I went mountain biking with a few mates to Ballyhoura on Saturday. It was my first real attempt at mountain biking on trails and off of the road and I have to say that I loved every second of it. Getting there from Tralee was a fair journey but well worth it. Advice route wise it to concentrate on getting to Kilmallock, from there it is straightforward enough to find.
I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew it would be cold, being November, and I made sure that I had enough clothing and food etc. We decided to do the Garrane Loop, sign posted as the white route. At the beginning I was as tense as hell as I tried to get used to so many dynamics that I never need to worry about much on the road bike, such as traction, rocks, sharp corners, mossy boardwalks and so many split second decisions to try to stay upright.
After a while however I found myself beginning to loosen out a good bit, and began to fight the terrain less and roll with it. I got two good tips at the start which helped; the first was to stand on my pedals to use my body weight to improve balance and also not to focus too much on the obstacles ahead and instead focus on looking at where I will be cycling.
I did fall off twice. The first was as unsure section of boardwalk that I didn’t feel comfortable riding over, it looked too slippery, I slowed down and ended veering off to the left and off the boardwalk. The second time was a narrow right hander and I was going too slow and in a wrong gear to get around it. Both incidents left me laughing and unscathed, but funnily both were a result of lack of confidence, if I was going faster I would not have fallen off.
It being my first real introduction to mountain biking I was relatively pleased and hungry for more. I can’t wait to go back again. To give you a taster of what it was like here is a good video from youtube.