Thursday, November 12, 2009

What? The Wrong Tyres?

I can't believe I wrote that title. Having read numerous threads on mountain bike forums over the years, I'm bored to death with reading about what is supposedly the best tyre for (insert name of place). I am of the opinion for general XC, that it's not about the tyres on ones bike, it's about the rider's skill. The End.

Well not quite. Yesterday Nick suggested I head over to Todmorden with him to ride some of the trails round there with the STW crew and assorted bike industry folk. I'd ridden there before all would be good.

After hammering the coffee machine at STW HQ we assembled outside to split into three groups. Basically rides of differing length and difficulty dependant on how one felt on the day.

I elected to ride on the Todmorden Tech ride which would show some of the hardest riding the valley has to offer. Roughly half of this group was made up of 'locals', and I noticed before we left that many sported what are the bike equivalent of agricultural tractor tyres. Heavy wide, squarish profile, and deeeeep tread. How odd.

Off we went on the road along the valley, and again up the first hill on the road. Oh yes, those tyres sucked it out of them boys, and no doubt those who heard us passing without seeing us thought they could here the sound of distant thunder.

As always after the up, there comes the down, and at first I had no problem staying with the locals. Bare rock, and sandy trails, exactly what i'm used to.

Problems started to arise with my controlling the direction of travel and velocity of myself and bike, when the line to ride was underlying slithery mud covered with the autumnal fallings from the trees above. I was out of control.

As the day progressed I only took a couple of tumbles, but the near misses were many. Mid afternoon I decided I'd run my luck dry for the day, and on more than one occasion opted to avoid the "I'll end up in Hospital if I don't make this" line.

A great day of proper technical riding which caused not only me, but near everyone in our group to involuntarily get off their bike at least once.

Next time I head over that way, i'm going get me some of those there big tyres.

Some pics of the boys below. Click for bigger.

Great Rock

One Crash Of Many

Fingers Flys