2013 Norco Range

March 17, 2013

Ever since riding a prototype of the new 2013 Norco Range I’ve been trying my best to get one. It seems as though the market demand for 650b / 27.5″ bikes for 2013 has exploded. When I went to John Henry Bikes to put in an order for a Large Range 2 I literally got laughed at, “They’re all oversold”, they said. I pulled some strings and managed to get a frame set ordered. Got an X-Fusion Vengeance fork from the folks at Renegade Cycle Solutions, some pretty bits from the folks at Race Face and built up the rest.


My new 2013 Norco Range

My new 2013 Norco Range


I haven’t weighted the bike yet, but the imprecise scale with and without bike indicates somewhere around 32 pounds. The fork is coil sprung, set to 170 mm travel, and based on the one ride so far is a wonderful match to the rear suspension. This bike eats bumps like no other all-mountain bike I’ve ridden. The speed through rough terrain is biblical, and the way it accelerates out of corners can only otherwise be experienced by a jet fighter launching off an aircraft carrier.


I’m having so much fun riding this new Range that all my other bikes have been a bit neglected since bringing the green machine in to the fold. Every ride I do on the green machine results in a solid string of Personal Bests on trails that are both uphill and down. Ultimately I’m faster everywhere and having more fun, what more could you ask?

Shredding in Whistler

September 15, 2012

I’ve been having the time of my life shredding the bike park in Whistler the past couple months. I’ve been ripping laps with tons of friends, and as a result high fiving and howls of euphoria have been at an all time high. I’ve got a couple pictures from these good times in the bike park for you to enjoy below:


Who says you can't have fun in the rain?

Who says you can’t have fun in the rain?


This is definitely one of my favourite jumps in the bike park, with an endless hipped landing zone.

This is definitely one of my favourite jumps in the bike park, with an endless hipped landing zone.


Mid summer good times on Ninja Cougar

Mid summer good times on Ninja Cougar

I had the privilege to test out the new Scott Gambler by doing laps in the bike park with Brendan Fairclough. This here was a clicked out whip from Brendan that resulted in an epic nose wheelie save.

I had the privilege to test out the new Scott Gambler by doing laps in the bike park with Brendan Fairclough. This here was a clicked out whip from Brendan that resulted in an epic nose wheelie save.


Silver Star BC Cup 2013

July 22, 2012

The BC Cup returned to Silver Star resort this year for the first time since I’ve been racing. I’d ridden the Silver Star bike park before and always had a good time on their trails.


Practice on Saturday went really well. The track was a little awkward in spots, with loads of corners that were tough to hold momentum through. I felt strong, and comfortable on the bike. Holding good speed everywhere and hitting my lines consistently.


Glenn and I were using Strava to track our runs, and I was happy with my own progression on the track through the day.


Practice on Sunday morning was excellent again. I had two fantastic runs that were smooth and fast, and I hit all my lines. Strava segment of one of those runs is here: http://app.strava.com/activities/14157581#264285367


Racing unfolded throughout the day on Sunday with beautiful sunny blue skies. Reports from the Masters was the track was holding up well. I was stoked for my run. Quietly confident that I could well on this track.


Unfortunately as we waited at the top for our runs we could see a storm moving towards the mountain. Streaks of rain pouring from the black clouds. I was hoping all the elites could get down the hill before the rains started. It started to drizzle. I lined up in the start gate. The rain gathering momentum. *BANG* Big lightning strike on the next hill over. *Beep* *Beep* *Beeeeep* “Best get down as fast as possible” I thought. “The track is still in good shape, I can still get a good result”. “Stay clean, hit your lines, relax”. My run was going well. The dirt was tacky from the moisture. The rocks and roots increasingly slippery. “Stay light on the rocks … easy over the roots”. I rode the first three quarters of the track fast and smooth. The clouds were so dark it was like someone turned the lights off. But it’s ok, “Last woods, enter high, apex early, stay tight” I told myself. Alas the roots were more slippery than I judged. The front end washed into a hole and I went over the bars in slow motion. BALLS! I remounted as quickly as possible, neck brace rotated so I can’t look down, adjust neck brace. Back in action and hit the bottom of the track. The final turns were greasy, easy, don’t need to go down again. It was really raining hard now. Frustrated I crossed the line and hustled to shelter.

Final jump to the finish line in the pouring rain!

Final jump to the finish line in the pouring rain! Photo by: CBC Photography.

All said and done I finished 15th of 30 Elite men, 13 seconds off the win. My practice laps on Strava were within a few seconds of the final winning time. You never know how much time you lose in a crash, but I’m sure without the rain and the crash I would have placed within the top few. I left frustrated that I didn’t get the result I knew I was capable of, but at the same time confident that I was fast, riding well, and had a ton of fun shredding all week-end.


Cheers to the organizers and volunteers for yet another wonderful BC Cup event!


2012 Silver Star BC Cup Results

2012 Sun Peaks BC Cup

July 15, 2012

I’ve always enjoyed the Sun Peaks race course. It’s probably the highest average speed race course on the BC Cup circuit, which I love, and it’s always loose … double exciting!


