Roots, Mud and Shite

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  • Roots, Mud and Shite
  • Premier Icon mintimperial
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    I did the PMBA Enduro round at Gisburn yesterday, and I really enjoyed the day: lovely weather, nice atmosphere, well organised, felt I’d pretty much done my best on the three middle stages, and even pushed my limits on the drops on stage five and didn’t explode in a massive fireball or anything. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the godawfulness that comprised the whole of stage one. For those who weren’t there (YOU DON’T KNOW MAN YOU WEREN’T THERE) it was a shallow-gradient, new cut trail, through dank industrial pine woodland, over and along those rutty planting ridges you get in that sort of terrain. Even after a week or two of dry weather the ground conditions were alternating rancid, sodden mud and sticky, lumpy mud. This was all lovingly slathered on top of billions upon billions of thin slippery roots, interspersed with occasional massive slippery roots, leavened with a sprinking of medium-sized slippery roots. Where the organisers had run out of roots they made up with some woodwork, a couple of horrific bogs, and a repellent off-camber corner – although I suspect this was really just a hole in the ground where a tree had comitted suicide or something. I even had to get off and run, twice! I mean, really, if I was into that sort of perverted nonsense I’d enter a flipping CX race. πŸ˜‰

    I don’t think I spoke to anyone who actually enjoyed the stage, but obviously most people cope with it much better than I do, because a) i was nearly caught by two(!) riders behind me despite the 30s gaps we had, and b) according to the results almost everyone was faster than I was down there. I’m not particularly quick, but I can ride most stuff short of full-on DH-sized jumps and drops, as a rule. I’m happy battering myself over big hills in horizontal rain and rarely suffer a sense of humour failure on the bike, but that three-and-a-bit minutes really made me question some of my life choices. 😐

    I note that the fast boys did it in 1m30s-ish – it’s obviously possible to ride it reasonably quickly, so: how the hell do you deal with muddy, rooty, rutty, pedally bollocks like that? Does anyone actually like that sort of thing, or is it just something the organisers put in because they’re evil, sadistic bastards?

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
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    I note that the fast boys did it in 1m30s-ish – it’s obviously possible to ride it reasonably quickly, so: how the hell do you deal with muddy, rooty, rutty, pedally bollocks like that? Does anyone actually like that sort of thing, or is it just something the organisers put in because they’re evil, sadistic bastards?

    Spend a couple of seasons doing pearce down hill….
    Being relaxed and confident really helps, the wetter and sloppier the worse a tense reaction makes it. Riding in those conditions is an art.

    However I’m never as happy about the new cut trails, especially in spring. Just not a level playing field.

    Premier Icon BoardinBob
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    For those who weren’t there (YOU DON’T KNOW MAN YOU WEREN’T THERE) it was a shallow-gradient, new cut trail, through dank industrial pine woodland, over and along those rutty planting ridges you get in that sort of terrain

    Welcome to enduro…

    legend
    Member

    I’d also bet they got out early before it got really ripped up?

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    Spend a couple of seasons doing pearce down hill….
    Being relaxed and confident really helps, the wetter and sloppier the worse a tense reaction makes it. Riding in those conditions is an art.

    Thing is I was OK with the end of stage five, which was also rooty, muddy, rutty yik. Difference was it was actually downhill, so you could keep rolling. Stage one was so flat you lost all speed if you hit something even slightly wrong, and then couldn’t get moving again.

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    I’d also bet they got out early before it got really ripped up?

    Nah, pretty sure the guy who won the whole thing went out later on. Also it was seriously ripped up by practice anyway so even going early wouldn’t have made much difference.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
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    Learn to run then…. It’s a race where you and the bike need to get to the end as fast as possible πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon mintimperial
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    Learn to run then…. It’s a race where you and the bike need to get to the end as fast as possible

    Righto. CX season for me next winter then. Ugh. πŸ˜€

    bigfoot
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    i wouldn’t go as far as saying i enjoyed it but it was my best stage result of the day. it was very hard to actually keep moving. 2 practice runs helped.

    Premier Icon Simon
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    I practiced it on Sunday morning and it wasn’t too bad.
    Come race time the roots were more polished and the mud had got worse.
    Not as bad as last time I raced it though πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon nedrapier
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    I think all right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired.

    I’m certainly not! And I’m sick and tired of being told that I am.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    It’s difficult when there’s no gradient, everything just feels like a battle… especially, I’ve seen sections on flatter stages where there’s a wee techy bit that’d be absolutely nothing if you had any speed, but you arrive pedalling hard just to keep moving through the porridge and possibly a little bit sideways and generally blowing out your arse and possibly a bit pissed off, and suddenly it’s all drama.

