Way back machine - Knolly's Disneyland post- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Way back machine - Knolly's Disneyland post

    Knolly's original Disneyland heli-trip from 1999, with pictures:

    It was early in the morning. Not just a "regular early morning", but a 5:30am on a Saturday morning - the worst kind of early. I was washing my face, putting in my contact lenses (why do they always hurt like hell when you get up?) and dragging up lycra over my stubbly legs. I loaded up the car (the usual riding stuff: Hi-techs, Switchblade, knee brace, gloves, camelbak, leg armor, arm armor, gloves, toolkit and pump) with my stuff and the bike, driving off towards 7-11 for some yummy breakfast food and some powerbars. A quick in and out of Sev found me eating a Turkey, Swiss and Ham Pita and drinking a little of Gatorade. MMM, Mmm.

    Driving through downtown Vancouver, I realized that in my zoned early morning state, I had neglected to get some powerbars. No problem, I'll just pull into the Chevron on my left and pick some up there at inflated prices. Well, in fact, not so easy. It seems that four vagrants of last night were giving the ckerk a hard time, trying to buy cigarettes in their drunken state. THey composed of one dark, italian looking guy in leather pants and a leather vest with lots of Cologne, one skinny dude in a suit, on chick in a ****ty dress with way too much perfume, and finally, La Coupe de grace, a WAY over weight chick squeezed into a leopard suit. Ug. 10 minutes later, they had their cigarettes and I could buy my powerbars.

    Now, I was 10 minutes behind schedual, so there was only one thing to do: drive like a madman through Downtown Vancouver and up to Britannia in 24 minutes. The 1985 Toyota Cressida was doing about 50% over the speed limit most of the way. However, just before the narrow, twisty, SINGLE LANE, Sea to Sky Highway, I got stuck behind a slow driving pickup! Arg!!! OK, first passinglane - VVVRRRRRRRRRRRMMMMMMM! drop him like a rock. next, I catch up to about ten porsche 911s in a row: looks like some porsche club is shooting the highway early in the morning. However, they're stuck behind a gas truck, doing about 60 km/h. The next passing lane, all the porsches fly by the truck and I just squeeze by as the extra lane ends. I try my damnest to keep up with them - my very good knowledge of this twisty highway is hardly a match for their amazing handling and raw power. I do, though, manage to keep up almost all the way to Britannia.

    Finally I reach the restaurant where I'm meeting my buddies at 7am. Just as I'm pulling in to park my car, the engine dies, about 40 feet from where I need to park it and I coast in, wondering what the hell just happened, and feeling pretty lucky that I didn't get stranded 20 or 30 kms back along the highway.
    Tony is already there when I walk in, and quickly we are joined by the rest of our crew: Mac, Jeff (our fearless leader), Eric and Warren. Eric, Warren and I introduce ourselves as we have not met before, and we all order pancakes and omlettes to get the morning under way.

    By 7:30am we hear the sound. No, it's not the cars driving by the restaurant, nor boats out in the bay. It's the rapid Whup, whup whup, sound that can only be one thing: Helicopter!!!
    Gracefully, the A-Star lands across the highway from us and powers down. Larwence exits the chopper and comes over to meet us for breaky. After devowering two full size breakfasts (I don't know where he puts it, because he is pretty damn fit), we head over to the chopper and get ready. Quickly I check out my car, but the engine won't run. Oh well, I'll deal with it when we get back.
    The weather is cloudy, and fog is rolling in and out around our target peak. This is not good - none of us wants to scrap the trip.
    The A-Star: Cadillac of the light helicopters.




    Jeff and Lawrence head out for an exploratory flight. 20 minutes later, they come back, and Jeff yells for the remaining five of us to load up. We all jump in, hoping that our windows of opportunity will stay open. Up we go, picking holes in the clouds, as Lawrence tries to find the suitable landing zone. Record snowfalls last season are forcing us to land 500 feet below the usual drop point, on a much smaller area. Finally, Lawrence finds what he's looking for: a small granite dome, big enough to us to crawl out of the helicopter as he hovers just above the edge of the rock. The five of us sit down and the fog thickens again, leaving us wondering if we just paid for a massive hike down the mountain. Luckily, though, Jeff and Lawrence arrive (after a little searching) with the bikes. It is an image to behold:
    Slinging the bikes up is always a bit un-nerving incase a bike gets damaged.



    We are now all up, waiting for the next attempts of another group behind us. After 40 minutes and a couple of failed landing attempts, we head off and try to find the trail head.

    Tony hiking up through snowpack on our way to the trail head. Can you believe we flew in these conditions? Yikes!




    Luckily, Jeff and Tony know the area well, and even with the snow and fog, find an alternate trail entrance. It is steep and wet and nasty. in addition, I've been riding my hardtail for the last month, and this is the first day back on the Heckler. I know that the bike is going to ride fast and carry more momentum that I'm used too, but I also know that after a while, I'll have addapted back to my main steed.

    The first bits of the trail are just plain scarey steep, and I promptly dump hard, sliding a fair ways down a chundery mud patch. Ug. Yup, the Heckler is much faster than the old Blizzard. Eventually we regroup (near the famous Penis tree) and start to slowly pick our way down the next 1500 vertical feet of the trail system - extremely steep and still fairly wet from all the snow run off.

    Warren riding one of the tame areas on the upper mountain.




    Me, riding beautiful, steep loam.




    After several crashes (from each rider!) we finally arrive at the middle section of the mountain. This is where thereal fun starts, as we ride sweet flowing singletrack (and hike lots) from granite to granite. First on the list is Andre's Edge: everyone who owns a copy of NSX II will know this rock feature. Later summer Jeff took a nasty crash on Andre's Edge and cut up his cheek quite nicely for the camera. Well, I was also spat out on this giant granite step - not from the edge, but from riding down the face. For the past 54 weeks of my life I hav been waiting for this day to reclaim my pride and ride this line. The line is nasty: straight down a 14 foot tall 65 degree steep granite face onto a flat granite slab with basically no transition. Last year I compressed the bike, got spat out hard, and managed to crack my frame in the process. Ouch. This year, I sucked up some courage, and rode off the lip...

    Just hitting the bottom. Can you say fork flex and compression?




    Smooth as butter! I couldn't believe it - it was almost easy! There is nothing like pulling off a hard move to build confidence. Jeff was looking at Andre's Edge again. He'd had a couple of nasty attempts, and decided that today he was going to nail it. Andre's Edge is a deceptively tricky line, in that the face you ride down is only about 1 foot wide, and the run out vears along the top of a steep drop off to your left. VERY intimidating. He scouts it out and then goes for it...

    Yup, Andre's Edge is very scarey. Jeff makes it look easy!




    Well, the two of us are just grinning ear to ear, and everyone else is really jonesed to ride hard. The day is just getting better and better.

    We continue riding and hiking to various areas. Soon, we hear the helicopter again, and finally 7 out of 12 people of the second group make it up, well over two hours after we landed. We ride and take brakes soaking up the scenery and just having a great time
    Warren (on his Proto Rad Tubed Kona), Mac, and Tony hanging out and relaxing.




    Soon we find ourselves at Stepping Stone, a cool little granite shelf. There is one part with about 3 steps sticking out the side where you can ride down. It's an easy one to endo and plant your face on hard rock. jeff goes first and styles it, followed by Warren who also styles the drop but rolls his tire off of the rim on the manual afterwards. I have my go and ride the drop nicely, but botch up the manual into a very unstylish landing. However, I'm rubber side down, so that's all that counts




    Warren fixing his rolled tired with Eric watching. 20 PSI may be low enough to allow a tire to roll off of the rim, but at least it won't explode in your face!

    Me riding Stepping Stone- The Heckler was working flawlessly the entire trip.




    We ride some more amazing single track, hike a bunch more, then stop for a group photo:




    Left to Right: Eric, Mac, Jeff, Tony, Warren, and Noel. The view to the left overlooks Howe Sound.

    We next head to Den Alley, an amazing box canyon with 200' granite cliffs on each side. The canyon is narrow, and is full of old growth trees due to it's inaccessability.

    Mac rides into the bottom of Den Alley. He has amazingly been riding almost the entire trip (and most of the stunts too) with a broken SPD pedal that keeps coming off of it's axle. Unreal.




    The ride into Den Alley is beautiful, steep single track. The hike out is 30 minutes of "bike-on-back" up steep up hill, but with a reward at the top: huckleberries and Blueberries! We stop and hang out for a while, pilaging the huckleberry and blueberry bushes. Wow, life is good!

    Jeff leads off again, and we find ourselves riding through amazing singletrack yet again. All of a sudden I find myself in a familiar place, but having reached it from the oposite direction that I have the previous times that I've been here. It is Awesome Rock, and it is truely AWESOME! It's big, steep, intimidating, long, and mossy. It also has the most amazingly smooth run out, just like a giant natural quarterpipe.

    Awesome rock is legendary, and for good reasons. First off, it's just damn big and steep. Next, when you go over the top, you can't see the rock face that you're going to ride down, just the ground and your buddies 20+ feet below you. It's enough to make anyone think several times and say to themselves: "What the hell am I doing?" To make matters even worse, there is absolutely NO bail out option. It is totally open, and once you start to roll over the top, there is no turning back, no trees to grab, no ledges to catch you. Jeff and Warren hike up first, and I get in position to take pictures. It's still mossy and I'm a little hesitant about riding it. However, Jeff styles it nicely, and Warren rides it the fastest I've ever seen someone ride it. Jeff says that the moss is not too bad, so up I go. I'm a lot less nervous this time (last year this thing scared the **** out of me), and after checking the armor, roll off and down for a perfectly smooth ride. Now that's fun!
    Jeff rolling in...




    My turn. You know it's steep when your pedals are 6 inches above your hands!




    Warren near the bottom, as Tony and Eric watch.




    We leave Awesome Rock the way that I had approached it the previous times. This takes us down the Chundery Rock Garden (I have bailed here very hard before), and I almost loose it again, luckily managing to ride out the last few meters with my stomach on the saddle and me feet dragging behind me! The last big granite awaits us (can't remember the name). It is this huge fin that sticks out of the mountain side and offers an amazing view of Britannia and Howe Sound. The way off the fin is down its side - steep and nasty (no suprize here...). A narrow slider leads into a very steep rock drop which leads into another slider, with an even faster, steeper, longer rock drop at the bottom.

    Jeff riding the first of the granite drops down the side of the "fin".




    We ride it out, hit the last granite feature of the ride (rabbit ear), and hit the logging rode. The last trail is Snakes and Ladders, and it is dry, dusty, and VERY steep in sections, causing a lot of washouts and bails. It finishes off with a chundery, steep, baby head chute surround by dense brambles (luckily someone had actually cleared a path about 2 feet wide through them this time). Not much fun. One more ride down a steep loose slider and we were back at the bottom, 6 fun filled hours after we started!

    Speaking of Starting, I check out my car, and while the starter would go, then engine wouldn't. I had the car towed back to Vancouver, and ended the ride with a pleasant 1 hour chat with the tow truck driver. Total damage: bike: OK, Noel battered and bruised, but otherwise OK. Car: one stripped timing belt and several hundred dollars of repairs. Not all that bad I suppose
    Noel
    I used to be with it. Then, they changed what "it" is, and now what I'm with is no longer "it". And whatever "it" is, is strange and confusing.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    You found it - awesome!!!!

    Thanks Ken!

    N.

    PS:" good god - look at the gear I'm wearing - what aweful colours!
    Noel Buckley
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    www.knollybikes.com

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  3. #3
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    That is an awesome follow up post! Thank you!

  4. #4
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    Too awesome !~!

  5. #5
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    Wow, I actually remember this post from back when I first ventured into these forums, really cool stuff! I've always thought you were a purple kind of guy Noel, is there a limited edition 'Noel purple' version of the Endorphin coming soon?
    Sipping the Knolly Whisquillappa

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by catch22
    Wow, I actually remember this post from back when I first ventured into these forums, really cool stuff! I've always thought you were a purple kind of guy Noel, is there a limited edition 'Noel purple' version of the Endorphin coming soon?

    Yes there is - it is here:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=346432



    N.
    Noel Buckley
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    www.knollybikes.com

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  7. #7
    Dr. Pepper drinker
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    Quote Originally Posted by knollybikes.com
    Yeah, I like that one, but I've always been a fan of some anodized bits here and there. For the special retro Noel edition I think there needs to be some custom purple paint splatter on the black frame.
    Sipping the Knolly Whisquillappa

  8. #8
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    Wow that is a great write up with photos. I think the stoke in that post just sealed the deal on me riding a fourth day in a row after work tonight. And to think I was going to take it easy.
    Quote Originally Posted by turnerbikes
    in fact for trail type bikes I am tired of QR roady shite in general. Lets move on.

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