Sunday, April 29, 2007

Cwmcarn DH - 19th April

Hey guys, been a long time I know but things my end have gone crazy - buying a house etc!
Well with this "job" I have, I get every other Thursday off, me and Lewis usually use it to get a bit of a sneaky ride in. Last time we went to Ambergate in Derbyshire, no uplift, all completely natural, and COMPLETELY NUTS. Unfortunately, we didn't get any pics..... next time...
Anyway, thought I'd give you lot an update of whats going on in the world of a "Downhilla"

We arrived at 11, after some delays on the way (M42/M6 rush hour - we were traveling from Lichfield, btw). Feeling a little disappointed at the loss of riding time, we trundled up to the uplift guy, to pay our full day pass (£22)....
"Cheers boys, we're running till 8 tonight," he says.... bit of a winner there, me thinks.

Track conditions were incredible - stupidly dry, which made it stupidly fast, but also made it extremely lethal! A lot of the track is loose stuff, when it's wet, this stuff sticks together and is nice and grippy, when it's wet, you land on it and it MOVES!

Don't know how many runs we got in in the end, but the day just got better and better, company was superb, track was spot on, and our riding was on top form...... I even cleared that jump at the bottom (see pic above) Cwmcarn XC posse may remember just how large it was!

Riders: DDave (Pimptastic Gemini Team DH); Lewis (Slightly less pimptastic Gemini)
Mechanicals: none at all, My Gemini never brakes and Lewis also looks after his....
Stacks: One major one - on the rock step downs, Lewis attempted to ride cross-camber on a rock, slipped, and went flying off DOWN THE SIDE OF THE HILL! Farqui may remember that section, it's the bit before the final down, where you can either go on the DH, or ride the XC descent... he only stopped because he landed on a VERY sharp treee.....

Link to cwmcarn track and uplift info

Link to further pics taken by Lewis and his uber camera

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Chilterns Revisited

With all this good weather I have been determined to make the most of it, specially as I hate cleaning my bike!

It was a toss up between Cannock or the Chilterns on Saturday and as DDave had not done the Chilterns we opted for a quick blast down the M40. We were joined for the first time by two other locals, Jon and Al.
It is always worth trying natural trails at different times of year as they can completely change in character, this was so true on Saturday, you may remember that last time we went was in November and conditions were good then. This time they were even better, very dry and no slippy leaves. This made those long sweet descents so fast they had our new friends wooping with delight! The bonus was the fab spring scenery with bluebells etc. in full bloom and we almost had the place to ourselves, despite the weather.

Ok, it may not be Wales or Scotland, but at just 1 hours driving away this has to be worth a regular visit. One of the best rides of recent times for me, and with the sun beating down we just had to stop at the 5 Horseshoes for a pint or two on the way, not wanting to get dehydrated ;-) - we somehow managed to resist the amazing food served there, (note to go back another time!).

Posse: Al (S-Works Epic); Ddave (SC Chameleon HT); Jon (Stumpy FSR XL!); Uphilla (5-Spot)

Route: Tracklog

Weather: Perfect!

Mechanicals: None

P.S. LX brakes now seem sorted, bought some fibrax sintered pads, bedded them in before the ride and now much more confident that they will stop me.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Today I finally got to meet Rob#2 (Rob's pal). Tsk, I can see these names getting confusing so hence forth I'll refer to my new buddy as "R2D2", which seems appropriate :p - I hope he's not offended.

Anyhow earlier this morning, I met R2D2 with his sparkling new rig - an absolute beauty btw. It's bling'g to the rafters and I can't think of "anything" you'd want to alter. Not only that but it's as cheap as chips and I can see these little known German beasts becoming very popular over here.

Much to my surprise Rob arrived on time but we hadn't even turned a knobbly before he started making excuses - for a moment I thought Dozer was there ;) To be fair Rob's not been on his bike much and after a few miles it was clear that he wasn't his usual "whippet" like self.

As R2D2 guided us around his local patch it became clear that he's a very lucky chap with such a rich mix of trails available. Ranging from bridleway, single track, canal, quiet country lanes and some fabulous scenery to feast your eyes on. Oh and there are some awesome "châteaus" dotted around.

The climbs didn't seem too bad (even with a clunky drive train) but there were a couple of noteable DH's which were long, fast and furious. I suspect that familiarity would easily have your eye's struggling to see what's ahead and the risk of injury soar. The smart "R2" kept a watchful eye on his buddies as they hammered down the sketchy gravel strewn trails but he soon swooped ahead on the flat/climbs.

Whilst twisting through the trees we clocked more than a few deer, much larger than the teeny monk jack's at Woburn. We were also fortunate enough to see loads of blue bells in all their glory, the timing was perfect.

I'd like to thank "R2" for a cracking morning ride that was great to blow away a tough week behind a desk, setting me up for a wkend of fun. Cheers.

Route; Tracklog
Farqui (5Spot), Rob (Flux), R2D2 (Canyon)
Weather; Splendid clear blue skies, a perfect temperature around 20c with a cooling breeze.
Mechanicals; none on the ride but Rob's bottom bracket is probably on the way out and my eagle eyed chum confirmed that my chain rings (middle & inner) are starting to experience the dreaded chain suck.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Cannock trip Sat 2nd June

Brumster has taken the bold step of organising a trip to Cannock, currently scheduled for Saturday June 2nd (I'll update the Calendar shortly). The twist with this outing is that it'll include Brumster's other online chums from his "interest" in all thang's PC. Don't let that put you off though, as all are welcome and I suspect it'll be a right chuckle. So dust off your ZX81's, pump up your knobblies and prepare yourselves for some binary action.

