free time has been limited as of late and I've spent what time I have riding rather than writing. I'm about to have a bit of a schedule shift in life and should have some more free time in the evenings after the kids go to bed, which will let me blog on the couch beside Mrs. Bric while she watches her shows.
I'm also going to focus more on quality articles and stories rather than ride reports consisting of photos and "It was a great ride" kind of thing, it gets boring after a while. The great photos will keep coming though. I'm also planning on doing some more "away" rides this year and more riding with groups which will undoubtedly spur some interesting stories. I'm also reliving my youth and writing about adventures of years gone by that will be slowly published over the next year.
Stay tuned everyone! Thanks for reading!
It was a long awaited weekend away from home. I had planned on it for quite some time as Mrs. Bric and the kids were going overnight to a friends place. I had set my sights on riding Copeland Forest just north of Barrie. I've heard all kinds of things about how great the riding is up there and how its a bit of a hidden gem of singletrack. I set out after a busy day at work on Friday afternoon to be greeted by the stop and go bumper to bumper traffic all the way from Oakville to Innisfil. After several hours on the road I finally made it to Bass Lake Provincial Park where I would camp the night before riding in the morning.
I quickly made camp and hit the park showers. Feeling refreshed, I lit the camp fire and started some dinner. My gourmet spread of Kraft Dinner and camp fire hot dogs hit the spot. While sitting and eating I noticed that the tent I had brought (the same tent I used for similar road trips in my younger days, it has to be 12 years old or so) was looking a little worn. This might be the last trip around the sun for it. Guess I need to watch for another dome tent on sale at Crappy soon. The old made-in-Hungary air bed I brought was still going strong though. 30 years old butyl rubber never looked so good, the smell was something else though.
The sun was setting and the stress of traffic on the 400 was fading. I laid back in my chair and watched the camp fire and stars. Seems like it has been forever since I've been out camping and biking like this. I think the last trip I took was with my cousin back in 2007. The two of us rode most of Ontario together and did numerous bike trips together.
I woke up later than I usually do when camping, around 7am. I boiled some water and ate my freeze dried eggs and bacon with some fresh toast. It was OK. I packed camp up and headed out to The Cope'. I arrived around quarter after nine and set out into the woods. I didn't really know where I was going so I just began hitting whatever singletrack I came across. It didn't take long to get a bit lost.
To my luck I met up with a group of over a dozen local riders. After a brief talk with Bob, and a quick introduction to the group, I was on my way with them leading me to all the best that Copeland has to offer. Some of the group who had been riding out there for over a decade said they can still get a little bit turned around out there. Good thing I met up with them.
It seemed like we climbed for hours, each turn just kept going up and up. The last climb to "mile high" was a doozy, 8 switchbacks and as steep as it gets. To top it off, I was stung by a yellow jacket while making the climb. Once at the top the group stopped for a breather, I got lots of questions about the fat bike from the curious crowd and assured them that the bike wasn't holding me back.
We then set out for the longest downhill trail I've ever ridden, it seemed to go forever but in reality was likely only a few minutes. I shredded the section cleanly on the fat bike but the rigid fork took a toll on my arms. A Bluto would have been nice today.
The group made their way back to the trailhead and made me a standing invitation to ride with them again whenever I found myself in the area on a Saturday morning at 9 am. It was a great ride and I'd like to get back there one day. I was grinning from the experience all the way back home that evening. Copeland Forest is absolutely a hidden gem of singletrack that you need to experience if you have never been there before. Tell Bob that The Bric sent ya.
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.