The Girlz ride Terra Nova Trail…

15 04 2013
Dead fall...

Dead fall…

Last time I went riding with Sharon and her friend J [fall 2012] we left with J having two broken hands and Sharon could barely walk. That was an easy paced chill ride… 😉

One of many water crossings...

One of many water crossings…

So when we all went riding again last week our mission was clear – everybody comes home in one piece!

I picked a trail that is as close to XC as I have near at hand to our home in coastal BC. Sadly that doesn’t mean buff endless singletrack. But it does mean you can ride your bike a bunch of the time without facing a techy obstacle at every turn and when you do face an obstacle you mostly have to get off your bike and walk. Walking may not be as fun a riding, but it’s safer…;)

Here is a solo ride report from the same trail last August when it was much much drier.

Sometimes you gotta push in the bush...

Sometimes you gotta push in the bush…

Our typical MTBing trails are what the kids call “all mountain”, which translates to steep and techy. I’d call it “Costal BC all mountain” which in my mind denotes a higher than normal density of the tech and often slippery conditions”. So although this isn’t a Colorado Buff trail this is a chill safe-ish MTB option around here.

Sharon riding her Pugsley...

Sharon riding her Pugsley…

I suggested that Sharon ride her Pugsley instead of her 6″ travel FS bike. Partially because this trail didn’t really need tons of travel and partially because I want her to get comfy doing easy MTBing trails on the Pugs to facilitate future bikepacking adventures.

J still smiling...

J still smiling…

Although Sharon has turned into a decent shredder she’s only been riding MTBs for 3yrs. Has really only ridden 1 MTB [Santa Cruz Nomad] and 95% of her MTBing has been in 1 bike park. So her skill set is good, but not broad.

She also has a lot of Baja sand riding experience, but that’s a pretty niche skill set not much use most other places.

Team effort...

Team effort…

For the first hour I got flack about suggesting the Pugs because she got pounded on a rigid bike trying to ride it like a long travel FS bike. Her FS bike has a dropper post so I setup her saddle at 70% normal height which she thought was too low when it was chill and too high on the few steep sections.

So she walked her bike a bunch when she could have ridden and complained a lot. I just told her that the bike she had at the moment was the Pugs and to get on with riding it…lol…tough love!

The mighty Krampus...

The mighty Krampus…

It would have helped morale if I was riding my Pugs as well, but it was at the LBS getting my Rolling Darryl rims built into wheels. I was riding my Krampus which was rigid and semi-fat so I didn’t feel guilty for flying along on a cloud of high-tech suspension!

Gloomy forest singletrack...

Gloomy forest singletrack…

The good news is that after an hour the complaints went away and Sharon started shredding the rocky climbs and other challenging sections. Then she even commented how easy it was to climb the Pugs on rough or slippery terrain and how it rolled over river rocks like they weren’t there.

Mission accomplished! 🙂

Splish Splash!

Splish Splash!

I’m not one of these guys that thinks fat bikes are the best MTBs for just about every kind of riding. I like my other MTBs plenty and for a lot of the riding I do they are miles better than my fatty…BUT…for ‘xploring poorly maintained trails in wet conditions big fat rubber is pretty sweet and the Pugs has a great geometry for this kind of riding.

I’m glad Sharon came to that conclusion on her own. Especially riding an unloaded bike on a short trail ride. This will make the leap to carrying some camping gear and having to mountain bike a lot easier.

J charging the creek...

J charging the creek…

I’m happy to report J made it back to the car un-broken and smiling. 😎

Racing the setting sun back to the car...

Racing the setting sun back to the car…

Of course Sharon did have some criticisms of the BB7s for MTBing compared to her Nomad’s hydros as well as a few other upgrades. I pointed out that the Pugs was a bike worthy of upgrading and when she wanted to spend some $$ we could tackle anything she liked…:D;):thumbsup:





Terra Nova Trail – Sooke BC…

3 08 2012

My Scandal 29er MTB taking a break on the Terra Nova Trail…

I’ve been keen on riding the Terra Nova Trail for a while. I finally got out to the trailhead which is partway between Victoria and Sooke BC this week for a solo ride. The trail is billed as a XC ride with lots of overgrown vegetation. Like most trails on Vancouver Island that don’t see constant use it has a feeling of being a bit forgotten. It doesn’t take very long for the plant life in our rainforest to take back a trail.

Click for larger interactive map…

The trail is based on a disused skidder road used to pull felled trees out of the forest. It hasn’t been used for a longtime so in most places it’s singletrack now. The ride isn’t hard technically, but there are a number of challenges including vegetation overgrowing the trail, dead fall across the trail and a general lack of maintenance leading to eroded sections. If you want to explore some beautiful forest terrain and explore a nice spot on the island you should ride the Terra Nova Trail. If you want a high quality XC mountain bike ride this isn’t it.

A taste of buff singletrack…

I rode my On One Scandal 29er hardtail mountain bike. It was a fine choice for the ride, but you can ride pretty much any type of bike on this trail. The sections you can ride are easy and the sections that are not easy will require most people to get off their bikes and carry them. I’d break it down as: 50% easy riding, 25% challenging riding & 25% hike-a-bike. So bring a bike you don’t mind lifting and pushing a bunch! 😉 Even though the trail is short at 11kms don’t expect to be back at your car before 2hrs is up. You’ll want to enjoy the scenery and you never seem to get any momentum on this trail with the constant need to find the route or carry your bike over an obstacle.

Click for more photos….

I used a GPS track to navigate the trail. That proved useful as there are a number of alternate trails to explore. I’m not sure where they go. I had a limited amount of time so I stuck to the main trail. I’ll be back to check out all the bits I didn’t get a chance to ride on a future visit. Freak Maps has a mountain bike guide book that is available at most LBS with a description of the Terra Nova Trail for those folks not interested in using a GPS.

Crossing a dry creek on a log…

I stopped a lot and snapped some pics to document the ride. You can see those photos on Flickr at this link. I found another set of photos and videos from the Terra Nova Trail on Flickr showing conditions earlier in the season with water in the creeks. That photographer also posted a GPS track which is what I used to get around the trail.

Click for more photos…

Would I recommend the Terra Nova Trail? Yes –  if you like your rides on the adventurous side with some hike-a-bike thrown in. This is not a buff singletrack buffet!

Terra Nova Trail in relation to Victoria and Sooke BC…

There is a longer ride option out to Harbourview Rd that ends at Sheilds Lake which sounds like a good option for a swim and a picnic. Looking at the map it seems to cover some of the same ground A-Man I traveled when we tried to ride at Harbourview and managed to get amazingly lost.

Some good old BC roots!