A better title for this weekend’s race, the first round of the Southern Enduro series on the 11th June, would have been Downduro. A name cleverly thought up by a guy (who I’m trying to track down to give credit too) we were chatting to on the push up. Okeford Hill, it would seem, is certainly more of a natural, steep and sketchy downhill kind of venue than you would normally expect from a bike park hosting an Enduro competition. Think of how many rocks there are at Bike Park Wales, Okeford has that many roots with a nice bit of slippy clay in between, then imagine this with a good bit of rain overnight. It’s safe to say staying upright was a tad challenging!
Over the winter I decided it would be fun to have a little go at Downhill racing. I get so nervous before race runs I thought, the more I do the better. Taking part in a grass roots, off season series that weren’t in the discipline I normally do would hopefully mean I would put less pressure on myself. Frankly, I’m just not into beasting myself uphills enough for Cross Country, so Downhill was the only option.
As my last post briefly mentioned I have a swanky new ride. An Orbea Rallon x30 which I quite simply LOVE! Now I will allow you to admire his beauty for a while before we continue….
I am sorry readers. There is no hiding from the fact that this blog has been severely neglected of late. In fact, my goal of becoming a writer of any kind has been neglected. The truth is, though I can provide any number of excuses such as work being busier, trying to get Cali going better, tiredness and these are all contributing factors when it really comes down to it that’s not why. The real reason is, I have felt like giving up.
One of the things I love most about moving to a new area is the promise of miles and miles of new footpaths and bridleways to investigate. Top of my to do list on arrival is always to invest in an OS map. Many people out there, I believe, are missing out on the opportunity to discover so many fantastic trails, views and hidden beauty spots by sticking to following the same old routes they know or have found in their chosen guide book. Today I would like to help open your eyes to how easy it is to have your own micro adventure in the nearest available wild place – by going exploring.
“You looked like a startled rabbit caught in the headlights” – this is how my newfound buddies for the day later described my facial expression as I kitted up at the car on arrival. It is also how I felt! Though the UK enduro series events are also still new to the scene it felt like there were much bigger crowds at this race and with the fantastic setting in the grounds of an old private boarding school I was feeling a little overwhelmed. Luckily I didn’t realise until afterwards that the likes of Katy Winton, Greg Callaghan and Kye Forte were also racing or I probably never would have got out the car!
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…….
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.
It is with great pleasure that I formally introduce to you all my new super bike, Stumpy.
Or to give my beauty its formal title – Stumpjumper fsr expert carbon evo 650b.
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