I Suck at Trials (me not them)

Fifty-one thousand, two hundred!!


No, no…not him. It’s me just nerding out on some photo talk. Anytime I can mix in 2 wheels with photography I’m in heaven. I loved getting back behind the lens and in front of the action. Even in the rain, as it did this past weekend during a very important event that saw the best North American riders travel compete for an FIM Trials competition, and the CMA National Championships in Ioco, BC. Having the opportunity to watch the number 1 plate, Pat Smage from the USA, and our very own homegrown riders was indeed a treat and a very real reminder that I suck on the trials bike.

I made a conscious decision to not take photos close to the start line so I could be away from the masses. Instead I hiked deep into the woods to find the magic, the eye-candy – the lush, green, mossy rocks and massive tree-trunks – that BC rain forests are known for. I was rewarded with sublime colours, unequivocal quietness and unreal action as riders either scampered easily over boulders or, sampled dirt. The light was even but very sombre. I didn’t want to use flash so I could move easily in and out of sections and, relied instead on my D5. It’s a powerful camera and much like a rider with his motorcycle you have to know your equipment and, what it can and can’t do. Today I pushed it shooting in constant hard rain, and with high ISO’s.

The riders completed three loops and as fatigue set in the course became slicker as rain fell harder. Real giant bunny rabbits. That’s what trials riders remind me of hopping from one area to another. And, then there are splatters. Rabbits don’t do these (well, not on purpose) and it baffles my mind how suspension and gonads can work together to climb a vertical wall. Way cool.

Thanks to Christie Williams Richards, Steve Farcy and a host of other fine people from the CPTA for making this event happen. It takes a lot of planning, and time to put together a successful two day event. Getting off a mostly dry season I believe many riders were humbled at the sight of greasy rocks and roots. Made for an excellent challenge and show.

The photo of Wojo falling was taken at 51, 200 ISO. I know my equipment and I didn’t hesitate shooting at an ISO this high.



Trials with Jordan Szoke and Dan Johnson

Dan Johnson-3 Jordan Szoke and Dan Johnson are numbers 1 and 2 respectively in Canada, and I was stoked to have them as my trials instructors this past weekend.

Organised by Bob Billyard, the skills clinics were held for novice to advanced riders and included a mixture of young, and the ‘young at heart’. The advanced session was held Saturday while the instruction on Sunday was reserved for children, and novice trial riders. Although I consider myself a seasoned veteran with some decent skills on the trails I would not classify myself as an advanced  trials rider, and so chose to attend Sundays instruction. I have owned a trials bike for over 10 years (funny enough – it used to belong to Jordan’s dad) and have dabbled with trials here and there. The majority of the time though I simply love to ride my trials bike through the trails for it light weight, excellent traction and fun factor.

Jordan Szoke
Canadian ‘Trials des Nations’ and No.1 Canadian Trials Rider Jordan Szoke

The ratio between instructors to riders was high insuring participants a high level of learning. I did not know what to expect and came into the clinics wishing to boost my confidence level and up my skills, especially clutch control. Combined with a great practice area and a high quality of instruction I was able to achieve my goals. The track set up was great – allowing us to grow with each new set of drills. There were easy lines and more challenging ones – logs, hills, rocks, boulder, sand, off-camber lines, more logs, tight tree turns were some of the obstacles for us to use.

My personal hang-ups was the log at the top of the short but steep hill which caused me to flip my bike with me tumbling back down the hill breaking my kill switch and ripping off my rear fender in the process. There was also the rock face we had to climb – it was a small rock but large enough to spit me off my bike. Despite this school has never been so much fun.

Lunch was included and during our water breaks Dan and Jordan turned on the heat and gave us a wicked side-show. The only better ones to watch were the young kids zooming, and hopping along on their OSSA electric bikes. It was cool to see both our current and our future riders in action.

A huge thank you goes to Bob Billyard for organising the clinics. Bob is a distributor for OSSA trials bikes, and a vast assortment of trials gear such as top-ranked Gaerne boots, and Airoh helmets. A wide gamut of sizes of sizes are carried – from children to adults – so I was stoked to find out that he could order me a pair of size 5, or 6 mens trials boots. I’ve been wanting a pair for a long time and can’t wait to get my feet in them. I’ve also got my eye on a sweet Airoh helmet, with matching red pants and jerseys. Feel good, look good and ride good…it’s all good in my books!!

See you next year!

Dan Johnson
I’d like to say this is me but Dan Johnson, also a Trials des Nations’ Canadian Team Member may have something to say about that.