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?

 

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QECP MTB – Queen Elizabeth Country Park – First Ride Review

Much has been said of late about the new sections of trail at the QECP so we thought we’d pay it a visit.

So 6 of us made the 80 mile journey to QECP yesterday frankly not expecting too much.

Blue trails are the unsung heroes of mountain biking. They are the gateways into the sport, acting as a hook for new riders and giving younger riders their first taste of riding off-road in a safe environment. The mistake a lot of riders make is believing blue trails are just for beginners, bypassing them for harder red or black trails. There’s plenty of fun to be had on a well built blue trail even for experienced riders. It’s good to see there are plenty of other people who think the same and that the blue trail at Queen Elizabeth Country Park (QECP) has been voted TOTY.
Read more at https://www.mbr.co.uk/news/trail-of-the-year-377618#Vrdu31PMUjAoowcE.99

We’d heard of the MBR Award for the Blue trail which sounded fun, but we had also heard that the Red trail was very very sketchy in the wet. Well as you’ll see from the video, we are obviously pretty hardcore here in Wiltshire – or just used to the sticky mud!

In my opinion you can ride both trails in all conditions, but the Blue will definitely hold up better in the wet.

Ashton Court MTB Trails – Review

If you follow my Youtube Channel you will have seen this video last weekend and know that I paid a visit (with a few mates) to Ashton Court in Bristol for a revisit – been about 5 years since I was there last!

Now before we get stuck in, the trails are in a city, so there is a distinct lack of elevation and serious gravity fed fun.

Its not a hot destination for mountain bikers wishing to “shred the gnar” or if you are in search of real technical challenges (though the Super Nova Red section was particularly scary in the wet!). However, if you live in the South West and have a few hours to spare its well worth a visit.

Firstly parking is only £1.20 for the whole day – I know this is probably not high on the  your check list when visiting a trail centre but if you live in south Wales for instance, now that the Severn Bridge Tolls have been removed its a very cheap trip – and I think you should consider it.

Whats here?

Only about 7 miles in total of way marked trails. Mostly “flat” and cross country  by nature but the constant undulation will give you a proper work out.  The Bristol Bikefest is a much missed event and tested riders endurance on multiple laps up until a few years ago.

These are made up of 2 main trails at Ashton Court and in the neighbouring Leigh Woods.  Leigh Woods was less fun, but there are some off piste trails there that are worth exploring in the drier weather.

Mostly you have twisty single track, with a mix of rocky and natural (muddy) surfaces.

And don’t forget the undulation – which basically translates as you will be pedalling most of the way around.

Red Sections here bear absolutely no resemblance to “Reds” at Bike Park Wales or even the Forest of Dean.  In a nutshell, its a pretty easy and non challenging environment on the whole. However…..

Don’t dismiss it

Recently there have been some developments and new trail sections have had some work done to provide flow and jumpable features that the trail had previously lacked.

There are a few sections (as you will see in my video) that are worth lapping and sessions in these short spots can help novice riders learn some skills and provide a fun playground for even the most advanced riders.

So go and give it a visit, put a few hours aside and session the new bits (you’ll know them when you find them) and if you don’t enjoy yourself you haven’t tried hard enough.

Links

Here’s a great downloadable map of the trails including the ones in Leigh Woods and 50 Acre Woods  :

https://betterbybike.info/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/BD10784-Mountain-Bike-Trails-leaflet-WEB.pdf

For info on bike hire and skills coaching at the trails contact Pedal Progression  :

https://www.pedalprogression.com/about/

Mountain biking and Energy drinks

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Energy Drinks

Its actually quite difficult to think about out beloved sport of mountain biking (and other action sports) in all its forms without coming across Red Bull at some point or another.  Sponsored athletes, events, Red Bull Media House and Red Bull TV for instance.

Athletes from the UK include the Athertons, Tahnee Seagrave and Matt Jones

https://www.redbull.com/gb-en/athletes

Monster Energy plays second fiddle in many ways but can still be seen as a sponsor to some of our sports heroes including UK legends Brendog, Danny Hart and of course Peaty.

https://www.monsterenergy.com/sports/mountain-biking

Rockstar is seen less but still supports freeriders Jodie Lunn and Cam MacCaul for example.

http://gb.rockstarenergy.com/actionsports

So I did a bit of an experiment yesterday and asked my twitter followers what they thought of these energy drinks, I posted some photos to my instagram feed and made a youtube video.

The results were not surprising, and this was by no means an extensive survey, however I didn’t see one positive response.

energy drink views
Instagram likes

I am no social media whizz or can I claim to have 1000s of followers but generally my photos get likes from the usual crew and new viewers alike.  You can see from the above that the energy drink pictures got very little engagement yesterday.

I thought that deliberately putting them in dirty surrounds might have at least brought out some comments – but there was practically nothing!

Twitter was a flood of “awful” “stay near the toilet” “better off drinking battery acid” etc.

You can see the tweet below and follow the link to the comments – not many fans!

Finally, I put a video together.  I didn’t really go fact hunting or comparing the “benefits” or ingredients in each drink – I just gave my blunt opinion.

You can research the various effects good or bad for yourself, I just thought it was interesting (though I already knew this) that none of my friends virtual or real actually drink any of this stuff, yet the brands are a big part of our sport.

None of this was surprise to me, it just got me thinking about how these drinks are deemed so bad for you by so many people, yet they are major sponsor in our sport.

Kind of reminds me of the old motor sport days.

What are your thoughts on energy drinks, the brands and the impact on our sports?

 

Medway Cycle Plan and Pump Track

Velosolutions Medway
Velosolutions Medway – Exhausting!

I recently visited the Velosolutions pump track in Medway (Gillingham, Kent) and wow is it good!

This beast cost £170,000 to build and 3,300 tonnes of material! After 2 years of planning  and securing funding its, part of a £2.5m cycling investment in the area that aims to:

  • provide safe and useful facilities that will improve the cycle network in Medway
  • help people living and working in Medway to lead a healthier lifestyle
  • reduce congestion by encouraging more people to use other means of transport
  • help improve air quality
  • help to reduce social isolation by getting more people involved in cycling club activities

This is just an awesome thing for the council to be doing and a great example of what should and could be done when funding is spent well. In my opinion!

The plan included improving links with existing cycle networks and working with Sustrans, bike parking, Bikeability training etc

For full details if you are interested go here:  https://www.medway.gov.uk/info/200177/regeneration/677/medway_cycle_plan

If you just want to see the Pump Track – here’s my video:

Here are some of Velosolutions construction pictures off Instagram: