You can mountain bike all year round in Victoria [without a Pugsley!] if you take advantage of the nice weather when it arrives. Now keep in mind “nice” is relative and for this past week Sunday was a “nice” day with sunny skies and +1 deg C temperatures. Given the 90% humidity on the coast it felt a heck of a lot colder than the same temperature back in Calgary, but since we don’t live in Calgary we can’t dwell on such details. I got up early to have my ritual 3 cups of hot tea and blog a bit before Scott aka Porcelain Rocket-man aka Bag Man showed up to go mountain biking.
We headed to Partridge Hills hoping that some riding would warm us up.
I didn’t bring my new camera along figuring 1) we wouldn’t stop that often in the cold and 2) I’d be falling a lot and didn’t want to smash it. Turns out we took a decent number of snaps as the snow and leaves made the trails very pretty.
Scott is a better mountain biker than I am…hmmm…I guess that’s true of most people! So I saw a lot of him disappearing up a crazy climb or hunting down the gnarliest trail. That’s okay – I ride better when someone else is cleaning everything as I get inspired to throw my old decrepit body at techy section with less caution than normal.
I also learned that Scott’s idea of what to look for in a trail is more….ummm….flexible than mine! At one point after hike a biking for a while down a mountain side I asked him if there was a plan other than to scramble downwards carrying our bikes? His puzzled look told me that he didn’t understand what the problem was. The crazy part is does this in hard soled SPD MTB shoes and I was struggling in my 5.10’s with their climbing rubber soles!!
On the bright side hike a biking is great for warming you up and I got to experience a whole different kind of being lost at Partridge Hills than normal!
I was surprised how well we were getting traction on the leaves this ride. In the past the leaves were the slippery zone – not this time. The challenging parts were the rocks, roots and muddy sections. I basically would plot a line down and techy sections guesstimating where my bike was likely to slide to and trying to bounce of obstacles on either side of the trail to keep me from crashing. I was mostly successful..=-)
Scott rides a sweet Hunter 29er hardtail with Rohloff and he rides it well. I got him to try my full-suspension Santa Cruz Nomad so he could see how the other half lived. He did talk a bit about getting a FS MTB so maybe my cunning plan worked…=-)
Watching Scott ride all day from my position panting like a porn star in the rear of the dirt paceline I started jonesing for a Rohloff MTB. Having a spare Rohloff built up into a nice 26″ MTB rim makes that plan reasonably easy. I may rebuild the Surly 1×1 as a Rohloff rigid MTB and see what I think. In the tight trails around Victoria my XL Santa Cruz is hard to throw around – especially going uphill so the medium frame 1×1 could be the ticket!
Between the leaves on the ground, the green moss and white snow – it was a spectacular visual feast on this ride.
Strangely we met more riders on today’s cold damp ride than I’ve ever met at noon on a sunny warm summer weekend…go figure!
As per usual we got lost trying to find the parking lot – even with a rider stopping to point us in the right direction! At least we are consistent…=-)
I was puzzled when Scott started pushing my bike on rideable terrain, but he informed me he loved to push so no test ride was complete without seeing how a rig would hike a bike.
Although I’ve known Scott for a few years now we’ve never lived in the same city and never ridden bikes together. So it was nice to actually ride with him instead of just talking about bikes! Scott works at home making Porcelain Rocket bike bags so he’s got a flexible schedule like I do and with Victoria winter MTBing being an opportunistic affair during windows of decent weather I predict lots more riding together…=-)