    I’ve ridden some pretty scary stuff on stages and usually been alright with it but the toys go out the pram pretty fast when it’s flat and sticky. It’s just work really.

    Premier Icon nedrapier
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    woops. replied on the wrong thread there. too many tabs open. don’t mind me.

    Premier Icon mintimperial
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    I think your point still applies though, ned. Something must be done!

    No idea what, like…

    Premier Icon superstu
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    I wonder how many people noticed ned!
    OP your post made me smile, especially the CX comment. I have nothing to offer though, I’m slow everywhere.

    fr0sty125
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    Didn’t mind the first part of stage 1 right up until that little wooden bridge after that it was shit until that last bomb hole which I didn’t mind. Great race though couldn’t have asked for better weather. Hope those guys that got carted off in the two trips by the air ambulance are ok, heard one guy jumped into a tree or something on stage 5 and split his helmet in half.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    fr0sty125 – Member

    Hope those guys that got carted off in the two trips by the air ambulance are ok

    As a rule, if you get carted off in 2 trips in an air ambulance you’re not OK 😯

    Premier Icon slordy
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    Welcome to pmba loam otherwise known as shite, you obviously did’nt do it last year when it lashed it down constantly it was horrendous, if you’ve entered kirroughtree get some practice in on similar terrain.

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    The guy who crashed in practice on stage 5 was ok, he posted on Facebook to say he’d be back for the next round. Didn’t know there was another one though. πŸ™

    Premier Icon darrenspink
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    I thought the second helicopter was for a little boy who came off his bike on the fire road.

    The 1st stage wasn’t enjoyable. Not being able to pedal much due to my rear mech giving up the ghost didn’t help much either. Stage 5 was great as always although I’m not sure why they did the top line that way. The last round there had a much better line onto the first drop.

    t-p 26
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    So you don`t ride in the British winters much then?

    Premier Icon chakaping
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    I get the impression you’re venting rather than seeking advice OP.

    I didn’t do the race on Sunday but you can only be talking about Loamudgeddon. I’ve raced it a couple of times now and it was really tough this time last year when we hadn’t just had a lovely dry spell.

    Actually enjoyed it in October when it was only greasy and slippy rather than a treacherous slopbath.

    I’d also be interested to hear from a fast rider how they get through that so quick in bad conditions!

    Premier Icon mintimperial
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    The last round there had a much better line onto the first drop.

    Yeah there was basically no point in hitting drop one, it was faster to take the chicken line.

    So you don`t ride in the British winters much then?

    No, I do, but I live on the edge of the Peak. Lots of lovely big grippy rocks, no roots to speak of, I can ride for miles and miles over big, bleak hills without encountering a single bike-hating tree, it’s great. πŸ˜‰

    I get the impression you’re venting rather than seeking advice OP.

    Bit of both. Yeah I’m venting, but I do want advice too; so far it seems to be “ride more muddy rooty shite” which is fine, but any slightly more specific tips would also be appreciated! Good to hear that others found it a bit of a slog too though.

    Yup I had a hell of a time at the Grizedale one last year, normally a reasonably proficient rider of rocky technical stuff but not having really ridden any fresh cut before just couldn’t do it. Slid down the second stage on my arse. Have been practising a bit ready for next month but now the trails are all dry! – what are the chances? Stay loose and go a bit a bit faster than you think you should, try and use the ruts as berms. Do some of those Nino Schurter exercises from the front page!

    Premier Icon chakaping
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    I just try to stay loose and keep the bike moving on that stage, but I don’t think my times were particularly impressive.

    Have been practising a bit ready for next month but now the trails are all dry! – what are the chances?

    I’m not expecting Cumbria to stay dry until the Grizedale race next month.

    I know, it just means I’m not practising in the conditions we’ll be racing in. Cue Arseslideageddon 2.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    Bike setup makes a huge difference with stuff like this. For example, if your weight is too far forward, you’re relying on front wheel traction, and due to leverage it has to do more work to rotate your mass when cornering sharply. This means that if the front wheel slips it’s effectively slipping out from under you, and then you’re going to feel very unstable which will slow you down a lot.

    Now people are bound to pipe up saying that your weight should be over the front, but this applies to fast open corners, not tight snaking through trees where your bike has to pivot around the rear wheel.

