return to point rosie

Darren and I rode to Point Rosie in 2014; later that year Guy and Ruth did it as well.

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I got back to Point Rosie this year, this time with a couple of good friends, John and Nancy.  This was the first bikepacking trip for each of them. Here we are at Frenchman’s Cove Provincial Park.  We drove down the day before and spent the night here.  The park staff let us leave our vehicle in the day use parking area while we did our ride.  This also had the added bonus of access to showers before the trip home!

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John crossing the bridge at the trailhead.

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The town of Garnish in the background.

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One of the bridges was a little bit shorter than the last time I was was here.  No problem – we just took off our shoes and waded across.

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There are lots of short, steep hills to contend with.

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Point Rosie, where we spent the night.  Just before entering the community there is a small stream where you can get water.

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Noodling around on the beach.

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On the way home.

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irish loop off road (ILOR)

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400 km, 5 days and 4 nights. Green triangles indicate where I camped.

Over the May 24th long weekend I tackled the route I’ve been calling “Irish Loop Off Road” or ILOR.  If anybody has a better name let me know (Paul C?).  Amy, Paul and I first tackled this route two years ago, that time riding it in a counter-clockwise direction and learning what worked and what didn’t.  This iteration of the route is much better.

This ride has it all:  80% of it is on dirt, the majority of the paved sections are on quiet roads; single track, dirt roads, ATV tracks, 2 hike-a-bike sections; great vistas; wildlife (I saw caribou, moose and a snowy owl on this trip); resupply is easy; free camping; water is easily available.

I now have GPX files for this route – if you would like them just drop me an email:  theslowbiker at gmail.com.

gros morne fatbike 2016

Easter fell during a prime time for fatbiking Gros Morne this year, so Darren and I made plans to go there for the week.  We had a short, preliminary exploration of the park last year and knew that there was lots more we wanted to ride.  We weren’t disappointed…

Our Good Friday feast. At the junction of the Trans-Canada highway and Route 420 is White Bay Convenience. The food is fantastic - we had supper, breakfast and lunch there.

Our Good Friday feast. At the junction of the Trans-Canada highway and Route 420 is White Bay Convenience. The food is fantastic – we had supper, breakfast and lunch there.

 

Western Brook Pond

Day 1

 

Here's the route we took. (Darren McD image)

Here’s the route we took. Taylor’s Brook Road begins on Route 420. Drive in 3 kilometers and you will find Taylor’s Brook Accommodations. Ask for Terry – he will set you up with a place to park for a small fee (we paid $15 for 3 days, two nights). He will also have LOADS of knowledge about trail conditions. Pick his brain. (Darren McD image)

Here's the route with elevation. (Darren McD image)

Here’s the route with elevation.
(Darren McD image)

Darren and I at the start.

Darren and I at the start.

Looking west, on Taylors Brook Road.

Looking west, on Taylors Brook Road. The first 24 km are groomed. At Km 24 our route took a left off the groomed stuff and our real work began.

PR take 2

 

This is the view looking west. That is Matty's Pond in the left of the picture. The arrow shows the cove we camped in.

This is the view looking west. That is Matty’s Pond in the left of the picture, where we made camp.

On Matty's Pond.

On Matty’s Pond.

Stats from our first day.

Stats from our first day. We began at 10 AM and stopped at 5 PM. Elevation gained, fully packed bikes and loose trail for the final 16 km kept average speed low.

Running water was scarce; luckily I found these ice fishing holes near our camp. Unfortunately, they were frozen over the next morning.

Running water was scarce; luckily I found these ice fishing holes near our camp. Unfortunately, they were frozen over the next morning.

Day 2

It went down to -18C our first night and -15C our second.

It went down to -18C our first night and -15C our second.

Our camp on Matty's Pond.

Our camp on Matty’s Pond.

The start of Day 2. Blue sky and no wind.

The start of Day 2. Blue sky and no wind.

The riding was fantastic.

The riding was fantastic.

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Mountain take 2

 

Click on the image above to enlarge it, then look for Darren on the ridge line to get perspective on the vastness we were riding in.

Click on the image above to enlarge it, then look for Darren on the ridge line to get perspective on the vastness we were riding in.

We did it!

We did it!

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Everyone wants their photo taken at The Gorge.

Everyone wants their photo taken at The Gorge.

Parks Canada staff were checking for park passes. Yes, we had ours.

Parks Canada staff were checking for park passes. Yes, we had ours.

Leaving The Gorge.

Leaving The Gorge.

We stopped to watch the sledders high-pointing.

We stopped to watch the sledders high-pointing.

A friendly snowmobiler offered me a beer.

