Ninjas, Embsay Crags and Front Ends!

April 22, 2009

Well, since last time I spoke, my MTBing has taken quite and exponential turn for the better. The last three or four rides have been outstanding and diverse which is ACE.

We took a work colleague out with us onto the Hebden Bridge Steppe!! It was a great day, early evening ride and pure bliss. My friend James who came with us did well and I managed not to feel jealous of his reasonable climbing abilities. It was a lovely ride. Dry, fast, cheeky, great trails and great company.

The day after we went out on a super dooper XC ride near Skipton. PROPER good. My longest XC ride and so quite tiring!! The day was beautiful and the climbs were long!! The downs were ace and it was only a year ago that I said ‘one day I’ll do the Embsay Crags descent’! I was pleased with my progress (both climbing and downhill) but a little frustrated with a couple of poor line choices and bailing on a small section. Oh well… something to go back and do!!

Then on Monday night after first day back of the new term, we headed down to our local jump spot and I mastered the art of getting the front end of my bike up while travelling at speed. I then showed off the whole way home and lifted the front end over every possible, twig, rock, pavement, line in the road or whatever.

I love riding bikes.


Jumpy Jumpy Jumpy

April 16, 2009

Went to Hurst Woods yesterday evening

I felt a bit sheepish at first and didn’t really want to have a go at anything but after a little coaxing from Benj and Ed (Supercoaches 1 and 2) I quickly got going and kept trying small jumps. After a few weeny efforts, I got the ‘feeling’ of what one should do when jumping on a bike and tried even more.

Benj then turned it into a competition against myself (I am *quite* competitive) and I properly got it.

It was WAY good fun and I feel confident now to try some slightly larger jumps and little drops. Get in.

I love my bike

Check this out:

Radsville at Hurstwood from Benjamin Haworth on Vimeo.

Solo riding

April 9, 2009

Sneaking around

I don’t normally ride solo.
My time is often taken up being a teacher and then night riding or riding at weekends with others.
However it is Easter hols and I thought I would get out on my own.

I am so glad I did. It was such a lovely afternoon out. I didn’t try anything I wasn’t already familiar with but I did push myself and went faster than ever before on my favourite whizzy bit in Hebden. God I wish fast bit was longer!!

It felt good to be out and about, going at my pace, no one to answer to, no one to hold up, no one to chat to (in a good way). I liked being self sufficient too!

It felt good and I will be doing it again next week.

My delicious bike

Is there a sport called ‘Uphilling’……………..?

March 21, 2009


I didn’t think so.
So WHY oh WHY do I feel as though people judge me for my uphill struggles (literally, going uphill for me is something of a challenge) rather than my downhill radness.

I am SHIT at riding up big hills and roads. I am simply not used to it. But I feel as though my biking is judged solely on that (by some). I know I am crap at this aspect and I always end up at the back and take about 5 minutes longer than most people to get to the top of the climbs but must I really be judged on that alone?
I know for a fact I am pretty good at going down stuff. I am fairly brave and have become so much better at committing to some scary (ish) descents. I am very fast on some parts and can manage a bike technically VERY well. I understand my bike, I love my bike and most of all I LOVE GOING FAST DOWN STUFF!
I want the world to appreciate this and understand that I will NEVER be able to accept being judged for going up stuff (road climbs long boring climbs etc.)
Put me in a downhill competition any time. Race up hill…… NO THANKS.
Apart from the feeling of being that last one to the top (its a bit like the feeling of coming last in the cross country races at school) the ride on Thursday was awesome. I was faster than a lot and I rode my bike well. I love flat pedals and want better sticky shoes now.
I am so in love with my bike.
I love riding down stuff
I hate climbs and always will – FACT

So all those who get pleasure from riding a mountain bike UP and not as much down…. you’re weird.

(I may have just ousted myself from a large part of the MTB world but I DO NOT care.)


PS Downhilling is RAD and cool and ace and exists!


February 26, 2009

We rode last Sunday and it was basically shit. I felt like it was all an uphill struggle with very little rewarding downhill stuff.

