A weekend in the Yorkshire Dales

I had planned on a 2 month fitness improvement plan. I had planned on getting out a lot more. But the weekend of riding in the Yorkshire Dales arrived just ahead of my fitness.

Its easy to blame the long damp, muddy winter – so I will.

I struggled. Enjoyed myself but struggled for the first time in a while, maybe working at home and having too many biscuits with each cup of tea was taking its toll, or I’d simply been a fair weather biker!

Anyway – it was a cracking weekend…  Thanks to Tom @ MTB Guiding for organising and for Stu @ Dales Bike Centre for guiding Saturday and Sunday.

I made a detour to one of my sort of bucket list locations before meeting the gang on Friday to Malham Cove. It had featured on the ITV programme about Great British walks and I still need to go back for a “walk”.

We met in Horton-in-Ribblesdale and Tom and Steph took us on a trip around Pen-y-Ghent, the smallest of the dales 3 peaks. I’m not sure what it means but its sounds Welsh and I think could mean either “head of winds” or  “hill on the border” – who knows.  It was a great circular route completely circumnavigating the peak and set us up for the weekend.

It rained a little, but mostly we had to navigate wet spongy ground in between grassy slopes. Stunning scenery. Why have I never been to the Dales before?

Friday and Saturday nights we stayed at the Dales Bike Centre in Fremington.  If you’ve done one of the Ard Rock Enduro’s you’ll be familiar with the location and the terrain.

We were in for a big weekend.

Saturday it rained. And then it rained some more. And a little bit more on top. The weather was miserable, but the riding was immense.  Yes we slipped around all over the place, yes the rocks were dangerous, yes we got cold and yes I took a BIG tumble which no one photographed (cameras and phones stayed out of the rain mostly).

But we had a great time!

Sunday the weather was more cooperative and the trails on the opposite side of the valley were also drier. We gained some height very quickly and continued to do so, which meant we could spend most the afternoon coming down hill.

We did have a few hike a bike spots and but were also treated some of the best trails of the day, some sweet single track and some of us even got down to  just our t shirts as the sun tried to join us.

3 biggish rides mean the body and bike took a battering over the 3 days.

The numbers:
Distance ridden – circa 90km
Height gained – circa 2500m
Tea drunk – 20 cups
Pints of Guinness – maybe 10
Food eaten – loads!
Cake devoured – not as much as I expected…

I need to get back to the Dales, oh wait I’m booked on to the Ard Rock Marathon in August!  Better start that training now!

 

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A Sort of Newsletter

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I thought I’d put a kind of update blog post out ahead of the weekend, covering a few different subjects of what I’m upto…

Bikes

It certainly has been a long wet Winter and I have to admit I’ve done far less riding than I should have.  I have wimped out on a few bike park visits (they aren’t as much fun in the driving rain or mud) and my local trails have become unrideable at times. So I’ve done more miles on my cyclocross bikes than I thought I would. Keeping the legs spinning but away from the  mud as much as possible.

My DJ has not seen the light of day for about 6 months!  I had so many plans to visit so many pump tracks but it just didn’t happen. This weekend I must – especially if I am to justify buying new forks for it!

My full suspension bike has been kept safe and clean (see the wimping out above) and my trusty hardtail has bore the brunt of the winter mud and elements.

Come on spring / summer I need you now more than ever!

Travel

I am a little bit ashamed of my lack of adventure the last few months. Putting the bike in the car to drive for a few hours only to get just as muddy and cold and wet as I can from home hasn’t been very appealing. The lack of a roof rack on my company car has probably been a slight barrier to this too as it is certainly better to stick a muddy bike on the roof rather than in the car that I do not technically own. New car coming next week and I will be getting a rack for it (and the Summer is coming!) so things should change in that department.

I have a trip planned next week (before I get a rack unfortunately) but I am so looking forward to it. Expect photos and videos on my return of a weekend riding with Tom Hutton MTB Guiding and the Dales Bike Centre.