A friendly snowmobiler offered me a beer.

Stats for the trip from our camp to Western Brook Pond look off and back. Check out that max speed!

Stats for the trip from our camp to Western Brook Pond look off and back. Check out that max speed!

Day 3

The descent down onto Matty's Pond was a scream; the climb back up, not so much...

The descent down onto Matty’s Pond was a scream; the climb back up, not so much…

Snowmobilers were always courteous and encouraging. (Jeff Spurrell photo)

Snowmobilers were always courteous and encouraging. We were loosing elevation on the way out and the trails were firmer, so it only took 4 hours to reach the car versus 7 hours to get in. (Jeff Spurrell photo)

Wigwam Pond

The weather was lousy all day Tuesday but we did manage to get in a night ride on the Wigwam Pond trail.

The weather was lousy all day Tuesday but we did manage to get in a night ride on the Wigwam Pond trail.

Ten Mile Pond

Ten Mile Pond sits at the base of Gros Morne; anyone who has climbed to the summit has looked down onto this pond.  We went looking for the chance to be on the pond looking up at the summit.

Logistically, this is an easy ride.  Park at the Gros Morne Visitors Centre in Rocky Harbour.  Ride up to Route 430 and across the road you will see a road that leads to Eastern Arm Pond.  Follow the snowmobile tracks.

 

Heading in to Eastern Arm Pond. That is Gros Morne to the right.

Heading in to Eastern Arm Pond. That is Gros Morne to the right.

On Eastern Arm Pond.

On Eastern Arm Pond.

After crossing Eastern Arm Pond the trail twists and turns through a small forest.

After crossing Eastern Arm Pond the trail twists and turns through a small forest.

A river, a forest, mountains and a twisty-turny snowmobile track to follow; fatbiking doesn't get any better than this.

A river, a forest, mountains and a twisty-turny snowmobile track to follow; fatbiking doesn’t get any better than this.

Careful where you step, though...

Careful where you step, though…

(a Darren McD photo)

(a Darren McD photo)

The entrance to Ten Mile Pond. (a Darren McD photo)

The entrance to Ten Mile Pond.
(a Darren McD photo)

Ten Mile Pond with Gros Morne in the background. (a Darren McD photo)

Ten Mile Pond with Gros Morne in the background.
(a Darren McD photo)

(a Darren McD photo)

Click to enlarge for the full perspective. (a Darren McD photo)

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At the end of Ten Mile Pond.

At the end of Ten Mile Pond.

Returning from Ten Mile Pond with The Tablelands in the distance.

Returning from Ten Mile Pond with The Tablelands in the distance.

Stats for our ride into Ten Mile Pond and back.

Stats for our ride into Ten Mile Pond and back.

Tablelands / Trout River

This was our view of The Tablelands. Visibility was poor so we didn't venture up there.

This was our view of The Tablelands. Visibility was poor so we didn’t venture up there.

The postmaster came out to ask if we were the fellows who biked to The Gorge. She had heard the piece on the radio and seen our picture on Facebook.

The postmaster came out to ask if we were the fellows who biked to The Gorge. She had heard the piece on the radio and seen our picture on Facebook.

Link to the radio interview on CBC Corner Brook: click here.

The beach at Trout River.

The beach at Trout River.

The bumper sticker says it best.

The bumper sticker says it best.

Thank you:

  • Tim C for use of your GPS and your local knowledge
  • Darroch W for letting us stay at your house while we were in Rocky Harbour

western brook pond

imageI’ve got limited internet/computer access but I just wanted to post that Darren and I made it to Western Brook Pond (aka “The Gorge”) in Gros Morne National Park. Three days, two nights and 110 km total. I’ll update the blog with more pictures and details when I can.

winter s24o

S24O = sub-24 hour overnighter.  The idea – get out for a quick trip – adventure doesn’t always have to be epic.

The plan was for us to head inland, to camp in the barrens.  But nature had other ideas; it warmed up considerably on Saturday and our planned route was mud.  So we headed toward the ocean, down the ever trusty Shoal Bay Road, where the woods keep the trail snow covered for longer.

My Pivot Les Fat, ready for action.  On the bars I have my full winter sleeping kit:  a Hilleberg Soulo tent, a -12C Western Mountaineering sleeping bag, a blue foamie and a Thermorest NeoAir sleeping pad.

My Pivot Les Fat, ready for action. On the bars I have my full winter sleeping kit: a Hilleberg Soulo tent, a -12C Western Mountaineering sleeping bag, a blue foamie and a Thermorest NeoAir sleeping pad.

The three bikes ready to roll.

The three bikes ready to roll.

What's a little bikepacking without a little hike-a-bike?

