Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Chicksands 4x day 14th October

Chicksands is a great place to hone your skills, no matter what ever type of MTB'er you consider you to be there is something to do!

There is a red graded XC route, which I've not ridden so I can't comment on it's quality.
  • Nationals 4x Course (Graded as "Severe"!)
  • Dual course that is a little old and rutted from the n00bs from dragging your brakes down it.
  • Proper Dirt Jumpers Saw teeth sets, that, unlike Woburn, there are small ones and maahooosive ones to suit all levels of Dirtjumper.
  • Freeride Area with a large network of Northshore skinnys, berms, wallrides, see saws and drops. Also a few short DH runs to hone your highspeed skills.
Riding at the weekend at peak times costs £5 if your old, £3 if your a ankle biter. Which when you consider the amount of building and maintenance goes on there, it's worth it. (you don't get charged during the week, or doing the XC course, as far as I'm aware)

The Dual Course is a lot of fun, and all the jumps are easily rollable, so it's a good introduction to racing your mates, it's really easy to build the speed up though and I certainly find myself going skywards off the jumps at the end. Not so much fun with all the Braking bumps when riding a Hardtail, but you can't beat the jumping ability that mine has on it so it's worth it.

The 4X course is always something thats eluded me the two previous times I've visted The Rowney Warren, the first time was with my long time riding buddy, Alex from Cannock, and we were both in a bit over our heads! The second time was with a bunch of near pros, so I felt useless but managed to get over my fear of being on that start ramp and looking at the face of the landing of the first double.

Me and Alex are at about the same standard, so it's always good to ride with each other because we end up pushing each other to go faster, and there over the course of the day, I was starting to match his speed on the 4x course (he had been there another four times so was pretty experienced on it) to the point where I was beating him to the bottom:D

As much as I love DH and XC, they don't quite have the potential to have the rush of riding, literally 2cm away from someone else, literally landing on top of each other, all whilst you are pedalling like buggery to win the race!

One time I remember being in the air and feeling this thing touch my elbow pad, I glanced to the left (I had my full facer on so peripheral vision was limited) and there was Alex, on my arm!!! We stayed like it until we landed with me shouting "Get on yer own bars!!!"

We got to the bottom in fits of giggles, just thinking how utterly mad it was! "That was incredible", Alex said. So we walked to the top, and did it all again!!!

I am chuffed to have managed to double up the Triple on the 4x, something I refused to do before Saturday...it's a big jump near the bottom of the track and there are several options of how to ride it: From easy to mentalist(and order of slow to fast method):

Simply braking like mad and Rolling them
Trying to "pump" them to keep your speed up but not taking off
Manualling them (hard and slow)
Doubling up from the take off to the middle hump and manualling the last one
Jumping from one side of the world to the other the whole lot (needs warp factor 7 to clear).

We saw two people clear the whole thing, but they were proper 4x racers with higher gears than me :(

A few times while I was doubling it up, I was aware that if I had just gone that bit faster I could stand a chance of clearing it, but it's just tooo scary for the moment and I'm happy enough to have gotten over the fear of doubling it up. I have this habit of going at stuff really fast when I don't have the confidence for it, so I can't not do it, and overshooting and going into the face of the last lump would have been near fatal (it'd claimed broken collar bones only the week before!), but following Alex into it soon had me flying off it!

Altogether a mint days riding, gotta say I love that Chameleon to pieces, yeah the back end is harsh, but it just rewards you for punishment like no other frame I've ridden. It also gave me a chance to check out the tuning I'd done on the forks, and it worked sooo well :D

Posse: DDave (Chameleon), Alex ('06 Specialized SX Trail II - [a 7" travel endozer])
Technicals: none

Check out the local club's website for piccys of the schweeet trails!



Farqui said...

"There was this one time, at band camp..." :p

It sounds like our DH guru had a blast over her in the flat lands. Unfortunately, I was too busy - although ya did kinda keep it quiet :rolleyes

I really must get over to Chicky and check it out for myself. Perhaps when it's quiet and noone's about :blush

So what tuning have ya's done to that Marz of yours ?

daahnhilla said...

I wont tell you about band camp, as I've actually been to one;)
It's not just flutes... *moves on swiftly*

It's definatly worth a visit Farqui, I had an abosulte cracking day!

I've shortened the travel range on the forks from 130-150 to 100-130mm, I prefer the handling of the bike with 130mm for general descending and the shorter travel is more useful for XC/Jumping duties.

Also fiddled with oil weights and heights to get better small bump performance but ramp up nicely towards the end:) Gotta love the tuning posibilities of a Marz....!

Farqui said...

I sneaked over to Chicky on Saturday to see for myself what DDave and Dozer have been spouting.

After a loop of the Red route it quickly becomes apparent that this is a small forest. Although the odd missing sign post gets a but more crankin' in. The final piece of singletrack back to the car park is great but the rest is tiresome with lots of fireroad climbs and fast but short descents on the same. DDave's right, it has some smaller jumps compared to Woburn and is prob'ly a good place to start experimenting...

The Blue route is less technical and shorter than the Red, looping around the outside of the wood.

The northshore sections looks great tho with lots of variety and plenty of new additions under construction.

Overall I'd say that it isn't worth a special trip for general XC riding - a few repetitive loops are gonna to numb your nonce. However, if you fancy a play and don't mind short up and downs, short ups and downs, short ups and downs then give it a try (at least once).