Couple or three weeks ago, I was shopping around for a pump track bike. Even though I didn't have a track or even a workable plan for one. Let us call it research. Among the shops I dropped into was Wheel Sport East and as fate would have it, I was helped out by Jake.
I didn't have a clue at the time, but Jake is apparently a badass downhiller, who raced in the Pro category at the most recent version of Double Down Hoe Down a few weeks ago. But what he did mention is that he rides a pump track. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
When he first approached me, he asked what I was looking for.
"Whaddya got in the way of pump track bikes?", says overweight, middle-aged me.
"For who?", says he.
"For me", says me.
Summoning every ounce of restraint in his character, Jake kept a straight face and walked me over to the dirt jump bike section. And at that moment, it was immediately apparent that I was dealing with a true bike shop professional.
But it got better. As we talked, it was obvious that Jake had pretty massive firsthand experience with building and riding a pump track. And that he was willing to share it with me. He was super laid-back about it, but I just totally understood that he knew exactly what in the hell he was talking about. And what he told me that what I should get is a Specialized P.1. Why? Read on.
What's typically used for riding pump tracks are either 20" wheeled BMX bikes . . .
. . . or 26" wheeled dirt jump (DJ) bikes . . .
Both are funny-looking bastards, but no way in hell I'm swinging a leg over a BMX machine and I don't even wanna talk about it. So that helped narrow things down.
Almost all dirt jump bikes have suspension forks. Maybe sprung forks help with dirt jumping, I don't really know. Anyway, Jake walked without hesitation, directly to the rigid fork P.1. He said it's the fastest way around a PT and that if that was all I was doing (which I told him it was), there wasn't even anything to think about. And the engineer within agreed - if you want to transfer the maximum energy to the track, you don't need no moosh. In technical terms.
I left the shop and then there were a few agonizing days of almost pulling the trigger and going back to buy the bike that I don't know if I'll ever use, only to be talked out of it by myself at the last minute, and then finally, I visited Mr McBurns, and then all hope was forever lost and I caved.
|Goofy-looking piece of hardware, I know. Except that it's totally sexy. Except unless you dig that particular type of skid mark, in which case you are a freak.|
One last thing about Jake before we move on to bermage. He spent a chunk of his day off today helping me out with pump track stuff. The details are another something that it's none of my business talking about on the internet, but suffice to say that between Mr McBurns (also Jake) and (Wheelsport East) Jake's help, I'm totally confident about how to move forward. Which was totally not the case just a few days ago. Huge thanks to both Jakes. You guys are rad.
John planted this sinister pump track seed in my head and he is who I will blame when spending every spare moment building it leads to the failure of my marriage. But to his credit, he is over here every night busting ass on the end of a shovel, or rake, or that torturous contraption known as the tamper. He and I are in different places about riding what little we've accomplished to construct - we're both extremely eager, but ever-impatient John is happy to make multiple passes through a muddy and far-from-pumpable berm, while fuss-budget Pat is holding out for something worthy of the skills he falsely envisions he posesses.
|He looks fast here, but it could just be my krappy camera. Your call.|
Neither of us is right, it's just a difference of style. I can't wait until we're taking turns hammering around this completed rectangle: