looking for a long mountain bike ride in St. John’s?

Following a post on Mountain Bike St. John’s Facebook page, where Chris B threw out the idea of riding every trail listed on their web page in one day, I suggested a preparation ride for such an undertaking would be to ride from Shoal Bay Road to Fort Amherst, piecing together a bunch of trails and dirt roads to make one continuous (virtually all) off-road ride.

I’ve tossed out this idea before: last year to Chris J who floated the idea on an email but I don’t think ever attempted (correct me if I’m wrong) and this year to Ross Y who attempted it with a crew but they had so many freakish mechanicals they aborted their trip in Petty Harbour.

Since this route was my idea I figured it was high time I tried it myself, so I set off Saturday morning to see if I could do it.  The route is approximately 45 km long and estimated time to complete it was in the 8-10 hour range.  The route is as follows: Shoal Bay Road to Petty Harbour; Petty Harbour to Kilbride via Old Petty Harbour Road; Kilbride to Richmond Hill trail using a mish-mash of trails/pole lines; ride all of Richmond Hills’ Ridgeline trail (starting at the repeater tower) and exiting via Slingshot; ride the fire road to Shea Heights; finally, Shea Heights to Fort Amherst.

Ride Shoal Bay Road until you reach the ocean (6 km).  Turn left.

Ride Shoal Bay Road until you reach the ocean (6 km). Turn left.

The car wreck marks the beginning of the hike-a-bike up over the headland in the background.  This takes 45 minutes.

The car wreck marks the beginning of the hike-a-bike up over the headland in the background. This takes 45 minutes.

A view of one of the headlands you will soon be riding.

A view of one of the headlands you will soon be riding.

On the way up you begin to get some stunning views of the coastline.

On the way up you begin to get some stunning views of the coastline.

SB to Ft A 014

Let the riding begin!

Let the riding begin!

The best riding is around Motion Head.

The best riding is around Motion Head.

Close-up of Motion Head.

Close-up of Motion Head.

I stopped and had a feed of bakeapples...

I stopped and had a feed of bakeapples…

...blueberries...

…blueberries…

...and watched the fishing boats.

…and watched the fishing boats.

Petty Harbour.  The road to the right of center is Old Petty Harbour Road.

Petty Harbour. The road to the right of center is Old Petty Harbour Road.

It took me 3 1/2 hours to get to Petty Harbour and I seriously contemplated quitting at that point.  I was trashed from all the hike-a-bike, the trail was narrow and deep causing a lot of pedals strikes and it was terribly grown in which made for poor riding.  The only thing that kept me going was that I vowed I would NEVER ride this section again and that meant this was my only chance to complete the whole ride.  Fortified by two Pepsi’s, an apple flip and a Kit-Kat from the convenience store in Petty Harbour I soldiered on.

It’s interesting to note that after Petty Harbour I only took one more picture. I got into a bit of a zone (read: zombie-like trance) and just wanted to get the mission accomplished.  Old Petty Harbour Road starts with a killer climb but once at the top is pretty easy.  Then onto Ridgeline/Slingshot which is a workout in itself, let alone after 4+ hours of riding.  I made it to the store in Shea Heights where I got a Gatorade and a Vachon cake to fuel me to Fort Amherst.  Then it began to rain.

Last known picture of the writer.  Yes, I was as tired as I look.

Last known picture of the writer. Yes, I was as tired as I look. At the top of Shea Heights.

I made it to Fort Amherst 7.5 hours after starting.  God bless my lovely wife for picking me up and ordering me a fish ‘n’ chips for supper.

Thoughts

* I’m glad I completed it but I can’t say I’d recommend it.

* Petty Harbour to Fort Amherst would be a good trip.  That eliminates all the hike-a-bike which really trashes you.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “looking for a long mountain bike ride in St. John’s?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s