Day 4: The ups and downs of trail riding
Another early rise for the 09:00 breakfast: eat, dress and kit-up to be on the trails for 10:00. Today we had Tim as our guide, leading us through some new un-ventured paths, with coaching and tips on the way from Katy. This was the longest trail we'd done so far, and a little more demanding on the climbing side of things. However, Tim and Jenny have devised a great structure for biking days: we have a sit-down tea and cake break half way through, and the ups and downs are evenly balanced. Great for the unfit riders, like me! Today's trail was a little more challenging with very tight switchbacks, a lot of off-camber single track and some mighty plant life to attack you on the way through. I really enjoyed today though, I quite like the technical sections that make you think about what you're doing, what the best line is and how to stay on the bike! I feel that I learn the most from days like these, rather than just death-gripping my way downhill at speed.
Jenny collected us at the end of the trail and scooted us back to the lodge for lunch before Katy would put us through our paces with some coaching. Today we focused on jumps and drops where we were to put into practise the coaching we had received so far: front/back wheel lifts. Along with guidance on body position, approach and timing, I was able to pull of something that resembled a "graceful" jumping action.
After coaching we had some down time to shower and relax the muscles before heading out to the local hotel for some food. The social aspect of this holiday is amazing! I feel really lucky that this group is so friendly, easy to talk to and interesting. It's great sharing stories and getting to know one another, but also support and encourage one another whilst riding. It's one of the best things about mountain biking: community. After a very filling meal, we headed back to the lodge to rest up for our final day of riding.