NWAlps on Tour day 2

day 2 by rOcKeTdOgUk
day 2, a photo by rOcKeTdOgUk on Flickr.

Day two dawned bright but still breezy but again once into the trees it really wasn’t noticeable. Today we rode the full red route, The red is an “expert” graded trail, in this case it means the climbs are tougher, the terrain more challenging with loose rocks, roots and technical drops and a far less groomed feel than the blue trail and it’s a lot longer. I quite enjoy the challenge of the climbs, the switchbacks in particular take quite a bit of skill to get around without dabbling a foot and for the first time ever i managed the last climb up to Spooky Wood without stopping! Spooky wood is a series of three trails, the first has some very big berms, enormous table top jumps and some drops with blind crests. It’s also quite long and takes a lot of energy, at some points there are “chicken runs” to avoid the bigger features but generally you are going too fast to avoid going over them, very exhilarating! after a few shared high fives and time for arm pump to dissipate we began the 2nd part of the descent. Where the first was open and fast the second is much more natural and technical in places with lots of roots and rocks exposed, a totally different approach needed for this one. The third part contains my nemesis, a downhill S bend series of corners that drop about 6 ft with a bigger drop on one side to keep you honest and some big rocks on the exit to stall your speed further. I’ve never managed to get around without stopping but today i was on fire! even Ben standing in the way didn’t deter me and i got around in one piece with more speed than i had expected, nemesis defeated!The next trail was “pie run” so called because of its narrowness between the trees it is also very rooty with slippery exposed roots to negotiate. At the end there is also a choice of Blue, red or black drops to the finish. without really looking i chose the black option, rolled over the root at the top which had a nasty undercut and basically fell to the ground whilst managing to stay on the bike more from luck than skill. We completed the red trail including the final descent (the blue is better) and went to the cafe for refreshment of rolls and cake.
Last night in the B&B i found a copy of a MTB magazine with an article on how to jump (and survive) on a bicycle. after trying to absorb this Ben and i decided we would give it a try the next day. So, after lunch we headed back up to the free ride area to put the theory into practice. I rolled down the start ramp and into the first table jump, compressed the forks into the face of the jump and as the front wheel left the lip pushed forward on the bars and….left the ground and landed safely on the down slope!! my first ever proper jump, i shouted back to Ben ” just compress” as he headed in for his attempt, Ben is quite an accomplished “air merchant” but when he followed the technique we has studied he got a lot more air time and looked very smooth doing it “i can’t believe how much easier it is like that” he grinned. I found the look of joy on his face hysterical. the next hour and a half was spent just playing like kids over the various jumps and drops, Ben got a pinch puncture going off the top ladder drop which gave us a nice breather and then hungry again and craving a beer the race was on to get back to the bottom of the hill and race wee did, flat out on the twisty blue trail, I managed to pass Ian and The Captain on the wider parts and then after following him closely i passed Ben when he went high on a berm and i took a shorter line under him, he tired to do the same manoeuvre at the next berm but i managed to close the door on him and hold the lead to the end 🙂
this is the sixth time I’ve been to Glentress but today was the first time I’ve actually BEEN here, so pleased with my riding and progression today.
ride 43
20 miles
total 708

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