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Fort william downhill - how bad / good is it?

DodgeTDodgeT Posts: 2,255
edited September 2012 in Routes
See quite a few people on here talk about doing / how they've done the downhill (world cup route) so would like to know how "gnar" is it?

I'd like to think i'm a fairly competent rider, not crazy but i'll have a go at most things unless they're near vertical and above say 4ft sheer drop to flat.

Was looking at some bike hire websites as going to hire a DH bike for it and came across this vid http://www.fortwilliambikehire.co.uk/downhill-info
It's the first time i've seen a vid of the whole route and it looks pretty dam good, if not very very tricky in places.

So would like to hear from some similar weekend warrior types like myself :) on what it is exactly like / what to expect, as we're considering a long weekend up there in August.

Basically wondering whether I should pre-arrange an ambulance or get measured up for a coffin :mrgreen:

Posts

  • mcnultycopmcnultycop Posts: 2,143
    It was on the Eurosport UCI World Cup Show at weekend, the rock garden bit looked harrowing, but then again all rocks look harrowing to me.
  • DodgeTDodgeT Posts: 2,255
    Thought somebody would have been along to offer their comments on the track, or there again, perhaps no one on here has actually ridden it......

    ;)
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    Expect to fall or walk often.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • DodgeTDodgeT Posts: 2,255
    nicklouse wrote:
    Expect to fall or walk often.

    So is this from first hand experience?
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    Nope. But having been there fixing bikes I know what can happen for riders better than most on here.

    Ok they would have been going way faster than you will be but my words still stand. Oh it was a wet race in 2006.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • DodgeTDodgeT Posts: 2,255
    nicklouse wrote:
    Nope. But having been there fixing bikes I know what can happen for riders better than most on here.

    Ok they would have been going way faster than you will be but my words still stand. Oh it was a wet race in 2006.

    The cheek of it :mrgreen:

    Going off current weather changes, might be aswell taking the snowboard up too just in case..
  • Davy-gDavy-g Posts: 401
    I did it last year on a Giant Reign X0... tell you what mate... all videos DO NOT do justice to the DH track... to me it was scary as hell, I suffered very badly from a bad bout of Tourettes all the way from the start gate to the finish line.... I was way outa my depth on that track....I am heading back to it this Friday 3rd August, only this time I will be on a bike that is best suited to DH....
    The rock gardens,drop off's are sore on the body, there is no respite for you in the trees either... the track is just in your face relentless all the way down...... you will love it....

    have fun, and have a shot of the Nevis Red when you are there... had to send the Rangers up for one of our lads last year... he spent 6 months of work and the bike.. :shock: :shock: :shock:
  • DodgeTDodgeT Posts: 2,255
    Sounds good :)

    Have fun up there tomorrow, let us know how you get on !!
  • Davy-gDavy-g Posts: 401
    this video that these lads recorded gives you a better idea of what to expect.... this was there first ever time up at the Fort.... least ways they were not going at breakneck speed... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSuhomvG ... ture=share
  • DodgeTDodgeT Posts: 2,255
    Good vid that, they did well, got down everything and seemed to be going faster towards the end.
  • mike_s14mike_s14 Posts: 48
    we still going up in 2 weeks? or have you been put off :lol:
    Cube AMS 120 29'er with 23" frame, its masivooove!!!
    Mondraker Summum, its boouncyyy.....
  • DodgeTDodgeT Posts: 2,255
    Be reet, looks far more doable with the last vid on here, as opposed to the nutter on the first one :)
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 15,475
    It's great... I think the main things...

    There's a few big, committing features, some of which are hard to ride slowly and easier to ride fast. So riding down it crapping yourself is unhelpful. On my first run down I ended up walking stuff that wouldn't normally faze me at all, just because I got to the point I couldn't keep up with it- should have stopped, had proper looks at things, etc.

    It's pretty relentless- taking short breaks especially on your first run is a good idea, there's very little track where there's not something happening so it's easy to find yourself physically or mentally behind the curve. There's always people stopped at the deer fence and the fireroad by the Big Doon (which, incidentally, is closed to the public, thank ****)

    But, on the other hand, you can ride it without ever leaving the ground, there's no mandatory air on the public track. That means taking chicken lines etc but frankly there is no shame in this.

    Quickly going back to the first point, it genuinely does ride better with a little pace and, what's trickier, a little confidence. The rocks get smoother and you'll find yourself generally in better places- there's a few spots where a quick drop or jump gets you easily past something that's a total pain in the bum done on the ground. You'll also find it physically hard to do it slow- lots of braking which means lots of force on your arms, lots of jarring off rocks etc.

    Lastly- watch out for the very first jump on the new motorway, it's a censored !


    At the end of the day, it's a world cup downhill route, you can't ride it if you're not a competent rider- it'll end badly and there's hardly anywhere on the route that I'd be happy to crash! But it's not as hard as most folks probably think.

    What I always say is, do the nevis red (it's ace anyway). After a run or two if you're feeling comfortable and confident on it, then cross over from the red onto the world cup route and come down through the lower forest and the wall and motorway- that'll give you a taster. If you've got the skills and the confidence to do both the red and the lower dh happily and in good control, then you'll probably be able to handle all of the downhill.

    At the end of the day, I'm a pretty ordinary rider, maybe above average but nothing special at all, but I get on alright with it. There's small amounts of harder riding to be found all over- Laggan's black is definately harder, frinstance. But it's the incessant challenge that makes it such a different animal.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 15,475
    Alright, here's an old video I did, of my first ever run... Slightly crapping myself with my xc helmet on :mrgreen:

    https://vimeo.com/12741008

    There's been some changes since though, some of the rock sections have been dug out more and the bottom section is heavily changed.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • DodgeTDodgeT Posts: 2,255
    Cheers NW, that's the kind of stuff I was after hearing, will take a look at the vid on the lappy tomorrow :)
  • Davy-gDavy-g Posts: 401
    well wos the score... did you survive the Bill???
    I came home with a busted knuckle on the left hand and a badly sprained right wrist... one of the other lads arrived home 10 days later from Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, he was rushed there by ambulance with blues and twos blaring... he came a cropper and split his kidney!!!

    I ended up with broken ribs last weekend down at Kirroughtree... :roll: :roll:
  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,001
    I have done the Red and that nearly scared me sh++less. We had a look at the DH track and I thought Naaaaar I dont want to die, my mate had a go and landed on his head his eyes didnt stop spinning for a week. The gap between keen amateur and top pro is a huuuuuuuge one.
    Fig rolls: proof that god loves cyclists and that she wants us to do another lap
  • Davy-gDavy-g Posts: 401
    forgot to add the slideshow of "Storming the fort"... http://vimeo.com/48540361

    the Red was a 5km rest for me... :twisted: :twisted:
  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    Ive raced DH there. Definitely in the bad-censored league, but all rideable.
    A Flock of Birds
    + some other bikes.
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