What’s a little bikepacking without a little hike-a-bike?

Our camping spot.

Our camping spot.

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Tim.

Tim.

Darren.

Darren.

This was a little dry run for Darren and I before we head to Gros Morne next week.  Stay tuned.

global fatbike day 2015

Wow.  Just wow.

Global Fatbike Day celebrations here in St. John’s just continue to grow and become increasingly popular.  In fact, we didn’t just celebrate with a day, we celebrated with a long weekend.  Here’s the quick version of how things went down here:

  • Thursday night: Fun ‘n’ Fast hosts an open house;
  • Friday: Mother Nature blesses us with 25 cm of fresh snow;
  • Saturday: group ride with beers and burgers after;
  • Sunday: huge turnout for our public event in Pippy Park.
Fun 'n' Fast gets the weekend rolling!

Fun ‘n’ Fast gets the weekend rolling!

 

After the 25 cm of snow on Friday a small group of us met at Steve H's on Saturday to celebrate the official Global Fatbike Day.

After the 25 cm of snow on Friday a small group of us met at Steve H’s on Saturday to celebrate the official Global Fatbike Day.

When in doubt, let it out. Soft conditions on Saturday meant looooow tire pressures.

When in doubt, let it out. Soft conditions on Saturday meant looooow tire pressures.

Mel showing off his new RSD "The Mayor".

Mel showing off his new RSD “The Mayor”.

Some guy named Guy styling it in the woods.

Some guy named Guy styling it in the woods.

Post-ride session in Steve's garage.

Post-ride session in Steve’s garage.

Sunday was the big event!

Sunday was the big event!

Canary Cycles and Cychotic brought lots of bikes for people to demo and drew huge crowds to their tent. That baby blue Stache 5 was te bike I really wanted to see. 29+ is in my future.

Canary Cycles and Cychotic brought lots of bikes for people to demo and drew huge crowds to their tent. That baby blue Stache 5 was the bike I really wanted to see. 29+ is in my future.

Fun 'n' Fast had bikes for people to demo up at North Bank Lodge.

Fun ‘n’ Fast had bikes for people to demo up at North Bank Lodge.

More than 40 people were on hand for the group ride around Pippy Park. Thanks to the efforts of Ross, Darren and Steve we had groomed trails to ride on.

More than 40 people were on hand for the group ride around Pippy Park. Thanks to the efforts of Ross, Darren and Steve we had groomed trails to ride on.

Going up!

Going up!

This year's ride even included a celebrity sighting - Jason Mamoa.

This year’s ride even included a celebrity sighting – Jason Momoa.

A pause in the woods to catch our breath.

A pause in the woods to catch our breath.

The after party at North Bank Lodge. Many thanks to Canary Cycles for providing the pizza!

The after party at North Bank Lodge. Many thanks to Canary Cycles for providing the pizza!

 

big o manufacturing fenders

St. John’s, Newfoundland is a wet, windy and cold place.  These factors combine to make riding here challenging.  Over the years I’ve figured out ways to eliminate the excuses for not riding – proper clothing, for instance, or DIY tire studding when the trails turned to nothing but ice.  Now I have eliminated one more excuse:  “the trails are too wet”.  Enter full fenders for fatbikes.

Big O Manufacturing fenders get strong reviews on-line so I took the plunge.  They don’t come cheap:  listed at $115 USD for the ones to fit my Pugsley they also charged a flat rate of $60 USD for shipping.  Gulp.  The good news was that after my order was shipped I was refunded $20 USD shipping overcharge.  So, to my door the fenders cost me $225 CDN.  They arrived in less than 10 days.

The fenders and hardware arrived nicely secured in the box.

The fenders and hardware arrived nicely secured in the box.

The quality of the materials is evident; the fenders are strong but flexible, the brackets are quality aluminum and the hardware stainless steel.  The instructions could be a bit better, but that’s a minor quibble.  The front fender requires you to drill two holes and the rear three.  Start to finish for me was about 1.5 hours.

Here is the finished product.

Here is the finished product.

We had just been through a couple of very wet and cold November weeks so the conditions to put these to the test were perfect.  I headed out for a two hour gravel grind on the back roads in The Goulds.  The results were everything I could hope for.  The fenders were solid, they did not rattle and I stayed very clean and dry.

Typical Goulds back road conditions: wet and muddy.

Typical Goulds back road conditions: wet and muddy.

Before fenders legs typically look like this.

Before fenders legs typically look like this.

After fenders. This is what my legs looked like after two hours in very wet andmuddy conditions.

After fenders. This is what my legs looked like after two hours in very wet and muddy conditions.