Over and Over and Over Again

I love everything about mountain biking (apart from the cost, changing standards and that I can’t do it every damn day!)…

I enjoy a long ride in the mountains, uplift days, exploring and a good trail centre.

I like packing a bag, with lunch and a stove and heading out for hours on end, and I love a quick blast up and down my local hill before the sun sets.

I love singletrack, bridleways, hardpacked dirt, rocks, roots, mud, puddles and overgrown byways.

I love learning to jump, doing track stands and sliding down steep gnarly bits of trail.

Yeah mountain biking is great fun and I love everything about it.  Last weekend 2 of us went out for about 4 hours and didn’t go far at all. What we did was we found a steep bank and rode it over and over and over again.

At first we thought it wasn’t possible, then by the end we were satisfied we’d achieved something pretty cool, progressed our riding and moved on to find something else.

Why?

Well this is how you beat it. This is how you learn. This is how you win. But mostly this is how you figure out how to deal with surprise obstacles on a trail and add to your “bag of tricks” and build your confidence when being shown stuff by other riders in new locations.

We don’t have a great deal of elevation where I live so we have to make the most of what we find and often this means sessioning and repeating short bits of trail to tune our skills.

Go and session something this weekend until you nail it!

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Is there too much bravado in mountain biking?

A few Facebook posts in the last month or so triggered this train of thought and prompted me to make a short video. The video says it all but writing words here anyway.

Rule Number 5

We’ve all heard of Rule number 5 – or MTFU, Man The F**k Up and we’ve probably all had it spouted at us when we are feeling a little ill and shy off from a group ride or event.

Well I’m all for manning up, but not when it can do more harm than good.  I’ve been out with a cold, that’s turned into something worse. I’ve ridden with a cold, and it just doesn’t seem to leave for weeks on end.

Its not ideal, you probably don’t enjoy the ride, your mates don’t need to hear you coughing and spluttering for a few hours and you are not actually going to get better by doing this.  You can make yourself worse.

Take some advice from your Doc or the dreaded internet if you are wondering if you should be exercising with your cold.  Basically its your call, but even in the case below where they say its OK to go out, be aware your body may not truly appreciate it.

https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/exercising-when-sick#1

Go Hard or Go Home

What idiot thought that was a good idea when it comes to trail riding?

If you’re not falling off, you’re not trying hard enough!

Woah!  You know we do learn by our mistakes, and we will only get better if we push harder, but no one said you had to break your collar bone to do this!

Push yourself. Progress. But do what you feel comfortable with.

Those that repeat the mantra above of “falling off” are probably using the statement as an excuse for their own misadventures.

Rider 1 “Dude did you break your arm again?”

Rider 2 “Yeah man! You know what they say if you’re not falling off…!!! I’m gonna clear that gap on that Black run one of these days. Once I rest for 8 weeks and get my bike fixed.”

Rider 1 “That’s nails mate.  You’re such a rad rider! See you in a few months.”

Rider 2 “Yeah man! Enjoy the trip to Finale, I’ll have to try and make the next trip”

I say go at your own pace and do what you feel comfortable doing.  Most of my MTB mates are in their 40s and have families, jobs etc and a few broken bones a year is going to seriously annoy their employer.

This doesn’t mean we don’t have fun or push ourselves, just know when to stop!

What do you think?

 

Hang on, let me explain…

I know I profess to be a mountain biker but you do see me on something different from time to time, so I thought I’d so a little post about me and my flirtations with the curly bars.

Firstly let me put this out there LOUD and CLEAR – I hate riding on the road!

It’s my least favourite place to ride and I just hope I am a more considerate driver than most of the drivers that seem to pass me on my local roads.  So why do I ride such a bike?

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So this is a cyclocross (or CX) or gravel bike, not a road bike. That means I can (and do) ride it in places that are not suitable for your average road bike.

Someone told me a road bike would be good for fitness and winter riding. I’m not sure I ever really believed that but I first got interested in something like this when I saw pictures of bikes being ridden on the Tour Divide. Ok they are not cyclocross bikes, they are adventure bikes, rigid 29ers and basically sturdy mile munching cart horses. I liked the idea of this and as I explored and Googled around the topic I started to come across what I considered to be cool looking bikes with drop / curly bars but in muddy and dusty places.  I was hooked!

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So now what?

Well I often get the cyclocross bike out when I want a quick blast and don’t want to get too dirty, so I take in a few quite roads, have an urban explore and hit some tracks.  Occasionally I go full off road and take it up the local hill, but mostly its road and gravel tracks.

I really honestly don’t enjoy the road bits. I’m not against the concept of road riding and I actually enjoy the speed and covering the distance – but I really hate being buzzed by inconsiderate motorists. Its pretty scary when a car passes within 2 feet of you at 40 miles an hour!  But its a means to an end sometimes.

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Connecting up some trail and gravel tracks with road is a necessity around where I live and is certainly easier on a cyclocross bike that a mountain bike.

But why the cyclocross bike? What’s so good about riding a cyclocross bike? Why not just ride your mountain bike?

  • For starters it gets me off the road a little quicker! Making light work of the road sections.
  • I don’t take a pack, travel light which is refreshing and simplifies my ride.
  • It makes you very aware of where your wheels are going – line choice becomes very important when your wheel is only an inch wide instead of 2-3 inches!
  • The bike is not forgiving off road so I think improves your bike handling skills
  • Variety is the spice of life isn’t it?

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We’ve come a long long way together… (Vitus Escarpe VRX Long Term Review)

NW3
Cadair Idris

Its been two years since I decided it was time to change my full sus bike (Giant Trance X2) and after much research I decided on the Vitus Escarpe VRX.

Longer and beefier forks. Wider bars. Bigger wheels (650b). I was excited! Continue reading “We’ve come a long long way together… (Vitus Escarpe VRX Long Term Review)”