Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Alps Trip!










Okey Kokey people, the Alps trip has come and gone and we are all sadly back in the harsh reality of WORK! Never mind, all good things come to an end...
It really did live up to all the hype that we'd heard from other people and I can't wait to get back there, so I'll let the others fill in the gaps as I usually misinform on a grand scale when jotting my blog entires...Dave


Hmmph, not in the mountains anymore. Have however just booked this weekend in Dorset with Kate, might help ease me back into working what with my 3 and half day this week and having just found out I'm owed another 5 days, woohoo.

Firstly, I'm just glad I got to go on holiday at all, on account of Gemma's flippant remark about idiots not checking their passports before they travel, lead to me clocking my passport was out of date a good 15mins before we left for the ferry, helpful. What with Finters patented cross country route fitting squarley into the detour rather than short cut box we arived at the check in with about 10mins till the ferry sailing, Daryl nailed an entire bag of choccy eclairs in nervous uncontrolled face filling, Dave 'nochalant' Branfield was fighting the urge leap out of the car and hand himself over to the authorities on 1 count of person smuggling and 1 count of wearing indecent underwear and I bored all and sundry to distraction blurting out the details of my current love life (Kate if you're reading this it was the PG version). Anyway it would appear that a valid passport is surplus to requirements entering or leaving France but does make for a stressful start to the holiday. Still at least I didn't notice on the Morrocon border sometime in December.................

The Alps rule, winter summer whatever. Getting that first lift in the morning while its all still quite and there's just the occassional rumble of the lift bumbing over the pylons is a good feeling. Picking out new lines and checking if take offs and landings are dry and just getting worked up for the days riding.

My hire bike (GT Ruckus i-drive) may have the heaviest rear end ever seen this side of celebrity fat camp. Didn't really realise until I picked Dave's bike off the lift with about a tenth of the effort!! looking forward to riding the Kona again, with all that reduced weight I'll have no excuse.

I reckon you could spend a good couple of months out there before you had to start riding any of the same trials all the time and it would take you that long to build up a bit of specific fitness, riding downhill constantly is just as knackering as taking on a cross country loop and occasionally a far sight more painful. Anyone whose thinking about going, do it! If you want to prepare, go to Wales and ride the meanest section of the MBR run in Coed-y over and over in the wet till your hands feel like they might fall off, then brush up on your Aussie accent.......Finter.

Finally to anyone who may well be reading this in the Boomerang bar, sorry. Also all Australian beer sucks, not just the Tooheys although I thnk Daryl may have made this point somewhat forcefully already.

General impression and comment of the week was 'Epic'. I think that summed it up quite nicely, the sheer scale and endless number of different trails was amazing. It was a real shock to the system to be back riding the "Advanced loop" at QE country park near Portsmouth last night. Not exactly what you would call advanced, as we finished in the dark and I still nearly fell asleep at the helm of the Giant!!

The trails in Les Get and Morzine are so much different to anything we ride over here it is difficult to draw comparisons. The major thing that surprised us all was just how difficult it is to ride any of the Black runs in one hit without losing complete feeling in hands and forearms. Other than bumpy they can best be descrbed as steep, rocky and rooty with the odd sneaky drop, landing onto wet roots, just to keep you focused!! (Red run in the rain from the top of super Morzine anyone??)

On the bike front the Giant Reign was superb, only major drawback was the forks. The splice elite's have to go. Whilst the back end was soaking up everything I threw at it the forks were doing their best bucking bronco impression, leaving me sorely dissapointed that I didn't have a set of Fox 36's on the front. Best of all I managed all the ups last night at QE without any change of rear shock setting.

Final note...If you are going to visit Les Get don't make complete fools of yourselves by smashing into Le Boomerang and doing really bad Australian accents all night whilst abusing the regulars. Good job I don't have a loud voice hey!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

IBFC return

Back from the alps. Bummer. Not many pics either, enjoying it too much!!

Friday, August 18, 2006

2006 Kona Srap Medium (17")

Mmm new shiny thing. Kona Scrap 2006 (not Scrape thank you Michael) Only had one ride real ride on the new steed, well kind of 2 including the test ride on the Kona Stuff. The whole experience is very very different to the Aggressor, the Marzochi Dirt Jam Pros are such a difference to the old school ‘Judy’ Rox Shox that adorned the GT god rest its soul. Having uncharacteristically read the destructions I upped the rebound damping to 1 turn off fully damped set the air pressure in the right fork to 35psi and wound the preload to ¾ full for a pre alps huck round Chicksands.

Spent a bit of time tinkering before hitting the dual slalom. It was a completely different experience riding it on the Kona compared to the GT, where as on the GT I felt slightly like I was surviving the course, on the Kona landings felt much more planted and stable and the smaller frame made muscling the bike round in the air much more natural and fun, still working on the tweaks but just being able to line the bike up for a landing is confidence inspiring. Before long I was happily nailing the first jump of the course which requires a committed pedal burst down the start ramp stopping literally at the foot of the take off, dial that jump and speed for the rest of the course just flows.

Had a bit of a high speed blast at Leith Hill down Summer Lighting but I’m still to see what its like when you press on a bit rather than trying to get permanently airborne but so far I’m dead chuffed.
Things to do, refit grips as they’re a bit slidy, correctly seat front hub bearings, re-tune gears, get wheel checked for spoke tension, unfortunately all a result of selling my soul to the Devil and buying from Evans, still can’t grumble about the price.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mmmmm, Bouncy...


Sorry, Steph, but I think I might actually be in Love!!! With you of course, but I really like my new DHX 5.0 too! I've only just put this puppy on, after the demise of my 5th Element (it just couldn't hack my pace and gut probably, too!) and first impressions, other than that the manual is completely useless, are very good. I will review it properly for anyone thats interested, after we get back from France and I've had a good play. The manual wasn't very clear on setup of the boost valve and I was struggling to work out what the deal with that was, only to be told by my helpful LBS (Phil Corleys MK - they must think I'm some sort of retard as I'm forever going in asking dumd shock questions), that the Boost runs at appx 1/3 main chamber pressure and is no longer seperate, even though the setup guide tells you to pump it up! Never mind. Some more product reviews on various new purchases will bee forthcomming from the IBFC massive.

Nicely juxtaposed against the Volvo, don't you think? no? Oh well, you don't know art when it hits you...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Our second home.









Quite a bits happened on the biking front in the last few weeks, all leading to some sort of climax in the Alps next week, hopefully. Chris has managed to replace his nicked GT with a sparkly new Kona Scrap, which he couldn't stop looking at the other day in my lounge! We've all been there. Or maybe not! Looks like a really solid trail bike and seemed to ride like a dream today at Chicksands...

I have sorted out my quite woefull situation of not having the Enduro for a week, as the Evans boys in Crawley sorted me out with a new 2007 Fox DHX 5.0 just in the nick of time for me to ride this weekend. Saturday was consumed with an early evening ride at Woburn, with some really fast and dry trail (comlete with bloodied forarms from the Gausse bushes) and a bit of a muck about on the 'downhill' routes and jumps. Not really rating Woburn very much, as the trails have really fallen into dis-repair and it now mostly seems to be a jump spot and not much else...

Chris arrived after our blast and on Sunday we headed over to Rowney Warren to play in the freeride area. We've all been buying a fair bit of kit recently, so in the misguided tought that other people look at this site, we'll start to review a few of the bits and bobs in the next few weeks or so. Stop Press. No really.

Anyway, it was raining when we got there and I thought it could be all over, but it soon stopped and we had a brilliant ride, running the dual course and trails with Phil and his mates that we'd met there before. Best trail of the day being the bomb hole run into the little road gap trail. Mike had a nice crash on one of the jumps, which seemed to affect me, just by watching it and I soon packed in the jumping. Chris was on form as usual and had some nice ladder stuff before breaking his saddle clasp which had us all looking in the twiggs like a bunch of dicks! Some poeple just ride too damn hard, eh Christoph?! Nicely rounded off with the larger of the two drops into the bomb hole and then a jaw slackening roll down the 4X course. Will be building up to that, methinks!!! Very impressed with the DHX and new Brand X stem. Will attempt to review like I know what I'm talking about.

Next stop Morzine!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Mum it's fine, it's not Dangerous at all

but just in case.

Omars induction to IBFC

Omar has now left the UK and headed back to the Gambia, the next time me and Dave see him will hopefully be in Banjul sometime in January.

I’ve posted this on the IBFC main page rather than the rally page as Omar was officially inducted into the brake for cake brotherhood when he came climbing with the Brighton Explorers to K2 in Crawley last week. Despite being slightly bemused by the fact that someone had gone to the trouble of building a fake wall inside he seemed to really enjoy it.

Considering he’d never seen anyone rock climb before he despatch a couple of 4a and b’s fairly quickly, helped by the fact that he’s basically really, really tall!

I spent a bit of time convincing him it was all safe as houses when Sarah fell of the lead I’d just climbed whilst holding half the slack she needed for the next clip in her teeth, she tensed up with the fall and clamped down on the rope resulting in her front teeth being dislodged and one coming out, ouch!!!

Omar if your reading this in an internet cafĂ© somewhere it was good to meet you and we’ll have an ibrakeforcake T-shirt ready with your name on it when (if?!?!) me and Dave see you in The Gambia
Pics to come when I get the site working

Harrisons Rocks II

Having been up to Stone Farm and Harrison’s quite a few times with the Brighton Explorers I’m starting to get to know my way round the area and some of the climbs. Really starting to see some progression with my technique and climbing strength and quite frankly the ‘semi pro crew from Bucks’ wouldn’t stand a ‘snow balls’ faced with the awesome collective power of the sandstone massive. Not only that in the true spirit of IBFC, Lucy did indeed bake the cake, Hooyah.

The pic of the empty, roped up climb on the corner has got the mother of all leg jams about a third of the way up. It took Matt ages to convince me it would work and three or four attempts to suss out cantilevering most of my weight through a horizontal jammed leg while pulling off a dyno to characteristically smooth round sandstone and a softly, softly catchee monkey move over the remainder of the section. All followed by a crack further left that needs a fisted hand jam about 2/3rds of the way up to get any where near pulling it off. Seriously pumped arms after the crack left me 1 move from the top unable to finish the bugger off!! Now I’ve got it sussed I’ll stop tw&*ing about and have it first go next time (maybe).

Patrick's hanging about trying 'Niblick'. Tricky little blighter with quite an amusing end requiring a body jam through a really small hole!

Unfortunately the evenings are already noticeably shorter so I’m just gonna enjoy getting outside after work for as long as possible.
Later Y’all

Monday, August 07, 2006

Mad rushabout!

Lots of things needed sorting on Friday arvo, and I was looking down the barrel of a very scarry gun, as I'd blown my 5th Elephant shock in Wales last weekend (rebound damping? What rebound damping?) and was desperately trying to sort out getting a replacement under warrenty before next week and our Apline adventures! Spesh warrantees department were really helpful, saying they'd replace the 5th with a DHX 5 straight away, but on ringing Mojo, I found that they only had one left! Not good. Anyway, after a little BBQ action on Friday at Rich and Anna's and getting shouted at by the neighbours for playing on the swings at 12:30 (!) and a bit of light shed demolition at my parent's house on Sat, I hooked up with Gav, Chris and Adam MJ at Leith Hill, for a spot of trail action. Chris was trialling a Kona Stuff and doing his best to destroy it (given the reaction of the staff member who took it back and noticed the peeled up sticker, he'd have had kittens if he'd seen Chris actually riding it!), as you should with any test bike! Very quick trail day, Chris seems to up the pace on every single outing and as Adam pointed out, can just ride through corners without any apparent change of direction! Gav was hot on the pace after his last sickly show at Leith, and we all had a good cruise in general. Loving that little jump at the bombholes area. After a good little session where Adam, the forgotten member of ELO, shone a light on our lives (!) with some nice x-ups and Chris and I sarted to learn tabletops, we reaced back to Crawley to sort bikes and for the helpful guys at Crwaley Evans to sort my shock nightmare out. Cheers to them as it should all be sorted by Friday!