Sunday, 20 May 2012

Derek needs a new Bike

  So the Giant Anthem is getting a little long in the tooth and is starting to cost me more in repairs than it's worth. Also I'm finding that is ust not cut out to do what I want it to do. Don;t get me wrong it's still an AWESOME bike but I need to move on.

  So test bike time. This time around I have a little bit of an idea of what I'm doing so rather than walking into the bike shop and going yeah that will do I'm doing a lot of research on my options and doing a lot of test rides before handing over a big wad of cash ( which I don't have anyway).

  So this weeks weapon of choice was the YETI SB66. All the reviews on it rave about it. First impressions it's white and it's a bike. And that's about it. Runs a 2 X 10 setup with out a bash guard which I found strange considering it's meant to be an All Mountain bike. 6 inch travel with a FOx up front and an RP23 in the rear.

(Stupidly I took no photos of it DOH!)

  So first ride was a spin around Daisy to get it all setup and get a feel for it. Going up the first hill I wasn't impressed, It felt heavy and sluggish but at the same time very responsive when you mashed the pedals. Now a lot of this could be the fact that it was  a medium frame but that's what I had to ride so. After mucking around with the fork setting I started getting a bit more out of it and was desperately missing my dropper post. Hitting up the water bars adn a few drop offs this thing just floated it was so stable in the landings so inspired confidence but at the same time I had trouble getting used to lifting the front up due to the weight so any jumps which I was used to chucking the anthem thru was hard work on the YETI. So I left Daisy feeling uninspired by the whole affair but first ride on a 6 inch travel bike we'll hold final judgement on it for now.

  Saturday afternoon was test ride number 2. The location Cornubia forest. I had higher hopes for the Yeti in here and wasn't disappointed. Again climbing was hard work and I hate climbing at the best of times. But coming down Wallum Froglet was a HOOT the bike was so much more solid than the anthem so feeling good I went for the Jump and well lets just say I had an encounter with the rocky wall after the jump. Again the weight and travel of the bike got me and I ended up whacking my leg and arm into the wall. So after laughing thru the pain I dusted myself and went onward thru the tricky tight and fast section that is the bottom fo Wallum. The bike just felt good thru here and I was starting to warm to beast. After a run down ressurection and Stupidly The Yeti was starting to look better but still something wasn't quite right about it. I'm not overly impressed with the brakes. 180 F & R with Deore XT calipers. Don't have the grip of the Elixirs on the anthem withe 200 front rotor. But I was loving the rear deraillieur and the 2 X 10 setup although a Bash guard is a must for me these days.

  By the end of Ressurrection  decided to start smashing into the logs rather than jump over them and the forks just glidewd over them with ease which is quite impressive. I like 6 inch travel!

  Next stop the mighty YARRABILBA. Now this is where I really need the six inches and was time to really test the YETI out. We did our usual fast warm up track and it was feeling good. So off to the rough stuff we headed. I think I finally had the settings right for me , Nice and soft. I started pushing it a bit to see how it handled. And it stepped up nicely after smashing down the "Quarter Mile" which is a fun rough, if you choose the right lines, bit of fireroad down from the top of the hill. The Yeti was starting to do what it was supposed to do. But again as we climbed up to the next track I was feeling it lacked something for me. After a few more big rocky decents which the Yeti just swallowed up we got to "Super Sketchys". Now this is an awesome bit of track, MENTAL but awesome.

  Sketchys is a 600m or so track with about 90m of decent fireroad. Now when I first rode it it was a groomed but very rocky track but was very uniform in its rockiness so you just pointed and shot down it just hanging on and letting the bike do the work. But now it's a nightmare inducing jumble of rocks of varying sizes, drop offs, logs and 4 x 4 wheel ruts. Making it an amazing adrenaline filled 6 minutes of terror as you hold on for dear life trying to avoid the larger rocks and ditches while attempting to steer whike your wheels are bouncing a foot each adn every way without notice. BUT oh my god what a hoot it is. It has to be one of the most technical trails around and it's a fireroad. And every time we go back out it gets worse. The Yeti soaked it up as best it could using every inch of travel available but even an 8 inch Downhill monster would have trouble tracking down there.

  SO in conclusion what do I think of the Yeti? Well it's a great bike and it absolutely loved being abused on the rocks but is it for me. No it just didn't yell at me "I'm the one" Maybe a lot of this was because it's the first 6 inch travel bike I've ridden and that it was a medium frame. Oh well the search will continue.

