Monday, 14 July 2008

Stig of the Jump

Sunday was an excellent day for cycling.

Cool, clear and not a drop of rain. Encouraged by my nurofen powered trial on Saturday (to the shops and back on the singlespeed) I took the plunge and arranged a quick one in Swinley with Hayden.

Southwest Trains usual habit of making straightforward journeys less so meant Kelly and I had to go via Wimbledon - which is not a cycle friendly station. Met Hayden and Jude on the train and away we went to Martin's Heron via Virginia water twice (mad signal issue and reversing the train to change direction).

Anyway - got into Swinley and we basically rode the best bits of single track we could string together in a two hour loop after a quick warm up.

The place had drained well - and there were not too many other people out and about.

Except for The Stig.

At the top of the Jump spot was a guy dressed in full body armour, full face helmet and ski goggles astride some monster DH bike. He just stood there. Motionless. Visualising his run. He looked a bit ridiculous. After all this is Swinley. Berkshire. Not a well regarded alpine freeride venue involving ski lifts.

Anyway he did not give it a go when we were there - so we moved on.

I am all for people giving it a go - and saftey is a must - but I did wonder on my way home if that guy was enjoying himself. He was tooled up for more than Swinley could throw at him. I had the thought that with a reasonable travel bike, and bit less armour he could have moved freely around the woods and riden loads of drops, switchbacks, jumps and general woodland nuttyness. Roots and steepness prevail in the forest - and although that's not everyone's thing - it's the thing Swinley is best at producing a grin on.

When we went to the Quashqui challenge there were lads (all be it pro) going nuts over the jumps in jeans and a helmet. Serious injury possibility - 30 foot drop in and huge gaps. So having seen this, I did take the Stig's cautionary approach to personal protection as a little bit over the top.

I Know it's not really my business to have a go at The Stig - but it did make me focus on being proud of Kelly giving some of the rooty drops and more technical stuff ago yesterday. As Kelly pointed out it's only a few weeks since she busted her cheek at Dalbeattie. And that's a place one could make a case for getting your Stig out.

As predicted my ankle is sore - and the bikes are not covered in mud. So all in all a great day in the woods.

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