Archives: dual

Stockholm Sideways: Dual Goes international

Hanna Jonsson is the better half of our own JoeBo and a rider through and through. She’s recently moved back to her ancestral home and taken some of what she learnt on these fair shores with her… Hanna Explains…

Ever since I moved away from the UK, the one thing I really miss is those amazing cold nights in Endcliffe Park, sliding sideways against someone else! So I decided it was time for the notion of “mates racing” to move overseas to Sweden. I planted a seed in a few peoples heads one afternoon riding bikes up in the north to see if anyone seemed keen. When Lina Skoglund called me about a week later, saying she was game, I almost jumped up and down with excitement!

After some good nights of planning – finding a good spot, getting permission, finding prizes, searching the Internet for good dual poles (which we ended up finding in a farming shop for electric fences) – we were good to go.

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Me and Lina explaining the rules! Photo Credit: Steve Murphy.

As Swedes are tentative to all new things in life – the EU, taking political stance, change – we weren’t sure how the new concept of “Dual Slalom” would go down. Although there tended to be a good turn outs for local DH mates races around Stockholm, we didn’t get much feed back on our race at first.

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No infra-red technology, just basic stop-watches and an old-fashioned “Ready, Set, GO!”. Photo credit: Bengt Luthman.

Come race day, a grey, rainy, cold November day, we thought we were going to be less than 10 people racing. But facing the typical English weather, we started creating the dual course anyway. It became a tad bit longer than the one we normally have in Sheffield, and it was on a grassy, of camber slope – talk about slippy cornering!

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Lino Bäckman to the left showing of some one-footed drifts and the winner of the day, Calle Lustfeldt, to the right. Photo Credit: Steve Murphy.

To our surprise, as we started practicing, more and more people started walking up the hill! And, learning that an established cyclocross race was held on the other side of town, we were thrilled to get 19 people racing and a good number of spectators and hobby photographers on the hill watching! One guy even randomly turned up and raced, as he had been stood up by his mates for an xc ride in the area.

Unfortunately, Lina had broken her thumb a few weeks earlier, so she couldn’t race and stood for the timing during the day.

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Daniel Chapuis in the orange jacket took 2nd place! Lina stood for the timing. Thanks to Sandra for a helping hand with timing as well! Photo credit: Steve Murphy.

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Ricky Larsson’s face showing how much fun it was! Photo Credit: Bengt Luthman.

Smiles were EVERYWHERE and epic crashes were unavoidable. I don’t know the last time I saw so many turtle-slide-crashes! With a very very slippy course, Qualy saw some tentative runs so that people would stay on their bikes; were TIS own JoeBow took the fastest time!

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JoeBow showing the Swedes how it’s done, taking a 3rd overall. Photo credit: Bengt Luthman

But when the Dual began, there was no holding back! Racing saw everything from harsh father-son racing, to a DQ due to 3 broken poles, a DNF due to a broken thumb, a fair few crashes and A LOT of sideway action!

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Sandra and Alexandra representing the girly mountain bikers category! Also showing what colour your helmet should be! Alexandra was the days DNF, with a badly broken thumb! Healing vibes! Photo credit: Bengt Luthman.

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Ricky showing how a turtle-slide really looks like! Photo credit: Bengt Luthman.

What is so great about Dual Slalom, is that it is so easy to organise! Once you got the poles bought, all you need is some stop watches and a sheet of paper to write up times! It was hard to explain to people how easy it is!

As the race went on, the grassy corners got slippier and harder! And although the weather was awful, people stayed to cheer on their friends once they’d been knocked out the competition! The atmosphere was buzzing!

It is amazing how a couple of poles, a group of bike lovers, and a little bit of organisation can transform a grey, rainy November afternoon to the funniest day ever. Thanks a million times to Lina – who had all the right contacts to get prizes, permission, forums to spread the word and the will to get this thing going!! Thanks to Specialized, Evoc and Houdini’s for prizes! And a massive thanks to every one who came to help out, race and spectate, and made it such a fun day!

Till next time!

