Sunday, March 12, 2006

Cannock DH Day 11/03/06

After a certain useless b******, who shall remain nameless, called me up late Friday morning to let me know he couldn’t be arsed to take me with him to Bringewood, I decided to salvage a free weekend and go meet my riding buddy, Alex, at Cannock, and go have some good pure bouncy fun ;) And the promise of snow made it even more inviting, who could resist a bit of flat out fast DH and maybe a bit of bike skiing? Oh yeah baby! Jumping was made very interesting as my blown Manitou Swinger 6 way randomly kicked back off big jumps, even with full rebound damping wound on! Bounce this just sitting on the bike, and it would rebound nice and slow, then hit something at speed and there’d be a 300lbs spring and 100psi pushing the bugger right back up your arse. I guess that’s what ragging Cwmcarn to hell a few weeks previous does to a shock. Bit miffed as I had only just had the blighter TF’ed :(

After a mad dash to the station for the 8:08 train from Long Buckby, I was on my way, with the trains running dead on time for once (shock horror!). I spent about 10 minutes putting the wheels back on (I got a lift from my mum… aint they great??), fiddling with a particularly stubborn floating brake-arm that would not line up with another machined bit, and a hole….. you get the picture! :p

A 15minute gap between the connection to Penkridge from Brum allowed me a bit of time to take a bit of a “tart” shot of the beast.

After meeting up with Alex, and having the all-important pre-ride cuppa + bike tartage discussion, we set off for the Chase, getting there at 11 O’clock.

Heading up to the start of the DH course, we discovered that we were the only ones there! :D

Bonus! Gave us a chance to take a few quick snaps of our weapons of choice for the day, before we were caught taking pictures of our bikes and not riding! ;)

Conditions at the DH course were perfect, no wind, no rain, and the course wasn’t too slippery, though the start ramp/first berm proved a bit of a test for our super tacky rubber. Still, this made laying the bike sideways and railing it on it all the more fun!!! :)

Pedalling like a complete nutcase off the start ramp, drifting and pedalling round the berm, somehow how not coming off, and hitting the pedal on the deck, shift up about 5 gears, pedal some more, and JUMP!!! Oh yeah, I forgot to mention…. There’s a new jump on the Cannock Chase DH red run! Hehe, can’t wait for the XC ride in April!!! This one can’t be ridden around, so you best be getting your jumping shoes on, uphilla!!! :o

It’s a bit of a a)Hit it full pelt with full conviction, b)go the old lazy speed off, short it, and end up in a heap… this was the option favoured by many of the riders up today, which provided me and Alex endless amusement, as we saw rider after rider tumble arse over tit :-p c) roll off the 2foot take off, catch your big 44toother on the logs, roll the middle, and pedal up the upslope. We both proved with much pedalling and balls it is easily doable though (every time)!

After that, it’s up a few more gears and pedal like crazy to the next jump a kind of hip/drop, that actually kicks you skywards if you hoon it off it, spitting you onto a landing some 10feet away, as long as you don’t brake before it! This is a damned dodgy landing, keep to the middle and short, there’s a rut; head left and not get it right and you’re whack bang into a stump!

Then it’s some more pedalling, just cos you feel like it, and think that you need some more speed. Theres a little lump as it bears left, this is fun to lay the bike sideways over and hip it as you go around, then it’s flat out pedalling and launch off the ski drop, sucking up the take off so you don’t land somewhere in the next county!

Then it’s pedal some more, over the lovely braking bumps and hip that new table top (this is shortable, even on the front wheel), suck it up low like a true racer, and pump the front down onto the downslope, for maximum speed…

Then over some more breaking bumps (WHY OH WHY ARE YOU BRAKING ON A FIREROAD!!!) round a right hand corner, whang the bike over to the right and up high on that banked bit, then pedal like **** to the causeway jump (the thing that sends you down inbetween the two walls of sand and gravel before you hit the BIG berm).

