05 December 2008

Rolling along the trails

Friday again; mountain biking on the trails in Whinlatter Forest as part of the Practical Outdoor Activities module I've to complete.

Over the past week the Lake District has been hit by some real winter conditions with a lot of low lying snow from Thursday onwards and before this I was constantly defrosting my van every morning so I could drive into lectures down in Penrith.
It has however warmed up slightly, but still when we hit the forestry roads and trails in Whinlatter Forest we were plagued with little traction and bairly any control when away from the cover of the trees. This lead to a rather interesting experience as we tried to ascend to the top of the trails to find our back wheels spinning round, and round in the snow and our front wheels sliding out from beneath us. It lead to some rather interesting riding, and probably wasn't the most ideal conditions for improving your mountain biking.

The snow on the forestry roads, which take you to the top of the biking trails.

To begin with our instructor from Cyclewise Training worked on our body positioning on the bikes when making ascents and descents before looking at breaking. We then headed into the forest for a couple of runs on the opening sections of the North Loop trail to look at flowing from one turn to another by looking into the turn and leaning the bike rather than turning with the handlebars. It was amazing to see such similarities between this and surfing a kayak on a wave.

Cycling back along the forestry roads after completing a section of Whinlatter Forest's North Loop.

We then broke for lunch and escaped into the warmth of the bike shop at the head of the trail. We headed out once again to beat our way up through the snow, to make a descent of a section of the South Loop.

Ascending the South Loop.

Descending a part of the South Loop trail.

To round off the day a couple of the group made a quick ascent and then a descent of another section of the North Loop. It was amazingly steep and at times slightly sketchy as you power slid around a berm on the ice to drop down into a series of small jumps.

Starting the descent from the top of the North Loop.

Despite the far from ideal conditions for mountain biking I had amazing fun, and learnt a lot from the days tuition. I imagine that I'll be playing in the snow again at some point this weekend.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

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