Hanna

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Winter Dual 2012: Round 1

Winter Dual 2012: Round 1

I was told last week that Winter doesn’t officially start until the end of December, however Dual has begun and it’ll be going on all winter long. It was with some trepidation I got all the posts and paraphernalia together as its been so long that I was bound to forget something. However, once we were in the park with everyone’s lights on posts, course marked out and bikes going sideways I breathed a sigh of relief and got down to practise. What made it even better was the Izzie and Steph were there to take care of the timing and keep us in check. They do such a good job, it just leaves me to shout at the rabble at the top and get them in to the gate. Thankyou ladies!

Steve 'BikeTrack' Taylor back on two fat wheels (Photo: Marco Wood-Bonelli)

The racing was brilliant, the conditions perfect. Grippier than we’re used to and usually dry it was really fast, however the corners soon got blown out and back ends broke loose. Some kids had been in our usual spot building shady kickers over logs, perfect fodder to add interest and injury. They corner in to the first one was the wettest on track and caught out many but only Will Swinden head butted the second. I fell foul to the fast traverse loosing both wheels quickly and landing on my shoulder hard enough to pop a rib. The following corner was quite a revelation as it was the first where line choice came in to play, outside and too fast in to the next or slow and tight in but with an awkward setup for the next.

Ruari getting loose on the way to 2nd place (Photo: Marco Wood-Bonelli)

With 26 racing I decided that Quali’s werent in order, 10 people not getting a race wasn’t on. Therefore, we raced a 32 person grid with two riders getting a by through a couple of rounds. Not ideal, but a better compromise and we’ll be running this for the season. The Pearson’s cursed me loudly as they were randomly drawn against each other in the first round with Timmy getting the better of Chris by 0.01 seconds. Gutted. Will Swinden was also out in the first round after a tumble as was Steve ‘Roadie’ Taylor who didnt quite get the whistle start. Good to see him back on a proper bike though. Bowman and Philpott were out first round two due to snapped chains! Too much power lads. They raced chainless against their opponents with a no pedalling agreement but couldnt get the better of them.

One of the new features on track (Photo: Marco Wood-Bonelli)

The finals came down to Chay Granby and Rob Campbell in the small final with Chay taking 3rd overall and Ruari and Timmy in the big final. Timmy squeezed out Ruari by less than half a second overall and took a well deserved win although there is an investigation in to his rear ‘spiked’ tyre.

Baybutt getting Loose on the traverse (Photo: Marco Wood-Bonelli)

It was great to be back in the woods, can’t wait for the rest of the season. Again massive thanks to Isabel and Steph! Also big thanks to Marco Wood-Bonelli for the photos, hope you can ride again soon.

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Summer Series 2012: Round 2 – Dual

Jolley letting it all hang out against Billsey (Photo: Steven Mackie)

Summer Series 2012: Round 2 – Dual

Dual racing helps keep us sane during the long winter months. You may have seen my many reports on these very pages about the torch lit antics around Sheffield and the fun that ensues. This stems from some very meagre beginnings when I popped down to B&Q and bought a load of overflow pipe, chopped the ends of at 45° at a foot long then headed down to the park on the Sunday after a Blacka Bashup. The fun and ferocious competition that ensued has continued since due to the fun and ferocious competition. 2 wheels – Most fun (my most overused expression?).

The new improved Dual Gates courtacy of Sheffield City Council (Photo: Steven Mackie)

For the past few years the Cliffhanger outdoor festival has been taking place during the summer in Sheffield. Put on by the city council and organised in part by Matt Heason it trys to bring a flavour of the outdoors to a park in Sheffield giving a taste of many activities to those that might have never even heard of them before. It centres around the British bouldering Championships which draw the biggest crowd around the purpose built competition wall sited a big top tent. This was actually my first introduction to the festival when I was asked to engineer the wall for the first year. It has expanded ever since taking in more sports as the years progress with cycling beginning to feature very heavily (because it’s the best! and Jon Dallow is a legend). This year Matt asked if I would run a Dual race and I agreed in return for a proper set of dual gates like those used in snowboarding dual slalom (the Electric fence posts provided by Jolley are brilliant, but not really for public consumption). The deal was done, the date set and we eventually found a company to make the gates.

