Here is the play by play of how the weekend at the Full Monte Dirt Farm went down with a ton of amazing photos from Ian Hylands to add a whole new level of stimuli to your reading pleasure.
A small group of friends and family were invited to witness and document the greatness that is distance jumping. Three days of jumping and hanging out with good people on the Dirt Farm is an ideal way to spend a Fall weekend. Here is a look at what all went down in the pursuit of sport advancement.The Bicycle Cafe in Kamloops was the hub for bringing the bikes together and building them up - thanks Cheryl, Taylor, Dylan, Steve and Alex.The Santa Cruz Carbon V10 is the right bike for this job.Kenda Small Block 8's are what Tedman and Ron swear by in their park - it's all about speed at this distance. The new Easton wheels don't hurt either, they roll nice and fast...
On Thursday afternoon Ian Hylands and I rolled into Kamloops and met up with the guys at their local shop, the Bicycle Cafe. The Santa Cruz Carbon V10s were going through their last set up details and fine tuning for the next 3 days of air time. Dylan, Alex and Cheryl were making sure that nothing was being overlooked on the guys' rides as they set out for this undertaking. We all hit up Harold's Diner for a big meal and some event planning - our time line for each day's happenings was the primary focus of the night:Friday
- Set up and prep at the jump site (they have been jumping this ramp set up for a few months now, so this would be more for everyone to see what the best angles are for documenting and for the riders to make any last minute bike tweaks). Speed testing the run in and practice jumps, maybe pull the ramp back a few times if the weather is good.Saturday
- Continue from Saturday with more jumping practice and pulling the ramp back, survey the course for Guinness as per their instructions and keep documenting the action.Sunday
- Jump off for the overall record between Ron and Tedman and an air show for all that came out to see them send it.
Sitting around the farm that night we were all recollecting the past decade (Tedman and I met while working for The Bike Shop in Calgary just over 10 years ago and Ron and I have known each other for around 7-8 years through the snow races that used to take place at Canada Olympic Park) of riding sick zones and how bikes have really defined who we all are in one way or another. Take Ian Hylands - the photography of bikes, riders and the world of cycling is how he makes his living. Myself - I get to share the ride with the world's cyclists and give them the best content out there through our site. Ron, Tedman and Krystina - pursuing their dream by building their own private riding park where they are able to grow our sport and not worry about whether their hard work gets torn down as it's theirs now. They are riders by all definitions of the word.
We awoke to see that some more family members had trickled in Thursday evening after we'd called it a night. A quick breaky was had and then it was time to suit up and head down to inspect the jump zone. Today was all about visual set ups - all filmers (Mitch Cheek, Matty Myles and Ace Hayden) and Ian Hylands on stills would spend the day finding all possible angles to best capture the event that was to unfold in front of us. Heck Ian found a ladder and used it to get up a tree for a better over view of the whole area - creativity nets better shots folks. I set up the flags for wind gauging with help from Ron, while Krystina raked the landing zone and made things more visually appealing. Seeing Tedman and Ron in their new Troy Lee Designs kits made you know that things were about to get serious once we kicked the day into action mode.
Since all of us bystanders were new to the setup, it was time to show us what it was all about with some speed test run ins while the wind did its thing (with distance jumping this is one factor that you have to pay the most attention to as it has to be extra calm for each air). The guys were hitting the high 70s (km/h) on their first test runs to see how the ground was rolling - each seemed happy with the current conditions and proceeded to show us what 85 feet looked like from the ground as they soared over head at the first drop in the wind - WOW! Tedman threw down table top after table top over the gap while we all got ourselves sorted and began to capture the action. I was on the radio letting Ron and Tedman know when the wind was in their favor (calm, as in no wind) and they would let out a bird call from their drop in point to signal that a show was on its way. After 8 jumps from the guys, we decided it was time to pull the ramp back to its first 10 foot marker from the starting point earlier in the day, now we were getting this jump off going. The wind tested us with some jumps taking 30+ minutes to be calm enough to drop in, but late in the afternoon it was rain that made us call it a day. It was now time to tarp up the take off ramp and a few hundred feet of the in run as we had no idea what mother nature had planned for the night ahead.
The first air of the day was left up to Ron and you could tell he was feeling the conditions right off the bat, with a slight head wind the lack of speed put him right on the safety pad and in the back seat of his air...
With a quick shout to Tedman at the top of the in run to hold nothing back and keep his tuck longer. The extra speed gave way to the normal style and grace of a solid first run for Tedman.
