MTB skills course with the Dorset Rough Riders (DRR)

This week was all about the mountain bike (MTB).  You will remember from last week that I picked up a damn chest infection which was a bloody pain in the hoop.  It meant I haven’t been on the road bike for over a week, so I decided to hit the Wibble on Wednesday night around Gore Heath and Wareham Forest.  The Wibble is much more of an interval session than the DRR Wednesday Wobble and therefore a good test of how my cardiovascular fitness had responded to the antibiotics.  I was pleasantly surprised that not only could I keep up, but I was able to tank along at the front.  The last eight months of training have obviously paid off.

Those of you in the good old south of England will know, following our recent run of good weather the inevitable thunder and lightening storm hit on Friday night.  As good as the drenching was for the veg patch and garden, it buggered up any plans I had of getting the miles in on Saturday as the rumbling of thunder continued throughout the morning.  That just left today and another MTB ride, this time it was the intermediate skills course run on behalf of the DRR by Steve Combes, a Mountain Bike Instructor Award Scheme (MIAS) qualified coach (07900 418240,

As we all gathered it soon became apparent that there were a couple of funny characters attending and they just happened to be a couple of the clubs’ girls.  The soon had us all laughing and it certainly helped to relax everyone for what was to come.

Steve’s delivery was excellent with just enough information given to not get overloaded.  He also gave us enough chance to practice in between each tip.  Steve had thoroughly recce’d the route and therefore had just the right level of terrain for our ability, with the difficulty ramping up as our confidence and ability to put into practice what we had been taught grew.  Of course, it wasn’t all chipper fine and dandy with some good pointers to work on, especially my habit of hanging too far off the back when descending and then banging my plums on the back of the seat trying to move my weight forward.  Not pleasant I can tell you, so an adjustable seat clamp or a dropper post are now on the hit list, but don’t tell HQ1.  The rain had also helped to dampen down the otherwise very dusty / sandy forest trails but it also made it very slippery.  That’s my excuse anyway and why I had a big front wheel slide and ended up chewing pine needles.  Still, if you don’t crash, you’re not trying hard enough, allegedly.

Topics covered included cornering, climbing, descending and general body position and weight distribution for each skill.  The day finished with some useful tricks like pump manuals, pedal manuals and good old bunny hops.  For me, the best bits were the correct cornering technique and the bunny hops, something I have never before managed to master.  I now can’t wait to put it all into practice.

This coming week will be a chance to ride into work, at least for a couple of days and another chance to lead the beginners on Wednesday’s DRR Wobble; I have something special in mind for them so fingers crossed for good weather.

As always I will finish with some thanks to those that have donated towards the RMRIDE350: Deeps (I have no idea what Dolphin code 35 means??), Spike, John Dud (my mate and team owner of Grrr Racing), The Parslow’s and Alan and Tracey.  Thank you all, it’s getting too close for comfort now so your encouragement is very welcome.

Until next time my pedal crank chums…


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