Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wet potatoes at Coed Y Brenin

Sorry, perhaps I should say SPuDs?

Alex, my best pal and riding buddy emailed me last week out of the blue asking if I wanted to do Coed Y Brenin at the weekend... my response? "HELL YEAH!" Decided on Sunday due to me working on Saturday and the famous balloon festival in the afternoon.
I arrived at Alex's a little later than intended, but after a quick cuppa and and avoiding the mad puppy he has, we set off down the M54 and headed for (wet) Wales.

For some reason the conversation turned to SPD's, and using them for XC... I've used them a few times before and never been 100% convinced... some how he managed to convince me to try them again, and serious misgivings and a likelyhood of pain, we set of into the murk.

Riding conditions were excellent as always in Wales, the trails were damp in places but mostly dry, and had a reasonable amount of grip (apart from that cross camber root section leading to the Cafe half way round) and I quickly found myself loving the evil SPD's... My flat pedals and 5Ten shoes are quite awesome, but I always find pedalling over rough stuff hard work, you really have to work to stop your feet getting bounced off - not a problem when I don't pedal - but if you wanna go faster, you gotta spin! Now with the SPD's, I found I could charge through a section and then be pedalling out of it much sooner, and much quicker!
Corners were odd at first but I soon learnt to embrace the feeling of it.
Only thing I'm still not 100% on is wet roots in SPD's, but that will come with time.

We rode The Beast, and this was a lot of fun, having us whooping, whiping and pinging off everything we could, and having one hell of a laugh.

Unfortunatley it all went a bit wrong...
Alex's Crank Bros Mallets failed, and the pedal body decided to give a bit more "float" than he'd bargined for, about 5cm of it, to be exact. It only got worse and eventually fell off, still attached to the shoe. We pressed on up to the descent to the Cafe, but it was no good, it fell off every few seconds and despite a desperate bodge with gaffa tape (with help from the cafe) we agreed we should bail and get the spare pedals and see if we can do the last few sections... unfortunatley the route that the Cafe directed us on had more than the 1/2 mile climb they quoted, a lovely road slog for a couple of miles that finished me... my saddle hurt my ass in ways that I hope never to experience (THAT IS GETTING CHANGED), so we called it a day and glumly headed home. (Following the special bus, driven by a special driver, at 20mph for 30mins! Grr!)
We had a great time and and I enjoyed the technical madness, though they have "sanitised" parts of the trail, which is a shame because some of the old "dangerous ba*****" sections have been cut off, but the replacements are fun enough, even if they don't carry the same feeling of iminent death!

All in all a great day and some amusing moments on the trail and during the journey!
I am now converted to SPUDism, and expect to see me attached to some Shimano M647 DX pedals... however, only for XC.
Still can't persuade me that they are better for DH when Sam Hill made up 2 seconds on a 14second section, the most pedally part of the course, on flats.

Posse: Me (Dangerous on trusty Chammer), Alex on SX Trail in "Jey" mode
Mechanicals: Alex's non-drive pedal developed float and eventually fell off, cutting the ride short
Trail: Loopy as ever, with some sanitisation, still a lot of fun!
Conditions: Wet in England, mostly dry in Wales (eh?)

(Wet Potatoes? I used SPDs and it was a wet day, and my shoes got splashed a couple of times)


Farqui said...

DDave on SPD's ?! No way. I'd heard rumours but thought you were a "flattie" through and through.

CyB sounds like fun, I might sneak back over there myself before the end of the year. The adjusted trails have me intrigued.

Sorry to hear that your ride got cut short and that your journey was pants - I'll have to show you a few shortcuts ;) There/back in a day eh, bravo.

Aw come on Sh!mano spd's, with all that muddy clogged-up-ness - surely not. Mind you those Cronkies of Alex weren't up to much, tsk and for the price they charge.

Hmmm, what will your "switch" do to Uphilla ? Will he too see the light on the dark side :p

dahnhilla said...

Pfft!!! Flats are still where it's at! Lol!

The M647's are essentially a beefed up XTR pedal, with a cage around them... completely open design and no clogging.. no more so than Time etc, only pedals that clog less would be the Crank Bros.
Shimano all the way, I've tried Crank Bros and that's what made me hate Clipless, but Shimano ones have always done me well, and I like the tension adjustment.

To be fair to the pedal, he'd used for 3 years and not once serviced it, it was to be expected!

Yeah, back to mine by 9, not bad going!

Farqui said...

Once again I bow to your mastery of all products MTB.

Ok, get yourself strapped in and lets us see you "fly"... :p

uphilla said...

C-y-B trip sounds good, though not sure I could cope with it in a Day.
SPD's? The work of the Devil in my view, mind you some flat pedals are not far behind as my shins will testify. :-( They have saved me from some potential injuries though, so will stay. If I were younger and fitter it might be a different story :-)

dahnhilla said...

Devil indeed.
What do you use Lee? I've only ever tried Shimano and Crank Bros.
I'm not so happy with "flying" at the moment, going to work on that asap!

Farqui said...

Hmmm, let me take the "time" to fill you in ;)