Pushing the boundaries!

When someone says, “Let’s go to Grogley!”, my immediate reaction is “Yeh, let’s!!”, followed by ‘Err …, why did I say that?” 😂

I guess it’s the reputation of the venue that tends to cause pause for thought but there are so many trails to choose from that there’s something for everyone well, almost … me, I’m not so sure about. But, the way I look at it, if nothing ventured, nothing gained so it was with a glad heart I went like a lamb to the slaughter! 😂

Basically, there are three gradients in Grogley. The top sections are benign, pedally, some roots, twisty in parts. The middle section between the two fire roads is similar but with steeper sections, nothing too drastic. The bottom section is just steep, I mean really steep, with some tight corners and, quite frankly, beyond my current pay grade!

I guess it’s all too easy to ride the same trails and locations. It all becomes familiar. Bike setup and skills are not tested because you’ve done it before. Those sort of rides are great though for a bit of relaxation and chance to be in the open air enjoying the advent of Spring and promise of Summer.

However, sometimes, it’s good to be challenged and tested, to find your limit and explore beyond. It’s a way to discover new horizons and set yourself new challenges.

For me, I discovered in Grogley that my bike handling was lacking in a number of areas, not least of which was conquering steep chutes. As you roll into something steep there’s a feeling of, ‘I’m going over the bars!’ so, you try to get your weight further back to balance the bike but somehow I was never able to get far enough back to be comfortable and focus on the ride.

Chatting about that feeling and lack of control afterwards (we’re prone to yap a lot after a run 😂) we came up with a plan and a change of bike setup. Coincidentally, I needed to change the dropper post anyway so a 150 mm dropper was already on order. Next step, order a shorter stem and an opportunity for some subtle bling from Gussett was taken.

Both parts now fitted and (very) early testing suggests these small changes may be a good move. I’m finding it so much easier to move back on steeper descents and the bike feels more balanced but the real test will come when I visit Grogley again and session a few sections. Roll on the weekend.

Special thanks to Cranked Bikes of St Austell!

BTW, I found this video – the woods seem familiar somehow!! Thanks PinkBike 👍😂


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Jez Meades aka. RadGrandad has been riding bikes for more than 25 years. From time-trialling to racing cyclosportives in Europe to just having fun on an MTB. A British Cycling Level 2 Cycling Coach happy to share his knowledge and experience.