After having got some elementary stuff under the belt in Part 1, we set about practising what our jump coach, Barry Crouse, had taught us. For me, this was relaxing more and letting the bike come up on the take-off and for Cade it was getting more comfortable with going higher. But we both experienced major changes for Part 2.
By Sean Badenhorst
Barry had mentioned early on that for Cade to clear the 10-metre road gap at Grootfontein – the primary objective of this whole project – he would ideally need to be on a full-suspension bike. Cade had actually developed good confidence on a KTM Kapoho full-sus 650b-Plus bike early this year. He was comfortably jumping the first two gap jumps on Line 1 at the Scout Hall, Bryanston.
When the lockdown was announced, we had to return the KTM and it was then sold. That’s when Victor Momsen mentioned that he had a Morewood Yebo prototype in his Port Elizabeth warehouse that Cade could ride in the meantime. It needed to be built first and Victor made a plan to add good wheels and a fork to ensure it was bombproof!
While Cade gradually grew his jumping ability on the Morewood, he battled to regain the confidence and form he had previously reached on the full-sus KTM. As a result, he avoided poppy-style jumps as he just felt a bit insecure. He was fine on long, fast jumps on the Morewood though, so he continued to send those as often as possible.
An article I wrote about what the bike of South Africa’s near future looks like and the launch of SHRED, a division of TREAD focussed on the youth/sender market, along with our Mind-the-Gap proposal, struck a chord with Specialized South Africa. They offered a Specialized Ambassador deal to Cade which would ensure he got an appropriate full-sus bike and gear to complete his Mind the Gap goal. It also would help the brand connect with the growing South African ‘sender’ market.
Cade looking to clear a tabletop jump.
The 2020 Specialized Stumpjumper Expert has 140mm of rear travel via a Fox Float shock and a 150mm-travel Fox Float 36 fork. Perfect for some big-jump action. The robust Roval Traverse 29-inch carbon rims, slack 66.5-degree head tube angle and X-Fusion dropper seatpost add to the Stumpy’s shred cred. Here’s all the detail on this bike.
After his suspension set-up at Complete Cyclist, Bryanston, Cade quickly adapted to the Stumpjumper (size Small) and set about mastering wheelie-ing downhill and manualling. When we met Barry for Part 2 at Wolwespruit, he was properly in tune with the bike.
I had moved onto the Morewood. It seemed like an ideal shift for me as I was adapting both to jumping with the correct technique and riding with flat pedals. Barry took it for a couple of laps on the pumptrack and confirmed it was the ideal bike for me to be riding in my own quest to close the generation gap to Cade. My goal isn’t the road gap at Grootfontein, so this bike would be just fine.
Barry comfortably clearing the step-up jump.
We did some pumptrack laps to warm up and then headed straight to the jump line. Barry was pleased to see how in tune Cade was with the Stumpy and the goal for the session was to get Cade to jump higher and further.
Interestingly, Cade was struggling to stay with Barry’s pace, which meant he wasn’t carrying enough speed into the jumps after Jump 3 and therefore casing a few of the lower-line jumps. Barry got Cade to turn the bike down while in the air a bit – like you would when scrubbing – to reduce his frontal area and keep as much speed as possible over the jumps. It still wasn’t enough. Barry then followed Cade and discovered that because Cade is so light (45kg), he was losing speed and needed to add some pedalling to maintain his speed.
Cade following Barry over the last two jumps.
Barry following Cade down the full Wolwespruit jump line.
This helped and after a number of runs, Cade was managing to clear the last few, including the massive step-up at the end.
“Step-ups are great to practice jumping on. They have regular large, steepish take-off faces like any other jump, but because the landing is higher, it’s a lower-risk obstacle, which helps you really boost the take-off and feel less vulnerable during the landing,” explained Barry.
Teacher and pupil: Barry (right) gives Cade instructions for the Wolwespruit jump line.
I spent the session just trying to relax my upper body over the jumps and letting the bike come up. With 30 years of being cleated into my pedals, I predictably try to pull the bike up with my legs. With flat pedals you can’t do this and it does take time to adapt.
So that concluded Part 2. New bike and improved confidence were in place already. Cade needed to find more speed to achieve greater height and more distance, which included ‘scrubbing’ in the air and pedalling between some jumps.
It may not be obvious from the images and videos, but these are quite big jumps – mostly tabletops – ranging in ‘table lengths’ from 5-8 metres. That Cade is getting that distance bodes well for the end goal – the 10-metre distance of the road gap at Grootfontein. But distance in jumping is one thing. Height is the other and that’s what Cade needs to work on still.
Part 3 with Coach Barry will take place the Dog Box, a new rather ‘poppy’ jump spot at Old Parks Sports Club, Randburg, not far from where we live. This is where Cade will be able to work on gaining the height he needs.
If you missed the Mind the Gap Part 1, it’s here.
Follow Cade’s Mind the Gap progress on Instagram: @cade_bad_rides
Follow Barry’s Pyga-flavoured mountain biking journey on Instagram: @barry.crouse