Here’s a story from Phil Golston a Dirt reader about making do with what you’ve got on your doorstep.
So we found a spot, we being the group of riders in the Portsmouth area known as the Portsmouth University Mountain Bike Club (plug over). It’s a great little spot, I reckon it drops almost a 100 metres, which I know doesn’t sound a lot, but were from Portsmouth remember, the south, in the middle, needless to say we were pretty chuffed to find the area. Once the fellers were out of the way we went straight in for the kill, found the steepest side of the Hill, and stuck our track in.
Due to our flat location, it’s become pretty common for most of us to feel at a disadvantage riding the steeper stuff at races, time for a change. We built the steepest track we could getting rid of the hill in under a minute, pretty much no berms just the odd rut to hold you in, plenty of line choice, plenty of opportunity to fall off, lots of off camber high lines, just the way I like it.
A quote has always stuck in my head, I don’t know If I heard it somewhere, or if I said it myself but it always appears whenever were all digging “the best hills don’t need track building, just clearing”. What I think he/it/I means there is …..”We have really crap hills in this part of the world, and you really have your work cut out if you want something that really sticks!” Luckily, there is the odd gem about, this is why we are keeping this place secret, no risk of anyone coming along, kicking us off, and wrecking all our hard work.
We’ve got a great group considering our location, Lucy, Lewis, Tom and myself perhaps being the main Lads in the equation (yes Lucy is a Guy…… mostly). Who would have thought that such keen riders would all end up in such a shitty location, having said that were not too far away from Wales really, and there are a few hills about to keep us amused. I guess our location forces us to be more creative and find better spots, more inventive ideas to make the hill last without being too flat, plus it helps with the walk up I guess….
Words and photos:Phil Golston
secret mountain bike trails in Portsmouth