Thursday, 9 August 2012

Beginner's course 08/08/2012

Mark's home terrain is many sand, desert and rocks as he lives out in Dubai but was back in the UK to visit relatives. He took the opportunity to come on the course to work on his core skills that were mainly biased towards road cycling rather than off road riding.

As usual we started with the riding positions both uphill and downhill and with minor tweaks Mark started to get his confidence up on the descents. Having put the basics in place we moved on to drops something Mark was not so keen on, or rather his brain wasn't too happy about it! Some people have less worries about riding off things and very quickly discover that it isn't scary or difficult once you use the right technique. Mark learned the technique but it took some convincing and several attempts before his brain let him continue off the edge and not apply the brakes last minute. Once he a realized he could do it he had several really good runs at each thing and we built his ability up to cover 10-12 big steps in a row which he rode beautifully.

Great day, very warm for British standards, but Mark more used to desert temperatures and with great fitness, didn't even break sweat!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Intermediate course 05/08/2012

It was a great pleasure having Cirion and Stuart come for the intermediate course today. It was immediately obvious climbing the first hill that it was going to be a very warm day. Arm warmers and tops came off and we found ourselves sharing the trails with many more people than normal. Some old ladies even decided to have a picnic on one of the drop-offs while we were still practicing on it!!

Progress was made making them look in the right place and feel comfortable on all types of terrain and all speeds even when the width of the path narrowed and the heather closed in. Cirion was on home turf having ridden many times in the area but we managed to find new stuff hidden away that he hadn't attempted before.

Stuart seemed initially quite worried that he would hold the group up but quickly realized that it wasn't a race and to be honest we didn't really have to wait for him anyway as he kept up fine. Combined with having had a couple of early mishaps and being on new types of terrain that he rarely come across in the Quantocks,  he seemed slightly worried by each new thing but as it turned out he managed to do absolutely everything really well!

Since both participants had brought lunch with them we skipped the pub and had sandwiches sitting outside in my garden. We only had a few meters to ride afterwards to commence the bunny hopping practice, something that Cirion in particular excelled at. We used the bunny hops to progress to jumping and both guys got some nice air from well timed pumps off the little drop.

Just as thunder started we were on the last big challenge of the day which is a 4 foot slope that for all intents and purposes is a vertical drop (Ok, it has some rocks and roots sticking out for good measure.) that spits you out onto the main track. It doesn't look too bad from below but because you can't actually see what it looks like from the top and you just have to ride it blind and commit yourself, I was very impressed by both Cirion and Stuart for riding it. Very good end to an enjoyable day!