PMBA Enduro Series Round 5 – Kirroughtree Scotland

PMBA Enduro Series Round 5 – Kirroughtree Scotland

photo of Ant on stage 6 by official race photographer Nick Moor @NPM Photography
photo of Ant on stage 6 by  Nick Moor @NPM Photography

The PMBA Hope / Orange sponsored Enduro series is probably the hottest grass roots racing series around at the moment. It’s been attracting the attention of some big name enduro riders for quite a while and with pretty much each race being a sell out you have got to get booked on well in advance especially if you want to take part in all the races.

The series brings a taste of racing to the masses without the need for racing licenses and paperwork nightmares. You enter online, turn up on the day, and race (or ride) the course at your own pace, with or without your mates. Simples!

It’s the ideal opportunity to let rip on trails you wouldn’t normally get to ride, and it’s becoming more and more popular as groups of riders from up and down the country are signing up for a chance to compete with each other just for fun.

After missing out on the first 4 races I managed to get myself signed up for round 5 at Kirroughtree. Kirroughtree is one of the 7 Stanes which are Scottish mtb trail centres. I’ve long been a fan of the 7 Stanes and Kirroughtree has always been one of my favourites. It’s a beautiful forest and the trails are fast and flowy and great fun to ride in all weathers.

Sam and the crew at the Break Pad cycle centre at Kirroughtree regularly organise all kinds of bike related events so it’s no surprise that the PMBA series picked Kirroughtree as the venue for their only race venue over the border.
The team had cut in some natural stages specially for the event and everyone was looking forward to getting loose in the trees.

After hearing of some quite serious weather and getting a run down of the stages I decided it would be best to go for a more aggressive tyre set-up to try and eek out a bit more grip on the roots and steep sections. Whilst I was contemplating the ideal rubber choice, the FC bosses were pulling the plug on one of the fresh cut stages for health and safety reasons meaning 2 stages would be cut. It was sad news but thankfully the race organisers pulled 2 stages that had been used for previous events out of the bag and everything was back on track for a great weekends racing.
With tyres switched and the bike prepped and ready for action it was time to head out to the forest.

These events usually have camping available so everyone can hang out with their friends, get themselves set-up, and be properly rested for race day. I quickly found the Gisburn Forest Collective including race organiser Kev Duckworth and series photographer Nick Moor holed up in one corner of the camping field so I headed over and added my tent to Gisburn Village.

I’ve never really been much of a racer but having been to a couple of these before I’m starting to find the lure of riding old school natural trails as fast as you dare very appealing.

There was a good mix of natural (fresh cut) and trail centre trail for this one and the transitions in the PMBA series aren’t timed so you don’t have to race the bits inbetween stages which makes for a relaxed fun atmoshphere.

I rode a couple of stages in practise and then raced 3 out of 5 stages blind as I’d been told it was mostly red and black trail. Everything was looking good, until I charged into a rock garden on stage 4 which caught me off guard and nearly spat me off the track after I committed to a crap line and ended up heading for the trees on a skinny rocky outcrop.

After a quick adjustment that involved picking up the bike I was back on track but soon had another rider catching me. The hidden racer in everyone starts to show when this happens. It’s tricky letting someone past without losing time. It can be hard to tell when they’re shouting to get past if they’re actually in a position to do it quickly or not. In this case it was “not”, meaning I lost a couple of seconds letting the guy through which got the red mist up and had me chasing him like a mad dog to the end of the stage. Having made it safely through I was kicking myself for the silly mistake and for not looking at all the stages beforehand.

As the afternoon progressed and the stages went by I started to feel I had missed out by not racing any of the other events this season. I was loving it! The steep and loamy natural cut stage 6 surprised me the most. I’d briefly looked at it during practise and decided against riding it before the race incase I crashed! (lol) It was surprisingly grippy as it was fairly dry and was definitely the steepest thing I’d ridden to date that I was aware of anyway.

All in all it was a great reminder of why I got into mtb in the first place and I’ll definitely be signing up for more events in the coming months.

Thanks to Santa Cruz UK, Absolute Black, Squirt Lube, Invisiframe and Bounce suspension for all their help. Please check out our supporters websites and products.

To find out more and enter the race series on the Borderline events site

http://www.borderline-events.co.uk/enduro_2016.htm

or via the race series facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/PMBAEnduroSeries/?fref=ts

Ant.

