Mountain Biking and Cycling: The Season in Review

Another season ended a few weeks ago when the roads were covered in white stuff, not snow but a heavy layer of salt that the city felt necessary to dump on the roads during a few light snowfalls. But as I do much of my riding from home, even the ride to the mountain bike (MTB) trails requires riding on the roadways so I decided it was time to end the season. A couple of weeks later everything was covered in snow. The bikes have been in and out of “Joe's Garage” for Eric's annual tune-ups and are waiting downstairs for the new season. Christine's Brodie Sterling is set up on a trainer, and my Devinci Remix “as good as new” with brand new Kenda Nevegals is waiting for next season.

My season started on April 6 on the Brodie hybrid riding the back country roads near Kanata and the mountain bike season started on May 6 on the Old Quarry trails and ended November 20 on those same trails. I rode a total of 2715 km (174 hours) this season, 1977 km (113 hours) on the hybrid and 739 km (61 hours) on the mountain bike.

We took a three week vacation in Austria but even managed to get 179 km of riding in there on Trans-Canada Trail type trails and paved paths, on borrowed mountain bikes. More on cycling in Austria in a future blog post.

We also decided not to take our bikes on our one week northern vacation this year, concentrating on kayaking up north instead, including a bit on the French River.

The highpoint of the season for me, as far as hybrid riding goes, is the Tour Nortel. I rode just over 80 km in 4.5 hours at an average speed of 19 km/hour and raised $525 for the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. My longest hybrid ride this year was 101 km from Kanata up into the Gatineau's and back in 5.5 hours at an average speed of 19 km/hr. I did not manage to beat last years personal distance record of 110 km.

This Seasons Long Hybrid Ride
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My mountain biking season this year was concentrated on the Greenbelt trails and Kanata Lakes with some exploring in the Marlborough Forest. We live right beside Old Quarry and those trails interconnect to all of the western Greenbelt trails so we spend a lot of time on these trails whose difficulty ranges from easy flat gravel to the highly technical Lime Kiln Trail and everything in-between.

I got a new toy this year, a new, much more accurate GPS to use on my mapping projects. I added maps of Greenbelt Trails 11 & 12 and the Marlborough Forest to my map archive this season. Mapping the trails is an added bonus to riding them since I have always loved and collected maps, and it adds some extra fun to the experience and is a way to give back to the community.

I first checked out the Marlborough Forest in the previous season attempting to follow the Rideau Trail through it. But as soon as the trail left the forest roads it became very muddy and unsustainable so I switched to the forest roads and mapped all of the forest roads that connected to my starting point this season. There may be a few other orphan roads out there. However there are lots of cart trails , snowmobile trails and other trails interconnecting with the forest roads that I have yet to explore and map. Perhaps next season.

Marlborough Forest Forest Roads
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The other part of my regular riding schedule is in the South March Highlands, also known as the Kanata Lakes Trails. This year I managed to get out a number of my times on my own, in addition to the regular Thursday night Ottawa Mountain Bike Association (OMBA) rides where I was asked and reluctantly agreed to lead the OMBA Group D ride. My reluctance was based on the large shoes I had to fill from previous Group D riders such as Peter and Mario (and Catweaver before I joined the rides). However I think I set my own tone for the rides making them an easy going beginner level ride. Indeed I think there is room for a group between D and C that would be a little more challenging than Group D as I lead it. It also looks like A and B might possibly be combined as they usually ended up being combined this last season. Leading Group D got me out a few more times in the season trying to scout out different routes for the group to take. Next season if I am still leading the group I think we will do more of the old Kanata Lakes trails between the rail line and GFR and I expect to spend even more time in SMH next season.

A Typical Group D Ride
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As well as riding in SMH I also had the opportunity to participate in OMBA trail days doping trail maintenance. This season we managed to get Rock Hopper made into a much more sustainable trail. Trail days are a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun and a great way to give back to the trails that we all enjoy.

The City of Ottawa is currently preparing the management plan for the South March Highlands so helping keep the trails sustainable, as well as riding responsibly and avoiding the trails during muddy conditions, improves the chances of having mountain biking recognized as not only a legitimate but a desirable use of the trail system.

And besides all the riding I have gotten involved in a number of other MTB related projects this season. I just agreed to monitor the NCC's greenbelt review for OMBA and keep my eyes and ears open for any impacts on mountain biking.

I have also been helping PeterV learn about GPSing and mapping software for his Nakkertok project. I have also been providing Catweaver with some informal assistance on her Trips for Kids project. And I am now an EcoSteward for the Dominique's Creative Wheel Centre, an environmental retreat and MTB training school, for women and children, where I help out with mapping projects.

It has been a great season and I look forward to next season. I have already started to plan a short MTB holiday in the Muskoka region that I will be writing more about in the future.

Happy Riding to all of you that are continuing to ride through the winter.

1 comment:

CEO of Kona said...

101km! Wow congrats! Keep up the good work!