The snow is finally thawing, the temperatures are almost into double figures, and the daffodils are lining the roads as I ride through the Welsh countryside. It’s finally beginning to look like Spring is sprung.

I’m not the only one feeling it either; it’s been a record Easter at Coed y Brenin, and lots of folks have been taking advantage of the dry spell to come for some mountain bike coaching.

I’ve enjoyed fabulously sunny days out with the lads and ladies of RAF Valley (these are the lovely people who fly the helicopters that come to the rescue of broken mountain bikers on the Coed y Brenin trails!), and high-flying rides with the folks from RAF Honington.

With both groups I looked at basic skills and balance on the bike, and then (given their overall fitness) took them up to the highest point on the trails for some fun and technical riding down through the Adams’ Family sections.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of coaching some Coed y Brenin regulars, Paul and Kenny. These fellas are riding at Coed y Brenin week-in, week out, and they know the trails as well as I do (and some of the rocks even better). They’re fast and furious on the descents and it was hard work just to keep up with them on some of the rockier singletrack (I’m riding hardtail!), but the session was focussed on balance and cornering, which they were less confident on. Slow races, track stands, and ever decreasing circles put the pair of them through their paces, exposing techniques and skills that they normally wouldn’t slow down to practice.

Kenny & Paul at start of Brutus
Kenny & Paul on a slow ride up Brutus

As you can see from the pictures the last few weeks at Coed y Brenin have been fabulous. It’s been nippy in the mornings, but the trails have been dry and dusty, and the skies have been the brightest of blues. In fact, if it wasn’t for the occasional bog-strewn ride in the Dyfi Forest I’d have made it through the last month without a wet ride!

So Spring is definitely sprung, and looking forward to the summer (which I’m hoping will follow Spring this year), I’m really pleased to have the opportunity to work alongside top-class racers Matt Page, and Anthony O’Boyle as part of Welsh Cycling’s Project 2018 Led Rides. These rides will help Youth A and B riders to improve their racing techniques ahead of the MTB XC Nationals Championships in July, and form part of the effort to produce medal-winning riders at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia.

 

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