BUSA MTB Championships

I spent the greater part of this weekend driving an uplift trailer at the British Universities Sports Association (BUSA) MTB Championships held at Bringewood near Ludlow, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. What a great bunch those students are. Do they know how to enjoy themselves or what? Some of them had entered for both the downhill, and the cross-country, on the same bike! Now if that ain’t game for a laugh I don’t know what is.That’s not to say there weren’t some serious racers there, there were, posting downhill times of national standard. Seriously impressive, fearless, with razor sharp skills the fast men rode through the trees, rocks, roots, and mud like they were born to do it.

But what impressed me more was the friendly atmosphere, the team spirit, everyone there to enjoy themselves, and have a great time, while still giving consideration for others. In short, it was a pleasure working with them, and I’m gonna put my name down to do it again next year.

Return of Supawal

Supawal came up for the return visit this week, and following a tough training session yesterday followed by a good boozing session last night, I suggested we get up early and accompany Carla on her ride to work this morning. This seemed like a good idea when I suggested it, and we managed to get away on time, just after 7am. However, Carla insisted that we ‘lift the pace a bit’, then went on the front and set a relentless tempo that left us feeling glad when she peeled off to do the last mile or so on her own.We headed back at a much more relaxed pace along the bridleways and lanes, then up over Kinver before arriving back at home some hour and three quarters later fully revived, and ready for a serious breakfast. Our intention was to eat, relax a little, then go out for a second ride later in the day. Fresh coffee, toast, and poached eggs, followed by more toast and honey, we felt like kings.

By midday we were a wheel again. This time we headed west, toward Wyre Forest. What a fantastic place. I’ve seen more wildlife while riding a bike than ever I have walking, and today was no exception. Today we saw deer, only big ones, full size, and with full antlers, so impressive. Back to the riding, we rode singletrack after singletrack, stopped in the sun, sheltered in the rain, but all to soon it was time to head home. Back along the lanes, and ‘one last climb’, I said, up towards Shatterford. It was one climb too many, it started well enough, but we crashed down to the granny ring and grovelled to the top. We were shot.

Two days of great riding, with thanks to Supawal for making the effort and coming up, and Carla for feeding us, and setting the tempo this morning.

Benbros hit Chicksands

I went down to visit my brother this week. He took a day off work, and we hit the trails at Chicksands Mountainbiking Area. There’s some amazing stuff there, drop-offs and descents that I wouldn’t have a hope of riding. Judging by the tyre marks though there are plenty that can.We stuck mostly to the Red Route, which is like a typical Cross-country race circuit. Fast flowing singletrack mixed with short tough climbs, not to technical, but requiring skill to ride it fast. Anyway, Supawal gave me a lesson in the ‘leap of faith’ descending method leaving me a long way behind. He’s been there a few times before, and knew what was coming next. As time went on, and I got to know my way around we became more evenly matched, and although I still couldn’t keep up with him on the downhill I was able to catch him on the climbs. Two and a half hours later, soaked in sweat, and tired from a good workout we headed home for food and beer.

Back at our Wal’s place little Eggbert (Eleanor) was waiting to entertain us. She is a little darling, and she can wind you round her little finger. She had me playing with fluffy toys, playing hide and seek, and singing daft songs. An’ me a tough bike rider an all!

One of those days

Do you ever have ‘one of those days’? One of those days when you just feel fantastic?I had one yesterday. After all the training I have been doing I had planned to go out and do a fairly easy ride, but from the first few pedal turns I knew it was one of those days. Always on top of the gear, floating along effortlessly, razor sharp handling, and enjoying every second. These sort of days more than make up for the hard work required to achieve them.

With the weather being so cold and windy there was hardly anyone around as I flew along the towpath, floated up the stony climb to the Million, raced through the singletrack to Enville, then romped home via Kinver.

Post ride I was so energised that I tidied up then walked into town to buy some vegetables!

All biked out

Since I am now a full time bike rider (unemployed), and what with the weather being so good, coupled with the fact that my bro’ found an excuse for a couple of days off work, and came up to visit, i’ve been stacking the miles in.We did four and a half hours around Wyre Forest on Tuesday. The weather was superb, we both remarked at how much like the South of France it was! See for youself. We found so much new stuff that we had never ridden before that we didn’t want to come home, it was fatigue that got us in the end.

Next day, fully rested, and with a skinfull of booze from the night before under our belts we hit the trails of Kinver. Back on home turf, and feeling like supermen, we rock’n’rolled our way through some of the best trails in the Western World. I know Kinver like the back of my hand, but after three and a half hours it slapped me around the legs, belly, and head. We crawled home into the raging headwind.

Later that evening, sono molto fatigued. By eight-thirty I didn’t even have the energy to sit up, and went to bed. Today was a rest day, but rest assured, tomorrow, I’ll be back out there.