I'm off this week and decided that as I made my way up towards the out-laws in Kirkland Lake, I should check out some new MTB spots.
It's a pretty simple spot to find, about 5 minutes off 17. From Ottawa, it was about hour and fifteen minute drive. Upon exiting the car I was instantly greeted by a dozen deer flies, and unfortunately that was the theme for the day.
There really was lots of nice stuff in there, but unfortunately a hard workout meant I was sweating my bug dope off and eventually the deer flies literally drove me out of the woods. Thankfully I managed to grab most if not all the single track and was done in about an hour and 20.
With a little more trail work and traffic (especially in the stuff closest to the parking lot) this area can be quite the little gem and a nice way to break up a long drive. I'd love to go back later this fall once the flies are gone and now that I know what to expect.
The next day took me to North Bay. I've been travelling through the area for years and always wondered why there weren't more trails. I heard there was a bit near the ski hill (Jack Pine) but nothing really extensive (or so I thought).
I recently read on MTBR.com - Eastern Canada sub-forum that there's a lot more stuff than previously though. The good stuff is further east (about 9 km out of town) towards QC.
X - marks the spot.
Fairly discrete Pipeline access road (look for the no dumping sign) about 3 km after the Nordic Ski Club off of Shore Road.
The trails are dark dirty hardpacked with a few roots and quite a few baby heads. The best comparison would be hiking trails around Gatineau Park without the extreme elevation changes. The trails had amazing flow and lots of fun little sections that used the natural terrain quite well.
In terms of layout, the network is based around a pipe line access road. It's a bit of a climb but nothing too steep or sustained. I pretty much did all the stuff to the right of the map: Jaret's Jungle, Trapper's Trail, Bridge over Water... Why? (that's the actual trail name, there's also Grampa's Gullies extending that loop which is not on the map), Bull's Loop, Higher Ground, Pearl's Garden, Dan-Don Valley Parkway, then Trapper's Trail back down, Dave's Murray Downhill run, finally finished with La Flume. Whew, all that took me just under 2 hours of fairly sustained riding. There's lots of stuff here folks!
Waterfall run (see it in the background)
Bridge over Water... Why? This trail was quite long.
After North Bay I finally headed up to Kirkland Lake - The Original Big Ring's old stomping ground. Nothing too exciting up here but I did manage to get 'lil Ringer out a bit in anticipation of this weekend's 8 hour 2-man in the Sault. http://www.superiorsingletrack.com/
Riley chasing a fairly anorexic bear off the trail.
'lil Ringer grunting and clearing the whole climb up an old ski hill.
Rarely does everything go perfectly over a multiple day bike trip and even though my rig is quite new and maintained, I did get a surprise. I should have heeded the warning when Kent of Phat Moose said about 6 weeks ago "we'll see how long those new Raceface outboard bearings last" ...
Unfortunately in North Bay, I noticed that there was substantial resistance in the cranks and sure enough, the non-drive bearing seized.
The culprit, what a piece of junk!
The problem is that in KL, there's an abundance of booze, drugs, guns, and pick-ups, but no bike shops. I was screwed and had little time to replace the bearing before the Sault race in 5 days time.
Thankfully, a local rider and buddy of Craig and I came to the rescue. He had a brand new RaceFace Deus crankset with the X-type external bearings AND a wrench!?!? Seriously, what are the odds of that? A quick visit and the bearings & cups were swapped. U rock Glen!
Given RaceFace's bearing track record (and reviews) I realise it's not a permanent solution but surely it should be enough to last me this weekend before I toss the whole setup and go back to either square taper or SKF ISIS.
Stay tuned for Part Deux of Tour de Ontario where I post this weekend's race, some picks of Sault's lovely tight and twisty singletrack, and a stop in Sudbury on the way home to finally check out some apparently good stuff near Laurentian University.