Today was an example of two participants with very similar ability but on two very different bikes. Emma on her budget Apollo hardtail and Cath on her brand new lightweight long travel suspension bike that she had only used twice before the course. So how did they get on? The answer is that both did very well indeed but not entirely without incidents!
So did this make them immune to crashing?... well no. Grabbing of the brakes is a reflex which a lot of beginners suffer from and for Cath, whose brakes were the most efficient brakes I've ever come across on a mountain bike (and I'm not exaggerating here), this caused a couple of very impressive over the bar incidents. I am glad to say that it is a stage that passes quite quickly as not only will her brakes loose some of that immediate "bite" with time, but she will also be more able to fine tune her finger action with a bit of practice. Her ability to get back on the bike straight away for more riding was very impressive!
Brakes that worked well wasn't a problem for Emma as not even the strongest squeeze of the back brake could provide a skid of the back wheel even on a loose gravel descent, which was hugely disappointing for her, although at least it saved her from going over the bars!
At the end after comparing the bruises and scratches we finished the day in the late summer sun and judging by the enthusiasm I'm sure they both will be out riding the trails very soon regardless if it is on a budget hard tail with rim brakes or a top of the range full suspension bike.