Todays ride was on Broom Hill in Sooke. I had never been there before, so this was a pretty good introduction to it. There were 5 riders in total, Shane, Sean, Mark, Steph, and myself.
I had heard a lot about Broom Hill in the past, mostly because of the build structures. Some of the descriptions were less than flattering, so I readied myself.
As soon as I started riding, something about my right leg pad felt funny. It took me a couple minutes to realize that I had them on the wrong legs. Once they were swapped, I felt much better. What a dork.
Up the hill we rode. It certainly was a hill, and the descriptions were unfortunately accurate. Many of the structures were in dire need of repair/replacement/destruction. Once we got to the top, we started making our way to some of the more sturdy stunts.
Shaners was his usual self: on-fire. He rode many things that I might attempt some day. Seaners was having a tough day. Both Steph and Mark seemed happy with the ride too.
Here are the rest of the pictures. Read on for the rest of the story.
Myself? My day went all right. While descending one section, I had what could have been a nasty crash. In the end I lucked out. I was leading the group, and was making a gentle, sweeping, left hand turn that had a log on the outside. During one pedal stroke, I felt my foot catch on a branch stump that protruded from the tree. The force was enough to cause my bike to twist, and highside. I was sent flying over the bike, to the rocks below. It was very slo mo, which was comical since I was staring at the rocks thinking “miss the rocks, miss the rocks”.
I didn’t miss the rocks. I was a little shaken, and when I stopped moving, my head was below my feet, so that made getting up more difficult. My injuries were negligable, thanks in big part to my armour. Without it I would have smashed my elbow into a rock, and that would have hurt a lot!
After I righted my gear we took off again, and I soon got into my rhythm again.
The above photo captured my biggest stunt of the day. I watched Shane do it a couple times, and I really wanted to do it. I rolled up to it once, and almost balked. I decided to just do it. I settled my feet onto the pedals, gave a couple pedal strokes to get my momentum up, and aimed for the ramp. I almost chickened out and grabbed the brakes. I decided to hold off a sec and do the jump. As I approached the lip, I thought that I wouldn’t have enough speed. Turns out I did, and the landing wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.
After more uphill we came to a stunt that I had eyed up earlier. I wanted to try it, but I just couldn’t work up the nerve. I handed my camera to Shane to get a shot, and rolled up to it one more time. Something didn’t feel right, so I called it off. As I was packing my camera away, I noticed that I hadn’t dropped my seat again. No wonder it didn’t feel right!
In the end I quite enjoyed my ride. I felt strong through most of it, and only had the one crash.
Now, what do I think of Broom Hill? I think it had lots of potential. There seems to be plenty of area to build in, but the builders can’t just abandon their projects. Plus, it would be vey beneficial to the image of our sport, if the builders put some effort into their creations, and not take the lazy way out. There were many structures that were poorly built, but in decent shape. There were several structures that were poorly built, and unrideable. I even saw a few half constructed structures that had obviously not been touched in a while. There were some dirt jumps that had huge pits beside them. The builders had basically excavated part of the trail to build the jumps. I thought this looked horrible. When stuff like this happens, riding areas get shut down, and the image created can take years to clean up.
The other thing that Broom hill lacks is flow. There were a bunch of fun stunts, but very little flow. You ride to the top of the stunt, do the jump, stop, turn around and come back. It would make a huge difference if there was more flow to the trails.
What do I know though, I don’t build trails.