TV Show – MTB Adventures

Well i wasn't going to lead with a pic of Doddy was I!
Well I wasn’t going to lead with a pic of Doddy was I?

It reminds me a little of Ride Guide that used to be on Extreme TV a few years back; I’m talking about the new show on the Bike Channel that started last night called –

MTB Adventures

Hosted by Andrew Dodd of Factory Jackson and Anna Glowinski of well of Anna Glowinski I suppose. That’s a little unfair, Anna has hosted ITV The Cycle Show and pops up every so often as a spokeswoman for womens cycling and for various brands and media organisations.

Bikes were supplied by GT
Bikes were supplied by GT

Anyway, MTB Adventures is at last a TV show about riding in UK. Most mountain bike media is a bit too “Top Gear” for me – you know expensive bikes and beautiful riding in far away exotic places.  Finally we have a show based here in the UK that looks set to explore the UK trail centres (maybe some natural /wild stuff too Doddy/Anna?) – places I can ride and visit with out too much investment in money or use of my annual holiday allowance!

How was Episode 1?

Well no-one really liked Jar Jar Binks, Yoda looked bizarrely older than in Return of the Jedi and the less said about Ewan Mcgregor’s weird Obi Wan voice the better. Hang on…

In episode 1 of MTB Adventures Doddy and Anna visited Dalby Forest and showed us some of the riding available there from the 1 mile Green trails, to Dixon’s Hollow Bike Park and the 21 mile Red loop.  All good stuff.

Just like in a Singletrack route guide they covered some accommodation, talked about the visitor centre, surrounding area and gave a local bike shop a mention.

The show is trying to cater for a broad audience, talking about some basic stuff like tightening skewers and carrying spare tubes and also giving some info on the more detailed elements of the trail – how it flows and what to expect.

Some discussion on bike tech (this week how Doddy would rather a dropper post than suspension forks) added to the mix and altogether it was an enjoyable 30 mins of TV.

The show was filmed by the talented Liam Murphy and has been book marked in my series planner.

If you missed it, I’m not sure Bike has a catch up option but you can be sure this show will be repeated a few times throughout the week ahead.

Black and White Mountain Biking

Do or Do not

“Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda said this to Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back

The whole Dagobah sequence in Episode V is full of great lines and is a favourite part of the whole franchise for many fans, as we watch Luke struggle with his powers and see him fail and refuse to believe he can do it.  Yoda is a harsh but calm teacher who watches him make his mistakes, shakes his head when he refuses to listen and eventually lets him learn the hard way that he isn’t ready. #SpoilerAlert (really after all these years?) he duels his Dad who is actually Darth Vader, and has his hand chopped off. Sorry if this was news to you!

Anyway I went to Dagobah this weekend and found some cool jumps! Or was it Endor?

Black and White

There was a point to this (and thanks Jonathan for the pics btw), and that is that some times is just like that in mountain biking. You can’t try to ride down that hill, or go off that drop, or ride that skinny line; you simply have to do it or not do it. Ok , so the amount of success or pain or mud that ends up on your face at the end depends on some luck and hopefully some learned skills, but basically you have to do it.  What I mean here is the “doing it” part doesn’t necessarily mean you get it right, it simply means you have had a good go at it.

But there are some  gap jumps and large drop offs for instance that allow for almost no margin for error and I use the qualifier jump on Dai Hard at Bike Park Wales as the example here. Its a proper gap, not too wide really, but wide enough to get in your head and the landing is either on the transition, or well, not! These you simply have to do – 100%. Because 90% might mean a new wheel. 75% a cracked frame and 50% a visit to A&E.

How do you learn to jump something that has such a consequence if you get it wrong? You can go and see Tony Doyle at UK Bike Skills, this will help loads trust me!  Then once you have done this, you must go and practice, practice and practice what you have learnt some more until you are so confident you can do it that when you approach that jump at BPW you know you are going to clear it before you even start rolling towards it. There can’t be any doubt.

But while some jumps require a simple black or white approach (watch Red Bull Rampage this weekend and you will know what I mean) there are in reality plenty of places where you can get a little bit grey. A table top is a perfect example.

Find one you’d like to clear and practice.  If you don’t make it you’ll land on the top, you can roll it slowly or you can hit it at speed.

Find or even build a jump in your local woods. Now you have control over the height, control over the landing and everything that happens in between.

I only wrote this post so you could see some pics of me in the air!  However the jump in the picture was a jump with a lot of grey. You could jump 4 foot or 14 foot and so long as you landed up right you did it.  The aim is to land on the transition of course (around 9-10 feet from the take off), but in between is ok too.

1,2,3 and 417

I never could count. OK so I could a bit and got a flippin’ good solid A in my Maths O level (yes I am just about that age)…

Anyway….. Last Friday evening I went to the 417 Bike Park near Cheltenham just off the A417 – see what they did?  And well I loved it!

Me and a friend only did 5 runs (Red x2, Black x2 and Blue x1) but after that and a play on the very smallest of the dirt jumps we were ready for some food. Continue reading “1,2,3 and 417”

The Same, Only Different

What a great weekend that was. Popped a couple of MTB related cherries and the whole trip couldn’t have gone any smoother – for most of us anyway!

The plan started about 3 months ago after a group of friends returned buzzing from Llandegla trail centre wanting to return as soon as possible.  I hadn’t been able to make the trip having only just been on a 5 day Snowdonia stay and another weekend away from family duties was deemed against the rules!  So we planned another visit to Llandegla, the only Welsh trail centre I hadn’t visited, and I had my wicked way with the proceedings and included a mountain ride in Shropshire for the Sunday.

Continue reading “The Same, Only Different”

Trail Centre Quick Review – Llandegla

This weekend was my first visit to Llandegla. What did I think?

Its tough!

Not tough like scary, just tough like exhausting. To get the best out of the trail and to ride it all you have to go around twice or find some fire road link like I did to go back to do do a loop we missed.

You will find yourself going up and down a lot! South Wales centres like Cwmcarn or Afan basically send you up and then down. This is a lot more lumpy and jumpy – I really need to push myself more as this is the ideal trail centre to spread your wings!

I am not sure if it claims it or not but these are some of the longest boardwalks I have ridden. Be careful in the wet! There is wire to give you grip but it can be torn / worn in the corners where you need the grip the most.

Its a very flowy trail centre and if you haven’t been don’t be scared of the Black Grades just keep an eye out for low flying bikes!