The Woodlot was freaking awesome tonight. It was cool and wet (It had rained up there just before I arrived) but it was not raining while I was on the hill. The birds were chirping and I was out for an after work ride. Life doesn't really get any better. My route for tonight's ride was The Gate to Tsuga then Snakes and Ladders to Quick Hit and finally Shotgun.
The Gate wasn't bad especially for being wet. I cleaned all the skinnies and just rode around the gap jumps (I was on the Stiffee). Tsuga is buffed for the first 50-75M but then is it's same old self which is pretty damn good. The beginning of the trail is kind of too buff right now. It is so smooth that you could have rigid forks and it would feel like glass. I guess as time passes it will wear and the trail will form a rougher path and become a truer Mtn. Bike trail again.
Snakes and Ladders was nice. A few little soft spots that 10 minutes with a shovel would solve. I cleaned the whole jump section the best ever and then went back and did it again. Soooooooo much fun. One of the berms is too soft (the extended one I made) because the dirt has too much clay in it. I will just need to throw some different type of dirt on it and it will get solid again. There has been massive amounts of water through the trail and it is dry in many spots, but in others there were standing puddles due to poor drainage and flat spots in the trail (stuff to be fixed). I ripped the trail non stop to the bottom and continued out to the road.
The flat trail that Snakes and Ladders exits onto that leads to the bottom of Quick Hit had a few bushes that needed some pruning done to them. A few days ago I had bought a machete so that I could trim back the overgrown bushes that were taking over this section of trail. So I pulled my machete from my pack like a Forest Trail Ninja and hacked away at everything in site. One thing about machetes......they are dangerous. If I was not wearing my leg armour there is a very good chance I would have been visiting the emergency ward. A couple times I swung the blade and it cut through the bush a tad bit easier than expected and the blade continued towards my shin and glanced off my armour (thanks Roach). By the time I was done you could see a nice clear swath and when riding through you were no longer going to get attacked by wet prickly raspberry bushes.
It was then time to hit Quick Hit. I had been informed that Tim had been doing some building earlier this week and that I would be pleasantly surprised. As I did the short easy climb past the bottom of the trail I looked up and could see the 'new feature' he put on the trail.
So I pedaled up to the top of the trail, adjusted my gear and headed down the trail. It is such a fun and fast flowing trail that is over even before you realize you are having such a good time. I decided that it is in my best interest to scope out the new hit rather than taking a leap of faith. What this new hit consists of is a step-down jump that is a shortcut between two berms. So if you time it right and are racing down the trail close behind your buddies, you could theoretically pass him by jumping between the berms on this step-down jump. When Tim and Rob showed me their idea last week I was blown away at how perfect the section was set up for this new feature. I could not wait to build it and it seems that Tim could not wait either and just went ahead and built it himself. I did what most people do on a new jump/hit. I stood at the top of it on the lip with my invisible handlebars in hand lining up my approach line and landing. I then mounted my trusty steed and went back up the trail a ways to get a good run in to the new step-down. All went well.....my speed was good, the launch was good, but in the air I noticed I was slightly off line and heading towards the edge of the landing area and over the berm. Once I landed I tried correcting my line but my front wheel washed out and I hit the berm sideways going over the bars and landing on my back over the berm with my bike covering my lower body.
I chuckled to myself about how I ended up where I was and got up to try her one more time. I know how and where I messed up so I went up the trail to get another run in and hit it perfectly. I didn't really look at how high the step-down is, but I think it is somewhere around a 6'x6' for where you land. I then rode the rest of the trail and when I came out the road that leads back up the hill I saw 2 other guys that had just finished riding Snakes and Ladders. I have a feeling that I startled them as they did a triple take when I came up beside them. I said to them to have a good ride and took off down to Shotgun.
Lately I have been riding Shotgun faster and faster every time I ride it. This time was no exception. I absolutely ripped the upper section and crossed the newly widened bridge to the jump that was rebuilt about a month ago. Now in the past month or so this newly rebuilt jump had fallen apart because so many people hit it with so much speed that the lip had basically disappeared and the jump just was not what it should be. The other thing is that this high speed jump had no real transition and at times could be a bit of a hard landing. Well was I in for a very pleasant surprise. The jump had been recently (few hours ago) totally rebuilt even higher with all fresh dirt and a solid new lip. It was awesome. In the air I noticed as I was spotting my landing that low and behold a TRANNY (angelic voice Halleluiah!!!). This new tranny makes the landing so perfectly smooth. Many, many thanks to the one that built that tranny and re-did the jump.
I rode the rest of the trail hard and fast pedaling everywhere that I could. And then it was out the my car to head home. One funny thing was that there were a few guys down at their cars and when I came out from Shotgun I was shot a few odd looks and raised eyebrows....guess it was the big machete I had strapped to my back pack. I had a really good ride and I must say that the jump on Shotgun in now dialed regardless of the spill on Quick Hit I absolutely loved the new step-down that Tim built to cheat between the berms.