Don’t ever stop!

The day after, a blue monday, I’m sitting behind my screen. Blue sky and the sun shines in my eye. Bruises on my shoulder and hip remind me of another great day of riding in Belgium. Yes, with the Piet and the Plons once again.

We where pushed of cliffs, into tight corners and fast berms, just to see how we would hold up. But nothing could get the smile of our faces.

The only thing we can really do at this moment… get them to ride with us again soon, we can’t get enough! Riding with them is buckets of fun and very inspirational. See for yourself:

 

First impression Trek Slash 9

The first few km’s on the Slash are in the pocket! I picked this handsome ride up on saturday, went for a sunny ride in the dunes and for a rainy and muddy ride on sunday in Nijmegen. Two totally different riding days, so how did this baby perform?

First, some background

As you’ve read on my blog, I’ve owned several bikes and did some testriding for Mountainbike.nl. I have no technical knowledge on how and why something works on a bike, but I know what I like and what works. Also, I have been puking my guts out the days prior to riding on the Slash. So I should not be very fit. Not the best circumstances to ride?

At first glance

I picked up my Slash at Fietsshop Uitgeest, my sponsor and well partner as we both started this team with 4 young riders and ourselves as senior riders on board. It is so shiny, the bike, the Kashima coating looks so sexy and our orange parts fit perfect with it. Some may add a few gram to the bike and the weight of the complete bike with new parts (incl.  pedals) was 14.8kg (32,6 lbs). It’s significant and prior to riding I was worried about the weight. Although I must admit, my Remedy was slightly heavier on racedays. So, considering what the bike is targeted for, I might not complain too much and ride first!

Schoorl

On of most popular xc tracks in Holland, 14 km long with 207m climb. Consider: we’re HOLLAND! Anyway, let’s not debate the practical choice for riding with the slash here, I was in the area 😉 But most people ride hard tails here, so how do I get by with the Slash?

I like a steep angle and rode the lap with the TALAS at 120 mm, it gave me a little xc edge. The  Float kept on position 2 (ride) the whole time but once. Normal pressure, no additional trail tuning.

What I noticed first was: it rides so easily, so light… but wait… it’s heavy I can feel that… How is that possible? Because the Slash sticks to the ground like glue, it’s grounded so you feel it’s weight. But it peddles so light and effectively you gain and maintain speed almost without effort. Schoorl is a bumpy ride, but on board the Slash you hardly notice it, it just gains speed because it’s so grounded.

The few steeper climbs in Schoorl where not a problem for me, I never had to dismount and finally I tried the famous “climb” switch and this bike became ridiculously fantastic at climbing. This feels like my Fuel ex with fat tires. I am not kidding, the Slash has a much better fit for me than the Fuel ex does, so it was even easier for me to climb! Forget comparing it to the Remedy, let’s compare with the Fuel ex!

Nijmegen

Saturday’s sun was long gone, or even… it never reached Nijmegen where it’s been muddy and raining for weeks. Januari 8th I was there with the Fuel ex: rain and mud. Now I was here with the Slash: rain and mud. Sounds like a good comparison? Oh wait, I had been sick a week and rode the day before D2/D3, I should be a little less fit.

You can see, we did almost the same trails and same climbs/descends (fuel ex: 21,55km 232m up | Slash 22,38km 246m up). Green is trail-profile and blue is speed. On board the Slash my speed seems overall a bit faster! For your comparison, heart-rate was the same for both rides. Average 146 and Max 177 for the Fuel ex and 174 for Slash. Average moving speed on the Fuel ex was faster according to Garmin 13,4km/h and 12,6km/h on the Slash.

 

You could study on the differences, but I see an overall of higher speed on board the Slash.

In short, for now

Okay, that was fun for the statistical geeks like me, but you just wanted to know how it rides and see the pictures. I’m pleased about the riding and climbing capabilities, this bike deserves a fitter me (working on it). The weight is noticeable, it’s very grounded. That gives you a little mental set-back, you should let go of that feeling on hinder, because it doesn’t hinder you at all and it’s you’re call wether or not you know are faster on this bike or your that mind is telling you nonsense.

I will not elaborate on the descents for now, you will believe me when I say it’s great and performs outstanding, I should go some place more deserving of such conclusions before saying more about this point.

Well, yeah it’s one hell of a bike and if you can afford one I have no idea why you should look further, this is the bike for enduro-riders that want no compromise going up or going down.

Shut up… show me the pictures already!

Bloemers Bootcamp in Aywaille

Years ago I was invited for a ride in Aywaille by trailjunkie TBX and last sunday fellow trailjunkie J.BL invited me again. I had forgotten how beautiful it is up there. And how hard and technical. Trails that are sometimes too technical to ride (so we had to walk) or steep (so we had to drag our bikes on our backs) and rocky! About 900m uphill in a 24km ride… hard work, but well worth it!

