Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Service Time

During the last couple of rides I've noticed that my RS Pikes were suffering from top-out clunk, especially noticeable after lowering the front a smidge via the U-Turn adjuster. A quick glance at the service log shows they've covered close to 1k miles and more than 100hrs - at which point the RS guide recommends the damping oil be changed. They're performed so consistently and been so reliable that I've become somewhat laxadazyickle about servicing 'em and not even completed the 50hr tasks :blush. I hope the top-out rattle is no more than a warning and not terminal - forum searches appear to suggest that a service will fix the annoying tappety-tap.

Toons has already Push'd his Pike and all the web speak suggested the revised Coloradian damping is well worth the extra £'s over a plain ol'service. Find blurb on the mod here. As it happens Chippy has offered to cover the upgrade as an early bday pressie, so I'm already onto a winner :-)

Whilst my front bouncer is away I figured it also makes sense to send off my Rp3 for a thorough overhaul. Rear shox's don't half take some abuse and previous experience shows that my rear shock has benefited more from a full service (incl'g seals, nitrogen?) over a plain ol'DIY air can relube. Besides which I'm now running long 5.5" rockers and would also like to discuss the original Push modification and possible adjustments now that I've plenty of miles on the unit.

The courier collected my bouncers this morning, so they're already on route to a damn good fettle...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

AQR Training Day1

Uphilla decided he'd like some skills training this year and last Saturday he signed up for a days tuition with A Quick Release at Sherwood Pines.

Intreagued by the proposition of some serious MTB banter and an opportunity to see if my "trail and error" technique was any good - I joined our good buddy. Brumster also tagged along not that these training days struggle with attendance.
After some initial delays waiting for riders (from Bristol) and a geezer with a non existent front brake we all (18? of us) ripped off into the woods for a warm up. The weather was warmer than it has been of late, was dry and I was pleasantly surprised to find the trails were absolutely perfect for hooning around.
After reaching a suitable spot we were then asked to execute three loops around a short course that incorporated a bit of variety (bumps, downhill, cross camber, uphill, sand and roots) whilst the instructors (Ian, John, Paul) assessed our ability :-O After which those that were signed up for day#1 were then separated into two groups (novice & competent) with a smaller 3rd batch heading off for their day#2 tuition.

Fortunately our gang were all deemed "competent" and approx half a dozen of us headed around the corner for...

Morning, cornering.

After plenty of words from our tutor we were zipping around another short test track with the focus on 3 corners and trying to link them up nicely. Not only that Ian gradually introduced different techniques to help our cause. Actually all the additional thought soon had me wondering if I shouldn't have brought along some stabilisers ! Auto pilot and instinct honed over many a fall is where I ride and having to focus on body position, feet, ankle inclination, brakes, turn1, turn2, turn3, looking ahead, cranking "his way" and I was soon all over the place. With a gentle guidance from the master, loop after loop followed and we all gradually improved. It was interesting to hear how we all had different "issues" and yet some common points of improvement. I found it very enlightening.

Lunch, bike set-up.

After a quick sausage cob our tutor went over each of our bikes and suggested improvements which soon has us all fumbling with bars, stems, brake levers and shox, etc. As Uphilla pointed out later, the cost of the day was worth it for this alone. After which we all felt the rigs were now handling much better.

Afternoon, uphill & downhill.

After another group blast through the tight'n'twisty forest (Cannock is easy in comparison) our day#1 groups switched around with us now focusing on uphill technique - "groan/sigh's" abound ;-) "Teach" again covered the basics and after the intial grunmbling I think we all pretty much breezed the opening route, though we'd all failed to look far enough ahead :blush Heavy breathing was common place as we'd all been asked to max out our technique's by cranking up in bottom cog. Thankfully the hills were short.

Moving over to hill#2 we negiotated a loose turn and cranked up a sandy slope with relative ease. Being first up the slope I quickly fell fowl of the loose sandy right hander which was down to my own daft line asking too much, too late of the front hoop. At least it allowed the others an opportunity to clear it first time :p

Hill#3 a different beast with a deceptive root lofting the front wheel and tired legs meant few of us cleared this.
Moving on to "downhill" we again went through the technique and as Sherwood isn't that hilly we were tasked with descending as slow as possible and shifting weight according to the terrain. It sounds easier than it turned out to be for some, especially the chap with just one brake !
The rest of the DH tuition involved steepening descents with gentle reminders of what we'd already forgotten ;-)


All in all I had a great day and although non of us learnt anything earth shattering it was good to come away with plenty of pointers for improvement. Now we just had to drill in the new techniques before returning for day#2.
I'm sure that the skills learnt will prove useful on the trail and help us to be more efficient, even ride longer :) I'll admit that I was initially sceptical of covering the basic's but now feel confident that everyone would reap some reward.
I personally think 6 weeks is a little too short to go back for the second day and more advanced techniques. I thunk it might take a while to bed in that we've just learnt before taking onboard even more. But then again perhaps they're completely different skills to take in. What say you fella's ?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Cannock - New F.T.D. Section

Apparently due to open this month - a new section added to Follow the Dog trail. See HERE