Forgot to say a shout out and huge thanks to Tim and the FTR shop for letting em ride the Yeti and to everyone who joined me for the weekends riding.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Mount Joyce NOT so choice

  A few weeks ago we headed out to MT joyce at Wyaralong dam for mountain biking hijinks. For those who have had their heads buried for the last 12 months or don't ride a montain bike (why are you reading this then :P). Mount Joyce is a Government built recreational facility with Mountain bikes track, horse riding, motorbike facility and camping etc....

First up was a ride along the Shoreline trail thru to Hidden valley. Sadly along the way we rode past the once great fun 4X track which is now a washed aaway mess with ences all around it. Was this a sign of things to come? The Shoreline trail is a nice little warm up track along the Shoreline ( Funnily enough) which has now overgrown quite a bit. Which is a shame because it used to be quite fun riding side by side and jumping all the hidden little jumps on the side of the track.

  From the Valley we head up the GRUELING fireroad and headed towards the bottom of Big Bertha for the final climb to the top. A climb which I have become all too familiar with. FINALLY we got to the TOP. So now the fun begins!

  Now I'd been warned that Bovine Groove was a little overgrown. BUT what I didn't expect was the TOTAL NEGLECTED TRAIL that used to be world class. The top half of Bovine is now a mess with the corners barely visible making it a dangerous adventure. I ended up leading the group down the hill which was worse because I couldn't see SHIT!

  Now don't get me wrong it is still an AWESOME track but compared to what it used to be it is rubbish. All the little offline rocks, drop offs, jumps etc are now invisible. Which means they are now hazards for those straying off the line. Now I know the XC guys and gals probably enjoy the new track as there is now a "LINE" to ride down. But me I hate it compared it's former self because there is only the "Line" which takes out the fun of downhill. Which for me is all about finding your own line and challenging yourself to hit new technical features each time down.

  Next up was Seargents (DROOOOOOLLLL). Seargents is a Black diamond Downhill track. ( Which means it's pretty technical). I'd been hanging out to hit this track again for months and finally I got the chance. The track has changed quite a bit since we first rode it with some sections getting a lot more tricky and other sections becoming a LOT easier. but what a HOOT.

I went out to Seargents a few months ago with some mates to take pics of the proper Downhill boys riding it properly.

These boys were amazing to watch up close. Big shout out to the boys of DRCC and DFH bike clubs.

 So next up was Black Rock, probably my favourite track in MT Joyce, as it combines a long track with a lot of technical features. Now soem fool ( may or may not ave been me) Suggested going up the back road to Black rock. Got to be easier then the full climb to the top right??? NO!!!!! It's a big push up a steeper hill. BUT it was shorter.

  Now I'm so glad to say that Black Rock is Superb still, Only a few sections where the bush is taking over the track and none of the features have been dumbed down at all.

Video I took a while ago of Black Rock.

  After Black rock we were stuffed so off for home we went after the 5km ride out and a feed at the obligitory hamburger joint.

So Why is Mt Joyce not so choice?

I was away from home a total of 8 Hours.
I rode a total of less than 30minutes of fun single track riding.
I rode a total of 22kms with less than 5 kms of that actual "Fun" riding.

So 8 hours for 30 minutes of riding on overgrown neglected tracks. No thanks. I'll stick to hitting up the local tracks. Wallum Froglet- 30 min drive, 12 minute up hill 6 minutes Down. And the track is as good if not better than those at Mt Joyce.

Bottom Line Mount Joyce it's been fun but we are thru. Unless of course they bring back the gravity enduro. :)

Pump track News:  The track got a real work out last weekend with 12 screaming 8 year olds running and riding all over it. End result Jacob's Dad is the Coolest! (Little do they know).

Bike News:  I'm almost over the Giant, it's not built for what I want to do with it. SO I'm on the look out for a new bike and have my first test bike this weekend. Which is probably why I'm up at 5 am writing this wasting time before a ride in Daisy on the Test bike. More on that to come.

Quote of the week: There are 2 types of Mountain bikers- Those that like riding up hills also known as Closet Roadies and those that ONLY ride up so they can go down!

Monday, 30 April 2012

Big Boys weekend.

  Last weekend me and Craig headed North for a Biking get away.
So off we headed Saturday afternon. First stop our addequate accommadation only minutes from Parklands, in Yandina.

  Quick cahnge and we were headed forParklands. I'd ridden there once previously and had mainly done the South eastern corner of the park and loved it. This tie around we decided to hit up the northern corner. Well we found hills and more hills. " Road Rage" is Hard technical climbs followed by short fun downhill sections. Too short for my liking. But they some great riding to be had. Except for the fact that is mostly sub tropical surroundings. Which is beautiful to look at and ride thru but STINKING hot in the afternoon.

