Used at Dual for the first time last night. They’re too good for me, I cant get my feet off them yet and didn’t make it past the first round. However, they are still the most amazing present from an amazing group of mates! Thank y0u.
Winter Dual round 3 – Enter
the Death Chute Inspired
by a death downhill dual
video posted up on Dirt
and emboldened by certain
comments about the loop
the loop feature I decided
to change things up a little
for my Birthday special.
Now this is where things
get a little hazy and all
information contained in
the rest of this post has
been dragged through a
Rum filter. This is because
my so called mates decided
that for some reason I
deserved to be poisoned
with rum as a birthday
treat. Now I’ll admit
that on occasion I have
been known to encourage
the imbibing of Rum in
celebration and forfeit but
this is always with
The second round of this season’s dual was a bit too popular. After having spent 10 minutes figuring out how to frig a 32 person gird for 26 the week before I’d come prepared, but then 36 racers turned up and we had to run a qualification. As these races go on, things do get smoother as the way they’re organised evolves. However, that week only Steph was hardy enough to come along and do the timing, which meant that I was on the second stop watch for the first time in a long time. After eventually remembering how it worked, I also remembered just what a job timing is and just how essential it is to everything these races are about. So again, a massive thank you to Steph for coming along and timing for us and also thank you to everyone else that helps out, Izzie, Laura, Mari, Henry. You’re absolute gems and we truly couldn’t race without you. Thankyou. Anyone racing should also pay big thanks to these wonderful people, hugs are free!
Dave Camus breaking loose – Photo: Marco Wood-Bonelli
I’d introduced a new feature in to this track which proved to be a bit of a leveller. After a short run in from the start line, there was a triangle of posts with tape around. The rider had to loop around them once before continuing on down the hill. The softness of the ground meant that it was actually impossible to pedal back up the slope. It turned in to a demonstration of cyclocross dismounting and remounting techniques with some much more successful than others. Both riders had to start the loop through the small gap in between the two triangles which did make for some good elbow actions. Once Quali’s were done, we got down to racing. Dunc had a bad loop and couldn’t get back on his bike meaning that he was beaten by two children to a place in the finals even on his brand new 5, courtesy of Orange!
Duncan Philpott in on bike photo shocker. Photo: Marco Wood-Bonelli
The first round saw Steve Hardcastle’s return to dual short lived, as was my own, being taken out by Dave Camus. Jim Norton faced Will Swinden but couldn’t match his speed. Ruari very narrowly missed out on a hugely humiliating defeat at the hands of Oscar Monk after a fall in his first run left him need to make up over a second. Luckily he held in together and advanced through.
Malco Carving. Photo: Marco Wood-Bonelli
The second round saw the departure of Tom Duncan to the very on form Danger Green who advanced to the quarters for the first time in a while. There was a real nail biter between Chris Pearson and Will Swinden with Chris taking the win by only two tenths. The Quarters saw Chay put out Danger and Craig dispatch Ruari. Luke Meredith missed a post in his second run after a closely fought battle with Chris, setup up a semi again Timmy. Tim’s victory saw him in an incredibly close Big final against Craig Evans who was riding at Whistler speeds. Their first round was too close to call and Tim’s dual expertise and questionable rear tyre were not enough to hold off Craig who got the win. Chay and Chris were equally close in the small final but Chay just took 3rd place by half a second.
Chaymus getting the bike over for 3rd place. Photo: Marco Wood-Bonelli
Massive thanks also to Marco Wood-Bonelli for coming along with his camera and documenting the action. Another great round of dual, I don’t think we’ll be seeing the loop the loops again anytime soon but you never know until you try.
In 5 years time we all will be riding a 29″ bike. This is not by choice but a simple and unfortunate matter of economics and market choice.
To think I’m a ‘hater’ of the big wheel is probably an accurate description especially when my opinion is not based upon experience. The nausea in the bike industry builds up inside when I hear wheel sizes being the next ‘best thing’, the MTB media, especially journos bark on about how much time you can save on section of track, how smooth the ride is, and how the bike feels slower but you’re actually going faster. In one word, ‘poppycock’.
15 years ago mountain bike tracks were a lot different, and the terrain in which the bikes traveled on differed too. V-brakes were a revelation, more than 53 mm of fork travel was confined to the Sunn-Chippie race team and handle bars were lucky to measure anything more than 650mm. I’m not going to discuss the evolution of DH World Cup tracks here, but the tracks we the common people rode, i.e. you, me, your mates and your older sister, bridleways, farm tracks (like Owen’s Mad Track in North Yorks), 4×4 tracks and the odd bit of homegrown single-track was run of the mill especially when your only means of stopping was in the strength of your fingers. As time went on so did advances in bike technology, hydraulic damping was developed, geometry was looked at closely and disc brakes became the norm. A notable progression in bike technology was being noted, and the way in which previous ‘exclusive’ technology became available on much cheaper bikes meant that the playing field was beginning to get leveled.
