Monday, 7 February 2011

Bish Bash Bosh

I've been out of commission for a couple of weeks. Had a couple of rogue leg pipes frazzled by the good doctor. So this weekend's shred session had been eagerly anticipated. Our last ride at China' saw the Nomad in bad shape : belligerent back brake and creaky suspension pivots to name a few ails. Some love was needed. So, whilst out of action myself, I took her into Big Swingin' Cycles and had a full tune up completed. I also added some subtle, but significant upgrades. The Nomad has strong all-mountain credentials, but anyone who's taken one up a steep techy climb know's it's leanings are more towards the fun end of gravity. So I decided to nudge it further towards it's downhill leanings and have the big ring swapped out for a dirty great bashguard with chain guide! The middle ring now has a few extra teeth and the rear derailleur is short caged. Beautiful. The whole drivetrain is much tighter, snappier and tucked out of harms way.

To try out the new setup me and Chris took a trip down to Skeggs Point. Always guaranteed to deliver a good day's riding, Skeggs was on top form. Conditions : perfect. The ground tackier than cake mix and dappled in glorious sunshine. We decided on a new route. We'd heard whisperings that the Blue Blossom trail is "the best trail at Skeggs." So we decided to forego our usual Fir to Resolution route and sample trails new. Our curiosity was rewarded with some epic, sweeping trails. Almost immediately, as you hit Sierra Morena towards Bear Gulch, you're on a roller coaster ride of sweeping dirt, jumps and the occasional rutted, rocky or steep section. All of this flies by in a blur of speed and grin - only stopping briefly to make sure we were on track for Blue Blossom.

Blue Blossom was more of the same. Over too soon, it seemed, we were soon back on the fairground ride as we hit Crossover trail and then Crosscut trail. At one point, I was actually drooling as we tore through the woods. Probably due to my new braces, but it seemed appropriate as a sign of sheer joy! After the fun of the new, it was time to hit familiar trails. Taking Salamander to South Leaf. By now we were well warmed up and hitting jumps with tail flicks, all the while riding as fast as we dare. My usual tricks/mistakes kept surfacing, but I was soon to correct with new found technique. Weighting the outside foot to gain traction in corners (instead of braking to scrub speed,) looking far down the trail and relaxing as much as possible we're all coming together nicely. A great confidence ride in fact, as I really felt the benefits of riding properly.

So that was that. Such a fun ride. But the climb out nearly killed us. I've never pushed my bike up Skegg's hills as much as I did today. Luckily Chris was in similar shape so neither us felt too shamed. We have a date with the hills of San Francsco on Tuesday. We've been hitting them to build up climbing strength. It's amazing how climbing 80 odd concrete blocks is feasible, but a few miles of steep dirt gets you out of the saddle and on your feet in minutes. Still, it won't stop us hitting Skeggs anytime soon. Especially as we've found the funfair route ;o)

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