Friday, August 16, 2013

Highlan Moutain Bike Park

So I have heard bits and pieces about Highland over the last two years and always wanted to go but never committed to actually getting there. That all changed when Pat sent me a message asking if I wanted to go Thursday with him and after I got the ok from my lady that evening I was so pumped. I love to ride DH I always have and it has always felt good and natural in most cases. Going to DH specific park was like fulfilling a void I was missing in MTB. I rode some steep and jumpy stuff in Utah and it felt all good and great but I was not prepared for the amount of awesome that lies in NH. We arrive by 9:30 after a 3 hour drive and I got my rental going. I had to rent since I do not have a downhill capable rig anymore so I had reserved a Canondale Claymore. Pretty nice bike, 170mm front and rear and nice and light which made it fun in the air. As we rode up the first lift and got off we were racing down the first run. The bike immediately became extremely uncomfortable with my body way over the front bars and finding not enough brake power or lever than I needed. I was still have a great time despite the awkward bike. At the end of the first run I was happy about a solid run down but unhappy how un natural the bike felt. So after a few more runs I went into the bike shop and had them set up a larger frame for me which did prove to be much more comfortable but still awkward the rest of the day probably due to amount of suspension travel. My hands however were far worse than any bike problems I had, my fingers were excutiating at the end of every run. I had massive pain in my last three fingers from braking too much or holding the bars too hard, this prevented be from ever getting into a good rhythm. Despite these issues I trucked on and and rode the day out. We took quite a few runs down Hellion which was a great trail, this place is littered with step ups which take a little getting use to with the lip pops but I caught on just fine. Lots of rocky runs too, I had not taken a single crash all day until we rode Threshold which was well within my riding capability but took two slow OTB to rocks one faster OTB, I like to think due to trying to eject out of this DH bike I was on. That remained as my only crashes of the day and all were very unpleasant but only scratches and bruises. I must say it was nice to have the full face because I was able to let my head slam on the rocks comfortably knowing I was well protected. Run after run my hands became worse, to the point where at the end of the run it took me 10-20 seconds to be able to open them after releasing the bars. All day I was battling the bike and fingers but held in there and still had a rocking good time. I was pretty happy at the end of the last run that I was coming home with no major injuries since this is an easy place to end your season or even career. I got it out of my system and probably won't subject myself to that level of riding for a little while. Here is my run down Hellion, have not used my gopro in over a year sadly......

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