I’d been looking forward to this weekend as a bit of a panacea to the road riding that had taken up several weekends.
Essentially it was a weekend put on by Bikepark Wales with workshops, coaching and rides lead by Tracy Moseley. I have to admit I was a bit excited simply coz Tracy was going to be there, I’m a bit of a fan!
Unfortunately I came down with sinusitis immediately after our trip to Belgium, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me! I stayed at the Premier Inn and when I got there on Friday night it turned out the Shimano and FiveTen vans were there already. The people at the Premier Inn are really nice and are happy for you to bring bikes in, as long as you don’t get the room mucky! So I spent the first night with a very quiet room-mate 😉
As I was getting ready on the Saturday morning I thought I ought to glance outside to see what the weather was doing. It turned out it was snowing/sleeting/raining/snowing. It couldn’t make it’s mind up. Well I’m not put off by a bit of inclement weather so I just made sure I put on a couple of good base layers and I was really glad I’d thrown my waterproof trousers in the back of the van at the last minute!
I picked up my pass and bought some uplift tickets and headed up on the first van I could get on. It was cold and snowy up top, which made my first run down a bit sketchy. Add to that the fact that I hadn’t ridden my mountain bike since 12th March I decided that I should definitely take it very steady! It was wet, and very slippery, and against my own better judgement I ended up going down Bonneyville which happens to be my personal nemesis as every time I’ve ridden it I’ve crashed. Well, I did it without crashing for the first time, which was pretty ace! I spent the rest of the morning sessioning my other favourite runs – Vicious Valley, Norkle, Terry’s Belly, Sixtapod, Blue Belle, Rimdinger, Bush Whacker. I had to stop at about 12.30pm as I needed a break, and as the café was pretty empty I thought I’d take the opportunity for lunch. Also the ride with Tracy was to begin at 2pm, so I figured this would give me chance to have a rest, digest and have a wander around the stands. There was loads of great kit on display, sadly I’m on a self-imposed buying ban, as I realised recently I have way too much stuff!
I went to the meeting place for the ride, we all posed for a couple of photos and headed off up the Beast of Burden for a pedal to the top. By this time the sun had come out so it was a bit hard work with my full face helmet and full waterproofs! I can’t really remember what we rode, but I think it was Sixtapod and then we pedalled back to Terry’s Belly, and Tracy took some girls down the Hotstepper. We finished Terry’s Belly and then it was time to head back to the café for tea, cake and a Q&A session. Tracy had lots of tips, but the one thing I really took away is that she doesn’t believe in the current trend for 1×11 set ups – why grovel up a climb when you can spin up?
On Sunday it was a 9.30 start for another ride with Tracy. I arrived early and popped to the FiveTen tent and got a pair of shoes to try. We had a women only uplift sorted so we all piled in. When we got to the top Tracy gave everyone some tips on cockpit setup and then we headed down Sixtapod. It was really windy, but better weather than yesterday. Then we went back to Terry’s Belly and this time I gave Hotstepper a go. Tracy pointed out that I really need to make more effort to lift the front wheel (this weekend I just didn’t seem able to!) We got back to the café for about 11.40am, so I decided to return my shoes (they were great!) and have lunch early again. Then Tracy came over and asked me and two other girls to sign a disclaimer so we could be in some footage she was doing for a film! We headed up and did the beginning of Vicious Valley a few times, then headed on to Bonneyville, where Tracy helped us with the steep rocky switch back that had been my nemesis until yesterday. By the time the film crew caught up to us I really felt like I knew what I was doing! One of the other girls was really struggling with it but as soon as the camera came out she rode it like it was no big deal! Amazing what some coaching can do. All three of us were buzzing by the end of the day and couldn’t believe quite how it had all happened! It turns out they don’t live that far away either so hopefully I’m going to meet up with them again soon.
The weekend was totally great, and I’m really glad I went for both days. I missed out on the free workshops, but I felt like I made the most of the opportunity to ride. There was also some coaching sessions going on, but when I decided to do this weekend I felt more like riding. As it was I got some coaching for free, but having had that I think I definitely should invest in some jumps and drops coaching!
Despite driving for 3 hours to get home I was still massively excited, what an immense weekend!