fatbike to the spout – serendipitously

FB 038
ser·en·dip·i·tous
1.
occurring or discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
“a serendipitous encounter”
          **************************************************************
Yep.  I finally rode a bicycle to The Spout.  When I wasn’t even planning on it.  Me and Ryan B.
A group ride was planned for Shoal Bay Road Saturday morning.  The plan was to ride some trails south of the main trail that are only accessable in the winter.  Darren McD and Ryan B were the only people to show up by 9 AM so off the three of us went. Trail conditions were spectacular; hard, fast and smooth.  We were soon to be two.
The last known image of Darren McD.  A faulty freehub forced him to turn back.

The last known image of Darren McD. A faulty freehub forced him to turn back.

Perhaps it was Darren’s bad luck that brought Ryan and I good luck.  Instead of taking a right on the trail I intended us to travel I suggested we go straight “just for a little bit”.  I had been on this section before, three years ago, and I had always suspected it might lead to The Spout, but the last time I had been on it I encountered open water on a pond and had to turn back.
This section of trail was delicious.  Up, down, right, left and just wide enough to get a snowmobile through.  Conditions were superb.  I was starting to get excited.  I was beginning to think this just might be the day and started mentioning it to Ryan, who sensed my excitement.  When we got past the pond that had turned me back three years ago I got even more optimistic.
Look at all the blue sky!

Look at all the blue sky!

Big wheels keep on rolling.

Big wheels keep on rolling.

Big Fish Pond.

Big Fish Pond.

It was around this point, during one of our many stops to take in the scenery, that Ryan said: “Look.  Another fatbiker.”

Tim C showed up 40 minutes late and put in a huge effort to catch up with us.

Tim C showed up 40 minutes late and put in a huge effort to catch up with us.

"Why, yes, I did just hammer like a madman to catch you guys."

“Why, yes, I did just hammer like a madman to catch you guys.”

Unfortunately Tim could only ride with us for a few km as he had time constraints.  He turned west and exited through Middle Pond while we turned east and headed to The Spout.  For a map of Tim’s ride see here.

At this point we were now heading up onto the barrens and started meeting up with people who were snowshoeing to The Spout.  As always, there were lots of questions about the bikes.

Coming down off the barrens was a hoot!

Coming down off the barrens was a hoot!

Fast descents generate big, goofy grins.

Fast descents generate big, goofy grins.

At this point we picked up the snowmobile trail that leads to The Spout and I knew we were going to make it.  What I didn’t know was what a blast it was going to be riding that trail down to the ocean.  It reminded me of  riding “Half-Nelson” in Squamish.

IMG_20140315_165301

Photo courtesy of Ryan B.

Just a few meters from the ocean there are some deadfalls that have to be negotiated.

Just a few meters from the ocean there are some deadfalls that have to be negotiated.

The final descent to The Spout.

The final descent to The Spout.

We did it!

We did it!

Small world.  This is Jim W - he and I first met when I was finishing my trans-Newfoundland ride.  He was out on his recumbent at the time.  He, Tim H, and their spouses hiked out to The Spout.  Turns out they are friends with Ryan - super small world.

Small world. This is Jim W – he and I first met when I was finishing my trans-Newfoundland ride. He was out on his recumbent at the time. He, Tim H, and their spouses hiked out to The Spout. Turns out they are friends with Ryan – super small world.

Tim H getting sold on the value of fat tires.

Tim H getting sold on the value of fat tires.

Ryan and I posed for a few more shots before beginning the ride home.

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

A few facts:

– the ride was 32 km return

– my total travel time was 6 hours – this included a number of delays (Darren’s mechanical, Ryan had cramping issues), lots of stopping to enjoy the scenary and time hanging out by the ocean.

– there is a bailout point at Middle Pond (see map below).

– I’ve tried riding to The Spout before (and failed)  and it is now apparent that the only way to ride there is after snowmobiles have made the journey.  Some rain a couple of days before the ride followed by some really cold temperatures helped solidify the trail.

Satellite

Green balloon = Shoal Bay Road trailhead, red balloon = Middle Pond trailhead.

Topo

addendum
Jim W sent me this great picture of Ryan and I on the barrens on the way home.

Jim W sent me this great picture of Ryan and I on the barrens on the way home.

A week later and I'm back again, this time with Darren and Tim, seen here.

A week later and I’m back again, this time with Darren and Tim, seen here.

Here is Tim's Strava documentation of the ride. Note the big downhill (and subsequent uphil) to the ocean.  Tons o' fun.

Here is Tim’s Strava documentation of the ride. Note the big downhill (and subsequent uphil) to the ocean. Tons o’ fun.  To zoom in on the map click here.  Note the different return route from the previous week.

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excuses

Our fatbiking group has an email list; we use it mostly to organize rides.  Someone will send out an email to the effect: “I’m going for a ride tomorrow at such-and-such a time, who is in?” and people respond yea or nay.  Those who respond nay typically feel a need to provide an excuse, and some of those excuses are pretty lame.  I’ve been collecting those excuses and I present them here, as well as my (harsh) judgment as to whether they are acceptable or not.  Note: these are actual excuses and have not been altered to protect the guilty.  You know who you are.

I’m hungover
Not acceptable.  The only time it is acceptable is if everyone going on the ride was at the same party and they were too hungover as well.

I have chores to do
Pfft!  Whaaat?  Fuck off.  Not acceptable.

I’m going to go for a shorter ride this afternoon
Pussy.  Not acceptable.

I don’t have a balaclava
I’m not going to dignify this one with a remark.  Unacceptable.

I have to pass
Almost acceptable.  I like that this is vague – it allows the reader to conjure up all sorts of reasons for why this person can’t go for a ride. I’m going to allow this, but only this one time.

My bike is in pieces
Not acceptable.  Good god – keep your bike in working order!

I’ve got a meeting
Acceptable because this person not only went to his meeting but he hustled and made the ride.

The ride is too long for my dog
Get a better dog.  Only acceptable if your faithful trail dog is getting too old after many, many years of loyal service.

I can’t leave my dog home two days in a row
There’s therapy for that.  Or meds.  Not acceptable.

Something came up
Not acceptable.  Though many may think this is akin to “I have to pass”, it is not.  This is weak, not vague.

I’m curling all day
C’mon!  Curling more important than biking???  Not acceptable.

I have to coach hockey
I have to go to my son’s/daughter’s game
Acceptable.  Children are always more important than a ride.

I have to go to a wedding
Not acceptable.  Unless it is your own wedding.

I have to spend time with my in-laws
Wrong! You do not have to spend time with your in-laws, you choose to spend time with them.  Instead of biking?  You make me sick. Not acceptable.

I forgot it was my daughter’s birthday
Acceptable.  And kudos to this man for owning up to his ineptnous as a father.

50 km might be a little bit much for me on a fatbike
Acceptable.  This person “manned up” and admitted he wasn’t man enough to do this ride.  This makes him a real man.  I think.

I’m having car troubles.
Ride to the trailhead, you pussy.  Not acceptable.

I’m going to my cabin – but I’m taking my fatty.
Acceptable.  Extra marks if you are taking beer, too.  Even more bonus points if I’m invited.

I have a dinner event.
Barf. I would accept “I have a drinking event”, however.

Got a great excuse you’ve heard or maybe used yourself?  Care to share?  Love to hear it in the comment section below.