James doesn’t like surprises, but he perked up when we pulled in to Antur Stiniog on Thursday and I revealed that we had downhill bikes booked for the day, along with a full uplift (where a minibus and trailer take you and your bikes back to the top of the hill after each run).
The weather played along nicely, and we were soon filled with trepidation at the top of the hill. A tentative first run had me wondering what on earth I’d let myself in for, since everything was horrifically bumpy even on these new-fangled bikes with 8″ of front and rear travel.
By halfway down I was starting to enjoy myself, and the sheer joy of reaching the bottom and just dumping the bike on a trailer to get straight back to the top is indescribable.
There was no stopping us after that, and – mercifully – no crashes (although we did both end up in ditches at separate points through over-enthusiasm). We stuck to the two blue runs; I think we’d happily attempt some red now, but by the time our confidence had built sufficiently we were too tired to contemplate anything too technical!
With only a brief lunch stop, we were both flagging by run number nine. Halfway down run number ten we stopped for a chat and both confessed that we were too knackered to hold on any longer. It’s far more physical than I remember back in the day…
So, ten runs in a day with no uphill pedalling isn’t a bad tally. The Nukeproofs we hired were exceedingly capable, so I’d highly recommend it to anyone who fancies a mess about on some proper bikes.