Archives: ThisISheffield

Crankworx day 1 (actually day 2)

So the biggest  bike festival of the year is upon us, Bud light, Growers, Red Rooster, Whistler Crankworx is a go!

The first event of the Festival was called ‘Fat tire Shit’ or ‘Fat twat Clit’ or something slimier.  It involved a load of Homo’s (plus Dylan Wolsky) racing mountain bikes round some tarmac and a bit of gravel. I didn’t watch it, but google brought up this image of some Hipster riding his bike on some tarmac with a ironic mustache, probably a fixie. 


Saturday saw the first proper event, a new event called Speed and Style where riders and racer battle head to head on a dual course with 2 trick jumps. You get scored for each jump, and timed over  the track with .6sec’s up for grabs on each jump. If my calculations are correct a rider that is aiming to take the win by pining it and winning on time, with no tricks,  needs to be 1.2 seconds ahead of the trickster to head on.


Fairclough won. Nuff said on that, but I think Nick should get on this for our summer series….how about 2 big wooden booters in peaty’s dual track to separate the big dogs from the pussies. Can anyone in Sheffield actually do a trick? I imagine a lot of lame one footers taking the win……….Nick, make it happen.

Today was the Garbo DH….my favorite race in the world, and one I wish I was racing, had I not broken my collar bone AGAIN. The Garbo DH takes riders from the top of the Garbonzo zone of Whistler all the to the village in 13-20ish minutes of pure, hole filled, root infested Gnarbar (as they say out here). The winning time is looking to be sub 13mins, but as of typing the winner is still at the top of the track. I bailed early on the spectating as I am taking the last Gondola up the hill to Bivi on the Peak and watch the Meteor shower.

Needless to say the fans were out in force cheering the riders on as they send the GLC drop to flat and wobble , deoxygenated (cool word, but potentially not a word) over the finish line after one of the toughest DH races about. I saw Jack Reading being interviewed up on the big screen, someone needs to give him a lesson in not winking at the camera, but hats off to him, he is confident in the win and I hope he gets it.

www.raffaellaphoto.com

Si Paton has taken a weekend off, making the trip out here to stand in for Brad ‘SHUT THE FRONT DOOR’ Ewan….I am not sure who I prefer, but here is another rad shot from Raff Dice of some Stoked (or amped) fans. HashtagCrankworxGNAR.

www.raffaellaphoto.com

Phat Wednesday 2012: the beginning

Phat Wednesday 2012: the beginning

So, after a 3 year hiatus Canada has opened its doors for me. I am back, back in BC, back in Whistler riding my bike all summer. I have missed this place but I have also missed riding my DH bike in the last few years. The last couple of weeks have been a steep learning curve trying to get back upto speed smashing laps out behind Craig(‘s list) Evans, but with the ever-present Coast Mountain’s early season dampness hanging in the air I haven’t felt too out of place.

So last week was  the first ‘Phat Wednesday’ beer league race; a rare type of race that has helped inspire This is Sheff and the local Sheffield Wednesday night races since our initial winter duel races. The Phat Wednesday series is the most competitive ‘mates race’ in the world, where else do you get Chris Kovarik turning up to each round? OK, OK, I am aware that we get Peaty at our mates races regularly, and even a showing last year from a certain Flyin’ Brian Lopezzzzz, but…..well actually, but nothing. Peaty>Kovarik so therefore Sheffield>Whistler.

With this minor riding mecca misconception sorted out I would like to draw attention back to just how cool this concept of racing is. Anyone can do it, grab your mates, grab some timing gear and get racing. Just make sure you are doing it out the way of elderly dog walkers.


The Phat Wednesday series races every week starting off, as per tradition, with a B-line race. Everyone that would like to appear cool puts 5bucks into a pot, takes their chain off and tucks and pumps down the 6ish min track. The chainless winner takes all the spoils and the boys are separated from the men: this week I tucked my balls back up into my body and was firmly sat in the little boy’s category. Without the backup of a chain there is no recovering from blowing out a turn on B-line’s mellow pastures. A fact I found out when a SMALL drift nearly stopped me dead up high on the trail. The rest of the run went well, and I even caught the chained rider that was infront up, but the damage was done. 50something in Chainless cat is pretty lame. Evans was on a stormer, beating me by a couple of seconds even with a crash. Saturday lad beat us both. The bastard.

The win was Kovarik’s for the taking with Billinghurst and Nick Geddes rounding out the podium, all chainless. The Womens podium was the same in regards to the lack of chains on the bikes, Clair Buchard, Sarah Leishman and Maria Darquier all took home some cash.

Results are here.

