The cold bright frosty weather was replaced with rain that didn’t stop all day.
The temperature rose, and the ground thawed. Fears that the event would have to be cancelled gone. Arriving at the Larkhill military base is an experience in itself. You may not approach with headlights on, you will park up, and you will go into the guard house, past the armed soldiers, where you will be checked in. At least the van should be safe. 🙂
There were just over twenty riders, split into two groups, I opted for the easier group, as did Legzakimbo (the only woman there), and we headed off toward the flat grass test area. I never knew riding around a flat scrubland area could be so hard, need so much skill, and be so much fun. After 5 laps warm up we had all worked up a good sweat, and shown Wyn our skills…
Over the next couple of hours we looked at riding position, cornering, gear selection, using ruts and berms. Each new thing was demonstrated by Wyn, who entertained us by doing it the wrong way first, then the correct way, before handing over to us to demo our new skills. The group was further split, with one group critiqueing the other, while Wyn explained to the watchers how each rider was doing.
After a quick cup of tea, we walked the course and looked at lines, and how you might keep a line in your back pocket for when things changed, or if you needed to pass a rider. By this time, it was all getting a bit much for me, and I was going from bad to worse, even starting to fall off (fall in – to the mud). I was glad when lunchtime came, and as I ate, I pondered how hard it would be to do a three hour H&H in these conditions.
After lunch we went into the woods. Lots of tight turns, roots, and erm trees of course. Highlight of the afternoon was learning to wheelie the front wheel over a log. Great when you get it right.
…and so we practised riding around the wooded course, trying to keep an eye out for alternative lines if the rider in front got stuck. I reckon it gave a glimpse of what a forest enduro might be like, riders everywhere, and total chaos, as what little skill you have seems to evaporate.
By the end of the day, I was exhausted, and my brain hurt. I really can’t ride a bike, and I have so much to learn/practice. It had been a brilliant day, and although the weather had been bad, and the conditions tough, it had in fact been perfect. No point in doing it when it’s easy right? As I chatted to Mike Bolter (Daryl’s dad) he told me that when the advanced group went down onto the flat grassland test, a few of them had found it extremely difficult. Justice!!! 🙂
Finally, my day had been spent under the tuition of Wyn Hughes, who is not only a champion rider, but an excellent tutor. If you ever get the chance to get some help from him take it, he knows enduro. I only saw Daryl at break times, but judging by the grin on the faces of the riders in tha advanced group when they came in for lunch I’d say he was good. Oh yeah, and anyone who wanted to try a Husky, all they had to do was ask.