The days before Superman II
The transfer of seeking to ride technically harder tracks could be subconscious or it was a deliberate move by riders seeking to push limits, but no doubt the ability to hit bumps harder and to leave braking later was attributed to having a bike that didn’t feel like it was going to implode as soon as the tempo increased. The tracks we build and look at riding on a daily basis are subject to the bikes we ride, I wouldn’t look at a DH bike on a track with intense climbs on it, nor would I expect to perform at Val Di Sol on a XC hardtail. Our ability to ride bikes on difficult terrain at higher speeds, through compressions, rooty off-camber corners and square-edged rock gardens is attributed to the development of mountain bikes through out the last 20 years.
26″ of Fun
With a dwindling world economy especially in the leisure classes of the Western World and a saturated market, bike manufactures needed something else to boost their shareholders wallets? It was a realisation to encourage the emergence of a secondary bike industry already in a marginalised market. “We can sell the same amount if we tweak the market, imagine selling the same bike, the same components twice…a whole range of new tyres, wheels, frames and forks…” Cue the birth of 29″ wheels. All of a sudden a new market within the industry emerges and the profits begin to flourish.
Two Gates in a Field.
Giant Cycles 2013 in Australasia import and distribution program is one of the most cynical catalogues I’ve read in recent memory, only one 26″ bike that’s not a DH bike. No longer do I have a choice of what bike I can ride, I’m being marginalised the outer reaches of what I want to ride and how I want to ride them. Did I ever need more of an excuse not to ride a Giant? Will the Big-S; Scott and others head in this direction too? I hope not, but hope does nothing to exonerate market forces.
The terrain may seemingly flatten out on big wheels, but no doubt in a few years time we’d be wanting more challenging terrain, where line choice is not a simple matter of the size of your wheel’s radius.
However, the media-slaves, which only groom the hype and further poor science, will no doubt prove me wrong with metaphysical data. See the following clip:
It seems that rational thought was temporarily suspended and replaced with opinions that were grounded through a mixture of dog vomit and cat piss. When will we see the MTB media actually start testing and reviewing on a more scientific basis, rather than the supposed ‘feel’ and then back this ‘feel’ with ‘bad science’? The lapdog journo industry have access to testing bikes that only a few of us dream of owning, yet after extinguishing the smoke and smashing the mirrors, the tests reveal nothing, a void that has been being left gaping open more times than Bella Donna’s fridge door. The ivory towers of reviewing bikes needs to be demolished. How many times have we ridden our own bikes down the same track and all of a sudden it ‘felt’ faster? Has anything changed? Which way is the wind blowing? What did you eat the night before? Have you paid your bills? Did you receive a work bonus? Did you just recover from an injury? All these things no doubt enter our minds when riding, and in many ways we try and leave modern life’s bullshit behind but invariably it catches up with us in one way or another. Take a look at how the pro’s perform, if we were all riding equal, and all capable of 100% accuracy and having a race track dialed then there would be no competition, just a bunch of people on a mountain side that can get to the bottom in the same time. Saying that a 29″ bike is faster than a downhill bike on a down hill section of a trail is nonsense. Was it a scientific test? Did they use the same rider, leaving at the same point, with no wind, no other exterior influences? Or did they use two different riders, leaving at different points, with variable wind conditions and many other exterior influences? Please don’t insult my intelligence.
Does 29″ really give you that much of an advantage? Such an advantage that 29″ bikes are now winning races? No. Was there a top 25 29″ bike in the downhill world cup this year? No. Was there a winning 29″ on a euro-enduro round last season? No. Riding courses where bike handling skills and psychology is prime to top competition there is yet again another void staring right back at us, the advantage that the media has us believing that big wheels are faster are not coming true. The magazines drape the pages with corpses of advertising, and when the results are played out in the real world there is nothing to see. The begging question comes to light, if I bought a 29″ bike would I then be more competitive? Quite possibly yes, maybe I’d nudge closer to the podium, but no doubt the riders that I nudged to get there would be forced into the 29″ bandwagon. If everyone is riding the same wheel size the advantage becomes zero, and we are back to where we started, a bike industry selling us dreams impossible to yield, and another empty wallet.
Without the progression in MTB’s we would be riding mediocre tracks in mediocre environments. When all of us are riding 29ers we will be longing for the technical hit, and then suddenly trails will again change. In one hand the emergence of bikes that travel faster over terrain will become more apparent, and in the other hand there will be the trail builders, shovel swingers, course designers and youths in the wood longing to slow you down so line choice, body position is crucial to speed.
Duncan has been working for the SPS all season filming them at every race. Its been a successful season for the Steve Peat Syndicate with several of the lads, including our own Swinny, hitting up their first World Cups and many good results in the BDS.
Watch the celebration of the end of the season with a team day out at the latest addition to Sheffields trail network, Parkwood Springs. Ratboy joins Peaty and the team wearing out the inside lines of the newly finished berms. This is followed by wet weather outdoor go karting and a BBQ and Fire Chez Peat. Looks like a right laugh.