Riding the A Loop with the DSBC crew

© Cecile Gambin PhotographyTo finish the article I am currently writing for Traction eRag Magazine I decided it was necessary to ride the ‘A Loop’ of the Fall Newbie Ride to give a more complete overview of the ride. I took my Gas Gas TXT 200 trials bike and was called a cheater by some of the DSBC members (LOL!!) for using such a light weight bike but I am glad I did as we hit snow. I know it would have been a handful and the thought of falling with rather heavy and expensive camera equipment on my back and my KTM 200 didn’t really appeal to me. After all, this is the A Loop and Tom Timmerman, president of the DSBC was quoted saying this was hard because it is the HARDEST. To see more photos please click HERE.

As promised the A Loop did not disappoint. Buffalo Jump, Parish Hill…all trails that deserve a blog on their own. Six riders in total (7 by the end of the day) travelled together and knocked off one trail after another. One hill after another. One mud hole after another until our tires no longer travelled on dirty, wet leaves but left traces across fresh, wet snow. As we climbed the snow became deeper and wetter.

Riding along a narrow goat path, rocks hidden under a foot of snow the trail turned and opened to reveal a bowl. My jaw dropped and I had to stop to take photos. It was eye candy. Every turn was as beautiful as the last – snow covered pine trees absent of noise – it was a true winter wonderland. I stopped several times. I had to – the photographer inside me begged me to.

I had not ridden in snow in a long time and it was indeed a test of balance. I was called a cheater for using my trials bike but I don’t think I was. In fact, in my eyes the others were cheating as they sat and paddled their way through the deep stuff. I, on the other hand, have no seat. The difficulty came when the snow and ice would freeze creating a layer of ice on my pegs after crossing open creeks. My feet would slip off pushing me forward onto my bars and digging my front wheel into the soft snow. This was on the flats. The downhill was another story as my rear brake kept freezing up forcing me to use more front brake than wanting and again causing my front end to dig in. But, I survived and it was fun and I only fell once…of course, in front of everybody.

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography

I'm all smiles after this ride. The scenery was unreal!!
I’m all smiles after this ride. The scenery was unreal!! Our ride stopped here and we were forced to double-back as the snow and trail were too hard on Parish Hill. Next year I will have to tackle the boulder infested hill.
Riding along the ridge of the bowl. Check out the 3 riders from our group below.


Sylvain's Beta all snow covered and looking pretty in red.
Sylvain’s Beta all snow covered and looking pretty in red.
Having left the snow behind Mitch expertly navigates his bike through a rocky part of the trail.
Having left the snow behind Mitch expertly navigates his bike through a rocky part of the trail.


From an alpine setting to a tropical environment this ride had it all.
From an alpine setting to a tropical environment this ride had it all.
So much eye candy and great trails to ride.
So much eye candy and great trails to ride.

Thanks again to Tom Timmerman for leading the group and taking me out on an amazing ride. I’m still in awe at the scenery and the fun time riding in the snow along narrow goat paths. Next week Tom has a call out for DSBC members to help clean up and maintain the trails in the area. If you can lend a hand contact the club for more information – preserving trails and keeping them safe for our use is important to us all. Thanks for all the hard work!!










The Cord!

Pictures for ‘The Cord’ are available for purchase and can be seen via my Flickr page. Click here to see and order them.

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was before The Cord, during The Cord and after The Cord. I’m still giddy and super stoked at my pictures I took this past Sunday at the 58th Corduroy Enduro held in the Haliburtons.

Stoked because I just picked up my new camera – a Nikon D3S , rented two outstanding lenses from Headshots in Toronto and because I’ve ridden the Cord in the past and I know it’s a super hard event. Since my favourite lens is still in the shop (waiting for a part from Japan) I decided to rent a Nikon 70-200mm and a Nikon 14-24mm as my wide angle is no longer compatible with the full frame D3S. I also had my trusty D90 with me as a backup body and that’s about what it became…a backup body. To say the least…I cannot believe the D3S…and even though it broke the bank … I’m in love!! Combined with two top lenses the quality of the pictures are unreal!!! Yea…I know Nikon is supposed to come out with another announcement sometime in October but I got tired of waiting and this is prime enduro season!

My day started bright and early Sunday morning leaving my in-laws in Peterborough at 6AM. I got to Gooderham around 7:20, ate a BLT and saw some old friends and riders I haven’t seen in a while. It feels so good to catch up with everybody and LOVE at how tight and accepting the off-road community is. Friends for ever is an understatement!!

