We salute the weekend warriors, they are the backbone of mountain biking. On any given Sunday, regardless of the weather, these guys and girls will be out there slogging through the mud, up hills and around trail centres, crashing into trees, fixing punctures in the rain, getting hypothermia, but still somehow ending the day with a smile on their face and coming back for more. This is a homage to those brave souls who do battle with the trails each weekend…
Your weekdays are misspent surfing the net, glued to videos from the Alps or drooling over the latest and most expensive kit. You aspire to own a Santa Cruz with ENVE wheels. Steve Peat rides one so they must be the best, right? In the meantime, you kit your steed out with brightly anodised parts. In the meantime you kit your steed out with brightly anodised parts to match your frame. You try justifying to your better half, just how much faster this new upgrade will make you, but they don’t get it. Your mate went to BikePark Wales last week and told you how gnarly Terry’s Belly was, so you and the lads are going there this weekend. You’re going to need all of your body armour. Time to dig out your CamelBak and pack the kitchen sink.
The weekend is here!
Arriving at the trail centre, you feel a bit blurry. You and your mates were on the sauce last night and that full English isn’t sitting too well. Never mind, as soon as you climb out of your brand new VW T6 the banter is flowing and Dave is showing off his new Intense (it only cost him 12 grand). You quietly think you’d better look at upgrading your bike too. Lots of faffing and bike fettling follows – Barry can’t get his tubeless tyre to inflate – but eventually you’re all kitted up and ready to ride, only two hours after you arrived.
No pain, no gain
The gang hits the first climb, to a symphony of mashing gears and heavy breathing. You can feel beer seeping through your pores. “F**k me, this is harder than Richie Rude makes it look,” you think. Everyone’s muttering that this isn’t much fun – maybe if John hadn’t got the dates wrong you’d have managed to get on the uplift. Poor John, the missus is always giving him a hard time about riding. He tried to get her into it once, but she fell off her brand new enduro bike on the first day and hasn’t ridden it since.
What it’s all about
Wheezing and panting, you top the climb and fumble for a Mars Bar. Dave lights up a fag. There’s a collective decision to buy e-bikes next year. You’re excited about the descent though. It’s graded blue – what a chance to put your 170mm enduro bike through its paces! Helmet cam running? Check. You’re ready to go… You drop in and carnage ensues. John tries to gap a 2ft tabletop and is bucked over the bars. Barry drops a pedal and careers into the bushes. At the bottom, you all recount your heroic exploits.
Back to the grind
Battered and bruised, you limp back to the trailhead. Your GPS is reading 10km – that was a helluva day out! Everyone crowds round to watch the headcam footage of John’s crash. Sadly, all you can see is his bar and the ground. Oh well, it’s not long until your next ride. You’ve just got to get through the next five days of work. Plus the annual pilgrimage to Morzine is on the horizon. Barry is boasting that he’s going to drink 10 pints of Mützig, then do a run of Le Pleney in his boxers. You can’t wait to see it!
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