For info and future updates, checkout the thread over at KustomPC's.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Earlier this week Brumster, Dozer & his clan had their first taste of knobbly action around Chicksands. Light faded pretty quickly but we managed a blue and red loop with a little explore around the north shore woodwork. Which is quite amazing...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Westoning Easter Sunday

Rising early on a Sunday (not something I often do) found me spannerin' my steed before I'd barely put down my empty bowl of gruel. I'd recently experienced a really annoying creak and didn't want to endure it any longer. The cassette was firmly nipped up and on my last ride I thought I'd traced the noisy blighter to the bottom bracket. As it's Hollowtech II it's a doddle to strip down so out came the tools and before you knew it my steed was in pieces, although it did need a few satisfying belts with my rubber mallet. Once apart it was clear that the non drive side bearing felt notchy so it was popped apart again, cleaned, lubed and reassembled in a jiffy.

The Westoning crew were all ready at the allotted time so today's blat was soon under way under a very pleasant clear and surprisingly warm sky. Even more satisfying was the silence of my partly serviced bb, phew the rushed fixed seemed to be working nicely.

Dozer's route for the morning had us crankin' plenty of ascents and descents over a mixture of gradients and surfaces. The speed of the hard trails made for speedy progress and it wasn't long before we cracked into double figures.

The steep climb out of Lilley up the Baulk saw most of us baulk and resort to pushing but Dozer managed to crank his way steadily to the summit. At least Darren had an excuse for his pedestrian ascent, his rig was fixed in the middle ring without a front dérailleur. The DH at "the springs" was as fun as ever and their regular "steep down" found me on an usual line but my oh my it was fast :D

The trail had me following routes I've only previously ridden the other way around, so riding them backwards made a pleasant change. The open cross country trails these boys crank make a pleasant change to my enclosed woodland hacks and the scenery was great in the warm sunshine. We weren't the only MTB'ers out enjoying the fine weather, horses were also out in numbers around Lilley.

Thanks for the route fella's, I'll get a hack around Woburn arranged before too long.

I think we can now say that summer is here.

Trail; 26 miles, 2,250ft ascending
Posse; Darren (Inbred), Dozer (Endozer), Farqui (5Spot), Sicknote (Hardrock)
Weather; Clear blue skies, sunshine, 19c
Mechanicals; none

Friday, April 06, 2007

Thetford Bank Holiday

Eager to blow away a busy week at work and before the weekend racing started, Chipmunk and I decided to hit Thetford. It'd been a good three years since our last visit, we both had new steeds and the trails had been tweaked/expanded.

The day started clear and bright but the bank holiday traffic towards our destination delayed our arrival. There were bikes, ankle biters and over weight grumpies aplenty but we were pleased to find that the trails themselves were quiet, eerily in places.

Unsure of the new grading system we opted for the Blue route which swung from High Lodge over to the Brandon side. The route was almost 100% bridleway which was great for soaking up the rays and checking out the views but not very entertaining. Chipmunk managed a decent tempo and before we knew it we were back at High Lodge gorging ourselves on the local offerings.

A few minutes lying in the sunshine, digesting our munchies gave us time to decide on what we might do next. As the Blue wasn't technically challenging we decided to give the Red a try which had a short loop option should we need it.

Leaving the centre we immediately dived into the tree line on weaving trails - looking up already me thinks. The canopy cut out the warm sunshine but kept the wind off us and our near constant cranking was keeping us warm. After our lunch we both took a few minutes to get going and my partner soon realised the early pace/distance had taken it's toll. The tight and twisty sections were new to Chipmunk but after calming the shocks and providing a few tips she soon settled down and began to get a good rhythm going. Much to my surprise the narrow trail dotted with awkwardly placed tree trunks didn't phase her and even with weary pistons she soldiered on. We decided to just opt for the short loop as time was ticking on and we'd probably get locked in if we took the longer trail.

All the trails were bone dry, well compacted, smooth and fast - ideal for the weekend's scheduled racing. The journey home was much easier and made even shorter recounting our antics and how much fun we had. We'll be sure to return before too long to give the Red a good thumping on fresh pins.

Trails; Blue, 10.6miles, 668ft ascending, Red 5.8 311ft ascending, official map, Tracklogs
Chipmunk (MotoLite), Farqui (5Spot)

Mechanicals; None
Weather; Clear blue skies, with a brisk cool breeze, 12c

Monday, April 02, 2007

Dalbeattie - New Black Section 'Log on Log off'

Hello Dudes

I was up at Dalbeattie last Saturday and the new sections are quality.

They've added loads of new singletrack, mostly at the start and end (replaces dull fire track). Also there's a 3 or 4 new black sections towards the end and two granite wall rides!!

Here's a new black feature called 'Log on Log off'.

Log On!

Log Off !!

They've kindly slightly offset the second skinny, after the drop off!!

Also on the Red, there's the longest skinny I've ever seen, plus it's not that high, which is a bonus.