Last weekend was another of our planned uplifts at One Giant Leap Llangollen but unfortunately the weather wasn’t playing ball. The snow that fell across most of North Wales earlier in the week was still lingering so unfortunately the decision was made to cancel on the Thursday.
Being left with a free weekend and the imminent launch of the Proper Downhill Racing web site, I decided some time on the ground finalising the layout of the proposed new route for the round 1 Ride Portugal track extension and the round 2 Proper Downhill National Cup Track. A great way to see what’s on the ground is to get above it, drones nowadays can be a huge asset when trying to plan a track, especially in dense forest. My brother in law @nicnac1275 is always out and about with his camera and dji drone, I gave him a call and indeed he was only a few miles away, over the pass at Coed Llandegla. An hour later, after ushering my ever helpful wife and our new baby daughter out of the door from our home on the North Wales coast, we picked up Nick en-route and were stood overlooking the town of Llangollen with the eisteddfod building in pain sight.
Last year I spent 5 months of my life every day, (the majority of which on my own) up on the One Giant Leap hill, building the Ride Portugal track. Trail building is a lonely business, I’ve spent 10 years nearly every day doing it but unfortunately finding help is hard. Offers to help come in thick and fast prior but as the dig day approaches people always seem to fade away and go quiet. I don’t blame any of them, it’s not a glamorous activity and indeed a North Wales hillside and weather can be brutal at times and enough to turn most off the idea. Fortunately I suspect like a select few, I’ve been broken by the process and for me the passion I have to create something exciting and new is enough to get me up and out before daylight and up on into the hills to create my sculptures in mud and rock. I feel I know this hill better than anybody now with the possible exception if my now friend and owner of One Giant Leap, Martin Sands. My idea for the tracks are very set and luckily Martin is one of the few and rare farmers that embrace such wild activities on their land.
So we took a look and man, was it worth it!
The proposed extension of the Ride Portugal track will predominantly be a natural trail, as we looked it became obvious there’s a lot of roots and it looks tight in places. Suddenly however approximately at mid point a sheer rock face cuts across our planned route. Never one to shy away from a feature, it looks very much like this will become a substantial gap and the standout feature of this section. Needles to say, I’m excited about this, the extra section is going to add a new forest element and make this into a substantially longer race. On May 5 – 6th this is going to start a new chapter in UK Downhill Racing and what an amazing way to kick it off. It will be your only chance to ever ride and race this track.