07 July 2008

Happy gappy chappy

Remember this post from my first visit to the Filthy Trails in Belgium? The one with the photo below:

Well the weekend just gone I returned to the Filthy Trails for the Kona Comp 2008 and I nailed the gap in the above photo. Well I guess a more accurate statement would be that the gap nailed me!

Kona tape 2

I went along with the view to take more photos than actually ride the competition. But the conditions were fast yet grippy due to rain earlier and the week and I was stomping the 4th jump on the big line which previously scared me.

So I thought "Sod it" and went for the 5th jump - the road gap. I've read somewhere that the gap is 8m which I find hard to believe but looking back at the photos and video that I took it does look like it is 4 x bike lengths so maybe 8m is true!

I pedaled what I thought was like the clappers and sailed off the launch ramp. The rest was a bit of a blur but my interpretation of sailed was more like falling. Although I did land on the down ramp, I think I was still going too slow and my lardy arse pounded my rear wheel slightly flat.

the gap bite

But there was no kick from my shock, no pain in the ankles or wrists and gratefully no landing sideways so I was able to ride out to a stop. I knew something had happened to my bike cos it was loud but I was stoked and didn't care. I survived!

God knows how I managed to egg a DT Swiss 6.1 rim (the heaviest duty rim DT Swiss make) but I managed it and I didn't hit any of the bigger stuff again that day in fear of collapse. It also gave me a good excuse not to enter the competition ;-) So I managed to get some excellent photos instead:

The guy below was heel clicking the gap - big balls!

blue Nicolai heel clicker

And no footing the top drop:

no footed blue Nicolai dropper

This custom green Kona was a sweet setup and I caught a sequence of him hitting some shore:

filthy trails shore jump sequence

I landed about 3 feet behind where this guy landed so how come his wheel is still round?!

gap landing dust

There was some nice style over the last jump:

green Kona whip

It wasn't all big boys with big balls though. This kid was loving it and has great helmet taste ;-)

Specialized berm rider

I tracked some of the guys dropping the large drop which blurred the background nicely:

1 handed Specialized dropper

This guy also had some sweet style:

yellow Kona gap jumper

The flash worked really well on the wall ride:

Specialized wall rider

I was loving the use of the flash as the light through the trees was tricky. But if there are any photo geeks out there, then I would appreciated an answer to a flash question. My D40 camera would only take photos at 1/500th sec when using the built in flash. If I bought an external SB-200 would I be able to use a faster shutter setting or do I need a better flash or is it not possible with my camera?

I also created a short video clip of the day that shows the gap jump in all it's glory. I've registered with Pinkbike now for biking videos but you can also rate it on YouTube here.

Finally at the end of the day I spotted someone riding my new bike to be. I got chatting with the guy and found out it was a small which is the size I have ordered. I was previously only able to try a large so I jumped at the chance to ride a small with a 55mm stem (I'm getting a 50mm stem). I took a full run from the top including the drops and although the setup was a little stiff for my preference, the size was spot on. It's going to be a long 23 days until I'm on the plane to Canada!

In the meantime enjoy all my photos here or in slideshow format here.

Oh and I forgot to mention that Emma has bought me an awesome birthday present - a coaching session with Shaums March from MMR for when we are in Whistler - sweet! I wonder if I'll be gapping 8m in my sleep after that :-)

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