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Are black routes getting harder or my ability dropping

john_smithjohn_smith Posts: 85
edited June 2011 in MTB general
First time I went to a proper trail centre was probably glentress about 7 years ago and rode the black route that day. Got round it ok on my hardtail with 80mm of travel. Wouldn't say the descents were easy but managed to get through most without needing to do too many walk arounds. Then for next 3 years rode up there maybe 2 times a year and normally made it round black route ok. Riden on and off since then but not consistently and not much stuff harder than red route at Innerleithan.

Anyhow last weekend I was watching the guys at Dalby world cup. Was watching medusas drop and worry gill, thought it looked hard but thought I could probably do it. So this weekend headed over for ride on it. Now I recently upgraded from my 80mm hard tail and have a 120mm full suss xc carbon bike. Got to that drop at worry gill and realised I had no chance and my armchair watching the previous week and thinking I could do it would not actually be as straight forward as imagined. Suddenly a new found respect for those world cup guys doing it on 80mm hard tails. Then got round to medusas drop and saw that entrance into the steep rutted tree section and thought that was begging for a front wheel wipe out and face plant while stuck in my spd’s so gave that a swerve and went for the chicken run version.

I seem to be able to do drops that have smooth landing i.e. parts of red at glentress/innerleithan which have lips where you have to jump onto the smooth downhill landing. Also seem to jump/fly better when clearing something like a double or the bigger optimal jumps at end of blue course at glentress etc.

So just wandering what do other people think. Have black grade trails just been taken up a level and made harder. Or has my ability just dropped and my older age and bigger sense of potential injury just meant I’ve lost my bottle.

Also do you guys have any tips on how to ride these tough slow sections on things like worry gill. Is there more to it than just keeping weight back and rolling that drop out? What about the optimal black sections at Innerleithan which also seem to have some steep rocky twisting descents. Any tips on how to improve or any good books/videos which can help me handle rocky rutted steep descents without face planting.
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Posts

  • CharlieHCharlieH Posts: 410
    After my crash last week on a tiny jump I'm beginning to feel the same.
  • scrumpydavescrumpydave Posts: 143
    Dalby is my local trail centre and I'm just about comfortable riding the World Cup course now. It does have 3 or 4 very tricky sections, but there are always alternatives and I tend to use them. I think it deserves its black status even with the B routes. Other black trails I've seen tend to be longer and are physically more demanding but maybe not as technically demanding. Remember that course is designed to separate the abilities of the best in the World, and there's no shame in avoiding Worry Gill or Medusa's Drop. Many of the pros do.
    Riding the Etape du Tour for Beating Bowel Cancer - click to donate http://bit.ly/P9eBbM
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    No they don't, not the men at least!

    It's a difficult one, the chicken run on Medusa's is about 6 seconds slower, assuming you get a clear run, get held up in the main trail though and you lose time. There's a calculated risk there.

    Worry Gill isn't really about skill, it's just commitment. However, this year at least the chicken run wasn't much slower, I reckon a gained a couple of bike lengths doing it compared to the chicken run. It is just a roll in, you just have to get your head around it and not brake!

    Anyway, not really fair to compare to other black runs, as it's not really a graded trail, and there's no national standard. You could learn on Thetford black and find other blues terrifying!
  • dan sharddan shard Posts: 722
    Could just be one of those days. Theres times I am full of confidence and will have a go at anything, everything seems smooth and easy, then other days I feel awkward and nervous, and have to force myself over the difficult stuff..the only thing that pushes me over is the knowlege that Ive done ot before and it was okay.

    Always helps to ride with someone thats slightly better / more confident to get over the mental obsticals. After youve seen someone else do it okay, it makes it a little more doable.

