Thursday, 19 June 2014

Blowing off the Dust

After a few months of being cooped up in a dark office with nothing but computer glare for company, it felt good to get out into the summer sun and ride with Eric and Chris this weekend. It felt especially good as we were heading north to beautiful Lake Tahoe for this year’s first (and Eric’s first ever) downhill session. Having sat mothballed and pristine since last year’s Whistler trip I was keen to sling a leg over the Glory and get it (and I) dusty again.

Half the mountain’s trails were closed until the 27th. This was still early season. But we had plenty to sink our knobblies into. Old favourites like Livewire, the challenging tech of Boondocks plus the all new Gypsy kept us busy from the first uplift to the last. Long lines of eager, grinning riders meant for a welcome break in between each run where we could catch our breath and give quick, excited recaps of what we’d just ridden. Eric did a great job on his Blur LT and was soon catching air on Livewire. Chris picked up where he’d left off from last year’s Whistler trip, whipping tabletops and hitting some of Northstar’s gnarlier features.

I kept the riding somewhat mellow. Keen to ease in slowly and not aggravate injuries still being nursed from last year – or create new ones that might cut this season short. Plus I wanted to focus on Oscar’s teaching’s and really try to dial in my jumping. I felt great though. Much better than how I ended last season. My berm railing felt flowey and through the technical stuff I definitely felt a little faster and more agile (especially after a nerve softening lunchtime beer.) But the biggest leap forward was with my jumping. The real test will be when I hit A-Line next month. But I definitely felt good and caught some decent air as I hit the front sides of jumps with relaxed confidence. I still have a ways to go, and much technique to dial in. But for the first session of the year I felt good about where my downhill riding is at. Now I just need to build on that and make some real progress on the Glory.

Here’s a little video of me trying to chase Chris down Livewire. I need to fiddle with my set up and get those sodding cables out of view…..

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Shreds the Dust

A packed schedule of robots and industrial magic means I haven’t had too many rides to write about recently. It's been more about squeezing in some two wheeled fun as and when, in between bouts of long hours at the computer. Still, as work on Hollywood’s latest blockbuster draws to a close, Summer is slowly ramping up with the promise of warm, dusty descents to be ridden to the sound of whirring chair lifts. Me and Chris have our downhill sleighs out of storage and a weekend of Northstar booked for early June. A perfect limbering up before our regular pilgrimage to Whistler in July. However, before we gave in to the excitement of another hot season of shred, we had to say a bittersweet goodbye to good riding buddy Dave. He’s off to Colorado soon so felt it fitting to say adios to his riding buds with one last blast around home turf – Tamarancho.

Knowing it would be last time we'd ride these familiar trails together, and the fact that my riding has been scarce recently, meant an amazing ride was had, where every lungful of air spent grinding the cranks and shredding the dirt felt fantastic. No strava times were bothered during the ride, but judging by our sweaty grins we'd all ridden hard and well deserved the post ride beers.

All the best Dave, you're an awesome riding buddy and I look forward to you showing us your new local trails.