Talking of Guiding

Talking of guiding, I finally put my British Cycling Leadership Award into action and set up a “business venture” doing some local rides. MTB Guide Wiltshire has so far run 3 rides (Jan, Feb and March) and I’ve brought a few riders out from hibernation, had a couple travel more than an hour to ride with me from Hampshire, and helped a few new comers to the sport get an introduction.

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Including a booking on my 4th ride this coming weekend, I have now had 4 return customers.  The photo for this blog post was taken last Sunday when a hardy group of 6 came out for a tough mudder of a ride, 2 were returning customers, and 3 traveled by car for more than an hour to ride with me!

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Showing some locals that there’s plenty of good riding in our little corner of Wiltshire and earning a bit of cash to keep the bikes maintained is very fulfilling. I’m making new contacts and friends, while networking and being “paid” to ride my bike – that’s the dream, the Holy Grail isn’t it?

My first ride outside of Wiltshire comes up in May and so far around 20 people are taking an interest in being guided around the amazing landscape near Blaenavon and Big Pit.

Tickets are on sale for the Ponds, The Pit and The Punchbowl now, and until 1st May they are reduced from £20 to £15 per person.

You can follow my guiding activities on Facebook or Instagram.

And finally…

No, that’s just about it..  Oh and if you’ve a story to share or subject to rant about please get in touch, I am very happy and eager to let some other voices be heard on my little blog…

Tim(FromWales)

 

3, that’s the magic number

Now where did I leave that camera?
Now where did I leave that camera?

My mini guiding business had its second outing today and for the second time I had 3 riders. Considering the time of the year, weather, mud etc and the fact that my little corner of Wiltshire is not exactly a MTB mecca, I am pleased and I think it bodes well for the brighter and drier months ahead.

We're on a byway to Hell
We’re on a byway to Hell

Actually, the smaller groups get me used to doing things right without an over-sized group to manage. Though I have led much larger groups before for MB Swindon, there is something a little more stressful about doing it when taking someone’s money. So extra care is being taken to get it right.

I’m having to give some thought to a refund policy due to some cancellations and I’m even thinking about a loyalty scheme!

This way and that way
This way and that way

We were treated to ‘no rain’ today and relatively mild conditions, which meant I set off in a tee shirt! It got cold once we stopped for a tea/cake break in Avebury hence the jacket in the pictures.

We've come a long long way together
We’ve come a long long way together

About 25km and 300m of elevation was just right for this beginners ride and it was great to see a rider returning for his second ride with me and pushing himself (and his bike at times) a little further on this outing.

Its behind you!
Its behind you!

I should remember to take more photos as most of these were taken around the Cherhill Monument and there were plenty of other places that would have made for some interesting shots.

As the weather gets better, I plan on putting some longer rides on in Wiltshire and I have some plans to to host a ride or two in Wales soon too.

Cherhill Monument, Wiltshire
Cherhill Monument, Wiltshire

Its feel great getting people motivated and cycling on the hills and I look forward to doing much more of this as the year goes on….

So now, not De La Soul as the title suggests, cos i couldn’t find a decent video, but Beastie Boys – 3 MCs and 1 DJ

What do I do now?

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So you bought a Garmin. You’ve got OS maps included too cos it seemed like the right thing to do, now what do you do?

Ride around bike parks and trail centres recording your rides and putting them up on Strava of course…

Well, there’s a lot more you can and should be doing. But first, here’s one of my crushes from the 90s – the delicious Louise Wener and her band Sleeper with “What Do I Do Now?”  You see what I did there? Continue reading “What do I do now?”

Guided Rides in Wiltshire

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I do sales for a living so this should be easy right?

I’ve qualified my first aid and my BC leaders Level 2 course so I’m all set. However, I’ve just started a new job that pays the bills and the mortgage so that has to take priority.

But I’m ready to start promoting me as a guide.  This means keeping some time free, putting up some events and rides and promoting them and also doing a bit of sales and marketing of me.

So if you have any tips on starting and promoting a guiding business, I’m all ears!