wow, what a fantastic day out! Really fun track, nothing ridiculous (got my eye on the alternative line for the quarry gap next time!) but plenty to practise! The first run I really didn't like it as my brain made everything really big and scary, but as I got to know the track better, I liked it more and more.
We only really did the black run, which IMO was a good move; the red was fairly pedally. The black had an entertaining drop, as well as a couple of fun corners. We got a picture of it when sessioning it before lunch. He landed back wheel after the roots.....
The switchblacks on the black run proved to be pretty good fun, though I invited Gareth to follow us down (bit harsh because we ended up taking the lines he didn't know!!) and then promptly slid down a bank face first on my chest after going over the bars, into the path of the oncoming red route riders who absolutely wet themselves...... Not impressed!!
The it was the quarry gap section. Watching the guy I ride with was literally like fine art. I've uploaded the pictures here, open them all in tabs (they uploaded in reverse order for some reason...) then use ctrl+tab to scroll through them and you'll see what I mean! Here's the line you should have taken(!):
Then it was just fast and fun and brakes.... We did the wooded section, which I hated to start with, but I'm glad I stuck with it as I think it was better than the other route, and was quite enjoying the challenge by the end of the day. The triple drop was fun just after it, but I only did it once as on a HT the rocks going into it if you take the central line are just nasty. Stay right, do the first drop properly and then roll the rest if you value your back!
Another good bit, including a really fast section where it was just "deactivate brain, stop covering the brakes and let the bike roll". Had a right strop at some guys that braked on that section, as it's just a lot of fun to pump the bike through there at warp speed. After this you were on the fire road. I only linked this fast bit and the sleeper drop once, though I wish I'd done it more as it was a fantastic feeling to blast out and drop however many feet (yikes!) to a nice downslope, though it did make the next corner a bit hairy!
The thing that most surprised me was the sleeper drop, just after the road. The first 2 times I took an alternate line; not the chicken run, but if you turn right onto the road before the drop, then get a run up, turn in and go down the chicken run at the same angle you would doing the proper drop, you get an easier drop in which is still kind of respectable. After the third time of watching my mate make the real drop look easy I went for it too. It's a very nice little drop, a lot easier than I was expecting (in a kind of, "oh, I'm still alive" way). I was expecting the landing to be bumpy because of all the rocks, but really, it was nice and smooth. Wasn't too fond of the tree roots all over the place, so aimed right for the end of the fence to avoid most of them; IMO this sets you up better for the next corner anyway. The loose corner was just dodgy, had to stay on the clear part of the track! The jumps just before you go under the bridge looked like fun, but I didn't want to risk slamming into the bridge so stayed central and trated the roughness as a huge drop off. The massive berm just after is just giggles, get a nice "brapppp" from the tyres on that one, though it's pointy as hell if you get it wrong.
There's a really fun little jump just after that, where I actually look like I know what I'm doing!
Then onto the bridge. First couple of times I rode it I didn't clear the second bit; had my back tyre land on it, front on the ground. Third time, back tyre barely clipped it, and I let out a very enthusiastic "wooot". Fourth time, completely overcooked it, and ended up taking a major tumble right onto a load of rocks. I rolled, and escaped with slightly beaten up knees and a funny finger. My ankle isn't feeling too hot either, though I'm not sure it was that crash that caused it. From then on I was a bit more careful, but was clearing it completely again by the end of the day.
Just after that, there was a massive table top. On my third run down, I hadn't bothered braking since I'd gone into "I'm invulnerable! I just cleared the bridge!" mode, and as such went absolutely massive!!! bit scary! I tamed it down, but towards the end I was landing again about halfway along the top.... this is a pretty big tabletop, the only person I know who can clear it is a friend of a friend!!
No pictures, unfortunately. We were getting photo's of the bottom section, but on the penultimate photo I hit the berm after the bridge drop and had a badly placed stone pinch flat my DH tube!! That was the end of my riding, but it'd been a very good day out!!
Also, thought I was running my forks a bit too hard, as I never managed to get that last half inch of travel until today!
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