With the spectator sheet in hand I made my way over to the first special test and was treated with amazing light! Right place at the right time with a kickass camera and lens to boot. The light pouring onto the field, and trees in the distance was magical. Oh yes…I was salivating and I needed a rider as I saw a few really cool shots. That’s when I was introduced to the ‘Blues’ brothers, whom I haven’t seen in about 8 years! The last time I saw them was at The Algonquin 2 Day where I was the head honcho for the children’s ride and led a bunch of them through the Madawaska area on my Gas Gas TXT 200 while they ripped up the single track on PW50’s. Jack quickly suited up and we booted over to the hill while I explained what I wanted. I fired off about 15 pictures before the sun rose higher and lost the epic light. But before the light changed I knew I had nailed some killer pics! I was so excited!!

By now the top racers were starting to filter into the special test area and I spent the next 45 minutes shooting from one the various spots I had already staked out half an hour before. I loved the terrain here…I could have stayed here the entire day and not be bored. As it is I’ve got some cool ideas still in my head but need another weekend with pristine blue skies, some time off from ‘mommyhood’ and a few top notch riders. So if there are any riders out there (and babysitters) who are up for the challenge let me know. I would LOVE to take these pics!!

So back to the race…upon entering the special test the riders tackled about a 1.5 km of single track with lots of wet, slippery roots. I know because I ran the entire way with my backpack full of gear, 2 full sized tripods and 2 cameras fully loaded around my neck and the other around my waist which made the 1.5 km feel more like 5km. I was hoping the singletrack crossed the Burnt River but it didn’t and I ended up taking that trail for nothing. I took a few pictures here and there not really excited about the area. The light was patchy and I was running out of time as I also wanted to catch the riders in the next special test. It wasn’t until I got home that I came across this photo and screamed with joy! Best viewed at high resolution this picture is so tack sharp you could prick your finger on it! Combined with the fall colours, and the sun backlighting the pine trees and an aggressive rider this is easily one of my favourite pictures from my shoot!

By mid-morning the race here wrapped up as the last rider came through and I left for the next special test at ‘The Tunnel of Love’. That name still makes me giggle!

I set up shop on a quiet and cozy creek crossing and set up a flash. Lots of ambient light here and there but tricky shooting as the sun kept shifting so I had to continuously re-adjust my camera settings. I also met another photographer – Keith Hamilton – a very friendly fellow who held no reservations and keenly helped me with my new camera. I litterally bought it on Thursday and didn’t have a lot of time to play with it before hand! So to Keith a BIG thank you goes out to you!! I really appreciate your help! So while Keith was giving me pointers I took pictures and missed some pictures as I was also trying to figure things out. But, I did manage to get one of Chris Zanelli from ‘The Dirty Onions’ – a super cool group I just met 2 weeks ago while riding in Simcoe with my friends Gary, Mike and Melanie. And Chris I must say…your outfit is so camo. I think you’ve wearing every colour from the forest – bright greens to yellows to subdued blues. Very … uh… let’s just say colourful. Teeheehee.

All in all an epic weekend. The only thing I would have liked to change was to have been able to go up on Saturday to make it a 2 day photoshoot and get some different terrain which I know they hit Saturday. I really don’t like getting to an event the day of, let alone 2 hours before the start. I prefer to scout my locations ahead of time. However, having said that I’m really stoked at the pictures I got. I’m really happy with them and with my camera. I especially loved the 70-200mm lens and would love that for Christmas. Are you reading this David?? I’m sure you could predict this so probably decided to skip this last paragraph.

So ahhh…all you readers and racers, if you are interested in purchasing one of my pictures just know that your expense is helping me to get to the next event and to upgrade my camera equipment to make you look good. Email me with your plate number and a quick description of your bike (as not all plate numbers are visible). A single high quality digital upload of a picture is only $15.00. Thanks for not ‘lifting’ my pictures!!

I hope you’ll read my article on Traction magazine – where I’ll be putting up the rest of The Cord pictures. Till than keeping you in suspense…thanks for reading and don’t forget to log onto this blog or my Facebook Page (Cecile Gambin Photography) from time to time to see what’s new! And if there are ANY riders who want to do a photoshoot at the first MX test not far from Kinmount let me know – I’ve got some super cool ideas!!

Thanks to Blair Sharpless, Machine Racing, TekVest, Lachapelle Racing Products, Foran’s Roofing & Sheetmetal, Ross Rocher Sales, Cliffshore, Yamaha, KTM, Husqvarna and all the volunteers who made this years Cord a memorable event. It takes a LOT of passionate people to keep putting on a top notch event like this and without them there’d be no fun!