Monday, December 8, 2008

Kenny's day out on his new Legend.

Rangers Path – Mt Snowdon – highest ‘mountain’ in Wales and England.

Got up bright and early on Sunday morning, looked outside to confirm the weather conditions which were forecasted good, however all I saw was darkness, bloody winter. So final bit of bike maintenance to my mate James’ Turner (swapping derailleur as he bent and snapped it on Friday).

Loaded up and hit the road to Snowdon, weather was fantastic as soon as sun came up, around 0 degrees though, but the sun was shining. Arrived at base of hill and starting dressing up warm and strapping helmets and armour to our bags and bikes. Then just as we were about to set off James noticed something strange with his bike...a flatty on the front...bastards! BUT, on closer inspection this wasn’t your ordinary pinch flat, hows about a melted front tyre from being too close to the car exhaust when on the bike rack. Not cool at all. So after knocking on the hostel nearby, hoping for someone to randomly have a tyre, he gave up and chucked his bike in the car and we started walking, me with my Legend and him without a bike.

It’s a menace of a climb to be fair, I’ve always come from up the LLanberis side which is a further but shallower climb, this Rangers Path was a pain. There were some monstrous rocks and no real sign of a line for a bike down, it all looked a bit too much. Still I plodded on, it got colder and the wind started blowing.

Soon we were in the clouds and there was some snow on the ground.

This snow was soon enough blanketing everything with an annoying icy crust to it. It was pretty much a whiteout, I lost sign of James walking about 10m in front of me, these weather conditions were hardcore, still the thought of battering the hell out of my new Banshee Legend urged me on.

Finally I made it to the train tracks where the Rangers Path meets the LLanberis one, the snow completely covered the tracks. I wasn’t going any further, the top was only another 5 mins away but in these conditions the view was going to be, how shall I say it, limited.

I set the helmet cam up and downed trousers to put my knee pads on, it was bloody freezing. I was all set. James turned around and started running down. The ride was on.

The snow section was just so icy I was drifting every corner with my foot out, I was even drifting on the straights when I got shot off line by hidden rocks below the snow. My hands starting to get really cold and after a few minutes I was so glad to be out of the clouds and onto the rocky steep sections. This is where the bike came into its own, it was eating up even the stupidest line choices by me. (To be fair there aren’t really any line, just the line you happen to be stuck on) Some horrible drops onto even worse transitions comprised of razor sharp jumbled rocks begging to grab the front wheel and eat it, the bike is a true psycho and loved it. The Cane Creek Double Barrel is just sublime and suited perfectly to the Legend. The geometry is spot on and the travel seems endless, which is quite something as my previous DH rig was a V10 and this eats up the same shit no problems. I was also really surprised how much grip I was given, I mean I wasn’t expecting much having pumped by tyres up to roadie pressures so as to survive the razor rocks, but the suspension was supple and active, truly mint.

I stopped several times en-route to the bottom, to get the blood back in my hands and let the arm-pump subside, and to wait for James to catch up. Some of the views were amazing, so I didn’t mind having a sit down and a relax.

Big thanks to Keith and Jay for the opportunity to get one of the first batch of Legends, you guys have done a great job with his frame, a la Ronald McFatty, 'I'm loving it!'

Kenny Howard (UK)

Helmet cam footage!