Timmy not for the Winny (Photo: Steven Mackie)

You may remember just how wet this summer has been, I’m trying to forget but scars that deep-rooted with take a while to heal. The week leading up to Cliffhanger had been one of those weeks and the inevitable happened and it was cancelled. This was a huge pity because it was our first chance to open up the mates races to the public and get more people involved. By their very nature our races are just that, for mates. It’s not because we want to be exclusive, it’s just that I can’t get insurance or permission for every hair brained race we come up with. So everyone that races is a mate, they know that they can’t sue me should they break themselves because it just us having fun in the woods. Hopefully we inspire others to get off their arses and do the same because it so much fun, and hopefully one day, someone will invite us along to their race.

Rich Norgate getting Schooled in Dual by Timmy in the first round (Photo: Steven Mackie)

Chris getting Giggly (Photo: Steven Mackie)

Initially the race was off, completely. However, friends were coming from far and wide to race and staying in Sheff especially. This became abundantly clear after a few jars in the pub on the Friday night. A few hurried text messages later and the race was back on, only this time back in our normal coliseum of Endcliffe park. Having not actually tested out the fancy new dual gates I arrived early  to get set up, not early enough, the hoards were already waiting. These races usually happen in the dark and cold of a Wednesday night so it was quite a change to be able to see where to go. It also meant that the crowd was somewhat different, actually a family affair, as Cy Turner turned up with his wife and two kids whom were very helpful in setting out the course and even better cheer leaders (only for Daddy though). Once setup and  tested, practise on the course got underway with the conditions being a very familiar damp and drifty. One of the traverses was nearly impossible with many a back end stepping out too far. The new gates really look the part but I’m quite glad the public didn’t get the first use as there was a few teething problems to iron out. However, I’m sure the regular racers just smash in to the gates as hard as they can just to piss me off.

Jolley letting it all hang out against Billsey (Photo: Steven Mackie)

The Pearsons Locked in Battle (Photo: Steven Mackie)

I was faced with Cy Turner in the opening round. He was atop of a new prototype steed, a 29er version of the rocket. He had been flying in practise and reckoned that the larger wheels and there increased contact patch resulted in much more grip through flat corners. I can only assume this to be true as he kicked my arse and it cant be that he’s a better rider than me. Jolley had a characteristic off in the first round letting Billsey through to the second round where he also dispatched Chris Davey in his last ever Dual appearance. This round also saw the usual brilliant needle match of Pearson on Pearson which Chris edging out Timmy after picking up a bye through the first round. The small final ended with Cy using his big wheel advantage to show Bilsey who was boss. The top dog of the day was contested between Gordan and Chrisy P, with Chris having to put together a faultless second run to nudge out Jould. To finish of the afternoons festivities we came up with a new dual team relay format. With teams picked at random we lined up at the start gates. Each person in turn rode the course, dumped the bike at the finish line, then legged it back up the hill and slapped the next team member on the arse to set them off. Great fun, totally knackering and I cant actually remember who was on the winning team but I know it wasn’t mine! We finished off the afternoon with the traditional prize giving ceremony where everyone had given generously, particularly the person donating the child’s toilet seat.

A Massive thanks to Steven Mackie for all the great photos, its not often this gets to be seen in the light.

Cy Turner using all of his big wheeled advantage (Photo: Steven Mackie)

'Prizes' galore (Photo: Steven Mackie)

And so endeth the second round, series points dished out, and Chris Pearson taking an early lead. Billsey snuggled up close to him in second place with Timmy and me hugging it out in joint 3rd. Henry Norman rounds out the top 5. Next on the agenda, a return to the race that launched a thousand (well two that we know off) races. MegaDeath!

Winter Dual – Round 3 – Christmas Special

Winter Dual – Round 3 – Christmas Special

Ho ho ho was the cry with bells jingling all the way and a few red noses, the week before Christmas, the third round of the winter dual series was on. To mark the season of goodwill all proceeds raised were to be donated to the Scott Shepard recovery fund. Adding to the festive feel all entrants were required to dress as Santa, a loose dress code which added hugely to the merriment of the evening.

How many santas does it take to race a dual? (Photo: John Horscroft)

Joe and I rocked up early only to find Peaty, Jack and Cheggers lugging a genny and a set of red Christmas lights over a fence. Not as all suspicious! But worth the effort, the combo of silent generator and lights laid the foundations for an extra special evening. As more and more folk turned up the hilarity of Santa vs Santa became more apparent, this was going to be ridiculous. To add to the festive and friendly mood Fera Baybutt and Vicki Eastham were kind enough to spend the evening serving up the Mulled wine which Rich Baybutt had concocted. For a couple of quid you got a cup of your spiced beverage of choice plus a gingerbread man made by Vicki. Delicious, warming and all proceeds to Scott. Magnificent and hopefully the shape of things to come.

