Monday, 4 July 2011

You Gotta Earn Your Turns.....

Those were the written words of Adam as plans were emailed around the usual suspects for an Independence Day ride at Skeggs. And earn them we did..... This was the third ride in as many days over what has been a cracking long weekend. Sun, dirt and good company. There really is nothing better for the soul :o) Saturday I did a solo session at China'. I'm planning on making it a weekly ride. Easy to fit in (did the whole ride in 1.45hrs) and guaranteed to fit a perma-grin to the fissog. I started experimenting with dropping my weight into corners to load the suspension and gain grip. Where I might normally tap the brakes, I'd drop instead - daring to hit corners faster and trusting the technique. It totally works, and China Camp's epic flow section is the perfect place to practice.

Sunday was an early start and a trip up north to Annadel. After missing the Bike Monkey XC race last week, I was keen to make right with the place and shred. Annadel veterans, Jaime and Nick were along for the ride too, as was Lio. Over from Singapore for work shizzle, Lio had just bought a beautiful 29er Stumpjumper. Keen to try her out on dirt, we'd been anticipating this ride all week. Unfortunately, Lio had his pride and joy stolen the night before by some feckless cnut. Crushed, but not deterred he borrowed my Orange and off we went. Because he's here on business, he didn't have much riding kit. So to lend a hand, and to cheer the lad up I gave him my spare helmet : a hideous mushroom thing with primary coloured union jack livery. I'm all heart me.

Monday and it was time to earn those turns with Adam and Rosson. Having forgotten his bonce protector, Jason was pleased to inherit the "helmet of shame" (as it's now called.) Skeggs was it's usual awesome self. A little rainfall in the week had tempered the dust and made the trails cake battery and lovely. Adam took me and Rosson on a route I haven't done before. Dropping down Fir, to Manzanita, then Timberview, Salamander, then the usual Southleaf to Virginia Mill. We finished with Blue Blossom and then climbed out on Timberview. Over 16 miles of dirt, 3000ft of climbing and 2000 caloroids. My legs were cooked by the end, but I rode at a decent click. The fellas lost me on the climbs - how Rosson does it all on a singlespeed is beyond me - but I managed to keep them in my sights on the descents. A good yardstick of bike skills for me and hopefully some more reserves in the dirt bank for next week's Downieville race.

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