  Next after a grueling climb to the power line junction. We hit up "Cancer tree" WOW what a hoot. Started off with a flying 35km/hr+ bolt down the ride line then into a loose gravel rocky decent. Now that was more like it. From there we headed UP AND UP again thru rock and roll and onto the southern end. Wher we promptly got stuck into some flowy XC type trails and got lost.
We ended up making our way out near dark via " Ho Chi Hoe".

Garmin track for the day.

  The adventures continued into the night when we were waiting for pizzas we decided to see if we could find a Geocache located about 2km away in a Parking area off the highway. So armed with a set of bike lights and an iPhone for navigation we headed into the bush next to a busy parking camping area ( did we look suss or what!) So after ten minutes of searching we found this underneath a log.

  Sunday came aorund and we decided ot head back to Parklands for a play on "Ho Chi Hoe" and "Lower NZ". Then off to test our skills at "Posties".
Posties is a Downhill track built by Downhill From Here. Now I looked at all the pics and videos and thought "Yeah we'll be right we can do that".

  As you arrive you are greeted with a 20% decent tarmac road with Waterbars which the car struggled to get down without frying the brakes. Wow if thats the road what's the track like?

  Well.... OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!! This place is CRAZY!. This steps up the difficulty level by a hundred fold. I quickly realised we had the wrong bikes, pedals, skills, helmets and Gonad size for this place. The last jump is a 10 foot drop road gap. WOW! ( Unforunately all my pics failed)

 SO after an hour of watching in awe and scoping out a bit fo the track it was decided that it wasn't for us. Not at $60 a head to try it out. So off we went with Plan B Hennessey's Hill Beerburrum.

  Hennessey's is anoter Downhill track with a road right next to it making it ideal for shuttles. As we arrived a Father and Son do were about to head down for a run and after a quick chat we had a shuttle piloted by there Wife/ Mother ( I think). What a score!
Hennessey's was a lot more up our alley with many alternate lines and lacking the mental steepness of Posties it was a challenge without being too over our heads. End result we ended up doing 7 runs down each time attempting a new obstacle or line to try and get quicker and smoother down.

  So the weekend didn't turn out quite as planned but as good as hoped. WIth a greuling ride around Parklands Saturday, First Geocache find, Then checking out what has to the premiere Downhill track in queensland, to taking on a recognised DH track at Hennessey's with my first ever shuttle runs. ( except the gondola at Queenstown).

Got to love Mountain Biking!

Friday, 20 April 2012

I'm Back

Ok so I'm back and a lot has been happening. Every Saturday has seen the construction of a new MTB track in Cornubia forest by a bunch of volunteers. End result an awesome 1.7km track with 100m of decent, built by mountain bikers so there's a lot of fun stuff on the trip down. Here's Dave's video taken a few days before completion.

Pump Track Update. I got a little silly and decided to whack a BIG ASS wooden berm in. So with help from Craig we came up with this.

End result we a have a whopping big berm which mostly works. Unfortunately the berm is too big to get enough speed up to hit it perfectly. But it's still a hoot and looks cool.

MTBO News. First race was Karingal and unfortunately I'd been battling flew and sickness for a month or so. So fitness was shocking. Still raced of course and ended up getting 12th. Was really happy with my Navigation just fitness was the issue. Missed ou ont he second race at Beerburrum due to fitness and the course being 34km+ so thought it better to give it a miss. Next one is Alex Hills sprint distance so hoping for a better showing on that one.

Ride News. This weekend heading to Parklands tomorrow and hopefully Posties on Sunday.

That's it for now. Hope to update a bit more often.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Update finally

Ok so Otago is done and dusted. So It's been a very long time coming but time for an update on the whole deal.

Day 1

Flew out form Brisvegas for Christchurch, Landed there about 2:30pm and flew thru customs ( good thing about having a bike)
After getting phone sorted I found some strangers with bike boxes and jumped on the bus.

We madly rushed to get our bikes sorted and get to our first race at 4.
The digs for the first few nights. Beware the snorers.

So the first race was a warm up event at Macleans Island Recreation area. This was a maze of fairly flat and smooth trails. Really well done for what they were as there was Bike, Horse and running trails all really welll marked and one way tracks all over the place.

I rode reasonably ok and didnt make to many mistakes, except being distracted by single tracks. which were actually quicker as the fireroads were like old train track lines and rough as guts.

Map for Maclean.

Map for Maclean was an A3 1:15,000. Just nmoticed I have the wrong map. this is the Short course map. The long used the same map but had a few extra checkpoints. And was around 18km.

Well all was going well in the race till I had a rush of blood to take over some Kiwis and ended up missing a turn off. This put me nto a sweet looking overgrown singletrack. So what was I to do but PING IT!. Until I went to go around a rose bush and ended up over the bars and in a ditch. I managed to bust me ribs again THE FIRST F$@#en DAY!!!!!!!!!!!.  Anyway was a decent race and a good warm up for the week ahead.

