Who is Ben Winder then?
You might have seen his name popping up in the magazine here and there and website for a while now but young Winder aspires to more than his original role as Dirt Teaboy Mk2.
Hailing from South Wales Ben is off on a mission, a mission pretty much everyone in the office is envious of! After a disaster with his first van a sturdy Fiat Ducato was purchased and it was love at first sight. Day dreaming of super noodle lunches and cheap lager, lusting after alpine lay-by’s, all this could now become a reality and with a tank full (ish) of diesel we waved Ben off for a summer of riding bikes and shooting everything he sees.
As we want to keep in touch with him a diary of his goings on seemed like a perfect solution so here is part one of Ben’s DirtBag Diary and you can expect one every couple of weeks or as long as his laptop battery lasts! Over to Ben…
Words and Photos: Ben Winder
Right how many of you guys have just decided to say fuck it? And just do something you’ve always really wanted to do but never managed to pull it all together… well that’s what I’ve somehow managed to wangle. After living like a dirty student saving my student loan and odd bits and bobs, I decided to spend the summer out in Europe, following some of the biggest mountain bike events and riders around the continent, but also spending a lot of time bumming around riding my bike. I’ll be living out of the back of a van, living off super noodles and drinking gone off milk, so what better way to make this trip into something I’ll be able to remember, than by producing a fortnightly blog, one that you hopefully won’t get too bored reading either…
After months of thinking about planning, dreaming of chair lifts and big mountains my departure date came around all too quickly and I was completely unprepared, for one reason and another. The main reason deserves its own article, which you’ll be able to read in the coming months in the magazine, it includes an abandoned van, a box of dildos and a lady named Dallas Love.
As the departure date arrived I had no van to take me Europe, after a quick chat to Ben Reid in Fort Bill, he set me straight to the perfect tool for the job a Fiat Ducato. So from Fort Bill I headed down to Portsmouth to pick up a Ducato that had hardly been broken in, just 170k on the clock. Back up to South Wales to start the conversion, building a bed. Bed built and a couple of other bits and bobs sorted out in a couple of hours a friend and I headed straight off to the Ferry. Van bought on Monday, Ferry booked for Tuesday. We arrived at the port with five minutes to spare – standard, and gave us a chance to catch our breath before the epic long drive to Leogang for the World Cup.
After 17 hours on the road, one sleep in Maccies car park, and numerous stops to stretch the legs on the BMX, but we eventually made it, probably one of the best races in a long time, seriously tight times and the outcome we’d all been waiting for, Ratboy to take the win! But Josh wasn’t the only one to fulfil a dream Katy Curd gained her long awaited rainbow stripes, and Manon furthered her World Cup title lead.
The morning after Leogang, we decided we needed a table, and headed into a hardware shop in search of wood and screws. We put together a table in about 15 minutes and she works a treat, bar a little bit of wobble. After the table was built, we hit the road to Schladming with the Dirt Orange World Team, to bust out some runs and some good times…