For those that like summaries and video’s, then today you’ve hit the content jackpot in this obscure corner of the ENDURO dark web. I shall make it brief, as backed up behind this final Thai instalment is a mission briefing that isn’t going to write itself, not to mention, a shit load of packing to do.
First up, how would I summarise the first Change Mai experience in a sentence. I thought this was probably apt as I mulled things over on the flight home in a plane that had no entertainment system:
Better than Bali, but its not quite Finale
Putting aside my literary stiffy that I made something sort of rhyme, comparing CM to Finale probably isn’t fair game. But, it definitely is a middle ground between the two and probably the most fun I’ve had on an MTB in Asia… Not like that’s an esteemed prize or anything, but it definitely slams the door shut on Malaysia, Singapore and Bali, with a smile on its face in the usual Thai manner.
Before I elaborate with dubious tips and advice, let’s get to the main reason anyone uses the internet, the Dirty video. Yes, 9 minutes is a total load shoot blow out in terms of length, but its really only 3 minutes per day and its better than 3 x 3 minute videos… I think. So, sit back, take a break from watching the whole Mountain Bike world congregating on NZ and get involved in some dry, fast and 100% blind Thai ripping:
Ok, so I put in gratuitous amounts of ‘Bamboo’, but that flow is somewhat intoxicating when you’re doing the editing, I could have easily put in another 5 minutes and bored the absolute fuck out of you while you wondered why the fuck I haven’t acquired new music.
For those with short attention spans, you’re dismissed, but for those that wanted to remain behind and ask few “whats the low down” questions, let me impart elementary first world wisdom on you briefly:
- Best time to go – Have to say, while it was 30 degs most days, it wasn’t humid at all like here in the cHub, having said that Damo informed us that we were right in the honey hole in terms of the weather window. Allegedly October to Feb are Banger, from March onwards it gets hotter than a nuclear armageddon and then it pisses with rain middle of the year or so. I may be making that up, but my twitter disabled attention span recorded those rough timelines. Riding at ‘Golden hour’ in the late arvo is especially awesome, so make sure you schedule accordingly.
- Be specific – Before we went, we reached out to two of the guiding companies recommended to us, only Damo replied. The other company (King X) is more DH orientated my sources tell me, but either way it pays to be specific about what you want out of a trip. If you want long back country trail riding, then cool, state that. If you want DH run upon run, then call that out. Don’t tell them you want to go to a specific area or zone, its better to describe the riding style you need. Having said that, ask for Bamboo and ATV by name, a solid session on Doi Suthep is a must do.
- Transit times – If you do want to head out of town, be prepared for a trail network that means you may need to spend reasonable time in the car, both to get there and then to shuttle if you’ve elected the more palatial ENDURO option. The trails in the hills don’t always lend themselves to how we as riders would want them to all link up, so don’t have any delusions that you’re in the alps with its thousands of years old ‘best in class’ trail lay out action, there is some driving to be done.
- Weaponry – I didn’t think for a moment you’d need a DH bike here, I’m sure there are other trails and areas where you may, but a modern ENDURO as fuck sled will give you more thrills than a Kellyanne on a couch. I probably wouldn’t sway into Bandito territory here though, bring something with some decent punch to it. Yes, the Hightower was perfect.
- Place to stay – If you hook up with Damo he will likely sort the accom out of town, but if you are staying in Old Town there’s like, a thousand places to stay, but try Thapae Loft if you’re looking for somewhere pretty solid and in a good location. The French crepe dude around the corner is a compulsory stop.
In 3 days we really only skimmed the Thai surface and I know there is a lot more riding up in Chiang Rai (yes, a totally different place), and Damo had plenty of stories of other big zones to hit. I could probably lap Bamboo and ATV all day, but then again I did once eat the SAME breakfast every day for 3. 5 years, so probably not a good yardstick.
A massive thanks to Damo from Mojo Adventures for the guiding action, the price is so reasonable it almost feels unreasonable, so if you want to get out and see the bush, then Damo is your man, massive bonuses being that A) you can say ‘cunt’ as much as you like B) he prioritises beer C) He’s not one to make anyone do any climbing they can’t be fucked doing and D) Didn’t mind when you cut him up like a total cunt… Can’t ask for much more in a guide.
And a Dirty Chur to the SwissMissile for pulling the whole trip together – Some ripping runs and no food poisoning meant his Swiss Passport remains intact.
And now… Onward and downward to where the year really kicks off: Dirty Mega March 3 in NZ! Stay tuned.