My photo
Existentialism-- Just a bloody good excuse to go riding...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chiang Mai 2014

Don't ask me why but I always wanted to do the homeless grunge shot....
What's suppose to be a trip in Nov got delayed till now... better late than never. My annual pilgrimage to the mountains in Chiang Mai. Right now is probably the driest couple months of the year but nothing really prepared me from the diff of the cooler Nov-Dec period of previous trips...
By the way Apr-Sep would be rainy season
Being a little different this year with a bigger group... more tech and mech failures along the way was to be expected . I was nursing a badly setup fork on day 1 and started running into brake issues. Changed too many parts and gears before the trip... First time I'm using a dual crown here and popped an angleset in just before the trip. Day 1 handling is best described as a FUBAR ride. Thinking back... in the enthused state of riding here again, Dumbass Me totally forgotten to check suspension settings on the first day! SShhhhhhhh.......

Also.... Lesson learned. Stick with what works from before. Yes full length knee-shin guards be it they are on the dorky-robocop side of fashion appeal. Even if its not for the knocks & spills... the dry lashing vegetation on the shins during high speed runs makes a BDSM scene looks like a Disney fairy tale.

CW from top left: Yours truly f@#ked up rear brake. Broken spoke from Tinny's long should-be-trashed wheels
Someone's broke a chain, Ivan's clean snapped rail bolts. Plus my new abstract mountain leg-art. Thankfully I took all the brunt.. fork and bike escaped unscathed.
Reflecting on all the boo boo of the previous day...
and hoping that everything was sorted out before reaching the summit

Gotta love the classical "WTF-happened" look on Ivan's face when the moment of truth dawned on him that he either has to go the next 1500ft  all trial-sy without  post+seat or start nurturing a close proctological relationship with his seatpost going down those 45 degree rutted rocky lines.

Ok Note, our guide to the rescue-- gave Ivan his seat post and gone sans seat and post. Can still jump and whip on the way down! Some Madmonkey indeed!
Note and Ivan: And we can all see the budding relationship in those few days
All thanks to 2 cleaned sheared off bolts ;)

I always bring spare rear dee and hanger but never occurred in the past to bring spare brake levers... maybe it was something in my subconscious says.. and luckily I did...

Thankfully by Day 2.  I was back in my element. Suspension adjusted and got used to the new riding positions as dictated by all the changes on the bike... I have been going back to Chiang Mai yearly and each time my fork got a little bigger or beefier... this year was the ultimate.. cramping the RV-1 DH fork on a non DH fork and working all sorts of magic to make things workable...I totally understand why people do stick with these big forks when the going gets ..well Big. It is truly worth it and judging from the performance I see -- frankly I will stick with RV-1.. Nah no FoX or Rochshox for me still.

Spare XT lever.. Whew!

Uplift: The most understated but critical piece of equipment from our guide. Without which there will be no gungho posing ride shots if we have to drag bollocks pushing the bikes up each time in this dusty heat.

Ok -- let's get to some riding pics Plucked from various cameras... in no particular sequence to the days we were there

Go Pro Good arh!

"Mai Tu Liao...chiong arh"

Group shots.. .can there ever be a trip without one?

No CM trip, repeat, NONE is ever complete without a cuppa 3000ft up in the cool mountain air.
One of our guide has to take up babysitting role while ma hand grind aged beans and prep the brew for us
city-bumpkin-tourist-bikers that keeps coming back yearly for the novelty. But seriously... its really good good kaffee.
"Camera Front!" Quick lah.. Pose Pose Pose.. Hip sway, Eyes front, Heels down. Look the part damnit!

Our mystery rider-- Look Ma, no hands! This has got to be another "WTF-Happened" moment....and the entire sequence? Here
Virgin-no-more-Smurf-Merv: Ok he deserve his own shot with the peak after surviving not only the rides but all the sh!t we were trying to scare him with :) Should have a calloused perineum that he can wear like some paratrooper's wing back home now.  Chilcotin ho arh!