 

Grand Day Out Biking in Cumbria

Grand Day Out Biking in Cumbria

Grand Day Out Biking in CumbriaTrail Motions recently took part in the Grand Day Out in Cumbria and helped to raise over £20,000 for the Cumbria Community Foundation and Mountain Rescue flood appeal.

We regularly visit the Lake District with our mountain bike coaching and guiding days and with some of our favourite spots being quite badly hit by flooding it seemed only right that we do our bit and offer up a guided ride as part of the days events.

Some of the other events on offer included fell running, hiking, walking, road cycling and even a ukulele group concert!

The region had just had a thorough dusting of snow and was looking very white as hundreds of people headed out into the fells all over Cumbria.

For our part, myself, Max and Julian (my helping hands) went on a mini adventure with 17 crazy mountain bikers. Read more

Mountain Bike Tyre Choice

Favourite Basic Upgrades for Mountain Bikes

The next in the series is:

Mountain Bike Tyres

Next we start to look at the bikes contact with the ground.

Do the tyres do the job you want them to?

Again, there are a few general rules that can help here. A softer compound front tyre that offers good grip and control tends to be suited to riders that get a bit more adventurous. If you commute most of the time on roads you don’t really want a 2.4” super tacky (soft) downhill tyre as it will seriously slow you down.
Thinner / narrower , “lower rolling resistance” tyres, are great for smooth and fast trails, but once you get off road and onto big rocks or muddy sections they can quickly lose their grip and can puncture more easily.

Mountain Bike Tyre Choice

I prefer to have quite a wide (2.3 or 2.4) slightly soft (50 /60a) compound tyre up front as the extra width and softer compound will grip pretty much everything, meaning I can ride and corner with confidence, knowing the bike will turn when I ask it to.

Read more

Mountain Bike Contact Points Guide

Favourite Basic Upgrades for Mountain Bikes

The second in the series is:

Contact Points

Sticking with comfort and control as the most important factors, we look at the other contact points next. This means handlebar grips, saddle and pedals.

Grips come in various sizes and compounds. Lock-on grips mean you don’t have to mess about trying to glue your grips to the bar with hairspray or have them constantly slipping. They also make it much easier for you to change things around and keep everything clean. Most of them have bar ends aswell which keeps the ends of the handlebar covered keeping them dirt free and stopping them from getting damaged or causing damage if the land on a rock or another rider!

Again, most shops will have plenty for you to try out.

Mountain Bike Contact Points Guide

With mountain bike saddles, we’re all shaped slightly differently so what suits one rider doesn’t always suit his or her best friend aswell. Simply buying what your mate’s got without trying it first isn’t always a good idea. Some mountain bike saddles are longer and thinner, some are shorter and wider. Some have cutouts to protect your delicate parts, others flex underneath to do the same job. If the saddle on your bike rubs or causes discomfort pop into your local bike shop and ask to try some saddles for size. Most will have demo saddles they can pop on a bike for you to check out.

Read more

Mountain Bikes Cockpit Setup Guide

Hello, and welcome to our new blog page!

I thought we’d kick things off with a series of advice on the most useful upgrades I feel will help make your new (or old) mountain bike handle better, and make it feel like it’s yours, rather than the same as all the others. These days most bikes are produced in massive numbers and the parts they come with are chosen, more often than not, to a budget, rather than because of quality.

Chances are, no matter what mountain bike you buy, especially if it’s in the “budget” category, there’ll be a few things you can change that will make a massive difference to your comfort on the bike and will no doubt help improve your confidence on the bike as you head out to test your skills on rougher terrain.

Favourite Basic Upgrades for Mountain Bikes

The first in the series is:

Cockpit Setup

This means, Handlebar, Handlebar Stem & Handlebar Grips.

If the stem is too long, and / or the bar is quite narrow, it can make the steering slow and sluggish or overly twitchy as the rider can over compensate trying to get the bike to respond. Either way, the bike can be a bit of a handful on tight twisty trails and especially if you’re riding slow.

Mountain Bikes Cockpit Setup Guide

There are lots of choices offer here so it can be a bit hit and miss if you’re not sure what to buy. It’s really all down to matching the components to your needs.

Read more