My (early) Mountain Biking

(at the risk of being boring!)

Despite having owned a so-called mountain bike for at least 10 years, mostly for road use, at the grand age of 50 - somewhat disillusioned with the long drive to a distant windsurfing beach only to find no wind yet again - I took the plunge & bought myself a real MTB with the intention of taking it well & truly off road.

Not wanting to spend a fortune (I was "temporarily" unemployed at the time), I picked up a 2nd hand, hardly-used, Gary Fisher hardtail & my MTBing was well & truly launched. As was I - on several occasions - over the handlebars. Tricky stuff some of those trails I was taken on.

Before long, the bike had acquired new forks, new tyres, new wheels, new bottom bracket (several times), SPD's (more comedy falls), and to support it all, a vast array of tools, new clothes, body armour, Camelbacks and an ever-declining bank balance.

So now, a couple of years on, I guess I count myself as a mountain biker who occasionally windsurfs, rather than a windsurfer who occasionally rides. I usually manage to stay mounted on most trails and have just completed my first-ever mountain bike course - Trials 2 Trails -. effectively a bike handling skills course, run by CycleActive up in the Lake District. So now I know the theory (almost), I just need to practice, practice, practice.

This course almost killed me, however. I'm probably not the fittest person on the planet, but I'm definitely not the opposite, either. Unfortunately the class leader probably does rank amongst the fittest 5%, and the Lake District is incredibly hilly! So much so that on the last day (a special, freebie Backcountry skills class), the climb involved 305m (exactly 1000 feet) - according to my GPS - of almost vertical hillside, carrying the bikes on our backs, and almost destroyed me. This took two hours & my neck vertebrae haven't recovered yet! The views from the top, and the descent, were fantastic, 'though!

Here are a couple of links to a few photos of that weekend. Enjoy.

Trails2Trails day 1 (Fugawi track logs - day 1 & day 2)

The New (May '06) North Face trail in Grizedale forest (Fugawi track log)

The Backcountry skills course (Fugawi track log)