Impossible trail.

1 05 2013

Recently, the trails we have been riding have moved up a notch. They tend to be low velocity, but the ‘moves’ come thick and fast. You have to pay attention 100% of the time: lots of upper body action. I have even got to the stage of practising trials-type moves (track stand to log hop is a classic) in order to clean the more difficult ones.

The latest trail is called ‘Impossible Trail’. It ain’t easy. I rode it for the first time a few days ago – it is very fresh indeed, requiring some bedding-in in parts, but it is *beautiful*. From the initial climb off the main access, the insinuation of your bike and body between trees, over rocks and then an immensely satisfying 3/4 meter drop onto a sweet transition, with a hard right and a rock hop before you get to the business end of the trail leaves you aching for more.

The next section needs inch-perfect tyre placement. I had 2 or 3 attempts on the Krampus, making it without dismounting, but with a dab each time. The trail is scratched across a steep slope between rocks and trees, with slippery, moss covered soil and as we exited and moved on, I knew I was smitten.

A few days later, when I realised I couldn’t get it out of my head, the Jones came out and I pedaled up to the start. The wind was strong, pushing heavy grey clouds across the claustrophobic sky. There were no passers by and no birds or forrest machinery to break the expectant silence.

The drop onto the transition filled me with joy, there is nothing like being airborne for a split second and having no impact as the tyres kiss a well angled down slope. From there, I simply kept my pace up. I knew I was probably thinking about it too much. I *really* wanted to clean it and my heart beat was palpable as I made my way to the crux point.

Over the sharp, slimy rocks, avoiding the slick, root-knot. Then hard effort, up over slippery roots, only to duck down and then hard again to the right onto a 3″ wide section of dirt packed into the crevice left by a long, thick fallen branch that holds back the slope. A super slippery climb over clay soil, moss and sharp, mobile rocks, all off camber next. The only section to have foiled me on the trail the few days previously was a pinch point between a tree and some roots escaping up hill, all whilst climbing and balancing and holding one’s breath. The move seemed to involve pedaling into it, stopping, letting the tyre slide down the roots and at the same time turning it slightly down hill then a sudden thrust up and around to make it into the first of 3 bowls (all off camber) on the final grunt out of the trail.

It went so smoothly I immediately pedaled back to the start and did it again, no dabs.

Of course, then I was on a roll, so the next 6 or 10 failed attempts were hard to swallow. But these really are the best trails. Next time, me and ‘Impossible’ are going to have a few words….




4 responses

1 05 2013
John Ross (@Shaggyjohn)

Nice. There was a trail when I was in Exeter called The Impossible Gully. It was perhaps 20m long but really narrow. It was tight to get your bars down it, and rear mechs were close as welI. There was a “joggle” in the middle, which was the crux. You kind of had to anti-body-english it if you know what I mean. I think I was the first person to ride it:-)

2 05 2013
steve thorns

Well-written. Isn’t it amazing what our eyes take in while we’re, riding, sweating, heart-pumping all to avoid a dab?

7 05 2013
Martin Budd (The Old Man)

Sounds just like a description of a rock climb! Great description. Congratulations on nailing it! Now I have to ask: why’d you take the Jones as the tool of choice that day? What about one of the Vertigos? Or the Surly? Curious to know – thanks 🙂

7 05 2013

Thanks!. You know, i’m not quite sure how to answer. In a perfect world i’d have all the bikes out when trying trickier stuff and see what is good about each one!…but in this instance it was because the jones is my only working singlespeed – where i ride is uniquely suited to singlespeeds, and often stripping everything back to basics allows you to focus on the trail. The Vertigo’s have been massively neglected recently – BA due to fork repairs, and Maul, well, i dont think i have felt fast enough to take advantage of it!, but i’m hoping to change those things very soon!

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