Trail Cycling In The Rain! by Will Reed (Permanent Instructor)
This morning I have been trail cycling with 6 young people and an adult who were a small school group who had come away as a reward for their hard work through the year.This provided a different session to usual and I think it’s safe to say that they found it a challenge but everyone definitely had a big smile on their face at the end.
We started from the boating center next to Coniston Water and set out through the trees and along the shore of Coniston. With a quick lesson on the joys of uphill biking, everyone ploughed on upwards. It was definitely hard work for some and at this point it started to rain Cumbrain style (alot!) I think some of the students at this point were debating a mutiny! It can be difficult as an instructor to convince people to carry on against their own judgement but often experience tells you that the benefit will out-way the input of effort.
|Martin – Unfazed by the hill!|
So, with some convincing the group continued along a narrow trail and then up a country road to a beautiful river set amongst some high sided mountains. Some of the group showed real perseverance and fitness and I struggled to catch Martin up. The rest of the group pushed on behind and by taking it a bit slower made it up to the river.
|The final push to the top|
Leaving the bikes aside it was now time for the famous RDMH hot chocolate stop (how do we make it so good?!) Luckily the rain had abated and with a some warm sugar inside everyone took the time to appreciate what they had achieved . With the downhill ahead of us it was time for a group discussion; short or long route? Unanimous vote towards the short option!
|A stop with a view|
Jump forward 5 minutes and at a quick stop there were smiles all around! I think the best descriptive word is probably ‘Weeeeeeeee!’ This is where mountain biking really shines; some hard work followed by a massive and obvious reward. Martina and Ayesha showed a big increase in confidence and Sophie’s positioning on the bike evolved to be the best in the group.
From here we had a ‘go as fast as you dare’ trail back into Coniston and our starting point. I rode this trail with three students in front of me who showed skill and good route choice. Ryan deserves a mention for his spontaneous jumps (I definitely didn’t teach him that!) and Becca for her flowing lines.
|Down hill biking champions, Ryan and Becca|
A quick jaunt through town on the road and we’re back at the beginning without incident (save Sophies’ helmet problems!)
Overall a really enjoyable session from my perspective. The students were obviously unaccustomed to the hills of the Lake District but without too much moaning they came through and had a really enjoyable and edifying journey.
|Back at the lake in time for lunch|