Ah… ‘Best laid plans’ is the theme of Day 2 in punishing Pila. Yes, I have to admit I woke up on Day 2 with strangely sore hands and wrists. Before calling me a total wanker, its fair to say that either Pila is hard on the limbs or I am finally starting to see the side effects of being late 30’s as opposed to early 30’s.
I don’t remember feeling this sore this early after any Whistler trip, which as a benchmark is a pretty solid comparison. This gave me much to contemplate as I commuted to the office for Day 2…
Given I had a MEGA Day 3 in Pila planned (watch this space), I thought maybe the best approach to Day 2 was to chill & consolidate. Build the mojo, keep my nose clean and don’t fuck anything up – Easy to do when you’re rolling solo, even if the conditions are encouraging you get loose as fuck. Another Pila banger was being dished up:
A couple of clunky warm up runs courtesy of hands that were not loving another day of braking bumps and too much braking in general and all was going swimmingly… But then I ran into a little trouble. But little, I mean actually little and by trouble I mean PRO.
Currently ranked 7th in the EWS PRO standings, Katy Winton was in Pila to prep for La Thuile, not unlike my Dirty self… Except a whole lot faster and with actual training as opposed to trying not to maim yourself riding down the hill. This included sprints into the start of runs… I thought that was an excellent idea, to watch.
My usual benchmark when encountering an EWS PRO is to either ask for an embarrassing selfie scenario with appropriate stalkerish undertones, or assume the foetal position until the trail is clear. But after a good chat with Katy, it was cool to be finally turning laps with someone else. By turning laps, I mean here are the 15 seconds at the start of each run that I could keep up…
The upside of being slapped in the face with the cycling pecking order is that it made me ride out of my hairy skin in an extremely vain attempt to keep Miss Winton in sight. Invariably I would be amazed at the way she floated through a series of turns, while I reenacted being an elephant having a seizure over the same terrain… With my disc rotors almost setting fire to her dust. Still, in spite of my tardiness, the stoke was high.
Luckily for me, Katy had finished training for the day, so was cool to dial it back a few notches and check out some other trails… Which as it turns out meant me ripping side knobs off my tires in an attempt to keep up – Which on reflection meant it was time for my training session. Thank fuck I had my colour co-ordination gloves on otherwise I would have been even more vaporised.
Katy introduced me to the very PRO line combo of Red 2 into Black 5 and back into Red 3 to finish, which I have to say was an excellent combo and probably not unlike what we will face at La Thuile next weekend. Black 5 in particular an excellent steep wooded tech line, love that shit.
Just when you think the PRO fever can’t peak out any more, the other half of the EWS PRO Dynamic duo was soon to arrive on the scene in the form of Greg Callaghan, double Irish round winner, with OMFG, Santa Cruz PRO Mark Scott… Holy fuck, time for me to transform into a crying teenage girl at a Bieber concert. Sure, I’ll sort of come for a few laps guys! Holy fuck…
If you wanted front row seats in the difference between your job being to win races Vs. stay in one piece, then this was it. I have raved on about PRO’s a LOT on this site, let’s face it, we’re talking about the human beings who ride bikes better than any others on the planet, so it doesn’t take much to get me started.
The smoothness and ease with which they roost the fuck out of stuff that you look like you’re dribbling down like you’re drunk and have been punched in the face never fails to impress me. As cyclists, we have ALL looked at someone once and thought “I would love to ride a bike like that“. Doesn’t matter if you’re a roadie, an XC Bandito or a DHer… we’ve all harboured that inner riding style envy at some stage. Well, here’s looking at you Greg, rad as fuck.
And yup, that’s a 29er too… Big wheels are so fucking hot right now remember, and as Greg pointed out, its more than just hype…
My hands were screaming “Fuck NO cunt” every time another run was proposed, but I was loving turning laps with this rad combo of Katy and Greg, so I decided to put the T Rex arms to the sword and embark on some out of body riding experiences as I worked to keep Katy in sight… Somewhere along the line the “Riding within myself” strategy got a massive golden shower. In its place? Golden laps YO!
I figured that if I turned enough laps with the #GCcrew that some of the PRO dust would rub off on me (I was eating a fair amount as well) and it will magically allow me to glide into the Top-200 at La Thuile. We smashed out some awesome laps, I can’t remember the last time I rode like this? TP last year maybe? Parts of Spain? Fuck it was mint.
It’s not until you spend some time track side on video detail that you realise they’re on another Rad planet while you’re just on a nearby orbiting small moon which gets smashed with asteroids. Katy appeared to float over everything…
The biggest winner will be you though Dirty readers, as at least the video from this trip will be actually excellent and not just consist of my jerky Go PRO footage. Instead, it has actual PRO action in abundance. Turn and fucking burn it, then drink a Guinness:
Holy shit, what a fucking cool day! I respect I’m frothing substantially here, but days like this don’t come along very often and it pretty much encapsulated everything that is rad about mountain biking. Awesome weather, rad trails, great people, excellent bikes, no lift queues, no issues and just a whole lot of fucking sweet riding! Finished off in the usual fuck YES fashion as well:
As I made my way down the epic Pila station to Aosta run, I attempted to ignore the fact that my arms wanted to detach from my body and reflected on how a totally unexpected golden day popped out of a bowl of pasta and reminded me that this is what its all about… These are the days that we always hope to have on a trip, or when we ride or when we think about riding our bikes. Great people, great trails, mega times.
Massive Dirty thanks to Greg and Katy for a wicked day on the hill. The stoke factor carrying me most of the way down the mountain before I had to stop given my rotors were a fire hazard… No shit, I could feel the heat coming off them.
And a quick word about the bike – It has been fucking sensational. The only change so far is the new Enve 780mm bar, up from 760mm and THAT has been an excellent tweak… As most people will try and tell you desperately, 2omm shouldn’t make that much difference, but they’re lying – It does, so embrace the length. Speaking of which, if anyone has a 203mm Shimano rear disc rotor adaptor they can give me in La Thuile I would give you a creepy hairy hug for it. Slowing down currently my main First World Problem.
So the Nomad 3 on fire, PRO scent filling my nostrils and the Frothometer exploding, it seemed to work quite well – You fucking bet I will take being only 33 seconds behind Mark Scott on a run that long with an average gradient of -21%… Sure, little bits of poo came out on that particular lap and I think I stopped breathing a few times, but clearly it was worth it…
Pila has been smashing home runs and the froth-o-meter is busting out of its mounts, so what would day 3 bring? Well, it was time to head out of the park, get back to some natural blind riding action and hit some BIG Mon-ton love. Stay tuned for more rabid rapidness from the aValley.