Monday, 29 August 2011

Beginners course 270811

After a nice summer break it was good to be back in the saddle. Today turned out by chance to be a ladies-only day, with Cate, Maureen and Paula coming to learn off-road cycling. During the chat in the carpark I found out that all three of them were quite new to mountain biking and afterwards I had to confess to Maureen that I had been slightly worried about quite how new to cycling she was when she asked how to get on the bike and get it rolling. However it was a very legitimate question and with a few hints (stand on the pedal and push off with the other foot on the ground) she started to be able to set off much more graciously. And one thing was certain, once Maureen got rolling she really got rolling and set a great example of how to use speed as your friend!

During the day there were a few crashes (some more comical than others!) but it didn't put any of the participants off. A few details, small but important, such as foot and leg positions were tweaked and the confidence grew for all the participants as the course progressed on to rockier terrain. Cate who had a couple of quite big crashes earlier in the day due to being too tense managed to relax enough to ride down all the other obstacles including the rocky track very successfully and it was great to see her confidence returning as she found out she could ride quite technical terrain.

At the end when tiredness was setting in Paula still hadn't quite reached her limit of scary obstacles and was presented with the "rooty drop". Most people I know have expressed amazement that it it part of the beginners course but Paula proved again that by showing people the right techniques it is perfectly possible for a beginner to ride even some quite challenging drops.

It was a lovely day with lovely people and was great fun. I believe the girls who didn't know each other before this day might have plans to meet up again for some riding together.

Hi Emmy,

Thank you so much for the photos and your witty narrative of the day. I just wanted to thank you for your input on Sat and to let you know that I cycled the entire blue route at Llandegla today without stopping and with some speed! went around berms and handled corners well. Was on and off the bike  much more elegantly and my confidence level was high.

I very much enjoyed my day with you and I have learnt loads and am putting it all into practice.

So thank you,

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Intermediate course 030811

Normally I have a little moan about the weather being too cold, too wet or too windy and today it was too hot! Being warm was nice for a change, but it certainly made it much harder especially on the climbs. It was nice to see Peter again who came on the beginner's course last October as a complete novice. He did exceptionally well that day so it was no surprise he had developed into a very good rider since seeing him last. He was ready to build more on his jumping skills having had a taste of it during a skills session at Cannock where he regularly rides.

David had come for similar reasons wanting to move on from riding mostly red routes to feel confident about tackling black graded routes, especially since he had booked a trip up to Fort William with his mountain biking sons.

Apart from getting the wheels off the ground and bunny hopping, we also spent some time on riding slowly. It is absolutely true that speed is your friend and both riders were great at speed so it made sense to increase their range off skills to improving their ability to negotiate stuff slower.  The track standing came in handy to increase their ability to balance and they were already better than average at this, while bunny hopping and independently unweighting the front and the rear wheel was applied to tackle some nice wheel hugging roots.

Both David and Peter weren't hanging about when it came to riding even quite scary looking features which made for quick progress through out the day. Even the "drop off doom" was ridden 3 times each until it had lost its scariness factor and both participants had re-evaluated what was actually possible to ride down.

Very enjoyable day which was finished off with an ice cream back at the cafe!