Wednesday, 18 February 2009

First skills course of the year

I ran our first skills course of the year last weekend. We arrived at Glentress on Saturday morning to find everything above the level of the Buzzard's Nest carpark about 4 inches deep in snow and pretty much unrideable. We did what we could on the lower routes, mainly Electric Blue and Falla Brae. By the end of the day, the clients had a good grasp of the basic techniques and their riding was definitely improving, but we needed rideable trails to put all the skills drills they'd been practising to good use.

We decided to keep something in the tank for day 2 and made the decision to finish up early and meet at Mabie the next day. Mabie was snow free and it was looking like a good day weather wise when we arrived on Sunday morning. We spent the first coupe of hours at the skills loop working on drop offs, berms and front wheels lifts. Then it was time to take things to the trails and head out on the red route.

We rode at a leisurely pace stopping to check out difficult sections and allowing the clients to practice their new skills on technical features like rock gardens and roots. Both clients had ridden at Mabie a few times before so were able to identify how they used to ride each section and how much smoother and more confident they had become over the weekend. Their eyes had been opened to the idea of line choice, so rather than following the well worn tyre tracks over all the obstacles they were making good use of the whole trail and taking root sections and boulder fields with much more control.

All in all, a great weekend - two faster, smoother, more confident riders means my job is done and gives a real sense of satisfaction. Thanks for an excellent weekend's riding folks! (And thanks for lunch at the Shed)

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

We're on

Somehow, the Holiday Focus part of our latest newsletter, on our Coast to Coast, made in onto the Off Road News section of the Everyday Cycling website, albeit in a slightly edited form. I knew nothing about it until I got the weekly website stats through last night.

Didn't do the number of hits through to any harm! Fingers crossed for lots more C2C bookings. Looks like I'll have to pay a bit more attention to in future.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Spring cleaning

I am having a bit of a Spring clean over the next few weeks, trying to streamline some of the equipment we don't use and clear out some of the parts from the great big box of spare stuff.

Have a look in our ebay shop for loads of bargain mountain bike and camping bits and pieces.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Mountain Bike Skills Courses: What we do

I got an email a couple of days ago, asking for more info on our skills courses. It occurred to me that they have evolved quite a bit over the last two years, and the info currently on the website maybe doesn't truely reflect what happens.
Anyway, here's the reply I sent, explaining what we do on our skills courses:
"I run two different levels of skills courses - beginner and intermediate. Our website gives an overview of each course. To give a wee bit more info, the beginner courses take place at Glentress and cover all the fundamentals such as bike set up, body position, use of brakes & gears, line choice, basic obstacles (rocks & roots) etc. The aim of the course is to take people with little off road riding experience and have them riding blue graded trail centre trails comfortably by the end ofthe course.The intermediate level course is for more experienced riders. Initially we look at the fundamentals, going 'back to basics' to ensure the basic techniques are solid and to iron out any bad habits which you may have picked up. Then we look at taking those skills to the more technical trails and adding some speed. This course is aimed at those who are maybe already riding red & black graded trails, and are 'surviving' them, but want to ride them faster with more confidence and control. We run these at several locations - Glentress, Wolftrax and the Witches Trails. As we tend to work with small groups the content of each course is tailored to you, so we ask a lot of questions about your goals at the time of booking. Although there is an itinerary described on the website, we rarely stick to it!
Both courses cost £99 per person and run over two days (usually a weekend) from 09.30am to around 4pm. There are set dates on the website, but we can run one for you on any date. If you'd prefer a single day, we can also run a single day session for £65, again on a date of your choice."
Maybe it's time to update the website...

Monday, 2 February 2009

Winter bivvying?

We had a wee holiday in the first week of January, spending a few days in Fort William and then heading over to the Cairngorms for the rest of the week.

We took the dog for a couple of really nice walks in Rothiemurchus Forest and were lucky enough to experience some amazing winter weather. The first day we took a lap of Loch an Eilean. We didn't start until well into the afternoon, and the light was beginning to fade by the time we were about half way round the Loch. It was a beautiful clear evening, and my wife described it as 'walking in Narnia'.

By the time we got near the finish the light had gone, but the moonlight reflecting off the frozen ground showed the way perfectly. Back at the head of the loch the trees opened up and the sky was perfectly clear and beautifully moonlit. It occured to me that this would be a perfect night for a bivvy. Most of my bivvying has been done between the months of March and October, and I tend to head for a bothy for some substatial shelter in the depths of winter. But the seed has been planted...

Back at the car, the temperature guage read -9 degrees, and it dropped to -12 overnight. I should probably invest something a little warmer than my current one season sleeping bag!

More pics here