Friday, 7 September 2012

Road trip......Scotland!

So we started our week off in Fort william and after driving all night were greeted by this..... Mountains over 20 degree sun, beautiful huge mountains and the bluest lochs. It was just like the alps!

Day 1 - we rode 10 under the Ben and witches trail. 10 under the Ben is um.... boring but witches trail has some great descents and rocky sections. There is a great main section with huge fast berms and jumps which was awesome for xc and the rock section following the stream is great afterwards but over all the climbs are dull and steep so a good tame start to get into the riding!

Day 2 - I was so excited about going to Laggan wolftrax and it defiantly didn't disappoint. All the trails start on the same climb which its just open fire road but you don't ride laggan for the climbs. Somewhere I read that its like xc for downhillers which I think is very true. The orange run is so much fun its huge and  wide with berms and tabletops, the faster you go the higher you jump, simple? well not when your trying to find the grip on smaller xc tyres, its great and gets your heart going when your right on the edge of speed and grip landing the jumps.
The red trail is wicked, laggain is all about rocks and the trail is rocky but it also flows pretty well the whole way down, its great single track that is littered with features and not once do you get bored or start searching out a parts to make it more fun. For the distance you climb to the start its a lot of love on the down that you get. Only part I didn't like was the board walk! This is where I first discovered my "thing" about wood as my friend Emma calls it. As soon as I get on board walk that's it I'm terrified, I'm unreasonably  convinced I'll fall off my bike for no reason and fall of the edge! Despite the boardwalk section I would brave it any day to ride such an awesome red again. Same as the red the black gets straight into it. From the start it is hard, real hard the rocks just wanna eat up skinny xc tyres and catch you out. Its hard work and picking lines through those rocks is hard and tiring. We rode in the pouring rain which there was a thunderstorm but it was such a achievement and so much concentration we didn't even notice how soaked we were. All went well till Emma did an amazing superman on the last half meter of trail! The boys also had a couple of big spills each getting caught out with to much speed and wheels in the wrong place.

Day 3 - Fort william downhill! the main day we'd all been waiting for, The red was rocky, exposed and full of boardwalk in the open so not my cup of tea at all. But the black..... was amazing! Going up on the first lift I was pretty certain that I wasn't gonna do it, it looks so steep and and everything looks massive and steep. On the second lift I was pretty convinced I was gonna do the red again but got the top and changed our minds. I was scared, I've been wanting to do it since the first time my husband ever showed me a video of it. That's a picture of my lovely husband looking nervous in the ski lift! Naturally after discovering my thing about wood I didn't do the roll in ramp! travesty! The top section is my favourite part. Its so wide and open and on the first run rolled everything. On my new DH bike it was easy. I just remembered everything Tony had taught me about reading ahead and having enough speed to roll rock sections and hanging off the back but keeping arms strong and made it though every rock section :D The steepness wasn't a problem and gave me the motion to roll over all technical sections and confidence to have more speed and let go of the breaks.The middle section is more rooty and natural which is what I normally love and is great but the rocks were just so much fun that I preferred the top. The bottom section is fast rolling with big jumps. Like most people we saw I was no where near clearing any of the jumps but it was easy to do it at your own speed. I did almost get caught out by a double but my lovely boxxers saved me from making friends with the ground. After 2 goes and 3 runs of the day though my arms were tired and on such a demanding course I didn't want to do any more runs and injure myself halfway through a road trip.

Day 4 was packing up our home for the week and road tripping further down south to Glentress :D Woo hoo I love our trailer tent haha and we bought it especially for the trip, who needs fancy vans when you can go old skool!
Day 5 we road the red trail at Glentress and it was great. the climb is ok its not to technical until you get towards the infamous spooky woods. I have heard so much about spooky woods and if you love berms and jumps you'll love it but I thought it wasn't the best, super G after is much more my preferance, its loose and rooty, choosing that fine line between just being in control and right on the edge. But everyone's favourite section was the magic mushroom. It is just so fun, its twisty and there's loose roots on the corners waiting to catch you out, board walk that isn't terrifying and a couple of humps you can throw some small jumps off. Oh yeh and the skills area is fab!

Day 6 We rode the black trail, as cross country goes out of anything I've ridden this is my favourite trail of them all! The climb is long hard and real steep but its technical and mainly on trail as opposed to fire road. My favourite climb I've ever done. The decent is just as good as the climb. Its really technical single track. there are sections in the woods with roots and jumps. One of the jumps I boosted off a bit faster than I thought and landed it real nice but did get stuck behind the saddle catching my padded shorts on the back with my bum bouncing between that and the back wheel :/ eek! the next section I was still stuck behind the saddle for half of! It was fanatic loose and narrow with berms and gully's leading into more technical woody single track. My favourite section is coming back into the main part of the forest, there are just roll-able big steps and roots that's really steep that defiantly needs seat down. I only wish it was possible to push up and do it again. It was so worth doing, It really is my favourite cross country trail. It was the best 18 miles I've ever ridden and defiantly showed how much my riding has progressed, it's nice to feel in control on technical sections as opposed to just hanging on, and I was keeping up with the boys!

Innerlithen was our last day of ridding. we rode make or break which is all jumps and berms. Its very fast and there are doubles which will catch you out but after the 55 minute push up it left me missing riding HSD at Gawton which I think is much more love for the push up. I think I'll only ever go again if its an uplift day!

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