Pedal some more, pull it hard right to avoid being swallowed by a little gap, and lay that bike right over and let the berm do it’s work! We were pulling it hard left to pull up onto the patch on the inside of the berm because a) the rest of it is, frankly, shite! And a little pointless b) we couldn’t be arsed to walk all the way from the bottom of the hill!!!!

So that’s the Red Course, it’s had a few mods to make it into a fun DH course, rather than (no offence guys) an extension to the XC red route, a few jumps, and lovely drifty corners if hit them fast enough, and great if only for the fact you can take an 8inch travel DH bike and pedal the whole way down, and not touch the brakes once!

We had a brief bash at the end of the black course, (rude not to as we'd stopped at this point anyway!) slippery roots and jumps galore, with a sweetener of some sweet little turns. Was great fun, and nice leap of faith step-down that has a nice gap to short if you don’t have the commitment!

Only one thing I would say though… about this red course... I remember when Alex first took me up there, ooo, must have been 3 years ago, It was a perfect Hardtail DH course, (obviously having the new jumps then would have been better) but now it’s just no fun, it’s just breaking bumps all the way down, in the most illogical of places… Ah well, I guess that’s what the popularity of the place has done!

We stopped for a quick photo shoot, intending to work our way down, sectioning the various jumps/corners, but bad light and snow called this to a halt! At least we got our snow!

We headed back up, decided two more runs, and that was it, but DH is like the proverbial “one” pint, it never works out that way… and as the weather improved, we ended up finding ourselves doing a few more, and even gave the top of the black/bog run a go, more technical, and feels more like a proper DH course, and of course, has some bigger jumps on it!!! (Thats the one that starts to the right of the red run, boys)

A few comic highlights of the day! :p

Alex doing a full run with his goggles wrapped around his chin guard.

Alex flipping a coin into the biggest, and only puddle around!!! He went and fetched grub and wings/redbull then! Hehe! (He didn’t find it, even after fishing for it, urk!)

Me doing an involuntary no footer off the second jump, as my rear shock, devoid of any rebound damping, buckarooed me off the bike!Managed to land it perfect though! Some how my feet landed in exactly the same position as they left, bonus!!! Doubt I’ll achieve that again in a long while, though!

Overall, it was a brilliant, chilled out day, plenty of runs, lots of speed, no crashes, lots of front wheel slidage, and damned good weather. Was good to go up and see Alex again and have a good ride where it all started! Bringemud? Race? Bah! Who's laughing now!!!!!!! :)

Need to get that shock sorted before I race again or ride something bigger than Cannock, before I kill myself!


Dan Howell said...

Bonkers stuff... but not as bonkers as all those smileys...

Farqui said...

Gadzuks, smiley's everywhere - looks a little calmer now. How'd DDave get so many in there !

Sounds like you had a crackin good ride there DD, more fun that racin?

The DH course at Cwmcarn looks like fun, I really must try and get a visit there when I'm at Afan - hopefully later in the year.

uphilla said...

WTF!!! Hey Farqui what have we unleashed here! Oh to be young and not have a family to feed and mortgage to pay!

Farqui said...

Hehe, the lads a star and he's very welcome to rant away. It's good to see how the other half live !

daahnhilla said...

Thanks all, was a great day, and to be honest, yeah, probably better than racing, not so serious!!!!!

NOt sure how all those smileys got there! DIdn't realise I'd used em so much;) Oop there I go again!!! Hehe.

The DH course at Cwmcarn is fun, just bloody dangerous! Those pics don't do justice to the size of the boulders there, or the 180 degree cross-camber-turns-on-roots with a few rocks thrown in. Oh, at a 45degree angle, downwards, around a tree!!!

Well I've survived, and on it for next weekend, so it's all good:-p I'll be showing you that we dh'ers can (sortof) go uphill too!

Cheers for the comments people.

uphilla said...

I've just been studying those pictures and I am sure I can see a way round that step down ;-) If anyone can find a way round, I can! One of these days i will shock everyone and get my wheels off the ground, honest.

daahnhilla said...

Hehe, there is a line, but it's no nicer than the jump itself, hehe!