On the trails and happy

The decision was made for me.  My mates were going to ride off road. It would have been too cold and blowy to have fun on the road bike and after my last few rides what I really wanted was fun. I decided to take the Mount Vision XM8. Not my usual choice but it would be a good match for my friends’ bikes.

I woke several times in the night worrying about the bike. I really wanted to ride something light and fast. I work hard and sleep little and on the one night when I can really chill, Saturday, I will usually wake in excitement if there is something special about Sunday’s ride. Maybe a bike to test, a new route to ride or a plan to do something epic, whatever, I still get excited about riding. It’s never a problem getting up at 6:30. This time, as the trails were so dry, I kept waking thinking that I needed my hard tail, where would I get any fun on a 140mm travel bike?

That was it, decision made, I’d ride the King Kahuna. However, when my riding buddies arrived it seemed ridiculous to ride a light weight racing bike so I grabbed the Mount Vision and had the time of my life. What was I worried about? There was one condition if I was on Mount Vision then we would be going to Steyning.

The trails are as perfect as they can be, better than summer dry and even better than winter frozen but Cissbury seems to be doing its own thing. The mud was as bad as the last two months!

We got to Steyning after a very speedy ride and The Jump seemed like nothing this time around and the run out down to the Mouse Lane field was mind-blowingly fast. I was having the time of my life. The 140mm travel of the Mount Vision was awesome, but it gets better. The climb out was a piece of cake. These new Marins have unmatched grip. Even the steep rutted bit half way up was cinch. Like the Riftzone the Mount Vision can be pointed anywhere even at super slow full torque steep pace.

I have been reading a book called “Skiing without fear”. I am not sure what I think of this yet but it consists on lots of things that I have done in the past. Back to todays ride, before I new it I found myself alone at the top of one of those steep drops that we used to ride years ago. I remember the feeling well. I know that my equipment is more than adequate, I know that my skills are OK yet there is a problem. I have a brain. It reminds me that I might get hurt.

One of my early passions in mountain biking was the challenge of over coming the fear of very steep descents. I really took up the sport to replace the feeling (or lack of it) of dropping in on a steep wave. I parked the bike at the top, clipped in, saddle down and wedge up against a tree with my elbow. This is how I first did this one 15 or 20 years ago. You start to imagine what the crash will be like. Don’t think, just do it!  My elbow levered me off and I was committed to going down. I immediately clipped a tree, knocking me off line but by then I was on autopilot. I’d done it!

I went up and rode some other routes enjoying the comfortable and safe feeling that you get from a 140mm travel bike. A ride to remember and, best of all, I didn’t have to clean the bike after the ride. I’m so glad that I rode off road enjoying the trails in such great condition. Thumbs up for the Mount Vision XM8! If you want a go too just call the shop.

Here’s the ride, not far but a lot of fun, I stopped to chat to various riders and to take photos if you wondering why it was so slow.

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