Ah, 2009. The last year of the ‘noughties’, and the last year of me being in my twenties. Alas, there are still no hoverboards or flying cars, but it wasn’t too bad overall.
After my knee operation at the end of 2008, I resumed biking, kicking of 2009 with a few different demo days. I quite fancied the Lapierre Zesty 514 L, but I realised that most other women’s specific bikes didn’t really fit me that well…
Whilst at the Bike Radar demo day, entranced by a border terrier, I signed up and became a member of Chase Trails.
In February I created the ‘Map of Joy’, pinpointing places across the UK we wanted to visit for biking purposes.
The first addition to the Map of Joy was a pair of rather lovely mini-coasters from Chase Trails, and Cannock Chase was set up as home base.
The first sojourn to non-Cannocky climes was to Dalby, when we visited the Toast-in-Laws. I ventured onto the Dalby red route for the first time, and thoroughly enjoyed it – although I chickened out on some of the downhill drops.
Not these drops though! Although I suppose they’re more jumps than drops. Didn’t jump them though, that would be silly…
In April, my quest for a full-suspension came to an end as we welcome Professor Von Stumperson, a 2009 Stumpjumper FSR Elite. Unfortunately, me getting sorted with my bike also signalled the start of Mr Toast’s rear-hub woes. Even now, he gets a twitch in his eye if you mention XT wheels…
The most depressing of the rear-hub instances was after making the 2.5 hour drive to Llandegla. Still, at least the Professor and I had a good time whilst Mr Toast sat glumly in the café for a couple of hours.
In May, we helped marshal the Nice Price Special at Cannock Chase. The weather was actually pretty nice on the day, but had been spectacularly grim in the days before hand, leaving the course a slidy mudbath – so, pretty much a traditional MTB event!
The end of May saw the first ever Bike Radar Live at Donington. It wasn’t originally on the Map of Joy, but it got added with various bits of tat. It was a great weekend – good atmosphere, great weather, and there’s something distinctly charming about flying around Donington race track on a tandem and folding bike.
It’s a shame that we won’t be going to Bike Radar 2010, but unfortunately it a) clashes with our anniversary, so we’ll be in Scotland, and b) is in Kent. Kent! I mean, really? Kent?
June saw me venture to the Peak District. As I was holidaying with my mother, it meant that my bike adventures would be strictly solo. Well, apart from that day when I hired a wheelchair bike and strapped my mother to the front. Other than that, it was adventuring around Castleton, going up Mam-Tor, and generally admiring the views.
In July, Mr Toast and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. And what better way to celebrate it than throwing ourselves around some of the finest trails in Britain! We revisited Glentress, went around both the blue and red routes at Dalbeattie, and flirted briefly with Innerleithen. If you count ‘flirting’ as ‘crying whilst carrying your bike’.
At the end of July, we revisted Llandegla – Mr Toast had a fully functioning bike at this point! Also along for the ride was Sir Jaggy, on his newly acquired Cannondale Prophet. A seasoned road rider, Jaggy had limited off-road experience, but fortunately a more than healthy level of competitiveness meant that he threw himself into it with great gusto. He also threw himself into trees, but we don’t talk about that.
Alas, although we continued riding for the remainder of the year, we never did make it to Thetford, Afan or Coed-Y-Brenin. This was due to an unfortunate combination of work, illness and the weather. We still kept ourselves busy though, assisting marshalling the Midlands XC race in August:
I also finally managed to ride all of the new rock features on FtD, and get a lap time of under an hour for the first time. We also ventured outside of the trail centres when we went Oop North again, riding across moorland and getting chased by pheasants.
October was notable. Why? Because it was the start of THE LURGY that I’ve now had for three months. Fortunately the only symptoms I have now is a persistent cough. Could be worse, eh? The remainder of the year has been me battling to get out at the weekends despite the cold – at the moment, I’m actually giving biking a couple of week’s break in the hope that the cough will bugger off.
We helped out with a couple of the Big Build Days at Cannock Chase throughout the year, hopefully we’ll be able to get a bit more involved next year. Really looking forward to Phase II, which will hopefully be opened Easter next year!
BIKES OF 2009
January: GT Carbon Zaskar (Mr Toast’s)
April: Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Elite (Mrs Toast’s)
December: Ibis Mojo Carbon (Mr Toast’s)
June: Trek 4500 WSD (Mrs Toast’s, sold to a younger and more talented rider)
October: GT Carbon Zaskar (Mr Toast’s, died due to manufacturing fault)