Sunday I joined Darren, Mike and Jonathon for my first taste of some real mountain biking out at the Frederick Water Shed. Pretty eye opening in a lot of ways. I was a bit nervous before the ride about whether I could keep up and if these guys would be willing to put up with me but in the end it was mostly ok. I lagged behind for most of the ride but everyone was understanding and willing enough to wait when necessary.
The Shed on the other hand is a whole other world from what I'm used to. For one, the real mountain biking. Actually going up climbs that last longer then a minute or so is completely foreign to me on the mountain bike. Really with my go to parks of late, Rosie and Fairland I can't even claim to climb at all so this was a welcome wake up call for me.
The other, even more foreign aspect of the ride was the rocks and boulders. We rode the iceberg and super sweet trails which had some serious rock sections; pretty much all of which seemed unrideable to me. The guys showed me otherwise. Jonathon on his rigid single speed cleared not only all the climbs but also I believe all the rock sections (I couldn't tell for sure since I was so far behind). Mike rode his heavy duty full suspension (I think the Specialized Enduro All Mountain rig) through everything with ease and Darren, rode another of Mikes' FS rigs somewhat uncomfortably through his less then preffered terrain. Darren and Mike meanwhile were a bit of a riot to listen to... the entire ride... even from a half a mile behind where I spent most of my time on the ride.
I struglled and walked through a lot of the rocky areas and watched in awe as the other guys cleared a number of nasty looking sections but I think the more we rode the more I was able to handle. Not getting the major sections but clearing some things that at the ride start would have been definite hike a bikes. Actually needing the front shock was a bit of a shock (ouch, that's weak) and I felt I was riding the rocks better with it nearly locked out.
Otherwise we hit some amazing downhill sections where we just let loose and enjoyed a great day of riding. The end of the ride was a welcome sight but Ill be gunning to get back out there as soon as possible. Not sure I'll attempt some of the tougher rock sections but I will probably try and go spend some serious time on some small sections to try and get it figured out. I'm eager to figure that out.
Unfortunately the camera died as soon as I tried to turn it on at the ride start. Next time...