Progressing from XC to AM/END/DH in Canberra

iamacup

Cannon Fodder
G'Day folks,

Maybe should be in the DH thread?

For a long time I've been riding a HT SS from the mid-90s. Finally, bought a Trance and while I am riding the same trails as before I am much more comfortable, and significantly faster. I have a goal of being able to ride the Cannon ball trail at Thredbo, and not leave skid marks all the way down. My time frame for this is probably unrealistic, Jan, should be fine, right?
At the moment I am comfortable on trails like Planet Claire, Pork Barrel, Double Dis, and I am building skills on all of these. I case a fair bit, but I'm getting better on the lip, faster in corners and trusting the bike more. A way to go though.

The real question, what are the best progression trails from the ones above into the more technical DH style (noting I own a trail bike) trails?
Are they accessible on the Trance (I Know I'll be hiring a DH/Enduro at Thredbo)?
What skills are paramount in the transition to bigger/steeper trails?
What do I need to know about Cannonball that I can't get from watching the few video runs?

I have a good buddy who is guiding me and he's doing a great job (pushing me to ride local BMX track for pump work), but I want to be more dynamic in my own development.

Cheers folks,

Look forward to your responses.
 

Tubbsy

Party Pooper
Staff member
Isaacs Ridge has two downhill trails that you can self shuttle via the fire road. There's a black and a double black. Steeper and techier than the trails you mention at Stromlo with bigger rocks and a looser surface as well, followed by some smoother bits through the pines that feel a bit like Majura.

It's not busy so you can easily spend some time sessioning bits without getting in anyone's way.

I can hack my way down there on my 130/120 trail bike (well off the pace mind), so a Trance will be fine.
 

droenn

Likes Bikes and Dirt
Cannonball is a taxing run, its worth just picking your way down and stopping every so often to learn the features. I haven't ridden it for a couple years now though... From memory you'll need to do a couple of drops to clear it, and navigate some really rocky sections. There aren't any nasty gaps, and the jumps are mostly rollers.

In Canberra, I'd start at Majura - Touching Cloth and Rocksanne have some nice technical bits with some flow bits and jumps mixed in. They are both short though, so you'll have to session a bit.

Like @Tubbsy said, Isaac's is great for rocky/technical bits - take your time and pick your way down at first - they can be unforgiving too.

Stromlo you should definitely check out the rabbit hole track (whatever its called, comes off the back of western wedgie), and the downhill tracks.

Tuggeranong pines is also worth some time. Nicely made jumps and a few rock gardens to navigate.
 

iamacup

Cannon Fodder
Thanks guys,
I think short’n’sharp is the one of WW. I’ll check out touching cloth and Rocksanne this weekend, they’re at Majura, right? I’ll be checking out 3 Amigos at stromlo in the next couple of weeks, too. I’ll progress up to Isaacs.
Thanks @droenn for the info on CB. I’m pretty comfy on drops, it’s rock gardens and the steepness I’m worried about. Isaacs might be the best place for me to develop.
Cheers
 

Jpez

Is bad
One of the best things I find for progression is riding as many different sorts of places And terrain as possible.
I find when you get out of your comfort zone on completely different dirt than your used to is when your skills start building.

Also consider a skills course. One day with a coach can really kick things off.
 

iamacup

Cannon Fodder
@Jpez yep, that's a great idea. Once I have paid the bike back to the mortgage ((mature) student life) I'll be able to put a case forward for a skills session, and we're spoiled for great coaches in the ACT with Ride Technics working in our neck of the woods. My buddy is helping me heaps, and he's a much better rider than I am, and has a vested interest in getting my skills up so I ride more with him.
 

Jpez

Is bad
@Jpez yep, that's a great idea. Once I have paid the bike back to the mortgage ((mature) student life) I'll be able to put a case forward for a skills session, and we're spoiled for great coaches in the ACT with Ride Technics working in our neck of the woods. My buddy is helping me heaps, and he's a much better rider than I am, and has a vested interest in getting my skills up so I ride more with him.
Another excellent progression tool. Chasing someone faster and better than yourself.
Really gets that’s motivation going.
 

T-Rex

Template denier
@iamacup all good advice above. The best bit is to ride with guys (or girls) slightly faster than yourself. Get yourself onto the next Rotorburn pre Christmas ride, these guys ride to a decent standard but at a social pace with lots of stopping and looking and talking. There’s a thread in Off Topic. Guys are super friendly and good fun:

@Litenbror
@Scotty T
@Tubbsy
@Haakon

The other thing I would add is try to practice getting your pace up on smoother segments, like Double D, Luge and Sunset Boulevard, all at Stromlo. For sure you will be able to ride your Trance down proper DH tracks, I’ve owned two Trances and they have both done runs down Cannonball. However, at a decent pace the bike will have a very short life expectancy.
 

Scotty T

Likes Dirt
Yeah that was awesome, been a while since I was chasing and i definitely was almost everywhere behind @T-Rex today. That said two of my mates who've been following me are creeping up and getting harder to keep up with. Best way to learn.

Also it's progressing to just go faster and smoother, don't think of it as anything other, all the skills translate to all the terrain.
 

RichJS

Likes Dirt
What do I need to know about Cannonball that I can't get from watching the few video runs?
Maybe that the serious features are worth a stop and a quick wander, to learn the lines.

Otherwise, mostly repeating everyone else: Touching Cloth / Rocksanne / Downhill at Majura - and maybe Barry aiming to go . Short and Sharp at Stromlo. I guess Three Amigos has a couple of tough tech bits. I've never tried the Black alt to the Stromlo DH course - Vapours, Trump Card, Noah's Ark, G-Loc .. maybe someone can confirm whether it's worth a go?

Everything at Isaacs Ridge .. well, it's a bit choose-your-own-adventure in bits, the hardest lines there are potentially harder tech than Cannonball. All the tech you can find at Tuggeranong Pines.
 

iamacup

Cannon Fodder
Thank you for all the suggestions folks. Riding with people faster is a lot of fun too.
Had a ride on Barry, touching cloth, and 3 amigo over the last couple of weeks, and did a track walk of short and sharp. All in all I am getting a lot more comfortable with the steeper and more technical terrain.
Gonna get out to Isaacs in the next few weeks and pick my own adventure :)
 

Tubbsy

Party Pooper
Staff member
@RichoJS not sure when you were last there, but the Isaacs trails have been formalised and approved, with a lot of the old stuff shut down.

The new trails are signposted and easy to follow with the tech sections generally offering A, B and C lines.

A lot of the older bits are still hiding in there but using them isn't a good look now..
 

RichJS

Likes Dirt
@RichoJS not sure when you were last there, but the Isaacs trails have been formalised and approved, with a lot of the old stuff shut down.
A few times since the trails were formalised, yes.

I meant that the DH runs are called "corridors" which particuarly in the rock gardens can be several metres wide and so offer a large variety of line choices. IE while there's obvious A/B/C lines, arguably there are some choices that are even harder than the obvious A line, if you look.
 

Tubbsy

Party Pooper
Staff member
A few times since the trails were formalised, yes.

I meant that the DH runs are called "corridors" which particuarly in the rock gardens can be several metres wide and so offer a large variety of line choices. IE while there's obvious A/B/C lines, arguably there are some choices that are even harder than the obvious A line, if you look.
Gotcha, just checking.

Agreed, approaching some of those rocky bits it's hard to know what to choose, and you see a lot more options looking back up at them.
 
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