    Just my thoughts anyway
  • ThewaylanderThewaylander Posts: 8,594
    I guess it depends,

    The problem is the rating system is not consistant. I would strongly argue the otherway in Wales trails are getting easier and easier, The balck at Afan was never trying at all, but they smoothed it and made it rediculously easy, and so on. So i guess it's a mixed bag depending on who rate the trail and where you live :(
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    I had an interesting discussion yesterday about how the standards of trails has pretty much stayed static since the first trail centres. Sure there are berms drops and jumps now, whereas they used to be more natural feeling trails, but the skill level of an experienced rider is not really being pushed, because the trail centres are trying to cater for all skill sets.

    Dropoffs aren't a new thing. Maybe you need to work on your skills/confidence.
  • Mental MickeyMental Mickey Posts: 406

    Dropoffs aren't a new thing. Maybe you need to work on your skills/confidence.

    Perhaps worth pointing out that neither of the two technical trail features mentioned actually require a 'drop off technique' to navigate through them, they can both be rolled over.

    I would suggest just forgetting the names of the features, there is a similar situation at Cannock where people worry about the intimidatingly named ''Werewolf Drop'' which is nothing more then a steep(ish) - but not that steep slope that can be rolled, in fact, that ''Worry Gill' at Dalby just looks like a much larger version, but without the trees at the top either side and with a slab to roll over instead of WD's pointy little rock.

    The Werewolf drop is p*ss easy yet many people walk it, it's so easy even I can do it! The hardest part is turning right without stopping or slowing down as it's sharp turn, but that's where teaching yourself some skill comes in, both those technical features at Dalby look like a fun challenge to me, stop mincing, get your weight right and ride them.

    I think the names of these features, Werewolf DROP and WORRY Gill are half the problem psychologically for some people.
  • dan sharddan shard Posts: 722
    Remembering also that the black grading given to trails also includes physical difficulty as well as technical, so if its partuclarly vomit inducing it will bump the grading...But again there's no rules as to what is black / red / blue

    PS
    The monkey trail at cannock (where the werewolf drop is) is red graded not black, but in fairness that used to be much harder than it is now, its been filled in to become a slope rather than as it initially was designed a drop.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    ^^That makes sense, I was puzzled why the hell someone would call it a "drop" otherwise.
  • dan sharddan shard Posts: 722
    I was shocked (momentarily) when I heard it had been filled in. Then I remember that every single time I went there, there was someone stood/sat on the other side with a green face and blood coming from a part of their body :lol::lol::lol:
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    This is worry gill:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhwGhV2nyvM

    All about weight positioning, comittment, and working the brakes properly before the corner at the bottom. Once you have rolled down it you will think 'is that it?!'
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    is that it?
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    It's totally about commitment, the line isn't great, you have to turn into it, then there's sod all run out, but there's very little skill involved in riding it, just a bit of balls!
  • ThewaylanderThewaylander Posts: 8,594
    is that it?

    This was what i was thinking.... then i thought best not say that as maybe the camera angle or summat was misleading lol
  • bike-a-swanbike-a-swan Posts: 1,235
    Werewolf isn't bad as a roller, but it has a serious psychological thing with turning through the trees at the top- I've done it goodness knows how many times and sometimes I still come back to it and think ooo-errrr, even if I've already ridden it that day. Riding it as a proper drop I can imagine would be tricky
    Rock Lobster 853, Trek 1200 and a very old, tired and loved Apollo Javelin.
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    Worry Gill is harder with a saddle up your censored , for the 5th time in 2 hours, at full bore, but it's still only about commitment frankly! That video certainly makes it look pathetic haha!

    LEAN BACK...!

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  • paul20vpaul20v Posts: 267
    is that it?

    This was what i was thinking.... then i thought best not say that as maybe the camera angle or summat was misleading lol
    glad im also not the only one ,
    maybe you have to be there.
  • bike-a-swanbike-a-swan Posts: 1,235
    I think I heard someone lose some chainring teeth on one of those worry gill videos...
    Rock Lobster 853, Trek 1200 and a very old, tired and loved Apollo Javelin.
  • getonyourbikegetonyourbike Posts: 2,648
    If you were doing Worry Gill, wouldn't you be better manualing off it anyway instead of rolling down it with the risk of damaging chainrings?
  • concordeconcorde Posts: 1,008
    I must say those names put the shits up me a lot more than seeing the videos on YouTube!
  • john_smithjohn_smith Posts: 85
    Ok, agreed those videos make it look like a kids ride. But certainly (for me at least) when your seat is cranked up and have to take a sharp left just before the drop and get to the edge and look down quite a steep shoot with a tight turn at bottom it made me stop. Maybe if wasn't on my own and psyched myself up a bit might have gone for it.

