A bright Sunday morning, the normally 3rd Sunday of the month social ride took place on the 22nd February 2015 (the next one is on the 15th March so do save the date!). As usual, the group consisted of an enthusiastic bunch of “Lookout” regulars plus a few new faces, all ready and keen to take on the trails, get muddy and have some fun!
MTB Coaches, Frances & Theo Pressner, tell us a bit about Sunday’s ride:
“Another freezing cold morning – ideal for mountain biking at The Lookout. 22 hardy souls clustered together today to see whether Sam Grant had brought all his cycling equipment. He had, so with no more excuses we all set off to get ourselves warmed up.
The group consisted of tough racer ability, hardy mountain biker (non race type), unfit types, not so confident types, super confident but very little types, and coaches (notice coaches are a type all to themselves!) We often split into ability groups from the start as it is usually best for others using the trails. This week we just decided to begin riding and to see who kept up with who. The Lookout has three main trails of differing toughness. The green (easy) route is about a mile in length and gets us warmed up for the main ride. It is all single track and includes swoopy up and downs and berms.
Once we started the blue trail, the tough racer types shot off leaving the rest of the group in their wake and some puffing and panting at the back. This is great because they can go off and ride different trails later on, and everyone gets to ride to their own ability or comfort level. After a puncture repair (the group waits and supports any with mechanicals), the main group split again to allow aspiring racers to ride some of the red (tougher) trail.
The blue trail has its’ challenges in that there is a fair bit of climbing and descending in it, but also a good distance of berms and level(ish) trails for charging along. For those not so confident with the steeper sections, there is always a fire road option. The red trail is longer and has further challenges in that the trail is narrower, and it has more natural hazards and larger bumps to contend with.
All our groups collected back at The Lookout for coffee and cake in the café. Our social rides are exactly that. Riding at The Lookout has something for everyone, whatever their ability or confidence level with the emphasis being on getting a ride in and having fun. A great ride today, lots of muddy bikes and faces at the end of it. If you want to know more, talk to any of the coaches or families that come to the rides.”
And now for a few words from our young riders on the ground…
| By Lucy Allsop
||By Ben Coppolla
||By Jack Procter O’Malley
|“It was cold when we first started. I was one of the smaller ones. I enjoyed the down hills my favourite bit were the burmes. My least favourite bit were the hills especaley the steep ones. We all did the green for a warm up then the older ones [like Seth] went of and did the blue and red. The rest of us did a little bit of red and blue.”
||“I went to the Look Out to do mountain biking with Ben B and a couple of others and we did loads of jumps. We did 10.66 miles and we took short cuts and at the end we went to the café to get some coffee! The best bit of all was Table Tops and Deer Stalker which are the names of two of the trails.”||“I was at Swinley Forest on Sunday and my best bit was doing the bumps and the berms but the best one of all was the really high bumps . We went on the Green and Blue routes and Francis (the Coach ) really helped by telling me which route is safe and which one isn’t. I had a great time there and little kids should go there and I really want to go back there again.””|
| Seth Kanaris
|“After non-stop mountain biking since Wednesday at Aston Hill, Swinley, and Porridgepot, my half term ended with the monthly Swinley ride with the Slipstreamers. It was a cold, early start with lots of activity already at the meeting point, which included a few new Slipstreamers’ faces like Tom and Jack. Everyone keen to start, we quickly hit the trails, and as normal, split up into ability groups after we set off. I rode ahead with Sam and Brent, along with Ben, other Ben, Tom, and respective parentals. I really love the thrill of the trails at Swinley because they are fast and flowing, as well as being decent fitness training for all the leg-burning climbs! Not to mention the awesome jump gully – where this time I managed to stack on the double at the end! Another great aspect of these monthly rides is that you get to see like-minded ambitious young riders improving and honing their MTB skills, which is something I am beginning to appreciate more as a Young Volunteer. Equally, I also get to learn from experienced individuals such as Brent (The Legend), Theo, John, and Sam, which is great for acquiring skills that I don’t have. Oh, and of course, the hard-earned cake from the café after the ride! A great Sunday ride, and a great wrap-up to February half-term.”|
| Brian & Aimee Wood
“It was the third Sunday of the month, and having not been to the Lookout for a while, we were looking forward to getting back to our monthly family mountain bike ride at Swinley. We were all up early to meet up at 9:00am for a 9:30 start. It was cold and we knew it was going to be muddy (OK for us… not so good for Mum and Dad!), we split up into a fast and slow group. I left Mum, Dad and Aimee and went with the fast group (Dad was a bit out of practice).
We all went to the Green Trail first, which is the easy track to warm up a little. Then we went onto the Blue Trail, which has a more fun bits as well as a few more hills. Or group also went to the Jump Gully, one of my favourite sections. It’s just like its name, with some great jumps and really good fun. We managed to fit a few Red Trail sections on our way back, the Red Trails are even more technical with some challenging bits, but fine if you ride within your limits and don’t go too fast. Aimee went in the slow group, where if it gets too technical, Francis always finds an easy route round, so even if you don’t like too many bumps and hills there’s always a ride for everyone’s ability.
We all got back to the start point, where there is a Café, we all sit down for a well earned lunch and drink and talk about the ride. Then back home to clean bikes… and clothes! Can’t wait for the March ride.”
| Tom Stringer
|“On Sunday 22nd February I went to The Look Out for my first mountain bike ride experience there with Hillingdon Slipstreamers. We all started off on a warm up which was on the green trail, before splitting into groups and starting our main session. My group joined the blue trail and we climbed up some hills. Then we joined the red trail, which was harder. Soon after that we went on some tracks that had jumps – I did this run five times. The middle group joined us and we set off again down the red trail which led out into a place where lots of red runs connected. We went down one of these, and then we climbed back up a steep hill back to where we had come from, before going down another red trail and back to the start. We were all covered in mud, but had had a great time. My favourite bit of this experience was going downhill, and also learning how to do it in the right way, so I stayed in control. I thoroughly enjoyed my time mountain biking and will definitely join in again soon!|
Thank you for sharing your experiences with us!
If you would like to join the mountain bikers, whatever your level of experience, do check out the Calendar for future dates and location details, or talk to a volunteer at the clubhouse.