Monday, 10 September 2007

Learning to love the trailcentres

So I've always been rather anti trail centres. I have always loved the big skies and unpredictability of map-and-compass riding and have ridden my bike across most of the large open places in Southern and Middle England. Until last weekend I'd been to Afan once and Cwm Carn twice.

But then Dusk til Dawn is approaching and I'm doing it in a pair. That means I'm out of my comfort zone and need to learn how to ride singletrack. Solo-ing means I can plod along at my pace with noone else to worry about, noone to let down and noone to disappoint. Just pedal and smile and sing and chat and ride as hard as I can and hopefully get to the end with no major problems.

But pairing. Jeepers, that means going fast, not making mistakes, watching my watch, timing my laps, getting it right. Yikes.

And last weekend, and yesterday, I went to Afan and rode hard all day, learning how to ride singletrack quickly and smoothly. I practiced cornering and sprinting, climbing and descending. I loved it and loved the trails. That swooping feeling as you lean the bike at the perfect angle round a tight switchback, or balance perfectly to take a rocky drop off without losing pace. You just don't get that out on the moors.

So I'm a quiet convert and I'm liking being out of my comfort zone. (You know when you've cracked when you consider riding 12 hours solo comfortable!)

See you at Thetford.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Man, you've been missing out! The UK has some amazing centres that need to be ridden! If you liked Afan then don't miss the North Welsh trails and Scotland isn't just for Trans-racing. Kirroughtree has a trail with 85% singletrack! I don't think that man-made trails are better or worse then heading off the beaten track (to be honest, all riding is great!) but on lazy days they feed you the highlights of a good trail in a deliciously easy manner. And most of them serve up good cake for after. Superb.