Di’s day out in Surrey
Having completed a Fundamentals Mountain bike course a couple of months ago one of my fellow Breeze leaders asked me to join her on a Trails essentials course with Singletracks School in the Surrey Hills.
So with a recently serviced bike with new mountain bike pedals and newly purchased shin pads I headed off into Surrey. Having read a few reviews I invested with some shin pads deciding protection over looks!
6 of us were in the group and our experience was from novice to regular riders. We started with a bike check with Jess, our coach and I learnt my first lessons…you only need 35psi in your tyres to maximise traction on the trails. So some air was let out of some of the tyres and off we went. We warmed up by gently climbing up a fire track to start a recap of the “ready position” and weighting and unweighting the bike. This did not mean jumping on and off!
Me and my ”John Deere” bike, its new name, I tried to lift the front wheel by unweighting it using body position. Push the weight back over the back of the saddle and push the bike forward to make the wheel light…sounds easy but it wasn’t. I probably got one in four manual lifts right where the wheel left the ground but when it did it felt great. My enthusiasm was noted by the coach!
Then off to Telegraph Hill for a downhill single track trail. Adrenalin rush or what! The trail was narrow, gnarly and full of tree roots, so I picked my route and covered the brakes to stay with the group. Too much speed and not enough technique caused a few OMG moments. This was the toughest trail I had thrown myself down up to now.
Cornering was next with weight distribution key to pushing the tyre into the dirt to avoid skidding. I had to switch off some of the road bike technique and throw myself all over the mountain bike. It was suggested we removed the saddle to master moving around the bike. A bit extreme.
And then to a trail called Yoghurt Pots which wasn’t smooth and sweet…more steep drops and jumps. Wow it was fun but without the coach I wouldn’t have even considered dropping into it! But I did and thoroughly enjoyed it and pushed myself well out of my comfort zone. We rode across the tracks and back down Telegraph Hill which seemed much better this time.
My feedback was to consider a new mountain bike rather than my “tractor” to have any chance of lifting the front wheel or as we say in the mountain bike world, throwing a manual! But my technique is nearly there but a more suitable lightweight bike would assist me greatly.
All in all a great day out with some good coaching and I was able to say I have ridden close to Leith Hill in Surrey! I would recommend Singletracks as a mountain bike school as my experience was positive and I had a fun day pushing myself hard.