21/12/2017 - Sam's Best of 2017 in Demo

Sam's Best of 2017

It's been a great year for the Cotic Demo Tour. Here's a bit of a recap of my year on the road with Black Betty.

Sam at Ard Rock

Photo above is from the sun drenched Ard Rock Enduro, my best race result ever! Managed 10th in Seniors Sprint Race.

2017 has seen me take the demo tour almost the full length of the UK. I went as far north as the Black Isle in Scotland, and as far south as Cardinham Woods in Cornwall. I've had the chance to ride some amazing places, with some wonderful people. A big thanks to everyone who came to a demo this year and made it such fun. Looking back over the year, I've tried to pick my three favourite rides. However, that was too hard, so I've gone for my top 5! In no particular order, here are my highlights of 2017:

Laggan Off Piste - I love riding in Scotland, and I was really happy I managed to get a ride in after packing up the demo bikes, as I'd heard so much about the local built trails opposite the trail centre at Laggan. They are exactly the kind of trail I enjoy, but so rarely get to ride. Steep, loose, rutted trails filled with line choice, roots and rocks. It takes me a couple of runs down trails like this to remember how to ride them, but once I'd adjusted my brain I couldn't stop grinning. Can't wait to ride there again, and thanks to the local guys for showing me round.

Gwydir Forest with the Bangor Uni Crew - This one was only a couple of weeks ago, I headed over to Wales for an exclusive demo day with the Bangor Uni MTB club, and we rode Gwydir Mawr just outside Betws y Coed. Previously known as the Marin Trail, this is a classic Welsh trail centre loop which I hadn't ridden for about 10 years, and had completely forgotten. The last three descents back into the car park are incredible. They've seen some work recently, and run really well, with a surprising amount of line choice for a trail centre. Flying down these trails chasing, and being chased by some of the guys at mach 10, was hilarious fun. I'll definitely try get a demo sorted there next year.

i ride better with my friends

The Spring Party - Not the rowdiest, fastest ride, but definitely one of the most fun. The look of bewilderment on our faces when we locked the doors to Unit 6 and turned round to see 45 of you lot eager to ride, is something I'll never forget! Great craic, especially the massive train down the gravelly corners back into Calver, immediately followed by a beer in the sun. Can't wait for this again.

Cotic Spring Party

Tollymore - My whole trip to Ireland with the demo fleet was awesome, but the highlight was riding with my mate Russell after a busy demo day at Tollymore. We rode a few tracks, but my favourite was a trail known as Parnell's. Following Russ, who's really quick, was great as I saw lines I probably wouldn't have seen otherwise. It was dry, grippy and flat out. Another Ireland trip is on the cards for 2018.

Lake District

2 pints and an Ice Cream at Grizedale - This one was nothing to do with the demo tour, but I couldn't leave it out of this list. In the height of summer me and my mate Dave went for a big loop round Grizedale on a midweek day off. The temperature was in the high 20s, and the trails were bone dry. We stopped in a couple of pubs on the way round, and most of the beer had been sweated out half way up the next climb! A great ride though, and another venue I'm hoping to bring the demo tour back to next year.

This is only some of the awesome riding I've been lucky enough to enjoy this year. Ard Rock, Borrowdale Bash owners ride, Triscombe singletrack, the list goes on. The one thing that links them all together though, is the people. This job is amazing, and it's riding with you lot that make it so special. Seeing some of you come along to the Cotic owners rides, proudly pedalling your own Cotic after enjoying the demos is really fulfilling. Obviously it's not all been plain sailing. Betty getting broken into really sucked, as did having to deal with the first proper injury on a demo ride recently. Washing bikes in the rain on a Monday morning can get dull, but sharing the stoke with everyone on the demos, and seeing people's grinning faces at the end of a demo ride comfortably outweighs the bad times.

Sam @ Cotic

Another highlight, having a whole article about me and the demo tour on the Singletrack site was a dream come true. Full ego boost! If you missed it, you can read it following the link below.

We'll be planning more 2018 dates after the Christmas break, if you'd like to come along to one of our demo days, then get in touch. See you in 2018!

Sam's Singletrack Article…

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