So I have just returned from two weeks riding and training out in Newport Beach, California.
Joining me on my trip was Dan Stanbridge as we went out to stay with the Athertons and Ben Reid in the land of the free.
It was so nice to be able to ride dry trails in January and it didn’t take much motivation to get out on the road bike and put some miles in.
I always find January at home starts to drag a little bit, the dark nights and wet XC loops can a get a bit much after a while.
We made the most of it and most days we were on the beach doing circuit training before breakfast, definitely not my idea!
It was circuits followed by a raw egg breakfast, a quick 10 mile time trial on the roadies then hit Sheep Hills if we had enough energy to keep our eyelids from shutting.
It wasn’t all torture, we had a couple of days off in two weeks where we got to go to the supercross in Anaheim.
That was unreal, 50 000 people rammed into a stadium to watch a dirt bike race. I even felt nervous before the first gate drop, almost as if I was racing myself.
Big thanks to Fitzy from Fox Racing Shox for giving us the VIP treatment. We even got to have a look inside the Red Bull Honda truck. I've got to say that I have never seen a tricker set up in my life – full lounge with plasma TVs, racks full of ‘money can't buy’ equipment and a double storey lift in the back to fit a pickup truck.
Walking round the pits it was great to see the amount of mountain bikers there to watch supercross, I saw Tara LLanes (looking well) Carter Holland, Chris Van Dine, Monkey (Brian Lopes' mechanic), Dave Cullinan, Paul Bliss, and even the man himself Shaun Palmer.
We even made it jet skiing one day which was awesome, I have never been on one before and didn’t have a clue what it would be like. Turns out it was just like motocross but a bit wetter and not as muddy.
We had to pay a $500 deposit to ensure we didn’t wreck them. Of course, Gee proceeded to slam into Stanny and lost his deposit straight away! He must have thought it was a World Cup 4X.
We got to ride DH at the trails in Laguna. The only things more dangerous than the 100ft cliffs behind the berms were the man eating mountain lions and the cactus that Affy and Baltic loved smashing into. It was fun stuff, until you had to get someone else to wrench the cactus needles out of your wrist bone.
It was a great two weeks. Still, wherever I go it still cool to come home, and my favourite trails are still on my doorstep.