Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Double Cross: Say What?

Ok, so its Wednesday night, my embrocation is no longer burning my legs post post cross practice in the park shower, so its time to provide some more detail about Monday's ride. This will be handy information for those who rode last year and those who will ride for the first time.

When is it again, where?
Thanksgiving Monday, 09:30, Gamelin Gate of the Gatineau Parkway. 09:30 is the departure time, so please arrive early enough to 'register' in advance of our departure.

So is it a race?
No, Double Cross is an un-race. Ok, so what the heck is that, you're asking? Think our Ride of the Damned 'gentleman's race' format (I know, I don't like the gendered thang either). Like the Ride of the Damned, Double Cross is all about creating the context where teams - in this case of 2 rather than 5 - can do whatever they feel works for them, be it ride full on, or more conversation pace. Its up to teams to decide what they want out of the ride. We provide the route and let everyone loose. There are no prizes for placing. Whoever finishes first will simply be finished, first.

Why teams of two?
Good question. Teams afford riders some security in the case of a mechanical, biological, or navigational. With this being an offroad ride on cross bikes, flats are a real threat. Teams of two means not too many folks are held up waiting for flat fixes, and its a lot easier to find one friend to team up with for a ride like this than more. It is fall after all, and a lot of riders have called the season a done deal. Ideally, you'll want to pair up with someone who you can ride your comfortable pace with. If your partner likes to bring along lots of spare tubes and tools, or say, cookies and whisky, that's good too.

Last year a bunch of us rode in a large group for a while. This time around, I think it will be best if teams decide from the start whether they will stick with others, and who. If teams decide to just ride their own pace, there will likely be some natural grouping along the way for various reasons. The issue with maintaining a large group is that everyone waits for every issue to be resolved, be it a flat or otherwise. So the whole ride takes a lot longer than necessary. If teams want to hang with other teams, I advise you to make your intentions very clear so everyone knows the plan.

If we have an odd number we'll form a team of three. Lets preserve the spirit of the ride.

How will the route unfold?
After riding the trails a bunch on my road bike over the summer (with both slicks and knobbies), I decided the route from 2009 could be improved. Yes, the route was well liked, but it was also fairly rough around Meech Lake. I don't want to see everybody flat, so I've come up with a solution.

We will all roll from the gate to Mine Road in a group, like a neutral start. We'll work our way over to Scott Road, then Highway 105, which we will follow until the split to River Road. At this point, we'll continue on the 105 to Pine Road, turn left onto it, and continue straight onto the trail (#50). From the point where we pass the parking lot on the left, its game on. This means duos are free to ride whatever pace they like. This may well lead to come friendly competition between teams, or not. It'll just depend on who's there and how they feel. We'll take the 50 to the 52, which will take us past Brown lake and into Wakefield (under the highway and spit us out past the Moulin). This section includes a great deal of fast downhill and is altogether quite awesome.

Once in Wakefield everybody is required to enjoy something from Pipolinka. We'll be spit out right at their door. Ideally, the first to arrive will take their time, hang out, and we'll all be ready to depart for the return leg around the same time. Think of Pipolinka as a lunch stop in a randonnee or century ride. No rush, enjoy it.

From Pipolinka we'll retrace our steps to the junction of the 52 and the 53. Rather than head uphill in the direction we came, we'll head right on the 53. After a while we'll bear left onto the 51, which will deliver us to P19 en route to Lac Phillipe. This was the first part of the dirt last year. Like last year, we'll skirt around Lac Phillipe, riding along the water for a bit, and then get back onto trail 50, which we will follow all the way back to Pine Road. From there, its just a matter of retracing the route back to town.

Now, there is an option for more dirt that can be exercised if desired. Rather than taking the 50 all the back to Pine road, teams can opt to head right, like last year, onto the 36. This section is rougher than everything else, so know that. It spits you out at O'Brien beach. Rather than having everyone take this route, which would simply be too much for many, I've factored it as optional. There might be faster teams and groups who'd like to meet up with slower ones at the end. This is totally doable by taking these two different last legs.

Please familiarize yourself with the map. We won't be providing any. Like a randonnee, some preparation is required on your part to know, as a team, where you are going. If you are not familiar with the trails in the park, this is a good opportunity to put your navigation skills to work. Its very hard to go wrong with this route, and there are maps around in the park to refer to. You can print the map above, or purchase one from any of the NCC information centres, or World of Maps on Richmond Road.

What happens at the end?
Nothing is prescribed here. Those who don't have commitments after the ride may want to catch a drink and food afterwards. This will likely largely depend on the weather. In the event of rain, most will likely want to get home and into warm clothes. Its probably best to play it by ear and make plans on the fly.

If you bring a camera along, be sure to send a link to your photos afterwards. We'll put those up on the aftermath post.

If tonnes of riders are planning to come, I might give Pipolinka a heads up. So, if you are planning to come, please post a comment or send an email to, providing the names of you and your partner. I plan on posting a list of finishers after all is said and done, so I suggest you all come up with a team name to submit. If we come up with a prize we can use the list for a raffle as well.

Please remember that this ride, while free, is also an opportunity to devote some dollars to a good cause, Bicycles for Humanity. At the gate, I will be taking down team members' names, and this will be your opportunity to make a donation. If you want to make a donation that is sizable enough to require a receipt, don't expect one, I won't have any. Bring bills if you can, they're lighter!

Please feel free to post questions in the comments, or email me:


Andrew Olive said...


I'll be there paired up with my buddy Dave Hendrycks

Ritalin said...

Ritalin Rick here.....looking for a partner for this upcoming Monday's ride, above average pace but nothing earth shattering....leave a post here if you are interested or email me directly at

Looks like a dandy event Tall Tree'rs, looking forward too it!

Andrew Olive said...

Hi Matt,

it says familiarize yourself with the map and "You can print the map above"... is there a link in the post? Not sure if I'm missing something?

I can use the description and figure it out on a different map but thought if there was one created already, would try to view that for confirmation?

email to bounced...

Matt Surch said...

Hey Andrew,

Sorry for the confusion. I failed to change the colour on the hyperlinked text for the map. It'll be fixed by the time you read this. I didn't highlight the route on the map, just linked to the Gatineau Park Trail map. I'll provide little cheat sheets with the route on it at the start.

Odd the email bounced...I'll try to find out why.

Peter M said...

I'm in! The cross bike you forced me to buy is almost finished being assembled (thanks to The Moose for giving me space to work!), this will be its inaugural ride. Hopefully Tanya has memorized the route (nb Tanya, memorize the route).

Matt Surch said...

Sweet Pete!

Methinks the cheat sheets I made will come in handy...

Andrew Olive said...

Thanks Matt and the rest of the TT crew.

My buddy Dave and I had a great ride - rolling in to Gamelin just after 2pm with Eurosports' David Bilenkey and Cam. We did the road out from P16.