Ok, so let’s be upfront, Day 1 on the Bali Mini Mission didn’t exactly go to Rad Plan did it? That’s always the risk with guided tour days where perhaps the group composition and trails don’t quite all line up with how you want to roll. Yes, you’re rolling the dice in those situations, but hitting a Bike Park is obviously a different set up altogether.
As such, I was cautiously optimistic heading into Day 2. The first upside? Less time in the car to start with! When you’re kicking it at the Chillhouse the bonus is that it happens to be the base for the Bike Park crew as well, so you can roll out the door from your room, dodge a few feral dogs, grab one of the great pancakes they make to order from the all you can eat breakfast action and then jump in the Daihatsu with optional seat belts for the transfer.
Its only 1.5 hours of endless oncoming motor bike dodging to the Bali Bike Park, a much more palatable proposition than Day 1, especially when we faced the prospect of as many laps as we could squeeze in once we were there. The unknown factor of course, what exactly would squeezing a lap in mean? How long? How rad? How technical? How dry? How long would uplift take? See how fucking chilled out I was already? YAMAN.
We weren’t totally in the dark however, thanks to a little edit that was dropped on Pinkbits the week we were heading to the BBP. As we can see from this holiday compilation, PRO Freerider Nick Pescetto did a lot of riding during his time in Bali. He also went to the Bike Park.
Let me just set expectations upfront – For not a single second did the Dirty Bali mission bear any resemblance to the Nick P version seen here… I did sort of dive into a reasonably shallow pool from the side of it at one stage, which is about as close as I got to the Nick experience. Fair to say that based on his experiential stealth marketing video, he’s a much better ambassador for the Chillhouse vibe than I could ever manage. But fuck my beard is way better.
On the way to the BBP we found the bravest man in all of Indonesia… Its not often I say this, but road riding can totally get fucked here:
Given that Day 2 and 3 on the BMM ended up being somewhat similar, I shall split them up by talking about the trails for day 2 and then all the other shit for day 3 (yes, that’s a cheap way of stretching out material).
“Its a Bike Park RJ, but not as we know it”
So, I feel semi qualified to say this based on the last 4 years or so in particular, given I have frequented a few bike parks here and there: This was a fairly unique set up at the BBP. Allow me to hopefully elaborate to prove this point.
First of all the location is interesting and I don’t just mean because its as Ghetto as fuck. Initially when you turn off the road you can be forgiven for thinking this is the kind of place you come to get murdered, but don’t let that anxiety get the better of you, as ultimately the base is located in a rather picturesque zone:
Yes, on one side a lake (I didn’t test out its cleanliness status FYI) and on the other, the jungle waiting for us to commence turning laps. Which brings us to the first unique part.
My Dirty snobbery is of course used to High Speed chairlifts, Gondola’s or Mercedes Vito vans complete with DVD players & LCD screens for my uplift thanks. Time to bring it down a few notches cunt, the BBP keeping it real with this beast, complete with semi slicks the mandatory YAMAN sticker YO.
Ok, contrary to popular belief here, I was more intrigued than judgemental at this point (Real talk) and keen to see what the was waiting for us… Over there… Past them trees…
The next unique experiences? Well, how about FUCK your lift queues, yes, RJ and I found ourselves to be the only people signed up for running laps that day, on a Saturday, which while a little odd, wasn’t to be sniffed at clearly. While I raised an eyebrow at what that could possibly mean, we began to navigate the ‘Access Road’ up to the drop off point. Well, calling it a road is either being generous, or insulting to other roads. Dirty Tip – Call shotgun on the cab seat.
The road was still slightly under construction, a pointer to the fact the park has really only been going about 9 months or so? A solid local crew working on concreting the whole road, which should make operations literally smoother in the months ahead. A short push/spin later, it was time to sample the local menu, which was pretty simple to choose from…
Fucken Trail time YAMAN! Today is all about the riding and trail set up at the BBP, I shall cover boring logistical shit and dubious Dirty Tips in the day 3 wrap up.
Blue twins – Hipsta and High Voltage
First rule of Bike Park? A couple of warm up laps wouldn’t hurt… Get the lay of the land and check out the dirtiness levels, learn a few trails… Which at the BBP means hitting the Blue trails of Hipsta and High Voltage. No real surprises of the inspiration for the naming convention of the latter…
These two little blue units were surprisingly fun as we ripped into them first up. High Voltage the winner for me I think, even if we were stacked up behind our guide like an ill disciplined SWAT team. Emphasis on the word ‘little’ though… Some excellent flow though was my first impression.
Second run in and I was already sniffing out some inside cut lines, yes, I was that cunt…
A couple of things struck me as we blasted out of the jungle following the first runs:
Length – Yeah, that was quite short was my initial reaction… My judgemental mind already being poisoned by day one was already wanting to gang up on the BBP and start formulating nasty blog material. Hold the line man!
The Dirt – Now this is something I will spend a bit of time frothing on in these posts, but to call it “Hero Dirt” would be a bit like saying Richie McCaw was “Kind of ok I guess…” as All Black captain. This stuff was fucking mental. So unique in fact it took me a while to get my head around it. Your initial reaction to corners had to be adjusted based on how loamy and rad it was. The number of times I thought I was going to eat shit over the two days, only to find my tires suddenly sinking in and finding this magic cushion of puffy dirt to send you on your way… Multi Radgasims all weekend on account of the terrain. YAMAN!
Our guide was as pumped as we were, even if we were monstering him on every run like skinny ENDURO hooligans.
