Tuesday, 14 April 2009

What a weekend :0)

The plan for the Easter weekend was to get some long technical training rides in on Friday and Saturday with Mel Alexander, ride the Merida spring marathon on Sunday and finish off with some skills coaching on Monday. We couldn't have asked for more. The weather was absolutely amazing making it feel more like Western Australia than Wales and we had the opportunity to catch up with great friends.

Fun final Descent at the Builth Wells Merida

On Friday Mel showed Dave and I around some of her brilliant local trials. We made our way up and over Machen Mountain, had a quick spin round the XC route at Cwmcarn while Dave had a tea break in the trail centre cafe, and then made our way back to Mel's house. We finished the day off in style by having a BBQ! Saturday started with breakfast on the balcony in the sun before we headed out on another brilliant 5ish hour ride. The trails were a little more challenging and I managed to fall off into a large patch of stinging nettles and later I had a brief encounter with a tree!

Mel in action

The next day we had an early 6am start and Mel's husband Mark drove us all to Builth Wells for the Merida marathon. Once again the sun was shining and we were blessed with a fast, dry fun course. I wasn't sure how my legs would feel after the previous two days riding but despite feeling tired I was pleased to have a strong ride.

A quick word at the finish

I have never ridden a Merida before and I was amazed at how organised it was. In fact, it was so well organised that Dave found himself stuck at one of the feed zones eating a complimentary ham sandwich and crisps while a mechanic fixed his rear rotor that had wiggled itself loose. Well, that's his excuse for finishing the 50km slower than I finished the 68km ;0) It was great to have a chance to catch up with James from Ergon and have the support of the Team area he had set up.

Team Topeak-Ergon Support
On Monday we went to Llantrisant with Kate and Des Betts (www.katebetts.net) for some of Des's skills coaching. It had been a long weekend and I was having a bit of a 'dizzy' day and found it hard to focus. Des is incredibly patient and has an amazing ability to instill confidence...even in me! There was a small group of us and we all took it in turns to practice each section.
Practicing fast cornering

The Master in action showing how it should be done!

One thing that I want to nail is fast fire road cornering which is something that I will encounter lots of in the stage races that I have planned for later in the year. I gradually took this one faster and faster and eventually I was able to hold a 'death grip' (i.e. no breaks) :0)

Death grip cornering
What a weekend....I can't wait to do it all again!

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