09/04/11: Getting there…

So, it was another lovely day, and back onto Follow the Dog again.  I really need to get my fitness, strength and confidence up for June… and for myself, really.  Mountain biking is so much more fun when you’re not about to throw up.

This day was a bit special because not only did I do Follow the Dog in reasonable time (about an hour… OK, section 11 is still out of commission, but we don’t talk about that), but I then did up to section 8, and still had energy at the end when I had to meet Mr Toast!  I’m definitely rolling stuff with more confidence now, and I think I may have identified my cornering woes – on the Professor, I have a tendency to put my weight back whenever I’m out of the saddle, which is fine on descents… and also fine if I’m crouching down a little.  What I’m actually doing is getting towards the back of the saddle, but still being quite upright – I think I need to make more of an effort to centre my weight more and get a little lower, it seems to make a massive difference (well, it feels like I’m going faster! :P)

I also had a pop at Messrs Root and Slab.  Root I attempted on my second run of 7, and I cleared it with my front wheel easily.  I put my feet down though – I think if I’d kept pedalling I could have made it.   I didn’t exactly have the smoothest run into it though, my right foot had slipped off the pedal and I’d only just managed to get it back into position as I hit the root.  Next week!

Evil Slab (nee Root) had me trying to take the left hand line – actually avoiding the slab and tackling the two roots that are there.  Bottled it and put my feet down just before it though. -_-

Generally took everything a lot smoother this week and overtook quite a few people and didn’t get overtaken much – although given the weekend crowd, not really surprising! 😛  I even seemed to have a few occasions where people were using me as inspiration – including at the end of section 8 where a bloke was telling his son to how to roll the end and said, “See how she got her weight back and straightened her arms a bit”.  Which was funny, as I actually took the exit a bit iffily and had my weight further forward than usual, but not enough to cock it up.

I love seeing a range of abilities on the trail, it’s inspiring to see where you came from to where you could get to.   I love seeing little kids on their 20″ and 24″ wheels riding around FtD, enjoying the woods with their parents.  I love seeing people in jeans on their Halfords specials – some struggling and having a borderline asthma attack as they light up their cigarettes at the top of eight, others casually rolling Werewolf Wolf (although I’d prefer it if they wore helmets…).  I love seeing nutters going around Follow the Dog on jump bikes – who needs a comfortable ride or gears? I love seeing women with their blokes taking their first steps into mountain biking, trailing behind nervously as their menfolk leave them for dust.  I love seeing women with their blokes leaving their blokes for dust.  I love being overtaken by men that are twice my age and probably four times my fitness. I love seeing people on expensive bikes who are actually a bit rubbish, and realising that I fall into that category.  There are so many people riding the trails, it’s great to see the variety and makes you realise there’s so much more to mountain biking – even just trail centre riding, on this one trail – than what’s presented in MBUK and the like.  Long may it continue!

Ride: Cannock Chase

Trail: Follow the Dog

Highlights:  FtD and a little more FtD.  Actually trying stuff

Bad bits:  Trying and not succeeding

Post ride food snaffled: Bacon sarnie.  On brown bread.  IT’S HEALTHY.

Good dogs seen: Well, I actually thought today was going to be a bit of a bust – two overweight labradors and a Chinese Crested Hairless Dog.  Which OK, the latter is exotic, but… good?  Pushing it a bit.  Fortunately the day was saved by a last minute labradoodle, a minature schnauzer, and a very small jack russell wearing a muzzle.  Small, but deadly.

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