Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Day 3 - 1st Ride!

Well, we must apologise for the delay. We arrived back to base much later than expected last night and so we spent last night catching up on day 1 & 2.

Big mountains need bike bikes - or is it the other way around... Our two great Ibis Mojo HD's ready for action

Yesterday we went for our 1st ride. Leaving Imlil we headed East to Tinerhourhine via the Tizi n'Tamatert (Tizi = mountain pass). So a climb of approx 500 vertical metres up to the pass followed by about the same in descent along a very narrow mule path with many tight switchbacks. The path up to the pass was tarmacked so it was a fairly easy gradual ascent over about 3km.

The route down however was quite different. From the top, the entry to the mule path was over very loose and rocky scree and this lead to my first fall for the trip. No serious damage sustained and after some fork compression adjustment and lowering of tyre pressure, we were on our way down. The paths were really dry and loose, and the switchbacks were very tight. It made for a slow but fun descent. Three Berber boys amused themselves by racing us down and constantly asking for a ride on our bikes......non monsieur!

For the last time, no you can not have a ride. Very persistant Berber boys.

Sublime singletrack descent

When we reached the bottom we crossed the river and continued down the valley towards Ikkiss. The map was of little use to us when trying to find the connecting trail back over another pass to Aguersioual so we asked some local farmers and one of them took the time out to walk us about a mile down the river bed and up the other side to the right path. 100 durhams lighter, we continued on. His little boy of about 4 or 5 also followed us the entire way. They make them tough in this part of the world!

Looking up the path we caught sight of the massive climb ahead. It seemed to stretch into the sky itself, but once on our way, we found it to be almost all ridable. For a 160mm travel bike, the HD is a surprisingly good climber especially when the path got rocky. The suspension just smooths out all of the lumps in the trail and ensures maximum traction at all times.

Lung busting long singletrack ascent

You can see form the photos that the scenery during the ascent was amazing. We felt so small in these vast mountains.

On and on and on.

Thank god that climb is over - all smiles at the top of the 2nd pass.

When we reached Tizi n'Aguersioual we again prepared ourselves for the descent. A very steep switchbacky rocky track laid out in front of us down the mountain. The early part of the descent was again very loose and tight, but thankfully as we descended the trail opened up a little and became much more rocky so we were able to pick up the speed. When astride a Mojo HD, line choice is not so critical as the big forks and capable rear end just soak it all up. 

Jason, on the rocky descent

  Jebel Toubkal from the road to Imlil

A few minutes later we were once again at the bottom of the valley and on the tarmac heading home towards Imlil.

We arrived home at about 7pm - about 3h overdue due to pesky kids, losing the trail near Ikkiss and Photo stops.

This morning the legs feel ok, but we're going to take it easy because tomorrow is Toubkal day!

On the way up the 1st climb, we saw some lovely singletrack heading back down to Imlil, so I think we'll "close" that trail this afternoon. It's pretty hot out there today.....

1 comment:

  1. Great blog guys, sounds like your enjoying yourselves, keep it up. Rick and Andrea....