Well at long last I have plucked up the courage to do the top road gap at Caersws DH Park, it isn’t so much the jump but the immediate right hand 90 deg corner as soon as you land, I have to admit I was totally buzzing after I had done it.
Bit of a surprise last night James gave us a call and asked if we fancied going to Hopton for an evening spin, it was really surprising how many people were there, we got sorted and headed out down the red XC red, then James suggested we had a play on the bottom of the DH black route so we tried a few of the jumps and mucked around for a while, then we decided to go up to the top of the DH tracks and have a ride down one of the tracks, I think dad had wondered what he had let himself in for, but he seemed to enjoy it without too much problem.
Dads photographic/camera phone skills weren’t at their best either but we got a couple of pics on some of the jumps, when we got back down the bottom of the hill we decided to have a spin around the rest of the XC route with a little detour and back to the van just before dark.
Had a ride up around the Dyfi with James and dad, I must admit the couple of times I’ve ridden there I wasn’t impressed as a lot of the trails are up hill and there is a lot of up hill to get to them, but James said he would show us some of the better tracks, so we headed up the enduro climb which was long but not to steep, I can’t remember the names of the trails but they were brill, steep some rocky and some loamy but great fun.
Shouldn’t moan about nice weather but it was really hot and sweaty we did around 25km and over 800m of climbing, when we got back to the van James said we would go and have a look at Dyfi Bike Park which isn’t open to the public yet, so we drove to the bottom and walked up to the top, we came across Ollie Davey doing some work on one of the bridges, we asked if it was OK to have a nose about which he said would be alright if we kept out of the way, as we walked back down we looked up some of the trails they had built, Ollie said there would be a few graded black and one red, well there certainly not trail centre blacks and reds, they make every DH centre I’ve been to look like a walk in the park.
Huge jumps massive step downs and also mega steep, no good looking for a line you can roll on this track, don’t know if the other ones would be as techie, James was very excited by the track, the picture below really doesn’t show how steep it is the top was around 10 foot rough rocky near vertical slab, it was that steep you couldn’t walk down it.
The Saturday was cloudy and dry, as always things seemed to start quite slowly nobody in a rush to get sorted and get the track live, nobody was in a rush but I was ready and raring to go, the up lift started at 10 am and I was on the first one up the hill the track was mint if a little dusty, Martin the track owner had altered some jumps for the better.
All day it looked like rain but came to nothing at all the track was fast and a little sketchy in places but great fun, I think One Giant Leap Llangollen is one of my favourite tracks and Martin had done a really good job of preparing it for the race, I think I had done around 5-6 runs by dinner time without any problems, so I had a drink and a quick bite to eat before round two.
Quite few local people were riding this weekend on Saturday Rhys, Brad, Matty, Jamie and Jack were here and James and Thomas are riding on Sunday, I rode to around 3.30pm with just one small slide off, so it was home for dinner and dad could prep the bike for Sunday, up again early on Sunday and back to Llangollen, the Met Office said on Saturday that Sunday would be the best day of the weekend, but guess what it’s raining yet again on race day.
Dad was a bit worried that the rain would make the track slippery but there was plenty of grip, it seemed better than Saturday to be honest, the rain and low cloud on top of the hill kept coming and going all morning I did around 4-5 runs and then it was time to get on the uplift for my first race run and guess what the heaven opened and cloud came rolling in, fantastic.
I was first rider down which is something I always hate, the count down beeps started and off I went, the track was like a river in places and I slid off in 2 places but got straight back on and went for it, I was gutted to slide off but was amazed that on the first run I was 8th out of 16 and not that far behind the leader the bike was covered in mud, so dad washed it ready for the next run we had two hours to wait.
The rain kept coming and it was nearly time for round two everyone coming down kept saying it was like riding on ice so we thought we would change to a spike in the front, so quick change of front wheel and here we go, the tyre gripped well with no offs but my gears kept jumping every time I pedalled for a jump I cased every double going across the top section, I gave it everything I could and bugger it was 3 seconds slower than the first run I was gutted and that put me down to 12th.
Dad washed the bike at Llangollen and it was still filthy so we washed it again and get it ready for the next outing, time to get more practise and try to get faster.
Cracking day at One Giant Leap Llangollen, I managed to get onto the up lift before my Borderline race on the 24th & 25th of June, the track was spot on after all the rain my Kaiser had plenty of grip and were running fast, the track the race will be on is Son Of Squirrel so that’s the one I needed to practice.
First run down was more of a sighting run so I took my time to see what it was like, a little wet and slippy in places but mainly good and steep, towards the end of the track before the finish in the field is a big step down drop, to start with I took the slightly lower side.
Before we stopped for lunch I think I had done 4-5 runs and was really liking the track, fair play to Martin the owner of the place he put on a good bit of food for us all to have for lunch, as we all got ready for round two dad said I should try the higher drop which is quite high, so I told him if he wants to take a picture to go there now as I’m going to do it on my next run.
The run down to the drop went well and now it was time to give it a go, it all went well on take off the landing went a little wrong but I stayed on, to be fair when you come to the top of the drop it looks really high but I had done it, on the next run I tried it again and it went a lot better so I was well pleased, all in all it was a fantastic day.
That makes a change, no rain and just dry dusty runs, I went to Henblas up lift again today I rode the freeride track quite a few times and it seems really good fun, then the Welsh a few times and then onto NPS I haven’t been able to do the first gap jump at the top, in the past I have just rolled through the gap which for a race run would add quite a lot of time, so I talked to James about it and he said I could do it no problem but to me it looked quite wide and on the far side the track builders had laid a log across the down hill ramp which looked like if you came up short and cased it, it would go wrong in a big way, James told me not to worry I could do it easy, so I had a look and thought lets do it I rode up to it but chickened out and hit the brakes, I turned around and tried again and hit the brakes again, I was so annoyed with myself I rode down the NPS and had a drink and loads of advise, as I went back up on the up lift tractor I kept telling myself I can do it and this time I came up to it and just hit it, Yes, Yes, Yes I did it.
Well that’s Conquer The Cliff done again, it started off a little stress full the gravel on the tracks was like riding on ball bearings, my brand new Mountain Kings seemed to have no grip at all and then to make it even worse as I was coming off the tram at the top of the hill my front tyre hit something on the steeps and blew a hole straight through the side wall, sealant went everywhere and I had to push the bike all the way back down the hill, dad got the remaining fluid out popped a tube in and off I went back to the top, I managed another two practise runs and then it was race time.
When I arrived at the top for my race run you could see the rain rolling up cardigan bay, oh no last year when it rained a few of the corners became skating rings, I think I was lucky as I got to the bottom without any problems the rain got heavier but didn’t affect my run and I was 10 seconds faster than last year, I had another hour and a half to wait until my next run so time for a chat and a chill, by the time my next run came the track had dried out but still had a little moisture which seemed to help with grip and knocked another second and half off my time which left me in seventh in my class, not to bad with the class of rider that was in it.