One man's walk in the park...for now.

One man's walk in the park is another man's first off-road riding experience. In fact I took five people out on bikes on Saturday afternoon. For all of them it was their first time riding mountain bikes on a mountain. (Our ride topped out at about 3500ft.) The opportunity arose because this weekend was Novi Most's bi-annual team retreat, happening this time at a ski-centre hotel we visited in the summer when we were taking young people from Jajce mountain biking. I knew the hotel rents reasonable bikes out at reasonable prices and that the surrounding countryside offers a reasonably easy introduction to off-road riding. At least that's the way I told it.

I wasn't wrong on the bikes or the value-for-money rental but easiness is, of course, a matter of opinion. Many things in life become easier with experience and while I may have lost a little in fitness over the years I can still claim to be an experienced cyclist. I don't attack hills like I used to but I still know how to ride the best line and get the most from each pedal stroke. This is probably why I'd remembered the uphills as shorter and flatter than they actually are; a fact demonstrated by this picture of an empty trail I took waiting for our group to catch me up. I'm certainly not complaining about having extra time to soak up the views!

The next time I'll be back on this mountain it'll be covered in snow and I'll be carrying a snowboard. It'll be the start of my first full season of trying to master the slopes. Then the boot will, metaphorically, be firmly on the other foot. Coming from the south of England means my childhood playing-in-snow experiences were limited and I'd never tried any winter sports before the first time I stepped on a snowboard in January this year. So this winter I'll be playing the enthusiastic, if in-experienced, card for all it's worth and hoping for injury-free adventures. I certainly don't expect to be the fastest to the top or bottom of the slope!


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