5/10/08

Where to start?

So many things to talk about, where to start?! Since the title of the blog is a little obscure to say the least, I think it's best to start with something associated with a 'Samsquanch'!

As you may have already discovered, a 'Samsquanch' is a creature that is something like a Sasquatch, except it targets back woods bike trails (particularly Shore trails built of wood) and is a little more friendly from what I've been told . My friends and I have been building our own trail in a sneaky spot just outside of town. Coincidentally, we have built a shore trail, which we have dubbed 'The Grove'. We're lucky we haven't run into one at our spot.... yet....


That's me on the left (and above left), and Fergie up above (and above left). Colin is by far the best rider of our group, and we have some killer shots of him which I'll share later.




That gives you a good taste of what we have built already. Not bad considering 3 guys pretty much built the whole thing! The shot on the left was taken last year after we had just finished the section you see in the picture, along with a drop and a natural log ride. It's kind of a funny story how we started the spot - Colin scoped the spot (great find!), and he told me about it. We decided the first thing we had to build was a drop, so we went ahead and built a 6-8 foot drop between a couple of trees (picture later). After building the drop we didn't really go back to that spot until we took a new friend to see it (he was from England and we both had an interest in mountain biking, specifically Shore).

I should stop right there and explain what Shore is for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about. Shore is short for 'North Shore', which refers to the North Shore of Vancouver, where people built wooden 'bridges' and 'skinnies' in order to create a trail through the forests of the North Shore (to avoid natural obstacles). This soon progressed to where people where building wooden stunts through the downhill trails where everything was in the context of being in the flow of the trail. British Columbia, and the North Shore in particular is widely recognized as being the mountain bike mecca of the world (specifically Whistler). So the world started to recognize the skill and thrill of building and riding these trails, and the sport has been growing ever since!

So, back to the story! Danny was over from England and we went on a couple of rides with him at the local ski hill (which is decent), and we started talking about shore. Colin mentioned that we started building our own trail, so we took Danny out to the spot to show him. At this point we started talking about all the various lines that were possible on our little claimed spot of land! And we finally started building again - and then we brought in out other friend, Fergie, to help out. We ended up working for about 2 months straight to partially finish it and make it ridable - and we had to endure some crazy attacks from mozzies (mosquitoes). They were bad out there as it was pretty much swamp land, but we started to pack it down pretty good with all the work we were doing. We also had some help from another friend named Dave, he pretty much single handedly finished the landing to our drop - props for the hard work Dave!!

The first thing we had to do, of course, was the drop. It was scary enough, not too big, but standing on the wooden platform and looking at the landing was pretty scary - mostly all mental, but it was a sniper landing and run out (to make it that much more scary!). I was just coming back from breaking my right collar bone (more on that later maybe), so we affectionately named the drop 'Collar Bone' after my injury - and naturally I wanted to hit it first! So, I went first. I have been biking for almost 3 years now, and must say that I have taken my fair share of licks in order to learn the sport (maybe some stories on that another day!). So you guessed it, I bailed - I landed the drop fine, but got sketchy on the landing and had a hard time hitting the wooden run out. Luckily for me, I was decked out in some robocop like armor which helped keep me in one piece. I tried 2 more times and failed - bruised but not broken we walked away to try it again another day. In comes the helmet cam! We like to take as much footage as possible of ourselves riding (photo's along with film), so we decided it was a good idea to add a helmet cam to the arsenal - sounds like a good idea right?! Well we had our first session with the helmet cam out at the grove (which you can see parts of here, along with other various biking vids from our group), and on the last run that I was wearing the helmet cam, I followed Colin off the drop and, yip you guessed it, bailed again. Colin was nice enough to leave that footage out of the clip I mentioned earlier, but I ended up with a nice cut on my chin. Now the drop was in my head, and I didn't want anything to do with it. After this bail, we collectively decided to change the drop slightly - it was angled up a bit much and would kick your back tire, so we made it more of a down slope. The whole summer I pretty much avoided it (I learned how to hit a step up/step down which I now think is more difficult), but ended up giving it a go after many attempts to talk me into it! I ended up hitting it no problem this time (a summer of riding downhill did a number for my confidence and riding skills), and continue to hit it no problem - definitely the funnest thing at 'The Grove'.

That's me on the left hitting the drop, and Fergie on the right getting stoked!

So, if it wasn't for a chance meeting with a guy from England, through work (a friend at work connected us because he knew we were both into mountain biking), the chances of us doing what we did, I believe, were small. We probably would've had some stuff out there, but not to the extent of what we have now. Some people have referred to it as Ewok Village, but we just call it our personal play ground!

That's probably way too much for right now, but I'll be back again. Next time I'll probably talk about my other passion, music, electronic music in particular. The Symbolic Studios side of the equation.....

3 comments:

Just Jaime said...

So that's where SHORE comes from?! It all makes sense now...
I think this blog of yours is going to come in handy, before you know it I'll be tossing the bike lingo around with confidence.

Welcome to the world of blogging babe! I can't wait to read more of your posts.

Bridie said...

Looks good! Now I can keep track of you (no pun intended)....MM

AG said...

Hi,

I edit a paper called Georgian Bay Today, www.georgianbaytoday.net would you be interested in submitting an article for the paper about biking on Blue Mountain? I like the pics and write up you did of your day adventure!

Cordially,
AG
arthurgron@web.ca