Friday, 28 September 2012

Intermediate course 28/09/2012

Usually doing the safety check on the bikes is an uneventful affair where there is rarely anything wrong that can't be fixed by putting in a bit more air or tightening a bolt. However today's fix was more unusual as Carl's grips turned out to be very loosely attached to his handlebars and we required something sticky to try and stop them from rotating. I was thinking in the line of going to the cafe and getting some sweets when Carl said he had just the thing we needed. He opened the boot of his car and would you believe it, there was a bee hive! Not much sign of sticky wax or honey though, but even better he also had a dusting jar of icing sugar (apparently you dust bees with icing sugar so that when they then groom each other a certain type of mite is removed). So after a liberal amount of icing sugar applied to the handlebars had provided the much desired tackiness for his grips we set off on the ride.
Having someone completely fearless on the course makes my job extremely easy as they have no hesitation in throwing themselves down any slope or drop and Carl was definitely on of those. Thankfully he also turned out extremely well at following instructions and tweaking body position etc to perfect his techniques which made for a fun and efficient day. Even the weather held up and provided us with some nice sunshine by the afternoon.

Carl came away a more confident rider who by adjusting the smaller things have made big changes to his riding and I learned something as well: don't underestimate the power of icing sugar!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Intermediate course 11/09/2012

Everyday is always different and today was special due to the extremes of every kind. Weather wise it was either pouring with rain or glorious sunshine, nothing in between. Same with Melissa, she was had either fallen off or she was riding world class style! (But to be fair it was mostly the latter!) I was surprised initially that a lot of techniques where completely new to her but her ability to learn quickly was amazing. Once she started moving her weight back for drops there was no stopping her and she went from a cautious rider that kept falling off to a confident descender in no time. Bunny hops for example was mastered in less than 10 minutes and as for jumping off drops I'll let the photo speak for itself! I have never seen anyone get as much air on that drop as she did and it was only the third jump she has ever done!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Beginner's course 01/09/2012

Me, Mona, William and Stuart were blessed with gorgeous sunshine and despite the heavy rain in the previous week the trails had dried up quite nicely. Mona had decided to start mountain biking again after a long break as she found her favourite sport, running, was starting to cause wear and tear on her knees. I don't like to draw attention to peoples bikes much as it is the technique of the rider that is the most important. However, Mona's bike lacked front suspension and had exceptionally narrow bars which is typical for the era the bike was from and it was important that she tried to compensate for these things by staying as relaxed as possible on the bike to avoid the shock of every lump and bump traveling through her arms. Despite at one point having come off the bike due to panic breaking she suddenly plucked up courage and road the really rocky sections of trail really well!

William was also what you would call a proper beginner at mountain biking having not even tried out his new bike before coming on the course. He had done some road cycling in the past and had therefore opted for the SPD pedals on his bike. Getting used to the SPDs again took a little while but thankfully he seemed to bounce pretty well! Maybe it was due to being experienced at sports in general such as kayaking, karate and climbing he had very good control and balance, he picked up all the skills and tricks really quickly.

Stuart was the only one who had been out riding regularly off road before coming on the course and was already familiar with most of the trails. This showed as he was very confident and tackled everything with speed and no hesitation. The only thing needed in his case was to try and move slightly more with his bike to allow to be balanced through out especially for the drops. He had a remarkable ability to stay on the bike even in the most frightening situation but to not make the others feel bad he took a dive in the mud on the very last obstacle!

Great day, lovely people, what more can you ask for!