Well, our big mountain biking skills adventure with Ed Oxley from Great Rock has just finished. I’m totally exhausted and covered in cuts and bruises but I’ve got that warm happy feeling from a week that worked out well! Ed Oxley is a renowned mountain bike skills coach from England and I met him back in December 2010. It was very quickly apparent to me that Ed was the real deal. He a fantastic understanding of the techniques involved in riding a mountain bike and, more importantly, a great way of explaining them. You can read my impressions of my mountain bike skills weekend with Ed Oxley over on the main BasqueMTB News and Views section.
Our idea for week was to take a group of riders for mountain biking holiday, as normal, however Ed would help develop their skills through the week to make sure they got the best from the technical and varied trails of the Basque Country. From the very start we knew that the key would be to balance the skills and riding so that everyone felt they had learned lots but still had a fun mountain biking holiday. We weren’t entirely sure how we would organise everything, we weren’t sure how it would work out but we were sure that we wanted it to be a fun experience for everyone involved. And all the feedback says that it was!
The beauty of the whole week was that it really felt like we were doing plenty of mountain biking; the skills stuff didn’t really intrude into the day, yet by the end of the week everyone was riding noticeably better. On the last day we took everyone to a very technical trail that would have been too difficult for many people at the start of the week… it was amazing to see everyone riding parts that they would have pushed their bikes down before. The guys that were already riding at that standard were noticably faster and smoother.
Of course, it wasn’t all mountain biking and skills training. We were on holiday you know! The beauty of the Basque Country, especially around Hondarribia and San Sebastian, is that the food and drink are up there with the best in the world. So of course we sampled some of that too. We had planned our week to coincide with the Fiestas of Irun so, of course, our week wouldn’t have been complete without a visit there one night to let off a bit off steam!
You can see more pictures from the Great Rock skills week over on BasqueMTB.