Saturday, November 1, 2008

Skillz Practise

A bit of a change of pace today. Last night I went for a short ride up the Crocodile. Managed to get halfway up before I was lying on the side of the track panting and dying. Turns out I was a bit tired. My climbing up the tight turns was pretty good, my descent down the nasty rutty steep section was great and my return down the switchbacks was really good too, thanks Vegas. I have to say though, after the wide flowing trails of Rotorua, man, the track seemed narrow. I played the whole way home, jumping off gutters and practising pumping. Once home I decided to try doing wheelies on the back lawn. That didn’t go very well. And because of that my lovely husband and I headed over to Bottlelake to play in the skills area for a while today.
Things started off well with me riding the whole length of the easiest low skinny and heading up the see-saw for the first time. Things quickly went wrong from there. This see-saw took longer to tip than I expected and I didn’t have enough speed and did a fairly ungraceful dismount from my bike and the see-saw, unfortunately whacking my knee on the way down and getting myself a nice lump and bruise. This didn’t deter me and on my second attempt I was successful and got all the way across the see-saw. When my next attempt again ended with me jumping off the bike I decided it was time to start learning how to do wheelies. Pete was fantastic at showing me what to do, extremely patient and didn’t laugh too much at my pathetic attempts. After many many many goes I was getting my front wheel 5 or 6 inches off the ground regularly, I know, I’ll never be a styling trick rider at this rate. After that we moved onto skids. Weeeeee. That was fun. Soon I had my back wheel sliding back and forward across the “grass” and I was getting the hang of doing a big skid to come to a halt with my foot down. Nice.

A bit more playing on the skinnies and then Pete went off to practise jumping. He got pretty good at the table top by the end. I gave it a couple of goes, but on the hardtail it wasn’t really much fun. Instead I went for a very quick blast in the forest. I focussed on keeping my upper body low over the handlebars and I flew round. I also did a couple of very good hucks in the middle of the forest. It was fun. Back at the skills area I videoed Pete doing some more jumps and did a bit more skinnies riding, including the high one that Pete doesn’t like me riding, and we headed home before the weather turned nasty. It was a really fun wee ride and just what I needed after a lot of roadie riding during the week. I’ll be heading off on a long roadie ride tomorrow morning, my last big ride before the Molesworth Muster. I’m really looking forward to it and I’m looking forward to having a wee break from riding after it (only a couple of days).

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