We'd always had the idea that it would be great to get all the Slackline owners together - we really wanted to meet the people who ride our bikes and hear what they have got to to say.
Then, during conversation with Will from Blazing Bikes we discovered they had everything we needed - great trails, accommodation, willing guides to show us round, and better yet there was talk of a pub. So that was it, a plan was hatched, emails sent out and then before we knew it, the weekend was here!
On the Friday night my car decided to deposit all it's clutch juice on the M6 so I turned up late, car held together with gaffer tape (again). What greeted me when I arrived? About 15 beautiful sparkling Slacklines hung up on display in Blazing Bikes, and 'The Station Inn' full of their owners, enjoying a Friday beer or two. That was were it started - the conversation was all about the bikes, the beers carried on coming, then a jagerbomb or two.......
Up early for a full english in the Station Inn, followed by Tom taking some snaps of the line up, mine was the only muddy bike as I'd been out in the peaks the weekend before. Great to see how the builds had come together, wide bars seem to be the order of the day, about even between the double ring up front and single ring/chain device set ups. Then it was time to saddle up and get going!
We started up the road climb from Marshbrook to the Long Mynd as a big group, when you work away trying to make an idea a reality for as long as Dan and me have, it's a pretty sweet day when you see undeniable evidence of the reality. The Slacklines rolling out! Our guides from Blazing Bikes showed us some of the secret trails, technical singletrack through the woods, steep loamy corners and whoops aplenty meant the morning was filled with fun. Then it was time for the big one, the Minton Batch descent is often billed as one of the best in the UK, saddles down and off we went, a line of slacklines dropping the batch. I managed to get sideways on a straight, one of our guides Ben got blown off course mid air and took hard landing, Peeder and Nick managed to fall off the 3m long boardwalk section. We all made it to the bottom, smiles all round, back to the pub for lunch!
One of the perils of riding in a big bunch is that contact is a danger, not sure what happened but Peeder went down and limped back to Blazing nursing a sore shoulder. A trip to A and E revealed a busted collar bone, bad luck Peeder.
The afternoon saw us returning to the steep woods we had spotted earlier, the team taking repeated runs through the soft, steep loamy corners until the daylight gave up on us.
Big team dinner in the pub with a few drinks meant it was time for us to give away some prizes, we couldn't really think of any other way to do it other than some pub car park challenges, longest wheelie, quick sprint race and trackstand challenge all brought prizes from us and Interpid Apparel.
Sundays video shoot was made a little more challenging by the weather, but the team were on form sessioning a rocky descent for Tom Gaffney to capture the action. I was trialing an Intrepid Apparel Ultimate MTB Jacket - very glad to be wearing it, kept the water out and me warm, winner.
One of our very first customers Nick was along for the weekend and during a lull in the filming we decided to drop a steep descent, there was a 6 foot drop at the end with a very rapid transition to flat - don't think he saw it as what followed was a high speed crash. Another trip to A and E to check nothing serious got damaged, no bones broken but a torn muscle so no more riding for Nick until that mends! More singlerack and some more filming followed, the weekend was brought to a close with a big bowl of warming broth in Blazings latest feature the Grillikota. A Finnish hut with a warming fire - perfect end to the weekend!
Thanks to all the riders who came along, great to meet you all - see you all in summer for the next one!!
Big thanks to:
- Words by John Lumb