Pictures & Text: Cheyann Wyeth Nongrum (mobilphone & screenshots)
Shillong is a small town located in the North East of India. It is the capital of the state Meghalaya. It is a small hill station with a small population. Khasi is the local language of Shillong. ‘Khlaw’ in Khasi means, ‘Forest’.
The forests in Shillong are all protected by the government and the forest department. There is no cutting down of trees, or any polluting of any sorts. This helps breed a healthy environment for birds, and small animals. This also provides the perfect opportunity for the discovery of many trials.
There are many trails in Khlaw Shillong, many of which have potential to be downhill tracks if given the opportunity to be fine tuned. Many riders in Shillong, riders like me, prefer to ride raw, untouched tracks complete with rocks, moss, tree roots, pine needles, you name it.
This trail in particular is a dead straight trail which stretches for about 1.5 kilometers. It’s a trail which has the potential for one thing and one thing only. SPEED. The trail runs through a plantation of very old pine trees, planted back in the early 90’s which suggests, these are pretty big old trees.
The trail starts off with a ‘chute’ above the woods in a clearing. It’s perfect to gain the speed for the entry into the woods. The ‘chute’ starts off above the woods. It’s a steep straight which opens up to a small section of turns to navigate your way into the woods. The chute may be a great way to gain your speed for entry. But go too fast on your way down it, and you’ll find yourself in the bushes on the second turn which leads to the woods. Precise braking here is essential, enough to get you to control your way into the turns, and enough not to slow you down too much. Once you’re past the small section of turns you’ll find your way into the woods. Here comes the best part. Once you make the left turn, all you have to do is let go of your brakes and Woooosshh. You’ll be hitting 60km/h in no time.
The awesome part about the woods is the speed at which all the trees are passing by. The trail is big enough to fit three bikes abreast, but when you’re riding through it at that speed, everything just narrows down and turn a blur. All you can hear is the wind going through the vents of your full-face and the sounds of your own breathing. The top part of the woods have a lot of big and small roots popping out of nowhere, so you can’t just not pay attention. A little breaking here and there is needed to get past them. But it won’t slow you down.
The middle section is a steep straight line through the woods. At this point of time you’ll probably be reaching somewhere close to about 50-60 km/h, depending on how much you braked at the top section. This is the part where the trees start whizzing past you and it looks as though your bars are just gonna clip the trees.
The lower section is a little bumpy. The moment you feel your bike taking the air without you knowing, that’s when you’ve got to hit the brakes to slow down for the turns at the bottom. But squeeze too hard, the tyres will just slide on the wet slippery earth. At the bottom turns you lose most your speed, but still have most of the fun. You have to know when and how to break here. Because its so slippery, I avoid using the front brake to avoid the front tyre from washing, despite using minions. These turns wind through the trees and open up at a little technical section, which opens up to the main road.
All in all, this trail is FAST, Slippery, and hell loads of fun. You’ll find yourself at the bottom saying,
“Let’s do it again!”
"Keep it Real""