    Premier Icon chakaping
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    I know, it just means I’m not practising in the conditions we’ll be racing in. Cue Arseslideageddon 2.

    Ah gotcha.

    Yes I was thinking similar the other day as I was enjoying the perfectly dry local woods. Not complaining obvs!

    Premier Icon mintimperial
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    For example, if your weight is too far forward, you’re relying on front wheel traction, and due to leverage it has to do more work to rotate your mass when cornering sharply. This means that if the front wheel slips it’s effectively slipping out from under you, and then you’re going to feel very unstable which will slow you down a lot.

    That’s interesting, as a rule I consciously try to keep my weight forward as I have a natural tendency to lean back a lot. Makes sense though, and my front wheel was all over the place and not a whole lot of use. Unfortunately, the back wheel was the same…

    danposs86
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    I thought it was nice to have a mix of trail center and something that is more natural. Gave it some variety.

    There would always be people moaning either way.

    Premier Icon johnw1984
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    My practice run for stage 1 was better than my actual run. It was an experience to be honest and that’s all I wanted πŸ™‚

    Did it with friends and my Wife so forgot it was a race till I got my shite results lol.

    Too much time spent bimbling and hopping about on runs.

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    I thought it was nice to have a mix of trail center and something that is more natural. Gave it some variety.

    There would always be people moaning either way.

    If you read my post I’m not really saying it shouldn’t be part of the race, I’m just saying I was completely rubbish at it!

    Presumably if you though it was nice you didn’t have a major problem riding it – care to share how you got through it without wanting to throw your bike off a cliff at the end? I genuinely want to know how people who can get a bike through that sort of thing manage it. πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon Simon
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    What was your time for stage 1?
    Can’t offer any advice, I came to a complete stop 3 or 4 times after slipping on the roots!

    glasgowdan
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    Ever seen the actual lines fast riders take? They’re rarely in the gloop and ride outside it, as close to the tape as they can.

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    1: 3:10.14 (104)
    2: 2:47.64 (94)
    3: 1:16.72 (83)
    4: 1:55.10 (90)
    5: 3:06.10 (94)
    Overall: 12:15.70, 95 of 116 finishers in Masters.

    It’s really not about the overall results for me, I’m not going to place well, I know that, it’s not why I take part. It’s just that I hated it, whereas I enjoyed all the other stages, they were great fun. Even the rooty muddy bit at the end of stage five was fun. But stage one wasn’t even a good challenge, like a tough hillclimb or something, it was just… frustrating, because I simply don’t know how to ride that sort of thing.

    Ever seen the actual lines fast riders take? They’re rarely in the gloop and ride outside it, as close to the tape as they can.

    Now that’s more like it. So you stay off the obvious line and hop about looking for grip? That’s fair enough as far as it goes, but there were bloody trees everywhere, and once 300 people had been down a few times there was nothing that wasn’t gloop, so they must have something else in the repertoire to enable them to deal with the really crappy bits.

    jimoiseau
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    I’ve no experience of racing, but could it be as simple as tyre choice? Maybe the faster guys figured they’d gain more on stage 1 running full-on mud tyres than they’d lose on the more downhill stages later.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    That’s interesting, as a rule I consciously try to keep my weight forward as I have a natural tendency to lean back a lot

    Seagull at Swinley. Super twisty. I realised that the best way to do it fast is to get the weight right back, as I can do better on my ‘big’ bike than my others.

    I think that’s why enduro bikes are so long and slack – the front wheel is a long way from the centre of mass.

    Premier Icon Tracey
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    Don’t worry to much about the results, rumour has it that some of the fast riders didn’t manage it through the gloop at the bottom of stage one and had to leg it like most of the field.

    danposs86
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    If you read my post I’m not really saying it shouldn’t be part of the race, I’m just saying I was completely rubbish at it!

    Ahh my bad, mis-read.

    Also I never said it was nice, had to run it, but got back on the bike too soon and had to jump off to run a bit more. Then slipped over on the bomb hole near the end.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    Tracey – Member

    Don’t worry to much about the results, rumour has it that some of the fast riders didn’t manage it through the gloop at the bottom of stage one and had to leg it like most of the field.

    See, I always forget this- somehow, if I can’t ride it, I assume everyone else can. But I remember seeing Dan Atherton running at a UKGE, and Ben Cathro at a SES… The pros do it differently mind, they know when it’s faster or easier. I’ve sometimes insisted on riding sticky bits because that’s what I’m there to do, and someone’s run past me πŸ˜†

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