So, a week has passed since that first race on B-line. This week we raced a very tiring combo of Fantastic to Lower Crank it up. Fantastic is Fant…err awesome, but Crank it up was a bit of a bastard, pretty much a sprint littered with Gas to Flats and a sketchy slippy bridge thrown in for good measure.  Never the less the crowds turned up to sprint their asses off for  their chance at Local glory, even though for the vast majority of us there is no glory involved, just pain and a slightly vommy feeling welling up inside us as we cross the line. Craig was back on form cracking a 14th out but the winner still had 9seconds on him. I bettered my abysmal result of last week and came 55nd. Still pissed off with that.

Billinghurst, Geddes and Paulo were on the steps, Gunner is fast for a Master and was stood tallest on the podium as was Strand for the ladies. Sarah second again and Maria Darquier 3rd. Also props to Raff Dice who got 13th, her first top 20, even though she spent the hour before the race pissing me off moaning about not wanting to ride.

Results are here.

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.

Winter 11 is dead….

…Long live summer!

Col des Courtes

I am actually hoping to keep skiing all through the summer this year, searching out patches of snow in hidden shadowy gullies and probably skiing into some rock climbs up high, but my proper winter skiing is over now. It ended on a high. T’other week I skinned up the Argentiere Glacier with long time Cham local Ross Hewitt and Dave ‘Milky bar kid’ Searle intending to ski the Ammone, a huge and very asthetic line that would have dropped us bastard miles from Chamonix in Switzerland. Due to the logistics of ferrying cars and setting up lifts, and our apparent inept ability to organise anything more than ‘first bin at GM’ we decided the North facing Col des Courtes could be a good, and logistically easyer line.

Searler on the leisurely approch

Touring up to the face was pretty cool, the going was easy with a firm snow surface and just a couple of inches of fresh made it a very social skin with the 3 of us side by side having some good man-chat.  It was all very leisurely really. As our line came into view it was all looking very nice, no tracks, fresh snow and beautiful runnels running down the upper part of the face.

Myself approaching. Photog cred:Ross Hewitt

The bergschrund was conquered after a small false start too far left, with skis on and roped up. Crampons on now for the duration of the climb. Ross put a slightly ascending traverse in, and then started up the face proper. The going was fairly deep. No bootpack in before us meant some hard work, with some steps sinking boot deep, some waist deep wallowing and a bit of swimming. At least everything felt stable and the deep snow offset the ever-apparent exposure as we gained more height on the face. The rock band was ascended through a short gully on some ice and then a wee bit more wallowing.

Myself about half way up the face. Photo: Ross Hewett

My ‘bomber’ belay at the transition

The snow started to get hard and shitty near the top so we decided to crack the skis on, and forgo gaining the actuall col. Ledges were dug and sketchy belays were improvised with ice axes and ski poles in the unconsolidated pow. The battle to change over from crampons to skis is never an easy one, frozen crampon straps, exposure, dynafiddles, the ever present risk of dropping something important has me taking my time here for sure. I don’t wanna’ rag-doll to my death while trying to take a piss ether, so that had to wait. Though thinking about it I could use a few more GNAR points…

Searle

Down time. This is what we are here for. Ross and Milky are much much stronger climbers than me, both technically and fitness wise, but I can ski well so its a level playing field again. I feel an equal again. Rather impressively Milky is first ready and skis the first turns. A bit sketch at first after a few cautious jump turns we all relax a bit. The snow is good. He gets to a safe spot so our slough doesn’t kill him and its my go. The snow is good. Still cautiously jump turning I start to link a few turns instead of stopping in-between turns. It feels steep, even in the perfect conditions we have it in. We estimate it at 55degree’s. Its pretty hard to estimate pitch though. Everything feels so different in different snow conditions….45degree’s feels nearly flat in perfect powder, but put even the best skiers in the world on 45* in icy conditions, and over fatal exposure and they will be shitting bricks. A few weeks earlier I skied Cunningham couloir (50*) in hard hard snow conditions….it was scary as shit. I stayed on the rope for a fair way…..so we figured if this feels steeper than Cunningham despite having perfect snow…it was definitely fucking steep.

Why does looking up always look flat? Searle skiing

Me just after the ‘choke’. photo: Ross Hewett

Ice axes in hand we got through the rock band with skis on, and ropes away which made it all a bit quicker and we soon found ourself on the lower face linking some nice turns. Little jump over the bergschrund and we were free. Awesome line! Looking back up Ross and I took the piss out of Milky Searle’s ‘epileptic’ and erratic tracks and then for his apparent loss of his ice axe somewhere on route. Truth be told, Searle is doing very good skiing lines like this after the amount of skiing he has done. He has a bloody good jump turn on him, and will become a very good skier for sure.

The ski-out wasn’t without its fun ether…there was pretty much no snow down low, so we linked up patches of heather and grass until even the Scots man had to walk.

Good end to the season! Bike time now…

Jally pallez Franceh?

Although I fear writing about spring is very clichéd (note French thing on top of the ‘e’) I feel like I need too…. It seems to be every outdoor-orientated persons favourite season, the lights are getting nighter, the trails are drying up and the sun is coming out. Read on for a few words and a big ass picture dump….

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