Glenn and I trained together for this race as per usual. The one difference was that we used Strava to log each practice lap. We broke the track down in to segments; the top steep loose section, the middle flowy fast section, and the end tighter tree section. After a couple runs we’d upload our runs and compare our segment times. The most interesting part was our perception of our strengths and weaknesses. I thought I was riding the top section really well, average through the middle section, and struggling a bit through the bottom section. Glenn was the opposite. When we compared times it turned out we were identical in time through the first two segments, but I was faster by 6 seconds in the last segment. My final practice run HERE.

Small creek gap in the middle of the race course

Small creek gap in the middle of the race course


My race run went well, with only a couple minor mistakes. I wasn’t overly happy with my run, but as the remaining Elite riders came down I realized that the course was loose and difficult to judge. After the last riders were down I wound up 6th of 26 Elite men, and 4.5 seconds back from the win, which I was happy with. BC-Cup-DH3-Silver-Star-Results. Also I was one place better than the overall BC Cup Champion for 2012, who is always really quick, being quicker than Fonzi is always a result.

Scott Week in Sun Valley

July 12, 2012

Just this past week I got to head down to Sun Valley Idaho to check out some new Scott bikes. I was there as a representative for NSMB.com and the purpose of the trip was to cover the big unveil of the upcoming Scott Genius 650b (27.5) and 29″ trail bikes.


I wrote a quick summary of the trip before we got in to the meat of the riding on the second day I was in Sun Valley, and that got published here:


Scott Week Sun Valley 2012

Photo by: Ian Hylands


A full write up of the bikes and the trip can be seen here at NSMB.com:


Scott Week Sun Valley 2012

If you couldn’t tell from the pictures the riding was awesome, the bikes were a ton of fun, and I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face all week.

Scott Week Sun Valley 2012

Photo by: Ian Hylands

Into 2012

January 30, 2012

As per usual I haven’t updated nearly frequently enough. I recently got my wisdom teeth removed, and had a couple days off, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to do a mega update of sorts. I’ve added some posts I thought were needed, so you can scroll down below to check em out. I started 2012 with a bang by doing a trip with Andrea to Mexico. In short it was awesome. We rang in the new year in style with an epic street party, drank lots, beached lots, snorkelled lots, and ate lots. I thought I’d add a couple choice photos.

Other than that the weather hasn’t been the best so riding has been down to a minimum. Once my mouth is healed from this surgery I’ll back on the bike with some new content to upload. Ciao until then.

New Commuter Bike

December 15, 2011

This time last year I took a new job that was further from home. I had got used to commuting by bicycle to my old job a few times a week. It was a nice ride, it took me about 30 minutes each way, was good exercise, and allowed Andrea and I to get away with only one car. Once the weather got nicer this summer I started commuting to my new work by bicycle. The distance is 24 km each way, and takes about 50 minutes in each direction. It’s longer time wise than driving but not having to deal with the frustrations of other drivers made my ride much more enjoyable. It helped me keep in shape, and saved us a bunch of cash.

I was riding a bike that was kindly donated to me, which I think was a 2003 Kona Jake cyclocross bike. I had added slick tires and fenders, and the bike proved to be reliable and efficient. Over the course of the year I owned the Kona I covered over 4000 km. What I didn’t like however was the ageing drive train and the fact that the brakes didn’t work. Slowly I started thinking I should purchase a new commuter bike. I was thinking I’d make the effort to ride as much through the winter as possible and for that to happened I’d need some half decent brakes. As far as I’m concerned rim brakes don’t work, so I was convinced I needed disc brakes. A large portion of my commute is through the flats of Richmond, which is notoriously windy. As such I wanted drop bars so when it was windy I’d be able to hunker down and get out of the wind as much as possible. After some research online I was tossed between the following two bikes:

  1. 2012 Specialized Crux Comp Disc
  2. 2012 Norco CCX 2

The irrational side of me really wanted the Crux. It was a carbon frame, and had nicer bits. It was also near double the price of the CCX. Since I was just using this bike as a tool to get to work and back I thought I’d get the sensible choice and purchase the CCX. So far I’ve put in 500 happy kilometres on the CCX and thoroughly enjoying it. The brakes are a vast improvement over rim brakes, the drive is new and crisp, and the frame is much more comfortable than the old Kona.

My 2012 Norco CCX 2 commuter bike

Funnily enough this now means that I started 2011 with a Trek Session 88, Santa Cruz Nomad and Kona Jake, and end 2011 with a straight flush of Norcos; an Aurum, a Range and a CCX 2. To that I couldn’t be happier.

My 2011 Norco Range

August 21, 2011

I’ve been bombing around on a little Norco Range for a couple months now. I’ve slowly made some changes to it to push it closer to my tastes. I altered the geometry by making up a set of eccentric shock pins that drop the bike lower into it’s travel, resulting in a 65.5 degree head angle and a bottom bracket drop of 3/8″. I added a chain guide, a Reverb dropper post and the 55 fork up front. The result is essentially a short travel DH bike that can be easily pedalled to the top of the hill … I think I may be in love.