Weird as I discovered was that it was still daylight at 10pm at night which made the 2 sets of nightlights I took completely pointless.

Anyway that will d for now I'll try and update it a race at a time.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Final Count Down!

Well 3 more sleeps till NZ TIME!!!!! Got my new cranks today. A set of shimano SLX twin rings with bash guard.22-36 tooth.  This to go with the new cassette 11-34tooth,Rear deraillieur Short cage, new pedals and new shoes. This was done to attempt to make it more reliable. Happy days! Welll Almost!
Got the bike serviced about 5 weeks ago and had a heap of stuff suposedly fixed on it. From the day it came back the gears were playing and slipping all over the place. Result me over the top and bruised ribs. Finally over them now. Only occasional pain.

The bike hasn't felt right for a while now so I was cleaning it today egtting it ready for NZ and decided to pull the rear suspension apart. this was also "Meant" to be fixed. NOPE! One pivot Loose and the main bottom arm was MASSIVELY over tightened so wasn't moving AT ALL! So stripped it completely apart and recleaned and greased EVERYTHING. then whacked on the new cranks and Rear deraillieur, re tuned everything and WOW LOK AT THAT FULL REAR SUSPENSION AGAIN!

Amazes me how a Reputible bike shop "FOR THE RIDERS" can FUCK it up so bad!

Anyway back to the good stuff. Been reading up on where we are racing and looks like there will be some pretty awesome riding over there to be had. THEN WOW! the last race "RELAY" race is being held at a Snow farm 1500M UP! COOL can't wait for that one. Then got the final instructions tonight and there is absolute MUSIC to my Ears! and I QUOTE
"There is a downhill track from the Lodge to the bottom of the hill which may be used." I HAVE SO GOT TO HAVE A GO AT THAT!!! 1000M+ DECENT!!!

Tomorrow nights job pack the bike.

Friday, 30 December 2011

The Southside Epic

Well finally it's done and dusted. What started out as an idea to link up a few of the MTB parks on the southside turned into an 82km Group ride of Epic proportions.
The idea was to go from Capalaba thru Daisy Hill, Cornubia forest, Bayview, Mt Cotton, Scribbly gum, and then back to Capalaba. Going via as much as dirt and single track as possible.
First major stop was Daisy Hill where we picked up a few stragglers leaving the park with a total of 26 riders. I took the group down Stone Henge, Turning Japanese, Tunnel of Love, Joala Trail, Ripley's and Gillians. Before heading up the big red hill.
Next on the list was the untamed wilds of Cornubia Forest. Where we wound our way down Stupidly happy and then on to West MT Cotton Rd for some tarmac riding thru to Bayview.

Bayview was always going to be hard work. Due to its exposed tracks and the heat starting to hit. We made our way up Bensons and down Grass trees. Then up a rough climb and onto the killer climb of Doom Hippy ( hard after 40kms and some heat thrown in) Then we regrouped at the top before a split up decent down Blow and Fluffer ( probably my favourite tracks) and thru some rough stuff out onto Days rd and Lunch.

My lovely wife Michelle was good enough to put on a spread and deliver down to us for a quick lunch break and much neeeded rest before the real climbing begins.
Next challenge was the long climb up to the Mt Cotton Summit for the Eastern Escarpment "Granny Ring King Challenge". This was always as I feared the hardest part of the ride. Due to the long slow climb of around 10km along the road and the up thru the MT cotton Gardens.

At the top of the hill those with the will and the lungs to do so attempted the EE. Very Technical and steep climb which only the bravest and gutsiest of riders can make it up. As expected only Jason and Jim were up to the challenge where Jim smashed it up followed closely by Jason. Who made with only putting a foot down once. Hell of an effort for his first attempt. Althought some parties will argue that they didn't complete the true EE challenge as they only did the top section. But anyone who can make that section with 60km's on the legs is dam good in my books.

Picture does not do the hill justice. From there we hammered dwn the track past Karingal and onto Thornlands. There we ducked into Scribbly Gum for some more single track and thru to the Bike path and Home for a much needed BBQ and drinks.
Huge thanks to all who turned up to make this a Great ride. And to my wonderful wife for getting up before the sun and getting me and the food organised.

Otago Update: 8 days to go. New bike bits have arrived- New pedals flats with clips. New shoes-A lot more grippy for running when needed, New cassette, rear deraillieur and have new Cranks on there way. Going to change to a 2 X 9 setup with a bash guard. hope it to be a bit more reliable.
NZ here we come!!! Forecast for Wanaka on the day we land is 5-16 Gunna be cold!