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Posted by on Sep 18, 2014 in Blog, Video

Master Airwheel Training – QECP NightGlide

Lost in the woods

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Today I felt like challenging myself and improving my all-terrain skills. And the most challenging cross-country run I have done so far on my Airwheel was up at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, so I thought I’d have another go at that, except this time, I’ll do it on my own and in the dark.

I have just returned from that mission, which started out as a planned 1 hour trek, but ended up with me utterly lost in woodland I didn’t know well, and unable to see more than 5 ft square of it at any one time for a good 2 and a half hours while I manually scaled the sides of the hills trying to find the path…

Mission 1 – QECP Bottom to Top

Having conquered Butser it seems only rude not to try the same at QECP. Today I thought I’d try the main winding road up from the lower car park, and I am pleased to say I got all the way to the top car park in a single hit with 2 power lights remaining.

The technique here involved going really quite slowly where it was steepest, but it can be done ! If I had turned round, and gone back down again, I would have got one of those lights back, and the smooth tarmac is a joy to ride, even uphill. Cars not a problem, as long as they can see you…

So first up is the video from that…

Mission 2 – Tea, Cake & a View

Yep, instead of going back down the nice easy road, I soldiered on through the woods and fields to find my high vantage point over the A3, from which I could conduct today’s TCV. This evening I am reviewing Heidi’s Bakery’s attempts at an Almond Macaroon (as different from the French Macarons in the last episode), and if we’re honest, they do OK, achieving an initially solid 7/10 but that has been subsequently docked 2 points for the rest of them being brittle, not holding up to the journey, and falling all over the place wherever I tried to eat them. And I’m never in that shop less than 15 mins to buy 2 cakes. I don’t know why I go in there really. Perhaps I won’t.

Then I armed my array of light-casting equipment, waited for darkness, and then began the most difficult run down Airwheel glide of my life.

That’ll be vid no 2 when I get time to edit it…

Mission 3 – Extreme Forest slope night glide

Xtreme doesn’t really cover it. I had my 25-LED hand-held torch in one hand, and my Night Wand in the other, but still I had only just enough light to navigate steep, treacherous forest paths, and my brain needed to be 100% focused on not falling off, and choosing the ideal (sometime only) safe path down some pretty gnarly slopes. Fortunately, the slower I went the more I was doubly advantaged, as I had more time to see hazards coming, and also recharged my battery at a reasonable rate.

Due to not being able to see where the right forest trails started, I ended up climbing the same long, protracted steep uphill a total of 3 separate times, and I manually carried the airwheel for 2 of those, saving its power for the really big uphill I knew was still ahead, and good thing I did, because it sailed all the way up that (perilously large stones and gravel all the way), before sinking to its last light, and I could tell we were in 20% land. 5% left to get to a downhill.

Fortunately I rounded a pitch-black leafy corner and there it was, the first of the hardcore downhill forest trails, where there are still stone, but now there are root systems too, and they are even more dangerous for Airwheels than the rocks and obfuscating loose leaves on the ground, which hide all the potholes, of which there are many.

It was too dark to film, and to be honest, my concentration was required 100% on not falling off and path-planning, so I don’t have a record of it, but I can promise you that I didn’t fall off, or UDM even once in the whole downhill trip. I was quite pleased about that, and when I compare it to the UDM-a-minute splatfest that was my last daytime visit here, when I was a considerably shitter rider, I can’t help but feel pleased I have left that time behind me. I’m not good with injuries.

Whatever the case, I am paying my dues and improving my x-country skills, like many other Airwheelers, worldwide. However I think I am the only one doing it at night with a Gandalf style night wand in the forest. So well done me.

Next time, airwheelers…

AeroJ