Sunday, 29 April 2012

Beginners course 280412

We were lucky despite the several weeks of daily rain and hale to finally have a day with some sunshine! Phil, Helen and Sarah came on the course to learn to ride more technical terrain and it was apparent very quickly that we had three people with very different approaches. Sarah would throw herself off anything in an instant (particularly impressive since she had just recovered from an accident where she broke both her knees!), Phil would take it slowly while being in complete control at all times while Helen had over a couple of years built up a lot of hesitation and nervousness when it came to technical descents and had to overcome her fear for each new obstacle. She made me really proud by riding the set of steps beautifully.

The morning was delayed slightly by Phil's chain snapping 3 (!!) times in different places due to some mystery cause that thankfully went away by the afternoon. Tight turns, rutted muddy descents, steps, climbing techniques were all dealt with before returning to the cafe for bacon butties and toasties in the sunshine.

The afternoon consisted of drops and emergency braking techniques before we tackled the most complicated technique on the beginners course which is the power assisted front wheel lift! Phil showed his strength here by instantly doing a 180 degree wheelie! By reining in his power he put the technique in place and rode really smoothly over the obstacles.

Once we were at the top of the hill we had a very rocky descent to tackle. As predicted this wasn't problem for Sarah who hammered down the descent with a permanent smile on her face, but by this stage Helen had reached the limit of what she wanted to put herself through and took it very easy. She felt that there were a lot of stuff to do with the core skills from the morning that she wanted to practice before she progressed on to harder things which was fair enough.

We worked our way down the hillside tackling all kinds of obstacles finishing with the big rooty drop. Both Sarah and Phil got a big adrenalin buzz tackling something that really doesn't look too nice but by the second and third time they were riding it with out any kind of hesitation.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Intermediate course 210412

It was great to be back out on my bike and do another course after almost a month of no mountain biking. I was unfortunate to have a spontaneous collapsed lung before Easter (just from sleeping believe it or not, absolutely no mountain biking involved!) and had to have a few weeks recuperation which coincided with the Easter break. Healed up nicely now but I can still use it as an excuse to not race up the climbs! And today the excuse was needed as both Chris and Brian who came to the course were incredibly fit!

The day was remarkably non-eventful (which is always good!) but nevertheless full of fun! Techniques and fears were conquered as we progressed up the hill to the tiny quarry behind Mellor cross. It is a great area as it has examples of pretty much everything you can  think of. Drops, narrow steep singletrack, tight turns and tricky ascents were some of the things we explored. Brian, who had ridden in the area before, rode loads of things he previously had only walked and Chris rode like a professional all day having very quickly got to grips with proper bunny hops. The most surreal moment was when a fellow mountain biker came down the hill with a Tesco bag over his helmet (presumably to keep the rain off) followed 30 seconds later by another bloke also wearing a bag! Must be the latest craze! Great day even though we got covered in plenty of mud because of the soggy trails, but then who has ever come back from a good ride completely spotless?!