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Turning off the 'fear switch' in your head -
The 'Sandy Stone' on Wonderland
|RUSS BARLOW was the one who saw it first, from across the then-new Wonderland clearcut.
The loggers had blasted a sandstone outcrop when building the 310 Rd., leaving a 25 foot high rock face where Wonderland crosses the road the first time.
Russ immediately thought the rock -- known variously as the Sandy Stone, Sandy Ledge, Rock Ledge, Rock Wall and Wonderwall -- could make a marvelous launch point. The view was the surprise. He had no idea how stunning the view from the Sandy Ledge would be, especially on a bright sunny day when the blue islands glitter in the distance.
Several lines have evolved on the Sandy Stone, along with a number of different variations and appetizers, depending on your tastes. There are two main airbourne lines off the Ledge. The most commonly used is the one you see illustrated here. But there is also a higher line immediately to the rider's left that is less frequently used. (It was this higher line that Russ Barlow saw from the distance.)
When I asked Dave Sears (featured in this video jumping the Sandy Stone) how he prepares himself mentally to huck off the Sandy Ledge, he said, "you have to find the fear switch in your head, and trun it off. But the thing is, it's an intelligent switch, so it moves around."
Says Pat Reilly, AKA GORGONZOLA, "I really recommend taking the drops going slow. The tranny is short and you can run out of room quickly.
"When I do drops where the tranny almost matches the take-off angle (like the Sandy Stone drop) I typically relax and slightly un-weight my front end as I go over the lip. This allows the front of the bike not to dip as you fall. Just before landing I try to arrange my geometry to match the transition. This allows for both tires to touch down at the same time, which make the landing feel much softer. This becomes increasingly important as the drop distance grows."
Adds Dan Waters in his low-keyed, dangerously encouraging way, "the rolling line is really pretty easy. I mean it LOOKS impossible when you're at the top, but you just get back, let 'em roll and enjoy the ride!"
GORGONZOLA added, "a really great place to practice to prepare for the Sandy Stone drops is the steep-drop line at the towers. The drop is dirrectly to the south of the fence surrounding the radio tower. It's the really steep one that looks just like Sandy Stone but smaller. That's where we all learned to prepare for Sandy. It to has a steep take-off to a steep landing."
Remember, GalbraithMt.com recommends studying all stunts like this before riding them the first time. Better yet, watch someone who knows what they're doing ride it, and make sure your medical insurance is paid up.
The following are sequence shots of the stunt. Click on the thumbnail images to view a larger version...