Thinking of doing DH trails

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Thinking of doing DH trails

Postby Mydget » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:38 pm

As the title says. I was watching some trails on YouTube though, and they look really scary. Should I get full knee and shin pads, elbow pads and a fully enclosed helmet for beginner stuff like Manly Dam? I don't mind a scratch or two (though of course I can do without them), but I'm mainly =worried about the more serious injuries and broken bones.
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by BNA » Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:07 pm

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Re: Thinking of doing DH trails

Postby alchemist » Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:07 pm

No need for pads and full face helmet around Manly Dam.
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Re: Thinking of doing DH trails

Postby Mydget » Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:36 pm

alchemist wrote:No need for pads and full face helmet around Manly Dam.

I just went on a fire trail near me today, easy one, still stacked it pretty hard. Would I seem like a moron if I wore pads at Manly Dam?
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Re: Thinking of doing DH trails

Postby Mulger bill » Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:41 pm

If you feel more relaxed in armour then armour up.
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Re: Thinking of doing DH trails

Postby Shifter » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:57 am

Here's the thing with armour... use it before you need it. Not the other way round. I wear knee pads on normal trail riding because it's fairly important to my family that I don't get injured to the point where I need long term time off work.

Another way to look at it is as a beginner, you're more likely to make mistakes than a seasoned pro and therefore have more need of the armour than someone who's been doing it for years.
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Re: Thinking of doing DH trails

Postby trailgumby » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:26 pm

If you stacked it on a fire trail, I'd suggest calling the ambulance before tackling *real* DH trails. :| Those skills take thousands of hours to acquire unless you're unusually gifted. Baby steps first.

By the way, Manly Dam is not a beginner's trail despite what the Council's website says. It is Intermediate, blue on the IMBA scale, with some advanced (black) sections. IMBA have just completed an audit and Council's rating will change. Have you actually ridden it? Were you able to ride all the descents without dabbing? If so, I'll take back what I'm thinking. ;)

Edit: OK, maybe I misread the intent of your post.

I ride Manly Dam several times a month, without pads, and it's one of my favourite rides because it's fun and challenging, and gives me a full body workout. Three laps around there (30-odd km) is as good as a workout as 60km round trip out to and around the Terrey HIlls trails, and back. But be warned, any sections you can;t see how to ride you should walk. Mistakes will bite you at the Dam.

If you're still in the skills acquisition phase of your mtb journey, knee and elbow pads can help with confidence, but they are hot to ride in. I wore them for awhile because I used to get nervous about clip-stacking with cleats, but when I got the pads I stopped falling off. :lol:

Full-face? Nah, too hot. Fox Flux is a good compromise. Extra coverage but still good ventilation.

Full face would have its use at Red Hill and Oxford Falls, but they are not beginner trails, and body armour is a must there, along with 6" travel forks, flat pedals and shinpads. Burly all-mountain or DH bikes are the weapon of choice. Leave your XC weight-weenie bike at home, it will get bent, as I found out. 24-spoke wheels don't cut it, and that was with me doing a lot of walking.

There are other fun singletrack and fire trail options around if you know where to look, and Terrey Hills fire trails are beginner friendly with great views. If you want to tag along on a group ride some time, let me know.
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Re: Thinking of doing DH trails

Postby Mydget » Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:18 pm

Ah, thanks for the replies. So much good info. xD

(AT) trailgumby; if your doing some beginner rides sometime, I'd love to join if it's not too much trouble. Oh and I've watched your videos on YouTube, didn't know you were a member here. You're so awesome. =D
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Re: Thinking of doing DH trails

Postby Mugglechops » Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:31 pm

Mydget wrote:Ah, thanks for the replies. So much good info. xD

(AT) trailgumby; if your doing some beginner rides sometime, I'd love to join if it's not too much trouble. Oh and I've watched your videos on YouTube, didn't know you were a member here. You're so awesome. =D


Yes we all think Mr Halfpenny is awesome :D
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Re: Thinking of doing DH trails

Postby trailgumby » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:02 pm

Mydget wrote:Ah, thanks for the replies. So much good info. xD

(AT) trailgumby; if your doing some beginner rides sometime, I'd love to join if it's not too much trouble. Oh and I've watched your videos on YouTube, didn't know you were a member here. You're so awesome. =D

Sounds like you caught my vid on How Not to Ride 19th Hole :lol: :oops:

Sure, why not. Happy to host you. I'll probably post something up on nobmob.com in a few weeks once work has settled down. (It's looking like I might need to work at least part of Easter :( ) We'll get a larger group together so that you have a chance to meet a wider group of people.

To ensure it's enjoyable for you, I hope you don't mind me being a bit prescriptive on what you need to bring with you. Apologies if I'm teaching you to suck eggs: last time we did this, a couple of the guys suffered a bit, bonking due to not enough food and hydration, for which I take responsibility for assuming a level of knowledge that wasn't there. Keeping the food and fluids up makes a huge positive difference to the fun factor.

So, while you're waiting, I'd suggest looking to pick up things like a Camelbak with a 2 to 3 litre bladder, pump, spare tube, tube repair kit, Michelin tyre levers x 3pcs, Topeak or Specialized multi-tool that includes a chain breaker, a soccer whistle, bottle cage and bottle for your bike. I'm assuming things like full-finger gloves and baggy mountain bike shorts with a saddle pad built in are already in your kit. A spare derailleur hanger is also a wise investment.

Oh, almost forgot: tell me about your ride. Better still, post a photo! :D
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Re: Thinking of doing DH trails

Postby Mydget » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:27 pm

I'm on a cheap mountain bike, so anything other than beginner level will probably snap it in half. Haha. I keep most of my stuff in my backpack, and don't have a hydration pack thing. As for my El Cheapo mountain bike; my review.
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Re: Thinking of doing DH trails

Postby trailgumby » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:39 pm

The good news is your bike is quite Ok to start on, so long as you pay attention to its condition and maintenance, and clean it properly after rides. It is an XC bike and will be fine for that style of riding.

Lack of hydration pack will unfortunately restrict the length of ride we can do. Maintaining fluids is very important. Do you at least have a bottle cage installed on the bike with a sports or exercise drink bottle?

What about the other stuff I mentioned? :)
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Re: Thinking of doing DH trails

Postby Mydget » Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:45 pm

I always have a bottle in my backpack, but I guess it's more convenient to have one on the frame. As for the other gear, I have yet to obtain some. =(
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Re: Thinking of doing DH trails

Postby trailgumby » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:52 pm

OK, here you go :P I'm organising a newby-friendly social ride for Sunday morning and you're invited. :)

Details here: http://nobmob.com/node/41490

Join the site and click on the indicated link to let me know you're coming.

The "ride survival kit" stuff I mentioned you can pick up from most bike stores for under a hundred bucks.

Drink bottle (or three) in the backpack will be perfectly fine for now. There will be plenty of stops to regroup, and the forecasted temps look reasonable (top of 25) so you should be quite OK with getting enough fluid.
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