It’s summer at the Zoo…

Some of the crew...

Some of the crew…

A bike industry professional in action...

A bike industry professional in action…

Dirty Hombre Girlz in da house...

Dirty Hombre Girlz in da house…

I got this!

I got this!

Chris...

Chris…

Look ma I'm in the air!

Look ma I’m in the air!

Worth trying again...

Worth trying again…

Time for some maintenance...

Time for some maintenance…

Nice view...

Nice view…

The UK connection...

The UK connection…

Joanne...

Joanne…

Mach Sixes...

Mach Sixes…

The spots are catching on...

The spots are catching on…

Hardtails can fly...

Hardtails can fly…

"Did you see that jump?"...

“Did you see that jump?”…

Helen hitting it...

Helen hitting it…

Chris airborne...

Chris airborne…

Sharon in the air...

Sharon in the air…

Joanne gets her Bronson on...

Joanne gets her Bronson on…

Lazy scouting the jump...

Lazy scouting the jump…

Conor making it happen...

Conor making it happen…

Dodging the Rain on Mount Tzouhalem…

Helen and Chris...

Helen and Chris…

Despite a rainy forecast we headed out to Mount Tzouhalem for a very early morning ride on Sunday to meet Mike who was visiting from Vancouver with his shiny new Chromag Surface.

Click map for larger version and GPS track...

Click map for larger version and GPS track…

The Bike Gods smiled upon us and not only didn’t we get wet, but there was some actual sunshine experienced on the ride. 🙂

Sharon...

Sharon…

Rivers showed us a new climbing route to get up to the top of the mountain.

Clearing trail...

Clearing trail…

We enjoyed the amazing view from the top and the good company.

Enjoying the view...

Enjoying the view…

Mike’s new bike was pretty sweet and gave a few us a hankering for a fancy 29er hardtail. 😉

Mike and his Chromag Surface...

Mike and his Chromag Surface…

Rivers was testing out some new Light Bicycle carbon rims which looked very nice.

Rivers and his Prime...

Rivers and his Prime…

All in all a great day out on the bike. 🙂

Tzouhalem Club Ride

Hombres at the start...

Hombres at the start…

Since Saturday’s Dirt Hombre Club Ride was so much fun we figured why wait for another club ride? So the DH Crew met up in Duncan Sunday at Mount Tzouhalem for another day of Gnar Shredding! 😉

Click for larger map and GPS track...

Click for larger map and GPS track…

We [mostly] followed the same route Russ showed us from back in December…although my ability to ride and follow a GPS track may have been doubted by some after quite a few wrong turns!

The Lazy One...

The Lazy One…

I was too busy taking the wrong turn to get many photos so all the pics besides the top and bottom ones were taken by Tricia.

Bikes have their own club meeting...

Bikes have their own club meeting…

Once again the weather was nearly perfect despite a cold/damp start to the day in Victoria. The trails were just damp enough for epic traction with no mud or dust to contend with.

Chillaxing the gnar!!

Chillaxing the gnar!!

The crew was in high spirits and we had a bunch of new Dirt Hombres out for the ride which is sweet. The more the merrier!

Hombres at the top...

Hombres at the top…

The club is off to a nice start for 2014. Here’s to many more amazing rides…! 🙂

Tzouhalem Russ Loop

Click on image for large interactive map...

Click on image for large interactive map…

Sharon and I got out for a great ride Sunday with the Dirty Girlz and the Dirt Hombres Mountain Bike Clubs at Tzouhalem. The weather was looking grim indeed with uber high winds and pelting rain as we drove over the Malahat towards Duncan BC. One thing about Vancouver Island I have learned over the years is that the weather can be very very localized. Sure enough we arrive at the trailhead parking lot to blue skies and sun! 😉

12 gnarly shredders!

12 gnarly shredders!

It was great to get a dozen riders out on the trails together. Russ [far left] is a long-time local islander and he was kind enough to guide us around the trails on a really fun loop. I’ve posted the GPS track on Ride With GPS just click on the map at the top of this post to download it.

I accidentally left my DSLR at home and only had my worst quality P&S camera so pics are limited and a bit pathetic! On the plus side I got to just ride and ride without messing with a camera much.

Team Lazy! on the top of Tzouhalem...

Team Lazy! on the top of Tzouhalem…

The trails were fairly dry with only say 10% on the soggy side. Roots were a bit slippery, but that added to the mental chess game of riding through techy sections. Although we ran into a handful of other riders we pretty much had the trails to ourselves.

Deanna with her new Santa Cruz Bronson...

Deanna with her new Santa Cruz Bronson…

Not sure what was up with the Santa Cruz posse, but 9 of the 12 riders were on SC bikes. Deanna was shredding a new Bronson 650B rig and loving it. Michael and Jean were on new SC Heckler 650B bikes and Joanne was our 650B pioneer on her 5 month old Bronson.

John and his Turner...

John and his Turner…

Everyone had lots of fun and the group was well balanced with folks at both ends of the skill spectrum so you had someone to ride with and then the whole group could re-group at rest breaks. Thanks to everyone who came out. It was an awesome day! 🙂

Driving home in the pouring rain only enhanced our feeling of snatching a glorious ride from the jaws of winter! 😉

Mount Tzouhalem – Duncan BC…

Going big...at least a little... ;)

Going big…at least a little… 😉

Since we decided to stay on the island last weekend rather than try and find some off island mountain biking for Sharon’s birthday we figured we should at least hit some new trails. We’ve heard lots of good things about the riding at Mount Tzouhalem aka The Zoo near Duncan BC. It’s an easy 1 hr drive north for us. So we loaded up the car and hit the road.

Deanna and Sean...

Deanna and Sean…

We managed to wrangle our friends Deanna and Sean into coming along to check out the new trails.

Click for larger interactive map...

Click for larger interactive map…

Not wanting to get lost of spend too much time futzing with a paper map I found a promising looking GPS track online and downloaded it to my Garmin Etrex 20.

Sharon on the move...

Sharon on the move…

After an hour of changing tires and multiple tubes on S&D’s Hecklers we finally got them – mostly – rideable! Those bikes seem to always have mechanical issues and there is talk of replacing them with new 650B Hecklers from Santa Cruz. **fingers crossed**!!

Forest riding...

Forest riding…

One of the things we had heard about The Zoo was the trails were smoother and flowy. This was in fact true. Although there were some rough sections of BC roots and rocks – for the most part the trails we explored were buff and had a super fun flow to them.

Tres Amigos...

Tres Amigos…

While I wouldn’t call the riding easy – there are lots of steep climbs to deal with and there is a reasonable amount of technical riding, but overall the character of the trails is less demanding than say Hartland or Cumberland.

Lots of stunts...

Lots of stunts…

There were lots of wooden structures to play on and quite a few dirt jumps to launch off. These weren’t as beginner friendly as the ones we rode in Cumberland, but as long as you looked before you leaped there was something for everyone. As a plus the trails were really dry – unlike the riding close in to Victoria where the winter slickness has started.

Deanna trying out Sharon's Nomad...

Deanna trying out Sharon’s Nomad…

Thanks to whomever posted that GPS track online. It was a great ride and we really enjoyed every bit of it. Now that we know the lay of the land we’ll explore some other riding at the Zoo on out next visit.

Sean throws the Heckler off the ramp...

Sean throws the Heckler off the ramp…

I’m going to say this is our favourite riding spot on the island at the moment. The quality of the trails and the ease of getting there make it pretty hard to resist. I think you’ll be seeing lots more Mount Tzouhalem riding posts from us.

Click to buy guidebook...

Click to buy guidebook…