An excellent introduction to Mountain Bike racing

In a rather fine example of my superior prior planning skills the Sunday morning after my hilly Exmoor race saw me leaving the house at 6am for a nearly 3hr drive to the hills of Wales for my first mountain bike race! This was to be round 4 of the Welsh Gravity Enduro series at Affan forest parks’ Glyncorrwg mountain bike centre. Now I’m not going to lie I was pretty damn nervous about the whole thing, with no real idea what to expect having never even been to watch a mountain bike race and being pretty new to the sport overall. However one of the things I love most about mountain biking is the down to earth, friendly, outgoing people it attracts.Bringing all these people together in a shared love of the slightly crazy sport of hurtling down a muddy, rooty, rock covered, big hill as fast as possible sounded like it could make for a pretty awesome day out. So off I went…….

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MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR SUMMER

With temperatures rising, lighter nights arriving and the trails finally starting to dry out, what better time than now to set yourself some summer goals. Goal setting doesn’t always have to revolve around racing or beating your Strava time, there are many other ways to enjoy your time on a bike. For many a good goal may be just to stop for one minute, once a ride, to enjoy where you are and what you’re doing.

Stopping to enjoy the view, much to Mawlis great disgust! 

Goal setting as an idea however is a good one. It can aid us with motivation, progressing our skills, pushing our own personal limits and creating opportunities to try new things.

Here are my 8 best suggestions to help you build your own personal list –

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Strongher ladies shred Forest of Dean

On the overcast, drizzly morning of Saturday 20th February I joined approximately 30 other female mountain bike fanatics for a day on the trails at Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. This excellent opportunity to meet not just other like minded ladies but also the talented 2014 Downhill World champion Manon Carpenter was the brainchild of the team at Strongher.

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Devon by Mountain bike

Now I’ve been back in Devon a few months I’m beginning to accumulate a good list of fun places to ride. Though most trail centres have their own website it can be hard to find somewhere with all the information in one place. I often find myself wasting a lot of time looking for postcodes and comparing trails vs distance vs facilities. So here I have a round up of, in my opinion, the best places to go for a spin. They are all off road routes but I’ve tried to be clear what type of riding and skill level each is best suited for.  Continue reading

How I keep my mad collie sane (ish)

THE BENEFITS OF A TRAIL DOG

 

It comes to my attention that I have now been accused on several separate occasions of having an obsession with my dog Mawli. Having given it some thought, I freely admit that they are right, she is my best friend and I love her to bits. Needy by nature, fortunately it is a mutual obsession. Mawli is my constant shadow, ever ready for the next adventure. In return I value her companionship above all others, her constant energy and verve for life can lift me from my darkest mood.

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BIKE VILLAGE HOLIDAY

                                ALPINE SINGLETRACK EXPERIENCE

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In September Simon and I traveled to the pretty little Alpine village of Landry, France for our first experience of backcountry singletrack mountain biking. Normally, I’m the first person to scoff in disgust at the mere mention of the term ‘package holiday’ but in this case, taking into account our lack of big mountain experience of any kind, this seemed like the sensible option.

We chose to stay with Bike Village, a small company run and owned by a couple, Sam and Lyndsey. The package offers 7 nights’ accommodation in a homely old French farmhouse, complete with authentic wooden beams and 5 days guided mountain biking. Most importantly though, it also included breakfast, 2 lunches and a beautiful 2 course home cooked meal on every night except Wednesday (staff and biking day off.)

Now for the important bit – the biking. Continue reading