'The Loam' - Pedal Progression


25 November 2012

‘The Loam’

So I finally got around to editing the mountain of helmet camera footage gathered from the hallowed spot that we call ‘The Loam’. The constant rain for about a week and not riding my bike properly for about two has made me long for the decomposing bracken and tracks we have scraped out from its secret soil.



The Loam is the best place I have ever ridden. I’m lucky enough to have been to Whistler, the Alps and to New Zealand and to have rinsed the trails on and off piste in all of these places. Sure, I’ve floated the 50 foot plus doubles on Crabapple hits at sunset, ridden the 30 minute rollercoaster of Ride Don’t Slide and the four hours of Babylon from the top of Whistler Mountain. Never would I have thought that 20 turns about an hour from my house back home in Bristol would top all of these trails.

You see, The Loam is different. It’s a no brainer. You can get down The Loam with no skill at all, no thinking and no risk. There are no trees, roots or rocks to hit – strange then that it’s nowhere near boring to ride – the sheer simple pleasure of sliding both wheels out from under you on dirt has to be one of the best feelings you can have on a bike and the quick direction changes are addictive.

I’ve never been skiing but I am told The Loam is pretty close. I don’t know what it’s like to crash on snow but I’ve never had so much as a pedal pin in the back of the leg from pushing up when riding here. Finding a trail you can’t hurt yourself on is crazy for pushing yourself and the grins of everyone at the bottom just tell you that getting as loose as you can is what it’s all about.

I’ve also never laughed as much riding down a trail behind someone – and I usually laugh a lot when I follow people! There are three lines and you can switch between them like a Scalextric car, overtaking or undertaking people and racing for the holeshot – I challenge anyone to hold back from giggling like a child! Why don’t trails everywhere have multi lines?!

“The grins of everyone at the bottom just tell you that getting as loose as you can is what it’s all about”

The tracks here beg to be ridden with as much skill as you have and will squeeze more out of you like you have no choice – You can go as fast as your tyres will hold you and its here that you can learn the true meaning of grip.

You see it’s all about grip. Your speed and your ability to hold on and push that feeling of your wheels sliding as far as you can without letting yourself hit the soft deck below is what tyre designers, suspension companies and frame engineers strive to allow us to experience. More than any other characteristic, a bike’s level of grip in any situation is its defining feature.

Letting loose on deep loam is mesmerizing as it allows you to experiment with your technique until you feel your wheels will almost be torn off as you get near to the limits of what your bike can do. Getting round turn after turn with your bars inches from the ground, feet up and faster than the turn before it leaves you feeling like a hero every time and allows you really appreciate the bike you ride.

As a training ground for you and your bike, going around multiple, back-to-back, left then right, then left again turns is about as good as it gets for absolutely dialling in your skills on a mountain bike. It requires everything you need to be fast in every situation from perfect posture, dynamic weight distribution, vision control and just straight up balls to hold on and go for it. So many people I coach have never ridden a slalom before but I hope this video can prise you away from the dull same old, same old of the trail centre and just set up some turns somewhere and push yourself.

Thanks to everyone that has made the days I’ve had here pretty much the most fun I’ve had on a bike. Here’s to more helicopter sessions, more bluebird days and getting stoked going round those simple turns! Enjoy the video!






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