The wind was also strong and the weather grim so it all made for pretty crap riding. I was also in a foul mood. Foul mood means crap riding which means hacked off when I get home.

Anyway, I have got over that and I am now VERY excited about night riding tonight. I just feel so confident when I night ride. I CANNOT wait. Bring it on.

Finally, I am currently experiencing some level of bike riding envy. I am SOOOO envious of the boys zipping off to their favourite DH locations with big bouncy bikes and zipping around DH courses and learning massive whopping jumps.

Basically, I want to do that.

Downhilling is now my new goal.

Jumps will be a mid way goal.

I want to have tried Downhilling by July.

I will buy a bouncy bike.

So there.


February 20, 2009

Last nights ride was in a word ACE.

It was a) my best night ride and b) the ride to show the amount of progress I have made in the last couple of weeks.

I loved every minute of it… even the climbs. I was oozing confidence and felt completely in the groove. My bike was rad and felt so good (needs a couple of tweaks mind) and the weather was perfect. It was so mild.

The sections that stand out for me are Fast Bit where I was so fast I don’t really remember much of it and then actually doing steps in Nut Clough woods which I have never been able to do before. When I think back to the steps, it’s all a bit of a blur but I did them because I COMMITED! I was on such a high and feel ready to try more steps and build up speed on some of the trails I know well.

I am still buzzing now.
I love my bike, I love the hills, I love the eerie blackness of the valley at night, and I love the beer at the end.

Without Ed and Benji, I would NOT be where I am now. Oh and I also owe some credit to my new helmet which does actually have magic powers considering all my progress has been made since owning and wearing the piss pot!


Check out Ed’s website ‘Great Rock’



February 19, 2009

My skillz session turned out to be quite a success. Coach Ed is incredibly patient and calm and really helped me to understand the science behind getting front and rear wheel lifted off the ground. Having understood the science, I could then put it into practice and it worked… eventually.

Doing these wheel raises on the flat is easy enough but then trying that out on the trails is another matter.

I am reasonably fit. However, I don’t get up the hills at great speed. I do find climbs quite hard and while I am sure this will get easier, I still find it hard to climb on technical stuff. On my skillz day, I managed to get up and over quite a high obstacle on the trail but I find that I am sometimes tired when I get to the obstacle in question, so my concentration lapses.

This may be due to the fact I was tired and had put quite a bit of info into my head and was trying to process it all as well as put it into practice.

So, now I have had time to process the info, I am already imagining getting up and over stuff on the more technical uphill sections.

I am pleased with my progress and am looking forward to trying my new skillz out.

Tonight’s night ride won’t be too much of an uphill challenge but at least I can whizz down the fast bits and maybe even Punch the Wall again!


Check this video of what was acheived:

Great Rock from Singletrack Magazine on Vimeo.


February 16, 2009

I am quite excited.
Tomorrow I am being taught some new rad skills by a recently qualified guide/skills instructor and all round ace guy.
I am really hoping to progress further and am already working on my attitude so I don’t mess up and end up writing about a crap day on’t hills.
Bring it on I say.

Pics to follow methinks.


February 14, 2009

I progressed today and now I am knackered.
Here is some film and maybe some pics of what I achieved!
Yay and woop to me and my rad bike.
I am dead proud.

Punch The Wall from Singletrack Magazine on Vimeo.



Out of my depth

January 28, 2009

Last night was possibly the worst ride EVER for me.

In brief:
1. It was dark and foggy
2. I was with 6 other pretty decent/expert riders
3. I was developing a cold and had quite a sore throat and chest
4. I could barely see
5. I was OUT of MY depth
6. The trail was quite messy

It was horrid. I managed the boring road part of the climb and then messed up pretty much most of the vaguely technical/extremely slutchy and muddy pack horse trail. I hated every minute and even had to head down early – in short, I bailed!

I wasn’t angry or upset with anyone other than myself. It hurts to give up as I am one incredibly determined person. Not this time.

I went to bed incredibly dissatisfied and unhappy. I hated my bike for some time too.

Its ok though I just have an unfinished ride that one day I will go and complete (not sure about in the same conditions though! ;-))

I WILL defeat that trail – mark my words.