Baying crowd (Photo: Nick Hamilton)

We got the course laid out and lit and practise began in earnest. With a great turnout we had 32 santas racing head to head, the scene was ludicrous. It was a fast a pretty straight track until you hit the last corner. The right hand line took in the bottomless dip and the left a loose a slick sprint for the finish. The dip brought the end to many a run!

Chegs and 'Winny (Photo:Nick Hamilton)

Izzy and Mari were once again our timing angels and kept the whole race running smooth. I also brought along a white board and magnetic numbers and names to let everyone know who was racing when. Unfortunately, KRad was a victim of the system, sorry lad will make sure you race next time. Otherwise, it worked brilliantly and it was one of the smoothest races yet. Dave, Henry and Steve were also kind enough to work the walkie talkies which meant I could wonder round, drink mulled wine and indulge in the real purpose of the races. Socialising.

Start line banter (Photo: John Horscroft)

With 32 entries it was straight to the main event, no quali’s. The white board meant a proper random start order which made for some interesting pairings. In the first round I fell victim to the dip and crashed out but luckily (for me) Lee Baines missed a gate and was honest enough to own up. Malco and Danger had a needle match first round but Danger took no prisoners. Sam Taylor, our youngest entrant, was heartlessly beaten by Steve Hardcastle but he got plenty of practice in and was looking reet good on course. Carrie Poole smashed Alec Hartley, who couldn’t stay on his bike, and went through to the second round. Another  fella to be beaten by a girl was the other half of team Faff, Dave Griffith who was dispatched by Jody Vallance. Good work ladies.

Timmy fixing up Will's bike.... good will to all men

Unfortunately, In the second round, they then came head to head where Carrie showed Jody how it was done. Timmy and Swinny also came head to head and it was down to the wire with Swinny coming out victorious. I faced Peaty with the inevitable result… no no, he won.

Moving on to the quarters Will and Joe had a proper battle which left Bowman buckling under the pressure and will able to use all the energy he had stored up on the couch. Carrie’s first time in the quarters left her facing an on form Cheg’s who was very ungentlemanly and didn’t hold back.

The BIG final, Swinny taking on the Mighty Peat (Photo: Nick)

After battling through the Semis we were left with Cheg’s and Will in the little final and Swinny and Peaty in the big. Someone wisely pointed out that at any other race Peaty is well loved and is the recipient of loud cheers and encouragement. In this dual series all he seems to get is discouragement and calls to fall off… perhaps its working, Swinny took the winny… AGAIN! Thankfully he’s already confirmed as being on the SPS for 2012.

Secret Santa (Photo: John Horscroft)

Then came the prize giving and in another Christmas twist we rocked the secret Santa. The rules were that the prize had to be worth at least 3 quid and must be wrapped up. The sight of a load a prezzies on the floor around the base of a massive tree was amazing and richly Christmas. Swinny was first to pick and unwrapped his gift in front of everyone, he chinned his bottle of Bucks Fizz in front of the baying crowd. He was the ceremoniously showered with another bottle of Bucks Fizz by Peaty, Boom! The selection process continued until we all got impatient and couldn’t wait to pick a prize. I have Timmy to thank for my 4 tins of fish… merry bastard Christmas. It was then off to the Lezzer for a couple of celebratory pints afterwards.

How many? How do you choose? (Photo: Henry Norman)

This leaves the overall in an interesting position at the top. Peaty and Swinny are neck and neck, with Timmy third, Jolley 4th and Chris Pearson 5th. Hanna is still our highest ranked lady, with Carrie only a point behind and Jody snapping at their heels.

Swinny necking his prize (Photo: Henry Norman)

Pints in the pub after (Photo: Henry Norman)

So many thanks go out to everyone that came along to race and got dressed up or decorated their bikes. Thanks again to Izzy and Mari for timing, Fera and Vicki for serving up the Christmas Cheer, Rich Baybutt for blending the brew, Bowman for his nevr ending assistance and the same to Timmy whose always packing up poles at the end. 2012 is going to be Rad, can you believe we’ve only had 3 rounds!

Nick

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