Rob Stokes

This is S36….

Last week a few of us attended a mates race down at Wharncliffe organised by the Wharncliffe trail fairy’s, otherwise known as This is Stocky B; Barnsley’s s36 answer to This is Sheffield. The track was a fresh dreamer built just the week before,  named rather nicely as ‘Snatch Grab’, and was very different to the Wharny norm, and certainly different from the trail fairy duo’s usual creations as they actually used a shovel on this, not just a rake.

Craig Evans

There was a fantastic turn out of people sectioning the track, but it was very disappointing that a fair few riders bitched out of putting a timed run down. The track was technical and was certainly claiming some victims with Saturday lad cracking out another double shoulder dislocation, Rowdy Ricky Bailey breaking a big toe and Ross Phelps popping a kidney and spending a week in hospital (no joke) but this is mates racing, there should be no pressure and expectations, everyone should have had a bash!

Ruari Hallam

I personally had an awesome time, I arrived a little late and very drunk, but managed to have 2 practice runs of the beautifully loamy and rocky track. I threw up after both runs so thought I would sit it out for a while and watch Craig smash the last few turns while trying to sober up. Racing time was upon us and it was 2 quid in the prize pot and to the top for our runs. After the first run we were seeded with fastest down the hill last, just like a proper race. Craig was obviously last out of the gate and the last runs didn’t change our first run positions, so after the second run the cash was split between the top 3; Craig, Freddie Oxley and myself.

Another good Sheffield mates race, and a new ‘best trail Wharncliffe has ever seen’. Cheers.

North Face of the Tour Rond…

North Face of the Tour Rond…

So with Gee’s, Ruari’s and Nicks blatantly amature recent video editing efforts I thought I would show them, and Mr Joe Bowman, how to go on… Here is my first effort at filming and editing a short vid.

I will be off the bike for a while with torn wrist ligaments, but thankfully not out entirely with the first (miss)diagnosis of a broken Schaphoid. A couple of days ago I headed up the hill to climb the classic North Face of the Tour Ronde in the Mont Blanc massif with friends Duncan Currie and Colin Weegie. Unfortunately Weegie came down with the man flu and a severe case of moaning like a little bitch disease and we therefore cut our stay down by a day or so but I am  still really excited to have got on the aesthetic and famous route and I am really psyched to ski the line in the future….hopefully soon.

Vallorcine

Vallorcine

Last Wednesday Little Rob and Wharncliffe’s guardian angel Saturday lad sessioned out an Easyjet flight with the promise of sunny loam hunting in a far off land.  I drove them, and a horny French baroness, from Geneva into the beautiful, albeit damp, Chamonix valley with promises of long descents, sunny dusty trails and drunken Sweede girls. So far I have delivered one of my promises.

First day we cracked a wee train ride up the valley to Vallorcine and rode the downhill trail that the mayor commissioned a few years ago, apparently he liked the look of biking and decided that his village needed a track. And it is a dreamer too, ohhh yes, starting high up in the sub-alpine we twist round some fast open bermed turns that have become slightly water damaged and monster-truck able. Some fast fireroad turns into fast singletrack with some fuck-off fade-away’s and then its the loamy-compression-oooofffff section. Pretty much after the tight loam-compression-oooofffff section  its just steep steep switchbacks to the bottom.

The track was holding up really well in the wet weather and we had a good couple of runs before the camera came out. Little Rob is fairly handy with the old picture taker so here a few from the day. We got some more but wordpress is being a bastard and not playing the game…..more to come next week!

Sat lad on the lower switchbacks


Loam face




Rob wants me to note that this is out of focus…..he didn’t want it including but in a blatantly narcissistic way I like it. And i’m boss so its staying.

Banshee Legend…..

Got out for a quick first ride on the new Legend at Le Tour yesterday….


Initial impressions are limited so far as I only cracked two laps out. I can say its very different to the Sunday I have come off, but its kinda strange to be on a DH bike again after having 6 months of exclusively riding the XC bike.

It rides much more planted than the Sunday, it doesn’t appear to be a bike that pops and floats its way down the trail, more of a monster truck charger bike…..which I think will be good for me, with a little style adjustment, as I only ride the DH bike on big tracks/races these days.
The suspension is so supple, I wound the pro-pedal all the way off as soon as I got it and headed for a run, first thing I noticed was how quiet the thing is. Literally silent. Awesome. Secondly it feels like the rear end is far far superior to any other suspension I have ridden (probably because the shock is not blown yet!) it just sits in the sag and grips like crazy! Small bump sensitivity is ridiculous, mid stoke feels great but I can’t say I have sent her into any hucker’s-neck inducing big hits yet….

This bike seems to grip like mad in the turns. I cant quite get used to it yet. I found myself struggling with some corners to be honest, Bowman noticed this on his first ride too. Its strange, I cant quite put it into words just yet, but it just feels like I am railing everywhere on the back wheel. I hope this doesn’t sound like a bad thing, its more that its so grippy at the rear, I need to get more weight over the front to get that front wheel gripping and guiding where we are going….

Anyway, enough of the chat….BIG BIG thanks to Banshee bikes, Bowman for setting it up,  and to others that helped me out with the build like Ian and Sat lad at Edinburgh bikes Sheffield and Persist components.

Fort Bill is done…..

Fort Bill is done…..

…and I think I am still hungover.

Just a few snapshots of one of the most epic, strange and slightly worrying nights out I have ever had. Sitting in a Scottish curry-house round a table made up of the entire Santa-cruz Syndicate was surreal to say the least, but when Sessler got rowdy on the company card, and the drinks flowed, I started to feel more at home……We then went to a pub and the camera was pointed at stuff…..

Pull my finger….

Kathy Sessler can drink you under the table. Fact. She is also more of a legend than you may realise…this is stole from an interview with Kathy that I found on Dropmachine….http://www.dropmachine.com/Feature/the-queen-of-the-syndicate-the-kathy-sessler-interview-a512.html

”In 1972 when I was 14 years old I saw the movie On Any Sunday, since I loved riding dirt bikes. Seeing the kids ride bicycles in the movie prompted me to make a race track on two vacant lots on my street in Seal Beach, California and promote bicycle races. Also, I had a friend named Scot Breithaupt who had just started putting on bicycle races in Long Beach, just about 5 miles away (he is considered the father of BMX).
At my track I dug the water holes, made the berms, and built the jumps, the biggest was an entire 18 inches high. I made flag banners out of red, white and blue crepe paper and stapled them to string around the track. I made paper plate number plates with our local motocross hero’s numbers on them. Many kids around the world were doing the same thing, but what set me apart from the rest is that I grabbed my dad’s 8 mm movie camera and took movies of my races. I have about 20 minutes of footage. This historic footage can be seen on the Sprung 5 DVD, and Joe Kid on a Sting Ray.
Once I took our team over to Scot’s track, and I helped him keep score. A motorcycle publication called Cycle News came out to cover the event, and I believe they coined the term BMX, in that article. There is a photo of Scot and I standing on a hill at the race. Probably the first article ever published on this new thing, BMX.
Enter mountain bikes in 1990. I was 32 years old, happily married to Chuck, had two small girls, Christie and Cori, and we had just moved to our home in Murrieta,California. There are miles of trails just outside my door, and one day I hopped on my husband’s $50.00 mountain bike and rode off into the hills. When I got home, with a grin from ear to ear, I said to Chuck, “This is what I’m going to do now, race mountain bikes!”
I raced my first race at the Fall Classic at Big Bear that year, then raced the California State Championship Series in 1991. In 1992 I raced downhill in the Pro class and raced pro downhill until World Champs in 1997, which was my last race. I was 3-time National Champ Veteran Women in 1992, 1993, &1994. I was a World Championship Veteran Women’s Silver medalist in 1992, Bronze in 1994 and Gold in 1996. In two other World Championships (’93 & ’95)I was the fastest veteran woman in the Senior’s race, but our class was disqualified due to only 4 countries being represented instead of the required 5 (which still makes me upset to this day).
I competed in the Winter X-Games in 1997 and went 67 miles per hour in the snow. I raced down Pike’s Peak in Colorado, and raced in the Reebok Eliminator down the Kamikaze at Mammoth. My best pro finish was 10th at the UCI World Cup at Mammoth in 1994.
I was the first pro to ever race an Intense Cycles frame. Jeff Steber made the frame on his kitchen table for me. I was the first Maxxis girl. I was also the first pro to ever race the Intense M-1, and that first race was the 10th place finish at the UCI World Cup in Mammoth in 1994.
In 1997 while still racing, I started doing stunt work for a TV show called Pacific Blue, which was a show about cops on bikes at the beach. I doubled all the girls on the show for three years, and worked in over 40 episodes. I’ve done a few commercials and a few stunts for some B-movies. I’ve been raped, shot and killed in a bank robbery, tackled bad guys to the ground from the bike, jumped the cop bike over a Hummer, done a wicked stair fall, and tons of chase scenes. If you thought racing was the cool, let me tell you that doing stunts was off the hook!!”


Then for  hangover cure we rode the ‘Red route’, which is incidentally one of the best bit of trails I have ever ridden. Little bike monster trukin’ FTW.




I lost a shock bolt low down on the trail…..10mins later and a bit of bodging had us back on the b-line esque lower section of trail….

So there we go….Fort Bill of over, wish I was heading down to Leogang with PhilPOD, but have to get back to Chamonix for work on Thursday…..Hard life I know….I would however like to thank bigstone for the trip up, Hannah Barnes for guiding us to some hidden loamy hillside and to Kathy Sessler, and Peaty. Without them I would not have been anywhere near drunk enough to lock myself outside my hotel in my underwear, while vomiting, and therefore would not have had to saunter back through the hotel lobby, still in said underwear, disturbing guests and night porters to reunite myself with my section of hotel room floor.

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