    However for an indication that this is not everyone's cup of tea and made me feel a bit better http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EZUFr7ibZU&feature=related shows other mere mortal xc racers and which way the majority take on that section.

    Agreed distance/climbing do go into grading a trail. Maybe I need to go back and redo the glentress black just for a reminder that I am pretty comfortable on bloack trails or just watch more of these youtube videos which make them all look easy. Physically/fitness I don't have an issue with black trails just sometimes some of the features (and luckily ones I don't do tend to be optional anyway) just seem a bit beyond what I thought they would build for an xc based course.

    Cheers for comments. Anyone got any guides/books on suggested techniques though for dealing with certain types of tricky slow terrain.
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    No, because there's the 90 degree bend right at the bottom!
  • dan sharddan shard Posts: 722
    john_smith wrote:
    Ok, agreed those videos make it look like a kids ride. But certainly (for me at least) when your seat is cranked up and have to take a sharp left just before the drop and get to the edge and look down quite a steep shoot with a tight turn at bottom it made me stop. Maybe if wasn't on my own and psyched myself up a bit might have gone for it.

    However for an indication that this is not everyone's cup of tea and made me feel a bit better http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EZUFr7ibZU&feature=related shows other mere mortal xc racers and which way the majority take on that section.

    Agreed distance/climbing do go into grading a trail. Maybe I need to go back and redo the glentress black just for a reminder that I am pretty comfortable on bloack trails or just watch more of these youtube videos which make them all look easy. Physically/fitness I don't have an issue with black trails just sometimes some of the features (and luckily ones I don't do tend to be optional anyway) just seem a bit beyond what I thought they would build for an xc based course.

    Cheers for comments. Anyone got any guides/books on suggested techniques though for dealing with certain types of tricky slow terrain.

    lol I feel like a riding god now after watching that. The guy at 2:07 looks like hes never been on a bike before
  • getonyourbikegetonyourbike Posts: 2,648
    I still think you could comfortably manual off it, whip the rear wheel round at the bottom and you're fine and faster than the rest.
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    The quickest way is to roll it, you can't carry speed in or out. Can I watch you try though?

    The other issue as well is that if you manual off it it's a 6ft to flat drop, and you'll need to stop dead at the bottom, particularly in an XC race that's likely to break a few bikes, would also require riders to go one at a time, rather than a steady flow.
  • getonyourbikegetonyourbike Posts: 2,648
    fair enough, I've never ridden it before, just contemplating.
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    I agree with you principally that things like that are often better manualled than rolled, but like I say, there's nowhere to go, and it'd be a seriously big drop. I'd suggest if you had the bike to cope with the drop you'd be rather overbiked for the other 99% of the trails!
  • ThewaylanderThewaylander Posts: 8,594
    Yup but then half of us are cos we can only afford one bike and we like to DH too.

    Actually to be honest i really hate the term overbiked, it's a kinda arrogant thing to say that you know better what a person needs than they do :s
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    njee20 wrote:
    The quickest way is to roll it, you can't carry speed in or out. Can I watch you try though?
    Dude, I think he's joking. :roll:
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    Was he? Perhaps my irony meter is off, but I thought he was serious! :oops:

    You know what I mean Waylander, the red route is a fast pedally trail, which is easily doable on any bike, if you start introducing a 6ft drop you start needing rather more bike! If you're doing the WC course the climb out of Worry Gill would be really really horrible on said bike too, it had me wishing I'd brought a front mech on my 5th lap!
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