Checkout Episode 2 from fivetworaceteam’s Underdog Project:
So the last training weekend for 2010 has just been and gone. Luckily the snow held off and we only had a small amount of ice to deal with. With everyone in attendance and our newest rider Jess on board for a chilly weekend we headed off into the dark, cold wales with a simple plan – XC rides and 4X sessions with a life cycles premiere thrown on top for extra fun!
With Friday being written off as our travel day we decided to start our evening with a night in the pub followed by our own premiere of the fantastic movie “Life Cycles” a quality end to a relatively boring day which gave everyone the urgency to get to bed so we could get out riding the next day!
Left: John shredding the xc line – Energy. Right: Kieran making his way up Dastadly and Muttley
Day Two – The XC ride was scheduled to begin at 8am – The team left the house on time amazingly and began our way through the valley. 10 mins into our journey the team had got separated and it would take us 2 hours to reunite! A crap start but a start at least. After a bit of laying the blame into Elliot’s dad and having a laugh in the icy car park we began making our way round Afans most famous XC route “Whites Level”. The ride was stunning and really was an epic 10 miles of weaving up and down the welsh hillside. Everyone rode hard and thankfully we were only slowed down by two mechanical issues. Getting the team out of their race mode and just going out riding for fun really is a bloody great laugh, and everyone had a mint ride until one of our riders parents lost a pedal and had to do the most technical descent by foot – gutting to say the least.
The XC ride is a great way to get a look at the teams overall fitness and where each other lie in regards to other riders. I try and use these rides as a way of gauging improvements in fitness and skill every time we meet. In the 7 weeks since our last ride in the Lake District it was great to see that the adjustments we had made to each other’s training had really paid off, especially seen in Kieran, who was shredding up the hills on this trip and almost died in wales!
After towing our pedal-less rider into the car park we missioned home for a night of pub cuisine followed by a healthy stint of X factor, not many ways of ending a day better in my opinion!
Jess and Lee making their way up them big old hills!
Dom getting stylish at Afan 4x track!
Day 3 – The sun rose on Day 3 but ice was still everywhere and we eventually all appeared out of our bed pits for breakfast. Today was going to be epic as we were heading to Afan 4X track at the superb facilities of Bryn Bettws in Afan. This centre is just amazing, being perfectly situated slap bang in the centre of the famous “The Wall” xc loop – you really couldn’t have a better stop off, start, finish location to be – oh and did we say that the 4X track here is just phenomenal. The Track – This track is tough, with plenty of rough terrain for you to tackle set within a beautiful location with breath-taking views that force you to stop riding and just look around! Anyway before I go all boring and start singing about mountains, birds and streams let’s get onto the day! The 4X team decided a day here would be the best plan especially as it’s the venue for the 2011 National Championships, and the DH boys Elliot and Lee flew off with parents for an epic day XC ride!
Left: John ‘Tabletop’ Lee over the tabletop. Right: Suzy pinning around the berm
The track seriously is amazing! Check out episode 2 when it’s released to see the full measure of this track – and even speaking as a DH rider this track has a mental rock garden, coupled with jumps, corkscrew bridges and massive lines! I think here we are truly getting a glimpse of the future of UK 4X tracks appear just in time to help this sport grow!
The team were shredding hard and I am really fortunate to have a team who really work hard together and spend time on and off the bike working on their futures! Jess was really attacking the track confidently and what better way to be inspired than riding with Suzy, Suzy was showing lines and Jess was giving them a damn good go. Kieran’s fitness and strength adjustments in training have really helped his riding – stable on the bike and handling the rock garden like a hench beast! Dom – well let’s just say that whatever I do, Dom just does smoother, faster, higher and altogether more stylish! Dom was on fire and was a great laugh to ride and session with – we spent the majority of the day sessioning the step up into the rock garden with some interesting hang ups and near death spills – always a good crack to ride with Dom! After hours of sessioning and a few spills (none of the girls just lads!) from John, Kieran and Dom all in the rock garden we decided some warm grub was in order and we headed off for a rendezvous with the newly converted XC riders to defrost at Bryn Bettws mini pub/bar/restaurant!!!
After having our ears chewed of by the DH boys we made some travel plans, washed the bikes down and made tracks back to our houses a few hours later!
Thanks to all who made this weekend special – Jenna and Robbie at Bryn Bettws Afan 4X Track – Russell at Afan Tavern – Thomas Gaffney for not dying with the flu and capturing some sick pics and footage for us – Mark Brown, Jamie Askew and Peter Gill for Transporting and being great riding friends over the weekend – All the team for coming and the weather for holding off!
Well – Bye Bye for 2010 and we will see you all in 2011 with the training fully underway and kicking off!