Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Achey Quads

That's what a full day at Whistler bike park will give the uninitiated. Aching quads, and wrists and sunburn. Sitting here, carb loading for another day on the slopes, the physical ails remind me of yesterday's adventures. The village is a great place to behold. Bristling with burly bikes and stoked riders the excitement builds as you grab your steed and join the snaking line to the chair lifts. The bikes ride up front as you begin the steady, peaceful ascent up Whistler's face. Riders hurtle down the beautiful groomed trails below. The enormous jumps from the Crankworx festival left untouched, save for the odd brown bear wandering around.

We decided to warm up on B-Line. It's the park's loosener of choice, full of berms, whoops and jumps. A few rocky sections get the technical kung fu going too. My first run and I spent the whole time battling collapsing goggles and a badly fitted neck brace. Restricted head movement and eyesight didn't exactly inspire confidence in my ability on these trails. Imagine a normal XC ride and tilt everything 45 degrees down and scale the height of everything by 60-70%... that's pretty much your basic downhill trail. From there it gets gnarly. Fast.

After a couple of B-Line runs, we hit Crank It Up. Similar to B-Line, Crank' has more jumps. Progressing from whoops and small table tops, you're soon hitting 10ft tables with big, steep drops down the backside. After doing Celia's clinic I felt armed with the knowledge to hit these jumps with confidence. A few near misses and mis-corrected landings soon reined in my over confidence and made me show a little more discipline with the technique. The jumps here are extremely "lippy" and kick you hard if you don't employ the right moves. I was loosening up though. Still felt very conscious of my every move - over thinking for the most part and struggling to find flow and lose myself in the trail. Something to be expected I suppose on the first day of riding in such epic surroundings.

Me and Spangles finished day with a couple of A-Line runs. One of Whistler's signature trails, and one I've seen over and over on MTB videos. All thoughts of how cool it was to be finally riding it disappeared as I focussed on keeping both wheels pointing down. A-Line is a lot like B-Line, except the berms are bigger (which is good - my skills on small, tight berms are lacking) and the jumps lippier and steeper. You have no choice but to catch air so Mike's words of wisdom we're at the forefront of my lobes as I fisted the bars and hit the tables with as much speed as I dare.

So, that was day one. Definitely a warm up day and a few new things I need to work on to really get the most out of these trails. Day 2, and we're out again. The Nomad - which behaved amazingly - is lubed, poised and the shock pumped up ready for more abuse. Hopefully I'm just as prepared :o)

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