Great day at Antur Stiniog with James and Richard weather was a little foggy, well a lot foggy to be honest, we got there by 9.30am and the up lifts started promptly at 10am, Richard and James were running late so I went up on my own and came down the blue while I was waiting, normally when I have ridden a blue route at a trail centre they are very easy, well they aren’t here quite a lot of rock and I also found it a little confusing as the tracks mingled into one and another in the fog, but down to the bottom and the others had turned up so it was straight back on the truck back to the top, this time we did a red route which is a bit harder again to the blue route more rock and bigger drops.
After doing the red run it was time for what I had come to practise the Black Powder run which I will hopefully be racing on in the Borderline Events race series, this is a lot rougher than any trail centre black I have ever done, big rock drops, really rough rock sections and more rock, first run was a bit of a sighting lap to see what the run was like, it didn’t disappoint quite techie and rough, I did a few more runs and things were getting better but there was one section that kept playing on my mind and couldn’t get it quite right, so James stopped and showed me a few ideas on lines/what to try. The up lift at Antur is fantastic as soon as your down your loading up and on your way back up in minutes which was good so I could get my head around the one tough section I was struggling with.
Dad isn’t the fastest on his bike and even slower with his mobile phone, he tried to take a pic of me talking to him out of the van window only he wasn’t quick enough ( better luck next time sucker)
I think I had around 20 runs in all and the last one was the best even if I was really tired, everything fell into place and I had a nice clean quick run, by now my whole body was aching so dad said it was time to go.
We bought this 2013 Nukeproof Mega AM Pro to race downhill in 2017 and practise all winter long, I was going to try and do my racing on my Stance but thought that the tracks would kill it very quickly, in its day it was a very expensive bike but we managed to get it at a good price secondhand and it had been quite well looked after,one problem we did have it would drop the chain every now and again the bike had a NW front ring and a clutch mech so we checked the chain length and it was to long, we put a new chain on of the right length and the problem has now gone.
Nukeproof Mega AM Pro Spec
The good thing of having the winter to practise hopefully the bike will be fully sorted ready for the races as we don’t want to find out we have problems in a race weekend ( fingers crossed )
The Mega is a bit heavier than my Stance but I’m getting used to it now or getting stronger ( I did get told that I should be wearing my helmet in the pic below )
Giant Stance STD Spec
For the price the std Giant stance is a good buy, we got this last Christmas from JE James they had xs bikes on special offer and xs full suspension bikes are few and far between and the perfect size for me, they had lowered the price from £999 to £699 which was a good deal but right after Christmas money is a little short, then they had another 10% of all bikes until New Years day so making it £630.00 and making it the sort of price we had been looking at secondhand bikes so the deal was done, in the New Year an email arrived from JE James saying there was a 2 mm scratch on the front rim and did we still want the bike if they did it for £600, when it arrived the scratch was that small it took a bit of finding, quick touch with a permanent marker and no one would ever know.
Over this year the bike has been ridden hard and had a few alterations to the front suspension and wheels, we swapped the Rockshox 120mm XC 30’s for a pair of Rockshox Revelation 140mm RCT3 forks what a difference in feel and also slackened the head angle a little, we managed to get a pair of Syncros wheels secondhand cheap this also made a huge difference in weight to the std Giant wheels and also as the Syncross wheels are cartridge bearing front and rear seem to roll a lot better they really transformed the bike They came set up on the rear 142mm x 12mm and thanks to the help of Madison UK we got some adaptors to convert the wheel to 135mm x 9mm QR, we also use the tyres tubeless so no punctures in around 12 months and the only other thing that was altered was the bars to Nukeproof Warhead which was more for looks but are a little lighter than std bars, just with these few mods which came in around £200 the bike is now easier to ride ( feels a lot lighter and when we weighed the bike the mods had saved 5lb ) and real flier.
As I’m really keen to race DH I have a lot to learn ( well dad does ) when I got my DH hill bike it came with Maxxis Magic Marys which in the dry conditions have been good but now that winter is here they tend to slide around a little, so we got some Conti Mud Kings to give a go, their advertising says ” feel the grip “you really can it makes you ride far more confidently the big lugs dig through the mud looking some surface to grip to, to early to say how they wear, I have done two up lifts on them swapping backwards and forwards from the Mud kings and the Mary’s to see the difference in grip and in the wet conditions the Mud Kings win hands down.
What Conti Say
Dan had a morning with James Corbett up Henblas, James was helping him with drops, the first drop was a slight double step down with a lovely wet root right in the middle of it, James explained to Dan how taking the drop line was a lot quicker than the line to the side which was easier but longer, to start off Dan rolled it just to see what it was like, then back up for another go James explained just come to the top of the drop and just hop off the top just like jumping off a curb, so time for the second attempt as he came to the top of the drop a slight pump and Dan cleared the two drops and totally missed the root so making the run a lot safer as he couldn’t slip on the wet root an amazing difference.
James took Dan a little further down the track and had a play on some jumps which Dan didn’t have any problems with, even with a small gap jump so they went further down the track to another double drop this time spaced further apart and quite a bit bigger, this time Dan really didn’t like the look of this one mainly because there was a rut on the landing and then straight into the next drop, there was a lot of thinking going on in Dan’s head and he decided that today wasn’t going to be the day, the one strange thing he did the second drop no problem and it was twice the height of the one he didn’t want to do, mind at the end of the day there is always another day and a challenge to be taken up, next time Dan you will do it.
Day out at One Giant Leap Llangollen with Al Bond getting Dan used to the tracks, this track will be one of the tracks in the Borderline Event series so he will have a little bit of an idea what he has to look forward to.
They worked on drops and jumps which all seemed to go well and Al was very pleased with Dan’s progress, we only saw them as they came down into the finishing field where there is three large jumps which Dan did no problem.
Dan Cartwright enjoyed his very first downhill race at “Conquer The Cliff” at Aberystwyth. He even managed 2nd in Rippers category which was great for his first race and he got a lovely trophy. He was the very first rider to start of the whole event and the first run was a dry run and he was just 5 seconds behind the first place rider but as there were thunderstorms rain and lightening just before his second run he didn’t manage to improve on his time. The first place rider in his category fell off hard on his second run so didn’t complete the lap. A lot of riders took part in the event and Caersws had a good representation on the day with 3 x 2nd place in categories and one 4th place, not bad for a small village in Wales (boys pictured above). Dan saw his hero Rachel Atherton who was also riding but was a bit quicker than him on the day ! An enjoyable event to start his downhill racing career off and a great first result.