My slightly customized Norco Range 1


June 1, 2011

I’ve been a busy guy lately. I helped out at the NSMB Trail Day on Dales Trail this past week-end and managed to get a photo of me being silly included in the write-up. I actually did some real work … promise. You can read all about it here.


Going back a few weeks I had an opportunity to review the new Turner DHR. You can check out the review here.


Other than that I got up to Whistler Bike Park this past week-end for the first time this year. The whole gong show was in attendance with some epic trains including the Hoff, Emo, Angry Dad, Dodsy and Bryson. The trails were mostly in great shape and everyone was ripping. Cheers for an awesome day boys.

Commuting is Awesome

April 27, 2011

While cycling past a rage soaked traffic jam the other day, I wondered why more people don’t ride a bike to work. I’m not talking every single day, that’s just silly, but maybe once or two a week, when the weather’s nice. I really enjoy the days I commute, and make an effort to do the 25 km ride in to work twice a week. I see a good list of benefits:

  • Cycling is cheap
  • Consistent commute time
  • Fitness
  • Happiness
  • Green-ness


With gas prices increasing steadily, currently hovering around $1.35 in Vancouver, driving is more expensive than ever. It costs me about $7 to drive to work and back each day, and that’s not including insurance and maintenance. My wife and I are already a one car family, and the savings of not having a second vehicle are huge. Sure it takes some compromise, but it’s well worth it. When the weather is gross, and the wife needs the car, I’ll tolerate public transit, but really I hate the bus. Having to actually pay $5.50 a day to have to sit in a small uncomfortable box with a bunch of degenerates is just insult to injury. I’d like to find the man who designed the seats on the bus and Skytrain … does he have unusually short femurs or something? Mine certainly don’t fit. And those bus drivers that for some reason can only operate the damn thing in binary. I’m pretty certain the gas and brakes work somewhere betwen fully on and full off. I digress, a fellow at work looked at how quickly he could pay off the purchase of a bicycle if he uninsured his car and cycled in to work every day. For him it worked out that he could purchase a $1000 bike in less than 3 months … $1000!!! There are lots of fantastic commuter bike options, such as the Norco XFR, for as little as $675. Wanna go even cheaper, there are endless options for used bikes on places such as Craigslist. Heck use what you have in garage for the first time and see if you enjoy it. I challenge you to figure out how much money you’d save by riding a bike, I bet you’re surprised. With all that saved money you can go and buy yourself something nice … like beer … or maybe some new jeans.  

Getting to work is usually fairly pain free, by car it takes me from 25 – 35 minutes. However when driving home if anyone in the lower mainland sneezes, which happens quite often, traffic becomes a giant mess. Add a Canuck game, Friday, construction, police car on the shoulder for no reason with lights flashing, or a long week-end and things get a lot worse. As a result my commute home by car takes an unpredictable 35 – 90 minutes. This means I’m always an hour early or an hour late for any appointment after work, which greatly annoys me. In contrast my bike ride takes an hour each and every day. I could catch the bus, but it takes the same amount of time, and I usually spend the majority of the time trying to find a way to hang myself. Again the bicycle wins.

The fitness aspect is obvious, riding a bike is low impact and healthy. What isn’t obvious is that riding a bike to work is really killing two birds with one stone. I’m getting an awesome work out WHILE moving my sorry ass to work. Genius. Instead of enjoying some gents musky aroma on the bus, or stewing in my car while dreaming up colourful ways of harming another motorist, I’m getting in a work out with the breeze in my hair.  

Cycling makes me happy, especially when I’m cycling past a giant traffic jam, all those cages of bottled anger sliding on by. Why do us humans take so much joy in observing, preferably closely, others pain and suffering? Even when there isn’t a traffic jam to enjoy I quite like cycling to and from work. There is a sense of accomplishment, that feeling of win that you traveled all that way self sufficiently, powered by a perfect blend of Nutella, toast and coffee. Concerned about traffic and route finding. No problems, the internet is your friend. Google maps (is it just me or has Google taken over the entire world?) has a directions cycling option that is very handy for figuring out good routes. There are loads of other resources with cycling maps published by each city. You can plan a route that is long or short, hilly or flat, busy or quiet. Splendid.

I’m not a hippy by any means, in fact I rather dislike hippies. I also don’t particularly like the Global Warming activists, Al Gore, David Suzuki, tofu, or Green Peace. Commuting to work has become synonymous with saving the planet. Being green isn’t my primary motivation, but I am mildly happy at the thought that I’m doing some small part to reduce my consumerism. Burning less decomposed dinosaurs can only be a good thing. Reducing traffic jams can only be a good thing. I can’t see a downside to cycling, everybody wins … except maybe those motorists on Dunsmuir.

If you already ride a bike to work occasionally, good on ya. If you don’t, give it a thought. It doesn’t work for everyone. Some folks need a vehicle for work, need to carry heavy things etc. However I bet those are the minority. Give it a thought, drop by your local bike store like John Henry Bikes and check out what a commuter bike will cost you. I bet after a couple rides to work you’ll be a convert.

Some handy links: