Thursday, 26 April 2012

Post dissertation thrash

The final year project is due to be handed in on Tuesday, so a trip to Coed Llandegla has been planned.

We shall hopefully have a couple of cars of riders, and bikes and make a good day of it. Tom will be trying his new front tyre (Maxxis Ardent). and I will have my new Camelbac Antidote reservoir filled due to the previous one leaking on my leg. :( Pete has new DMR V8 pedals, so we should see him gaining more confidence on the trails.
Andy R will be out with his bouncer, after a service and new brakes and rubber rings.

Hoping to get a camera sorted to do some filming and photos, as I have a feeling it could be an interesting one.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Cannock Chase

Myself and Tom went to Cannock to ride both Follow the dog and Monkey trail.

It was a very last minute decision based on the forecast for the rest of the week. It paid off, we had one light shower after the fire track ascent, so we rode quickly to get under the cover of the trees.

The trail was surprisingly dry and gripping, with puddles inside some of the berms. The trail is so stony that if your tyres get wet they slip on every surface struggling to get grip.

I followed Tom down one section with a few jumps, the first he became slightly unbalanced, this was increased when he went over the second resulting in a spectacular crash. A grazed knee and elbow later Tom stood pumped and ready to continue riding. After checking the bike was fine, we carried on, faster than we had before he had gained more confidence due to falling off.

I tackled one of the black runs, that has large rocky drop-offs, which I was sure I was going to lose teeth from my big chainring, however I survived, and met up with Tom on the red. He commented saying that the red was pretty difficult with the step downs being higher that he had ridden before, but no falls (so he let on).

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful, bar my few attempts to ride off piste down the side rather than round the corner, I was pushing too hard trying to catch Tom after taking off my long sleeve jersey.

We arrived back and ventured into the shop where a 2.25 Maxxis Advent tyre was purchased, this was to replace Toms 2.1 Bontanger tyre. The drive back home ended in rain and very wet roads, the rain had missed Cannock, which we were both glad about.

Here's a little clip from Cannock of Tom.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Nant-yr-Arian - Review

When Thursday morning came I was woken by the heavy rain pattering against my window, thinking oh no what are we doing going biking in this. However, I managed to get back to sleep before the alarm went off at 7:30, I jumped out of bed and flung open the curtains. NO RAIN!!

Breakfast was 2 weetabix to supply the fuel for the morning and we jumped in the car, a bit cramped some would say, I was so glad I had called shotgun.

The navigation was set and we were off to a place none of us had been before. 2 hrs. until arrival and slight bit of drizzle in the air I was getting excited again, beating off the apprehension I had earlier on. The radio was on and some tunes were playing, one which would stick with us through out the day, Fun. - We are young, this provided fun singing at the top of our lungs through the forests.

We arrived at the trail centre and the car park was empty to say the least, we got set up and a few more cars arrived with bikes. After a bit of faffing around with tyre pressures we headed off up a bit of fire road uphill, this was a nice gentle warm-up for the legs. The trail then cuts off to the left through some woods climbing slowly before releasing you into an area that had been cleared on a steep bank. This section was flowing and technical as the corners were sharp and had a drop to the side, the track was narrow single track that combined some rock jumps or a chicken run to the side for the less experienced rider. Large berms and the rock jumps carried on until you get spat out onto another section of fire track.

The fire track was the top of the 'Leg burner' and leads you to spaghetti junction a central meeting point of all the trails, the all start and end from this point. A swift drink stop and we departed to the summit trail, following the blue markers.  The trail skirts the lake and heads through a gate on to a farm track that combined both rock and loose gravel. Myself and Pete had a little king of the mountain competition up this section however Pete's line choice scuppered his chances. Once at the top we head down on the same track that was covered in running water, this was a very fast section that almost resulted in all three of us falling. Tom was in front, we cut across a rock face that was covered in water and he dragged the brakes resulting in a slight rear wheel lock up and wobble this caused me to brake and the same outcome. Pete was behind leaving a gap but managed to brake but not recover ending up lying on the rock soaked from the running water.

The trail follows the valley along with some impressive views

The next section was the mark of Zorro a narrow single-track that lived up to its name as it zig zagged its way down through the woods filling everyone's faces smiles, which was a good thing considering the leg burner was next. This is a gruelling 2 mile climb which allowed me time to take in some food, as I read from Swiss Retreats guide, "Eat when feeling good, not when you are feeling bad as it is too late" Up the climb we saw some interesting things such as water falls and caves

The climb ends back at spaghetti junction, at which point we followed the red Pendam markers which took us around the lake, over one of my favourite sections of the centre, hippity hop which is full of rollers and jumps. I was leading and I could hear yelps of excitement from Tom behind as he caught air for the first time.     During this section I was trying to improve my jumping trying to manipulate the bike in the air, I did find myself landing front end first a few times which was a bit twitchy.

The fun continued over the final sections camels hump and drunken druid, and finally high as a kite. These are all incredibly enjoyable descents and is well worth all the effort for the climbs. Once finished I wanted to go around again, however the others were felling the climbs and we departed after washing the bikes and re paking the car. A well deserved lunch of Fish and Chips on the beach as Clarach Bay. 

All in all an awesome centre and day, I cannot wait to go again.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Excited about tomorrow

Tomorrow Tom, Pete and I are heading out to Nany-yr-Arian (I can't pronounce it either). 

We are hoping to combine both the summit and pendam trails, both reds should be around 23km. It will be Toms first time riding his Trek Mamba 29er, I am interested as to how they perform on the routes and roots.

Tonight we packed the car up, bit tight with three people and three bikes but they are in, we are not. I am looking forward to the ride and particularly looking forward to the river crossing. Forecast is not looking so good, with showers forecast for the afternoon.

Pete is riding his Ghost, I am on my Rocky Mountain UK special

Pics will be uploaded tomorrow :D