Or how to scare the **** out of yourself on a bank holiday weekend. Troutie (purveyor of fine lighting) posted some pics of stainburn a while back, Johnnie liked the look of it so suggested we visit sometime, weather was looking iffy so a bit of trail centre action sounded just the ticket, did consider penmachno after lowey praised it but it's >2hours away. We met Si in the car park and set off on the red, straight into the action with a bit of downhill, nice start, some climbing round tight switchbacks and squeezing the bars through tightly packed trees. We swerved off for the short red loop, the next section was downhillish, not losing much height but nice and swoopy and some very skinny skinnies, we took the berms instead and we were back at the carpark, hmm that was short. Back along the red again this time doing the downhill line, now this was more like it, some small drops, few small (rollable) jumps, tight switchbacks which I couldn't let go of the brakes on and rocky sections. Really enjoyed this bit, big drop in the middle, doesn't look it but it's 3-4 feet, rollable but should be jumpable if you can carry speed into it. Then more twists and turns down to the bottom, great stuff, a few ace sections with a rocky hump just before a corner, bike trying to fly into the air off the hump but pushing the front wheel down ready for the corner and whoosh around it. Nice. Climb up to the top again with a detour on the lower mini black route, a stepping stone ride across the top of some rocks then some bloody hard uphill, tight singletrack, steep with big boulders to (fail to) get over.
Back at the CP again and off round the black, following guys in full facers (gulp) so thankful it was dryish as this is all rock. First biggie was a steep roll in ok in but rocky exit, I rolled in ok but didn't make the corner. Si did a better job of it, johnnie declined. Spine was interesting feature of the climb, Johnnie was starting to see a common theme, a nice easy path just off to the side of the mentally technical trail climb, he was querying the pointlessness of making climbing harder, I drew his attention to the fact we were riding our bikes as usual in circles, pointless anyway. Skirted close to the CP again the down the next section, more rocks, off camber on the edge of the hill with some felled trees with spiky branch stumps running along the hillside, there to prevent you takling a chicken run but also a terrifying incentive to not fall off and impale yourself on them. Unfortunatley Si binned it on a dodgy section but managed to land on trail, johnnie declined. The next scrotum shrivelling section was hovis a steep rocky turn, recced it, I had a go with Si and johnnie ready to catch me if I went over the edge, I made it round but then went off piste. IIRC Si rode up to it but refused, johnnie declined again. Straight after that was cascade another rock ride. First go saw me go off the left on the second rock, second go I nearly made it to the end of the rocks but binned to the left again and heading straight for a tree, instead of concentrating on trying to miss it I panic braked and slammed into it with my shoulder. Ouch. Next was the woodwork me and Si rode it but couldn't make the rocky corner so exited left straight down, Johnnie went for it but went off piste to the right headed for a tree before his front wheel dug into the leaf mulch and swung him right, disaster averted. Next one wasn't very skinny but was high up, the trick was to ride it straight off, unfortunately everyone had a look, some good riders came passed, we had a sit down and something to eat, by this time my limited bottle had completely gone, didn't want to do it, said as much then lined up and did it anyway, clipped a tree on the way in but up onto the board, veered left but held on and then rode out and off the drop. Phew. Johnnie fancied a go at the seesaw, I was staying well clear. He lined up, rode onto it then had 2nd thoughts and put his feet down, then decided to shuffle forward while astride his bike. Cue comedy moment as seesaw tips forward almost throwing him over the handlebars, oh how we laughed, he got some serious stick off us yesterday :) I decided to have a go rode up, seesaw tipped, I wobbled and fell left tumbling into the undergrowth. 2nd go rode up, tipped, wobbled, went right but managed to ride out off piste, I'll have that as a clean. Rest was ok but we were so scarred by the last half hour that the dead easy drop to fade high speed jump was taken at slow speed cause we were expecting something scary.
Up to the CP and another red run, faster this time with a little less braking then the black again ridden at pace, no stopping to scope lines out, I rode much smoother too, I get into a flow and take stuff easier when I "just ride". First slab dispatched ok if not quite smoothly, scary off camber no worries tho Si binned it in same place, hovis done, cascade ridden and only brushed the tree this time. Woodwork ridden, skinny done smoothly seesaw ridden and ridden out of properly tho I did a graceful dismount off the bike as I realised I had too little speed for the drop off at the end of the boards. (didn't attempt the skinnys between the high beam and the seesaw, maybe another day) Another ride/push up and another run at the excellent red. Awesome. Stainburn is like a mini DH centre, ride down push/winch up. Lots of stuff to learn on, don't forget your pads (just in case) and take plenty of bottle, would love to have this on our doorstep.
Whilst looking for stainburn vids I came across this, someone has sexed up lee quarry, gorgeous video.