A week of riding in the Alps

I just got back from a week of riding in the alps. We started of with the Passportes du Soleil on sunday. 68km of trails (81km including the lift) and a big bright sun, we had a fantastic (exhausting) day. Guess how tired we where on monday. Deadtired! We did some shopping and relaxing and did soms DH runs on the big bikes after I had a softer spring installed in the Boxxer of the Session.

Tuesday we grabbed the big bike for a full day of downhill and we had so much fun, we even got it on tape because I had a GoPro helmet-cam with me that week. It took some tinkering and adjusting and we still haven’t found the proper angle.

We reserved the trailriding for wednesday and thursday because of the poor weather predictions. We left for the top of Les Crosets which is at almost 230omtr of altitude. The chairlift disappeared in for before our eyes and we started the descent in fog and rain. By the time we arrived at the green lake, it was poring cats and dogs. We waited for the worst rain to pass and continued on these wonderful trails onward to Les Lindarets. For thursday we arranged a guide and explored trails near Les Gets; all roots and some nice verts. It was slippery as hell, but we had the best time. Joe Pauly from http://www.ride-ability.com/ took us to some very nice technical trails, with this beauty as desert:

Advanced downhill training with Mikeys Bike Adventures

“Ride like a pro!”, that’s what Maichel Lemmens promises with his advanced downhill skills training in Malmedy. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Last sunday my alarm went off at 5am, WTF… After a briefing and exchange of wishes and expectations for the day. We started the day with the setup of the bike and first action was a step-down / step-up combination on the 4x track in Malmedy. Rusty start, but after gaining some confidence it got better and better. After the lunch Mikey gave us some play-time with a very nice drop-off and after that it was downhill-time. Tight corners, slippery roots and the art of line-choice.

It was an awesome day, picked up some more skills and Mikey’s riding is inspirational to see. If you’re interested, head over to his website http://mikeysbikeadventures.com.

Malmedy DH training

Malmedy DH training

Malmedy DH training

Having fun @Filthy trails

At the moment I’m working on a companion for the Remedy, a downhill rig with a nostalgic touch and one that doesn’t cost me the world. My Remedy is still my baby and the bike that brings the most smiles. But I want to keep it for many years to come (something unique, I usually can’t wait for something new) so I thought it was best not to ride full on downhill with the Remedy anymore.

I visited the Filthy Trails this Sunday with the Remedy (new bike not done yet) and it’s one of these places the Remedy feels right at home. It even jumps the gaps like it’s nothing and if I didn’t have half a brain, I’d attempt to two bigger ones too.

First impression Trek Scratch

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The Trek Scratch was one of the bikes that rode perfectly. The BB height , head angle options (yes options 66 or 66.5 degrees) and chain stay length lead to flawless handling. The model I rode was set with coil springs and in spite of the associated weight it just rolled up the loose gravel road at Bootleg Canyon like a 28 lb XC bike. In fact while riding in the middle ring Andrew Shandro (from Trek Design team) and I were able to have a decent conversation about the purpose of the bike. We both believe that for a bike to be truly considered a trail bike it must climb well

Source: nsmb.com/3320-trek-scratch-ridden

Winterberg, just a short visit

Last sunday I had my first visit to Winterberg of the year! The first! The season is about done, but the weather was great and the track was in perfect shape. That and with 3 Remedy’s on the hill; it was the best time!

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How I love a good muddy ride

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Last Sunday I went for another ride in Brunssum. The PPdS is just around the corner, and we haven’t been all that active with regular training rides (shame). When I left home (Brunssum is a 2 hrs ride for me) it was raining cats ‘n dogs, here and in Brunssum. But I had good hopes on a dry ride.

It was somewhat dry, I mean no rain! Some sun and a very comfortable temperature of 19º+, so shirts and shorts and two happy riders on their marry way. The not so dry bit came from the surface, I don’t think Brunssum can get any muddier then this. a thick layer of mud plastered over our gear, bike and any body part not covered. It’s never been this much fun and, most important, we never did the two laps in a faster time!

My friends new ride, Mythic Wildcard was finally fully blessed and approved, if we need new carreers, we can start a bikeshop together.

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Oh, and NO-ONE ever gets to say anything bad about the Continental Mountain King tires. They rock! The review is coming up this week here at Bikeblog.nl. Stay tuned.

Spring is here, life is good!

Spring ride

This weekend I went for two rides! Yes, you heard it right, got the steed out of the garage two times in two days. Almost make you think I got my mojo back again. I’m getting there btw, lovely weather like these days certainly help. If the pollen are done, I’ll be the happiest I can be.

Next weekend another darling will be added to the family, as my friend Ilja decided to get a Banshee Wildcard. What a nice ride! We’re going to build it on Friday (watch this space) and put it to the test on Saturday, probably somewhere Limburg or Belgium. Can’t wait… love springtime, life is good!

Happy riding days are here again!