Dragons - Round 5 and WNC - Gethin
Report soon - photos in the gallery now. Abercarn report and pictures updated finally, by the way!
Everything pretty much went wrong from the start for me this weekend! Friday night, 8:30, van packed. Hiiiisssssss. Bugger - a huge nail through the front tyre. Never mind, it's not that late yet and the rain isn't that heavy. Drop the spare and I'll be rolling by 9. That was the plan - and would have been fine if the spare wasn't ragged to bits, covered in shiny flat spots and as round as a 50p. This weekend isn't happening!
After weighing up the options, I called Trig to let him know I'd be down Saturday afternoon instead. He was just leaving Manchester and offered to divert over the Snake. Legend! A hasty repack to downsize from Transporter to Astra van left most of my gear in the kitchen - but at least I was going racing!
As we aquaplaned down the M50 at midnight, wipers on double speed, I questioned my sanity and wasn't looking forward to pitching the tent, despite the lure of the Gethin track. We finally splashed down in a forest just south of Merthyr around 2:15am on Saturday morning!
Getting up at 7 after around half my usual kip was not too hard - I love riding Gethin. The long track is not mega steep but the memories from last year of the tyres kicking up dust and wind whistling through my lid cut through the remnants of my sleep like a knife through butter. If only the reality was the same...
While I recognised the lines, this was a different track to ride! The first straight was rutted and slippy, followed by a sticky pedal into two deep 'berms'. Wheras last year I was flicking into the air out of them, the wet made the exits an uphill fight.
Busting out of the trees, the open section was pure gnarr. Last years drifts were replaced with unwanted slides as you cut back and forth across the clear felled hillside, picking off stumps and roots. Half way down, some braved the stepdown gap until word spread of the faster line to the left. More speed was the last thing I needed here as I struggled to hit my line through the rutted rooty complex before the fireroad.
Here in the mid section, anything could happen! A flat pedal into a chopped up grassy muddy chute led to the off camber section before the 'bombhole'. Staying high was the option that my bald tyres just weren't giving me (damn last minute re-packing) but seemed to be the way. Cutting back hard let you hit the 'bombhole' next to the tree and again dodge stumps and roots into the off-camber stream, sorry traverse, into the second road crossing.
The teeth loosening rock garden
Popping off the road crossing, riders entered the tooth-loosening rock garden to end all rock gardens. A huge chute strewn with boulders too bottle to hit at all, let alone off the brakes and wide open like the Elites. Looping wide right set up better for the next left hander before the next sneaky inside line appeared.
Finally the end, and a chance to shake out the armpump, was only a couple of rooty corners and a jump or two away.
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[ NPS 4x Round 1, UK Bike Park, Dorset ] - posted on 22nd May 2009 by Phil.
[ Pearce Cycles DH Rd1 - Bringewood ] - posted on 16th May 2009 by Nick Emerson.
[ British University College Sports Mountain Bike Championships ] - posted on 14th April 2009 by Jim Norton.
[ Pearce Summer Series - Hopton ] - posted on 7th October 2008 by Nick Emerson.
[ Pra Loup Masters Worlds report ] - posted on 4th September 2008 by Phil.
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