Doi Inthanon: Not particularly exciting on the way I must say and we travelled 80+km to get there... But hey at least its bragging rights back home that we been to the highest mountain in Thailand that's part of the Himalayan range eh!

ahhh.. this trip's most verbally abused rider want his portrait shot with the peak too. Yea rite... over all our salt laden hairy ass... Permission not granted Tinny!

Ernie-the-Detonator did it again... another dust bomb from him.... All lovingly captured for posterity by cam-whore Dave.

Seeing fk-all : Just gotta have faith in the guy in front of you not to fall...

The dusty aftermath of Doi Inthanon... actually back in the rest
of the usual trails twas' pretty much the same in this dry season

whenever there are streams and falls in my ride-- old habits die hard.
Hot Hot Hot: Me icy skullcap creation to make sure I don't have to haul
some heat-collapsed bag of old bones I've known since the Jurassic Age
(1) Ernie- "wait wait wait, don't take yet... I'm not ready" (3)No one beats Sit-Down-Dave. Camera or not, his ischial callosite stays glued to the seat- all day,all trails ;) (2) & (4) Kim and Les definitely saw the camera ... all that body English.... PoSeR TiMe! (5) And we were still wondering if Tinny was trying to do a TT aero position when the shot caught him.  (6) Ivan's damping-less fork for the day.

Mid Trail Arm Pump Relieving Break: Excited Merv relating dunno what
experience he has up there. Note and Andrew lending big sympathetic ears :)

Videos to follow-- Too many cameras, too much to edit now...

Riding is just a part of CM trips. Food glorious food, gorge till you drop, great local stuff to things we will pay a king's ransom to feast on back home....

From nice chic restaurant to donnowachacallit-point-your-finger-and-order goodies...

Of course there's the default touristy thing to do... More pachyderm art in the house now...

and city-Indiana Jones certainly needs a moped to get around as always...

2nd trip for the missus to CM. Looks like they are enforcing
the helmet rule more in the last year since we were there.
Were told it's a 500 Baht fine if the coppers decide to stop you...

Ok one parting ass-shot oops I mean group shot. Yup, just about everyone got their personalized Madmonkey jersey.

Conclusion: Think I'll be back end of the year again if no other big trip materialize in between. A new DH bike? Nah... the EG is really versatile and good enuf for me... Just gonna keep all my different forks and shocks to Plug 'n' Play as necessary. With  no WC DH courses around the region nor me having the guts to pile some 30ft air anyway.. a full on DH would be just overkill.

But rough "FR"ish terrains for some of the trails here sure can use a DH pogostick if the frame can fit. For which the EG certainly is up to the task with the RV1 plonked on it. In retrospect, back then I wasn't really thinking so much about pure DH rigs but veered in the direction of things like the TR250 or Morewood Kalula. Bikes that are comfortable and catered to switch around with a big single or dual crown....

There's no wrong or right but often with all the marketing hypes we all tend to fall into the "more is better" trap. Been there done that too... not that I have always been all that wise on things mtb. But with a much better sense of knowing one's own capability and terrains to match, its a lot easier to settle on what's really necessary and functional.

The single biggest change wasn't so much as having the bigger fork in there this year.. It was the head angle change with the Workscomponent set. Never thought it would be so radical but it did necessitate quite a fair bit of changes in my riding positions to accommodate the differences from before. A lot more forward but which was still a lot more stable It also meant having to watch out for front hoop washouts and do the leg kickout routines more often into high speed turns..  a la MX style.

With increasing speed each year, I can see the limits of me XT brakes... time to swipe that plastic for a pair of Saints now... Definitely a proven piece of component as seen on the other guys' bikes on this trip.

Adjustable seatposts? Duh-- learned my lesson from past 2 trips. Much as I'm an advocate for one on any trail bike but for these kinda  riding and the possible cartwheeling spills, an adj post is like trying to carry a porcelain vase on a ride. No more, not for klutz me at least.

No comments:

Post a Comment