Monday, 31 December 2012

Year's End

As 2012 draws to a close I found myself taking the Nomad out for one last shred of the year. Jetlagged,  festively bloated and wrestling with the lurgey, I took a trip to China Camp to eek out the rest of my vacation. As it happens the trails weren't in much better shape than I. The last three weeks have apparently seen a lot of rain. Still, the sun was shining and the dirt, though sloppy, was inviting. A quick frontside loop ends another year's riding. Next year I'm aiming to step up the downhill and trials malarkey. Lets see how it pans out.....

Monday, 17 December 2012

Yer Tiz! The 5th Annual Chrimble Ride

It's that time of the year again! It doesn't seem that long since the fasties and pasties rocked up to the Forest of Dean trail centre, but as it turns out it was a year ago. So this weekend I took the Rose out of it's mothballed state and headed south for the 5th Annual Chrimble Ride! This year we were whittled down to the core with only me, Jim and Mikey up for some dirt. But what we lacked in numbers we made up for in riding by doing two solid rides over the weekend. Trails of choice were the new loops at Ashton Court, 50 Acre Wood and Leigh Woods in Brizzul.

Ashton Court is where I first discovered a love for two wheeled fun not long before I left Blighty. Set against a backdrop of the beautiful mansion and the (gert) lush countryside, the trails have undergone a transformation since I last rode them. Gone are the rooty, sloppy singletracks. They've been replaced with a professionally designed and built network that mirrors much of the old but adds a lot of new features. The trail surface is made up of hard packed rock so it's bullet proof in winter. Just as well given the British weather.

As Bristol isn't exactly mountainous the elevation gain isn't that huge so there's not a lot of help from gravity on the descents. Therefore the trails have been designed to encourage riders to pump their way through the flowey burmed corners and whoop filled straights. It takes a little getting used to and you have to be dialed with good technique, but after a while the whole thing starts to feel like a dirty big rhythm section and with some elbow grease (well, quad grease) you can carry some decent speed. Mikey and Jim ride these trails every week so I had to work hard to keep up. Plus the Rose kept me on my toes as it's modest tires lost traction over the slick rocks.  The tight, banked turns definitely highlighted some cornering weaknesses I still have, but on the second day (riding the same trails) I started to get a feel for pumping through them and keeping my speed up. Something to keep working at over the next 12 months and hopefully bring back to Briz' for next year's ride!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Rocks of Ages

This lovely sight greeted me at SFO as I prepared to leave California for my annual Blighty trip. The SF MOMA put on a large display to show the birth and rise in popularity of our wonderful sport. From the very first Stumpjumper, through to this year's carbon Santa Cruz Syndicate team V10, the burly beasts of old and new are celebrated. A nice treat to stumble upon and a fitting bookend to another fantastic year of NorCal shredding.