Monday, May 25, 2009

Decompress: A day at Hardwood

Racing takes up so much time and energy that sometimes I forget how much fun just going out for a ride can be. Thanks to Jeff at and Giant Bicycles, I had a bike suitable for G to test out. No stranger to action sports, G picked up the way of the mountain bike in no time at all. I had some payback to dole out for the adventures he treated me to out west but try as I might, there were no trails at Hardwood Hills I could get him to shake his head at.

Typical male, he blamed the equipment. I have the Giant Trance X1 for a couple days in order to add my input for an upcoming review. And after the runs I put on it, I can safely agree that this bike will give even a first-timer like my boyfriend the confidence to point down into some pretty gnarly trails. It felt solid in the rough, and nimble in the tight with tons of adjustability in the controls to make sure that any rider can grab the perfect fit.

Our first lap was on the Trek-Toronto Canada Cup course set to be raced next weekend. Compared to the gnar of Tremblant, I was pleasantly surprised at how much more mellow Hardwood is technically. However, it's important not be fooled because although not as rough, Hardwood has a sneaky kind of technical quality in that your momentum is a very fragile thing. Touch the brakes for an instant, dab or screw up your gearing and you'll find you've lost your momentum and it's tough to get it back again. So it's a course designed for finesse and fitness with some decidely tricky bits thrown in for fun.

The start is wide open — a ton of room for a hammerfest of pedalling. The infamous "Boneshaker" was of course included but I was surprised (happy!) to discover that "the Grunt" seciton on "Radical" is not. The course is estimated at 9km so we'll do four of those come Sunday.

After that, I took G on "Serious" but since he'd done so well on the challenging Canada Cup Course, we quickly bored of "Serious" and moved onto "Gnarly". G greased all the bridges and skinnies, he fearlessly dropped into the roots and the rocks and even cleaned a section that I shied away from. Oh yeah, and then he offered me tips on how to bunny hop with flats — a skill he seemed to pull out of his sleeve in a matter of two seconds messing around in the parking lot. A natural! He's a devoted snowboarder/skateboarder so I doubt I'll ever win him over to the dark side entirely, but it was a great day spent together out of the city, in the fresh air and sunshine. He took to it so naturally hopefully he won't hesitate if I invite him for a ride again.
With the afternoon slipping away, we headed back to the city. It didn't take me long to crash right out. All in all, it was a pretty long weekend. But definitely well spent.
Happy Trails!

1 comment:

  1. First time reader. Roomie told me about it. Nicely done.