Red Radness – On Fire, Jump line and Berm line
It will only take you two short rips on the Blues Brothers to want to graduate up to hunt for the Red October. In the end, we had trouble picking between these 3 excellent little runs. The Redness providing hours of Fuck Yeah Fisting moments over the 23 laps we ran over the 2 days.
I think for me On Fire got the nod as being my go to Red rag, mainly as it had fucking sweet flow to it and jumps that looked more impressive than they actually were, me being able to send them an indication of how safe they were.
Not that you could get into a whole lot of trouble here to be honest, based on that dirt I was frothing about earlier, even if you do eat shit, its not going to do much damage. The Swiss Missile provides an example here, halfway down the Jump Line run, like a North Korean ICBM, losing all guidance control and coming spectacularly unglued:
Said it was like collapsing into a mosh pit full of cashmere alpacas covered in pillows basically. The red lines all had excellent manners and traits: Speed, flow and that mind blowing grip of sweet dry jungle dirt… It was ON all over the show.
Not to be outdone by Hawaiian shirt clad Nick P, the Swiss Missile kept launching it all day, even getting into some pushing back up when his original attempt didn’t go like clockwork (Fuck yes that was a totally shit Swiss pun). I know how this works when cameras are around, so elected to stand around and watch like the ex-1990’s DHer that I am:
If you come to Bali and manage to make it past all the G Bangers and hordes of fake cans on the beach, then you can absolutely get your North Shore on as well – As we soon found, there is plenty of feature action waiting for you in the Jungle… Like the G&R song says…
The trail names aren’t rocket science, so after Jump line we move over to… Berm line! You guessed it! It was of course just that, another excellent little ripper with flowing high speed turns that really let you get into your work. For me it was an excellent chance to get my Shakira fantasy cranking and move my hips while I tried to continually iron out my two worst habits (not those ones) of looking down and not moving my hips.
By the third pass on each trail it was into that excellent zone of being able to remember each one enough that you could really attack it, or as I learned, just hold your speed a bit and try to stay smooth as you carved through magic turns and kept the flow alive. Berm line to Z Line was all about the hips… You know its cuming… YAMAN!
One thing that I wasn’t so frothed on was the “Nick P Zone”, basically the PRO line gap jumps and this whole epic ramp scenario. Yes, the tip of that ramp is vertical… Yes the run in is basically vertical as well and yes, its a relative gap from the vertical end point to where I am standing like a cock bag throwing the forks out pretending that I have done it. Zero… Fucking… Chance… Ever.
As Alex explained to us that night, “Its not actually that bad yaman, you just have to not brake and commit. And then pop, it happens for you and you have amazing feelings!” Given I spend a lot of time squeezing my Saints and it took me 37 years to get married I guess that cancels me out from any future attempts at the step up from hell. I also assumed the amazing feelings was from the morphine if you fuck it up.
Halfway through the day the shortness of the runs didn’t really bother me. Yes, 2-3 minutes long isn’t really going to get some people that excited and to start with I was a bit snooty on it, but once you settle into a rhythm and learn the trails, it does feel longer than you’d expect. It was probably helped by having exclusive park access that day, our own private shuttle set up rocking as many runs as we could manage.
The other unique event that happened at about the halfway point was that we wore out the guide. In perhaps one of the greatest ego moments I can recall having as a Dirty tourist, the guide waved the white flag and took a chill pill after confessing that he hadn’t had guests like this before. It had my inner narcissist high fiving itself and yelling “Fucking A bro, we’re basically semi PRO YAMAN!”
Admittedly it sounded like he had to spend his days waiting for hopeless fuck bags taking 10-15 mins to get down the 2 min blue runs, so to be expected he was fingered as we churned out laps like some sort of Hairy/Swiss terminator combo set to the ghetto to brutally slaughter soft dirt.
The outliers – Downhill line and Enduro Line
In the end we only did the ENDURO line once, exceedingly odd given we are as ENDURO as fuck, but it also involved a slight hike, which even though it wasn’t that hot in the jungle, could massively go fuck itself.
But we did run the fuck out of the Downhill line – And oh fuck it was GOOD. Yes, a bit of a hike up, but nothing to deter you hitting it again and again like Nick on a scuba diving trip. On balance I would have to say that I think the DH line was the winner for me overall for best trail in the park. The top had sensational flow to it, with the occasional jump you could really nail:
The bottom section then threw in enough steepness, rad turns and drops that you had to actually think about what you were doing and nail it. The final root section, drop, jump, drop and drop were an excellent way to finish off a run that left us feeling pretty stoked and that it was more than worth while being here.
Left to our own devices with our private shuttle, RJ and I packed in around 13 or 14 laps on day 1 in the park, perfect weather, perfect dirt and great flow. I’m the first to admit that these runs aren’t currently that long, which some may find an issue, but future expansion plans should help that. We ended up mainly dividing our time between these ones:
- DH Line – Black run
- On Fire – Red run
- Bermline to Z Line – Red run
Throwing in the occasional Jump line to mix it up. Overall I think they’ve done an awesome job sculpting the trails they have within a small area, and the 200m elevation drop that they have to play with based on the current access point. Put it this way, its more than enough to get some fisting going.
The question after the infamous Day 1 was whether or not the BBP would take us down a path of Redemption or steer us towards First World Problems Resentment… I’m pleased to say that based on the level of fun had, how I was riding and that Dirt that redemption was the order of the day. The BBP doing its best to grab victory from the heavily closing jaws of hating.
Thanks to the Swiss Missile and the BBP Crew for a fun day of you know it, brown pow radness. More details in the Day 3 wrap up, including all the boring logistics details and some Dirty Tips for you to nibble on.