Whilst munching through pizza and knocking back some end of season pints (or several) I thought it best I get back ‘on it’ and set myself some goals for next season. When those goals turned out to be pretty stretching I recognised the need to get in to some more structured training again.
So winter = some base miles time but the British weather isn’t always compatible with mountain biking in my preferred terrain, natural big mountain stuff or at least if you don’t want to cause erosion to trail or bike! So in steps (in my opinion) the best winter riding option, trail centres. Sometimes these sorts of places get a bad rep for being too tame and not being ‘proper’ biking. I personally think that any trail is what you make of it, a blue run might seem mundane and bmx track like but pedal a bit faster, pump a bit harder and all of a sudden the wheels start drifting and you make the trail a much more technical challenge.
Anyway back to the point, to get some winter base miles in and to kick start some winter trails I wanted to find a trail centre where I could bosh out some fun miles in an all-dayer, partly for the training itself but partly to invoke a bit of fear training in the run up to make sure I could get round without passing out.
Afan is somewhere that I’ve been a couple of times and really enjoyed. I was aware of a much wider trail network but it wasn’t until I actually looked deeper that I found out how big that network was. Perfect. Let’s stick them altogether to make an epic day out, ‘Epic Afan’ was born.
Now winter riding on your own (I don’t know that many people locally who want to go and smash out 4 hours + rides in the winter) can be a bit dull so I recruited a couple of buddies Scott Cornish and Ant White to join me. After that it all escalated a bit as a realised it could be a good opportunity to give a bit back to sponsors, particularly USE/Exposure Lights whose kit would be essential for the end of day dark hours of the ride.
A friend Jamie at Openwide Agency sorted out some PR and a photographer and we had suddenly turned a winter training ride in to something that others might want to have a crack at. Most importantly though was highlighting the fact that trail centres are great places to ride in the winter and setting yourself a challenge in the winter of any sort is a great way to keep motivated to achieve your goals for the next year.
I won’t repeat the write ups about how it all went. you can read these here:
As it turns out a few people have mentioned that they had done something similar at Afan already but given the Blade trail was only built this year and the fact we took in all the trails including the family ones, I reckon it was a unique ride. Even if it wasn’t it’s good to just highlight the fantastic places to ride in winter that we have in the UK.
After the success of the day I’ve got a few more ideas up my sleeve to schedule for next year to keep motivated, watch this space.
Once again thanks to my sponsors M Steel Cycles and USE/Exposure Lights and to those who supported the event, Mulebar and Weldtite.
Keep riding, keep smiling this winter.
Photos by Wayne Carter @ www.wayne-dc.com