A guest blog post from mountain bike skills guide Phill Stasiw -
- who recently ran a days guiding and skills tuition for Canopy & Stars competition winners Ed & Jenna.
"Canopy & Stars, the luxury glamping site from Alastair Sawday's recently asked MBWales if they could run a days guiding and skills tuition for their recent Great British Adventure
winners Ed and Jenna who would be staying in Mid Wales in a luxury Yurt. MBWales contacted myself
to meet up with the winners at the quirky Coed Trallwm Trail Centre near Abergwesyn to give them a taster of Welsh biking.
So after a quick introduction and idea of ability it was clear that Jenna had done very little in the last 3 years since taking a nose dive over the handlebars last time she went out and Ed who was an adrenalin fuelled rider who wanted to learn how to stay in contact with his flat pedals after converting back after SPD's. So we had both ends of the spectrum for riding! We started off riding the blue trail which climbs gently up through the forest chatting and learning as to what level Jenna was at. Just before the first single track we went over a few basics of body position, braking and getting Jenna to relax on the trail. I gave Ed an intro to energy management and encouraged him to try pumping the bike through the dips and rises to cut down on pedalling and create more flow and less wasted energy. The first descent was nice and solid to start and Jenna coped well and was trying desperately to look further down the trail and keep a good stable platform out of the saddle. After a a few more metres she was up and standing taller ready to absorb and anticipate the trail and all it's features. Ed was nowhere in sight!
We continued round a few corners and was a good time to point out some basics again, but also for Ed to think about opening his body up to the corner more by switching his leading foot in the corner or berm and getting more trunk rotation rather than restricting it. He liked the theory and thought that he might do it already, after a couple of corners he pointed out his right foot is always forward, so something to keep trying at, particularly of steep switchbacks.
Once we finished the blue trail we popped into the cafe for a cuppa and Jenna sampled the lemon drizzle cake. The cafe soon filled up with riders from Notts riding up the Abergwesyn Gorge behind the Devils Staircase, I suggested flippers and a snorkel, but thankfully some had done it before and knew what was coming.
Then it was the red trail, a long climb up a forest road, and then one long downhill and again a short loop of some 5km, but nice views toward Elan Valley and newly laid trail made the climb worth while. Jenna was still building her confidence and continued to show progress with a steeper drop tackled and a more fluid ride the whole way down, while Ed was pumping and manualing his way down and waiting where he could watch Jenna down clapping and encouraging all the time. At the bottom Jenna had made the whole ride with no crashes or scrapes that she had on her last outing so a big plus to go forward for getting out with Ed when they get home.
So we finished up with a great day had by all. I had a short drive north to Llanidloes while they set off to their next luxury stay in Somerset, they were worthy winners of the competition and I wish them all the very best for their future rides together."
If you're interested in mountain bike skills tuition and fancy improving your skills just like Ed and Jenna then please contact Phill Stasiw -