Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Downhilling in Pattaya?

Location: Pattaya Hill, Pattaya, Chonburi, Thailand
Length: Less than 2kms

Pattaya is a very popular destination for tourists in Thailand. Lots of things to do, lots of places to visit. On one side there's the beach where you can just kick back and have some sun. On the other side, there's the mountains overlooking the small city and the bay.

But there's one place in Pattaya that most returning tourists and even the locals do not know about - a downhill trail right under the Pattaya Hill (or Radio Mountain as some people will call it).

Bruised and I featured it one time but only the "XC" trail. This trail is dead but hey Bruised, apparently there's another XC trail over there cut by the downhilling group for us XC'ers. This is for next month's last leg. It should be ready by now! Woooooot!

CraZyGang
The local DH biking group call themselves CraZyGang. This is actually a misnomer since none of the members are nuts and all of them are respectable and responsible members of society -executives, business owners, and topnotch college undergrads. I know some of you will think "elitist" or "snobs". On the contrary, they're one of the friendlier bike groups in Chonburi. These are the guys that ride this trail most weekends.

What's crazy are some of the tracks that they run, just like this one in Pattaya - very fast and extremely furious. In a country where DH is just a baby, going down this hill at 50-60kph on two wheels with no engine is just like having a big red neon sign over your head saying "NUTCASE". Then they'll be surprised when you take of your helmet,"Hey, that's the bank manager!" Ah, the stereotypes that we have to live with - people usually associate DH'ers with long-haired dudes bumming under a tree or by the beach. Us XC'ers are not spared even on our HTs associating us with FR's and Extreme Sports.

The Trail.
The trail takes off right behind the Volkswagen coffee stall. As I've said before, the second XC trail is already in bad shape and only the DH course remains decent so think twice if you're going to bring your hardtail or anything with less than 5inches travel.

These pictures will show that this is a VERY serious DH course. When Bruised and I saw it, we could not believe that people actually go down on a bike on these hills. The tracks were insanely steep. But then I logged on to ThaiMTB and realized that the track is very much alive with activity! The group was there last weekend to check out the track for this year's Pattaya MountainBike Downtown Race on Dec 02.

Beyond the short strip right behind the volks cafe is all down down down. The track is fast and creative crossing pathways and connecting dirt to stairs to dirt again. These crossings are potential hazards since the pathways are used by joggers and bikers, too. Although they seldom come here to jog or bike, it only needs one serious collision between an incoming 590kph Intense and a jogger for the officials to shutdown the track. No warning signs at the crossings so be careful and eyes wide open.

How to get there:
When in Pattaya, just ask the locals for directions to Khao Phra Tamnak. Foreign tourists know this place as Pattaya Hill or Radio Hill. It's overlooking the bay and about 100meters past NipaHut Restaurant.

Trip Value.
Hey, it's right in Pattaya. 'Nuff said.

Credits.

All photos were taken by K. Oo Pattaya CraZyGang (อู๋ พัทยาCraZyGang) who is also a very good DH'er! Thank you, Sir!

*This article is not only to introduce the trail but also to give an idea of the kind of equipment available here. Some people seem to have the impression that Thailand is one big backwards village with buffalos, rice paddies, and smokey markets with boats - just like in the movies.

So yes, we do ride the kind of bikes that you ride, most of us have MTBs under 25lbs, and yes we do wear helmets.

6 comments:

homebass said...

that looks like so much fun.do you reckon there d be any locals willing to show a beginner like me how to ride downhill?

Anonymous said...

Very interesting info. I was searching the web and finally I found Your blog. Regards.

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