Krystina had prepared us a nice and healthy meal after all the covering work was done and it was time to make more plans for Saturday. More friends began to arrive from as far as Calgary and more locals from the 'Loops rolled in too as everyone was excited for the show. The guys went over their bikes with fine tooth combs and then joined the rest of us in a more amped up conversation of how intense it must be for them to be charging into a jump at speeds of up to 90 km/hr. For most of us there, wrapping our heads around this thought was next to impossible, but these two boys insisted that the only difference between this and any other jump is dealing with staying focused and ignoring a new level of wind blasting through their helmets. The key, they say, is to hold your tuck as long as possible, but still give yourself enough time to get into a more traditional riding position for jumping. Ron talked about his plan of attack: once he hits the ramp, he likes to keep it straight and smooth. And, with that kind of air time, if he's feeling good about halfway through, he can try to start throwing the bike around a bit. The more intense the situation seems to get, the comfier it is for him, he says. Tedman, on the other hand, usually comes out of the box charging. Nothing makes him happier than to be all whipped out and styled from the get go. He knows there's a finish line of 150ft, but that doesn't mean anything to him if he can't do it with a little flavour. These boys seem pumped! Excited to go to bed to get well rested but, at the same time, worried about starring at the ceiling all night in anticipation, unable to sleep.
The plan of an 8am start on Saturday was thwarted by the light overnight rains and morning frost. It was time to grab a quick breakfast and a broom and start the day's preparations. The tarps we'd laid down the night before did their job of keeping a few hundred feet of run in dry from the rain, but the light frost and now frozen tarps would have to be dealt with in their own way. It took over an hour for us to sweep off the tarps, more of the run in and the ramp itself as we watched the sun melt away any frost we'd missed. Now it was time for a show to pick up from Friday, and our surveyor tasked to provide evidence for Guinness was now here plotting out all the co-ordinates required for recording a world record - the wind was even behaving at this point.
With the slight change to the ground (colder) and the top section of the run in wetter from the previous day's rain, the guys decided to start things off with some speed checks to get their starting point figured out so that they would have the proper drop-in point for a brakeless approach appropriate for the current jump distance. Ron, being concerned with the fact that he had to drop in using quite a bit more run in than he and Tedman normally use for this particular ramp distance, dropped in from even higher to make sure that a possible slow run in was not going to impede today's attempts for a series of quick ramp pullbacks. It was around 10:30am when the first run ins got under way - the guys were saying that you could feel feedback - with a tire pressure of approx. 60PSI, this was also part of their solution to try to ensure a good day of fast rolling dirt. The extra 20lbs of tire pressure made the bikes take on new life and you could see the intensity as they shot down the run in. This here is a video of Ron doing a speed check run in earlier in the week when conditions were running at their prime, so that you all can try to gauge just how fast world record speed looks as they approach the ramp:
The speed run proved that they could put out the speed necessary to get things underway, but in the back of Ron's mind, unless the run in got drier and the winds dissipated completely, it was going to take a lot more than this to make 150ft a reality. Putting all that aside for now, it was now time to take to the air and put on a show for those of us that were on hand to watch. The plan would be to hit each distance until the riders were comfy with it and landing in the sweet spot and then move the jump back in 10 foot increments until 133.6 feet was surpassed and then to push on to 150 feet for good measure. The wind was toying with us again as it had on Friday, but the guys stood at their ready for the call that it was calm enough to send it. After 3 jumps each, they were sitting around 95 feet and getting close to the sweet spot on the landing zone. On Ron's 4th jump of the day he set it down nicely at the top of the sweet spot and we were all pretty pumped to see tire tracks in the 100 foot zone. Tedman was up and gave us all a Kakah as he dropped in from up above, his tuck was like all the ones we'd witnessed before, same with that focus in his eyes as he set up for the ramp and took to the air. The slight table top that always gets thrown, straightening out and putting down the landing gear, and then things went wrong. Tedman nosed in too heavy on the landing and was instantly sent hard into the ground and knocked unconscious from the impact.
At this point all of our focus turned to getting our good friend into safe hands. The trained staff on hand took immediate control of the situation and held strong until the air ambulance arrived and flew Tedman to the Kamloops General Hospital for further tending for his injuries. A big thank you goes out to Kamloops' Air Paramedics, ground ambulance and everyone that was on hand that day to take care of one of their own. Post event interview with Ron Penney: