Being a total newbie to the whole mountain biking thing I’m not sure how fast I am going.
Ok, it’s slow. It feels fast but I know it’s slow because at some points I’m actually stationary.
Carrying your speed through the corners is one of the fundamental skills, my instructor Paul Angus tells me.
Brake before the corner. No problem whatsoever. Then pick a line, look ahead through the corner and maintain your speed around the bend so that it sort of slingshots you out the other side.
It seems to be like racing a car, not that I’ve done much of that either, but I have watched a lot of Top Gear. The idea, I think, is to be as smooth as possible and let the speed, natural decline and camber do the work.
Many of the corners on the 6km Hammy’s track are banked hairpins. The first couple I feel like I’m four years old again and learning to ride a bike – all wobbly and unsure, like I could look back and see my dad has just let go of the seat and I’m on my own.
But, as with anything, the more you try to succeed, the more confidence you have and the better it feels.
By the bottom of the run again I feel quite elated and a tiny bit hooked.
There’s a part of me that already wants to go much faster – this weekend I’m going to put in some serious time and see if I can’t get a bit more comfortable with it.
For more information on downhill mountain biking and learning to ride, go to www.vertigobikes.co.nz/skills-classes