Thursday, October 08, 2009

Afan Skills Training


I'm sure that a few of you will recall that my first visit to Afan (2007) was somewhat of an 'in at the deep end' experience for me resulting in more then a few tumbles. Whilst my riding has improved since then, when I was offered the chance of 4 hours skills training at Afan for £38.00 I considered it would probably be money well spent.

The skills training was provided by a local guy called Nigel Thomas. He runs a part time business providing skills training and 'off piste guided routes' (more of that later). Nigel's approach was professional and he has a very relaxed style. He spent some time with us understanding what we wanted to achieve from the course. In our case it was basic to ride Afan with confidence, improved technique on switchbacks, drop offs, roots etc. and increase our speed and flow on the technical single track sections.

In truth my expectations were generally low, I knew that I'd have to take a lot of information on board and felt that if things went well I'd be able to convert some of it into practice. However, I found Nigel's training style very relaxed and simple. He was able to make numerous but simple changes to my riding style through changes to weight distribution, set up and braking that really made a significant difference to my ability to ride Afan with confidence. We used the Hidden valley and Dead Sheep Gully on the Penhydd trail to practice different technical elements and then went back to the top and rode the whole section to combine our new found skills. The result of the days training was a significant boost to my confidence and a reasonable improvement in my skill level. The following day I rode Whites level with the objective of tackling everything that came my way (up hill and down hill). As a result I remained tumble free for the whole day and rode the trail much faster and smother than my first attempt. I now look forward to returning to Afan with fondness and not fear!

I'm happy to recommend Nigel to most. Nigel is happy to deal direct (at reduced prices) and can be contacted on the following:

tel: 07723343500

'Off Piste' guided routes:

Nigel explained that he often takes keen riders of an all day 'off piste' route which lets riders make the most of the Afan valley. It's a bit of an epic with features including a 4 mile down hill section and 'river riding'. Next time we have a group in Afan he offered to take 6 of us out for £60.00 (£10.00 each). It's something i will definitely be interested in.

Finally, a big thanks to Chas for organising the days event. Best money I've spent in years!



Farqui said...

Seems to me that MTB training is often overlooked, especially when you consider that we opt it's common for skiing, footy, etc.

The number of bruises (and worse) it can prevent should be reason alone but I found it also improved my riding "pleasure".

I enjoyed our AQR day, tho I still have to concentrate to put all I learnt into practice...seems that I suffer from "old dog new tricks" syndrome :p

Peeps that think they know it all make me chuckle.

Willy said...

I think a training day would be useful (table tops anyone?) but going from my skiing experience, too much is a waste of time - firstly as Farqs said "old dog and new tricks" and second 'cos you can tend to be thinking too much about what the guy said on the last session (some or all of which you have forgotten) that you actually forget to enjoy yourself which, after all, is why we go. Having said that, my learning curve is still pretty steep so would be up for a trip (Spring perhaps) to do his day class.

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