The Shiv is still not quite ready for action, so it would have to be off road on the trusty ATX. I had found a 2005 hardtail at the tip with some good Rock Shox Judy J2 forks, so i was looking forward to swapping them for the old Manitou Spyders. Now the Manitous have given me quite a few years of sterling service, including a short lived and fairly mediocre State XC series "career", but there is only so much you can do with 1.5 inches of travel.
The only hiccup with fitting the "new" forks at the pool shop on Saturday was my failure to measure the steerer, as it turned out to be a little bit longer, and i didn't have any spare headset spacers with me. Or did i?
Off i went to the local trails (only a few kms from work, very convenient) to meet up with a mate and check out the recent changes.
Now at this point i would like to be clear that as i was not involved in building the trails (heck i'm not even a member of the local mtb club), my opinion counts for very little if anything. But in all honesty, my favourite trail has been ruined.
Indy (or whatever it's called now, since Wooroi became a national park they have all been changed to godawful names like Froglet and Glider) used to be very rocky at the start, sandy in the middle, then criss crossed by a heap of tree roots before finishing with a smooth flat-ish section. The key thing for me is that the roughest parts were straight, so if i put it on the right line i could just barrel through quite happily. (I have got a video of the old trail but i just watched it and got motion sickness, so best i don't post it up here).
I was quite excited then when the word came out about Indy and the nearby Secrets trails being overhauled to suit beginners, as my technical skills are about on par with your average 8 year old. Problem is, by "beginners trail", they apparently meant "no straight lines".
It really is just ridiculous, the first 100m or so of the trail is now just an uninterrupted succession of 180 degree berms. Sure it's nice to hook into a berm and spit out the other side, but you can have too much of a good thing (or at least some good things) and Indy is a perfect example of WAY too much.
After that bitter disappointment, we headed to Secrets. It used to be one of those trails that no one ever rode, being only a few hundred metres of boring singletrack with a dirty great swamp in the middle. They have performed some kind of miracle to now have well over a kilometre of amazing track in there, along with 2 bridges to keep it out of the swamp. Again, there are berms all over the place, but on Secrets there is OTHER STUFF in between so that it isn't boring as batshit. Hopefully i'll be able to get the camera hooked up to video a run in the near future, as it should make for a good little clip.
So that was a good couple of hours down on Saturday, then on Wednesday i decided to sneak out after work for another little spin and bumped into a workmate who had the same idea. I set off first on my 18yr old tip find ATX with him following on his brand new Norco Fluid, and until it opens up and gets more pedally past the swamp he was breathing down my neck in spite of me pinning it.
He then let me take the Norco for a spin and while the difference uphill or on the flat was laughable, the ATX was miles ahead in the tight and twisty downhill sections. When i hopped back on my bike i initially felt like i was going to fall off the front though, the ATX is the roadie's MTB, low and narrow in the front with the seatpost reaching for the stars.
I should have the Shiv ready for it's first shakedown ride this weekend, and i'll be getting out on the mtb whenever possible, but one thing's for sure, i am not getting any fatter!