On The Rocks 2017
That was an awesome weekend of riding! The trails were dry, the weather was warm yet temperate enough at night for tenting, the turn out from the AF community was solid and our campfire was well stocked. Last Saturday’s events began months ago for the board and even on the day they were out early erecting signs, banners, tents, tables, transporting BBQs, coolers, lawn chairs and setting up the bikes! The HAFTA crew managed to get settled into the site just in time to welcome our first attendees.
First on the program was checking in. Waivers had to be signed, BBQ meal tickets handed out in addition to a bit of magical red tape. It was nice to see some people who’ve been M.I.A. from the forest this summer making an effort to join in.
After signing in the last few riders that had snuck in under the buzzer, we took a few minutes for a group shot and then called out the route to the trail head.
In anticipation of potential unpleasantness involved with a whack of cyclists (about 50 of them) riding up the shoulder of Guelph line through broken bottles and competing with speeding cars from the 401 for space, HAFTA flagged and pruned a marginally longer though decidedly more peaceful alternate route. The route took us up the less trafficked 2nd side-road, through the hydro field and then spat us out north of Mohawk Raceway and opposite the entrance to the forest’s (Currie Tract) parking lot. Before we dive into the woods, HAFTA would like to thank our partners at the Region of Halton for preserving such an amazing tract of forest to enjoy!
Once all the riders made it to the safety of the Agreement Forest we broke into three groups: A “non-stop” ride lead by JJ, Paulo and Rob, a “social” ride lead by Garry, Zeus, Barry and Jake, and finally an intermediate “co-ed” ride lead by Karen Glancy and Jen. Each ride was scheduled to last about 3 hours, albeit they would be travelling at different paces. The groups followed Epic Ride rules which are our procedure for larger HAFTA rides where people may not yet know each other, notice if somebody goes missing or know the trails in the forest by name.
What are Epic Ride rules? When coming to an intersection the rider behind the Leader is designated as a Marker. The person designated as a Marker must then direct the group while waiting for the Sweep to arrive before both of them continue on. If another rider in the group wants a break they may swap places with the Marker. The system works great, requires little planning and everybody tends to follow it – Lest they earn the scorn of the rest of the group.
The only point of interest the groups planned on riding to was the now semi-iconic Gnome Rock. Two of the groups managed to make it there for a photo, but the third group ran out of time or decided against it as the Boundary trail, on which Gnome Rock resides, requires a set of solid technical bike skills and some riders that day were first timers. One thing worth mentioning about the routes is that our partners at Conservation Halton granted our group free admission to cross their lands. Volunteering has benefits!
This saved us an organisational headache. Although most of our members hold seasons passes, some of the new visitors might not. That fact would have complicated things. Crossing into Hilton Falls adds many miles to any ride in the Agreement Forest and the folks at Conservation Halton deserve your support because they’re also down with mountain biking and natural trails throughout the region.
Without further ado, here are a few select photos of the awesome riding and riders that make the AF what it is! The first batch of photos are courtesy of Paulo and were taken of his non-stop group;
This next batch of photos are courtesy of Jake and they’re all of Saturday’s social group;
Those are some pretty nice photos. I hope you had one taken of you, but if not there is always next year’s event. If you want a large version of your photo send us an e-mail.
As the clock ticked closer to 5pm the riders began arriving back at the KOA. The management there had graciously provided HAFTA with an extra large grassy area so we could camp, BBQ, race and relax. Plus, their showers and rest-rooms were on hand directly opposite the event so there was plenty of opportunity to freshen up post-ride.
Around about a quarter after five we fired up the BBQ. Thankfully Peter Weldon had volunteered to go out and do all the grocery shopping for the group (no small task!) while we were riding. That meant our supplies were waiting in the coolers when we arrived back at the KOA. A good thing because “hangry” riders were sure to be loitering.
After the serious riding and BBQ’n was over it was time for the not-so-serious riding to start. In no particular order here are the mini-bike photos, the winners of which received a complimentary t-shirt from The PRFCT line or a coupon to The Village Bikes and Skis – Extra thanks to Bikes and Skis for donating a few of these mini-bikes.
Soon enough the sun was setting on the ridiculous mini-bike racing, the handing out of sponsors prizes and the distribution of the remnants of BBQ food. That meant some secret second dessert should be served! Everybody who hung around got to enjoy a bacon butter tart courtesy of Karen “The Rock Riding Realtor” Glancy and there was a round of ice-cream bars courtesy of HAFTA. With Saturday’s event fortune full, there was only one thing left to do – Pull up a chair to the camp fire and relax.
Sunday’s sunrise found our fire pit smouldering and the campsite covered with heavy dew; many camper’s eyelids were equally heavy, but luckily none of them were covered in dew and passed out in a chair by said fire pit. The trails were waiting for HAFTA, so as the sun cleared the tree-tops we buckled down and started breakfast. Sunday’s group was decidedly smaller and far more social!
By far the highlight of Sunday’s ride was having Peter Weldon join us. This was his first ride in the AF after an awful crash that saw him enduring major surgery and years of painful rehabilitation. We’re all pretty stoked to see him testing the “waters” at the AF again – Go Pete!
Perhaps it was the sense of occasion or the sleep deprivation, but for some reason things got pretty “sendy” after chilling at the falls and secret drops were ridden by JJ, Jake and Kevin. The group meandered through the trails for an hour or so more and the board relaxed knowing they’d just hosted the largest event in the Agreement Forest in many years and also in celebration of the closing of another summer spent on the rocks.
We hope the attendees of On The Rocks had a memorable time and that we’ll see some familiar faces later this Fall when the leaves are down. We’ll soon be announcing our build projects. We have lots of improvements on tap for the trails and are going to need your help to maintain them.
If you’re not a member and want to hear about these events send us your e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll subscribe you to the mailing list.
Stay tuned for group rides through Facebook or Twitter – We try to host one every week.
The trails are calling!