Going down – Marit’s Story & tips and tricks from Manon Carpenter
Ever since I stopped road racing I’ve been dreaming about throwing my hand at a bit of downhill riding. I’ve always followed the sport and wondered if I was capable of being that hardcore! After many years dreaming and a bit of inspiration from fellow #Shero Manon I went down…
Here's how I found the day and a few tips and tricks from Manon for those girls who want to have a go as well!
NERVES: Shit loads! Shitting my pants! Best advice just don't think of crashing, broken bones, work and other irrelevant stuff. It is you and the freaking trail!
ELEVATOR: Pretty difficult if you are clumsy like me but there’s enough people to help you to get the bike in that thing and let you go up that mountain
TRAILS: There were different trails for beginners through to advanced riders. My boyfriend thought it was a good idea to go straight to advanced. It was a bit tricky and scary but it gave me a good start and some confidence! However, as there are lots of different trails to try you can take it nice an easy if you prefer. As you get faster and faster though there’s always more technical and tricky trails to try. THINKING: Don't think just do. I was going fine until I started to think too much and then I crashed. It’s ok though everyone makes mistakes and that’s part of the learning curve.
* In the photo Manon Carpenter showing how it is done
CRASH: I crashed 5 times but aside from the odd bump and bruise nothing too painful. There’s no point worrying about crashing!
ENDURANCE/STRENGTH: Pain all over my body. Sore shoulders, hand, core and legs. You think you go downhill but after a while you ache all over.
BREAK: As I got more and more tired I was getting worse and worse, luckily a little break and a good bowl of chips got me back focussed.
FUN: Best time I had on a bike for a long time!
VIBE: Everybody was nice, relaxed and helpful plus some very good looking guys…
EQUIPMENT: Bike, helmet, body protection (very useful otherwise I wouldn't have had any skin anymore)
RECOMMENDATION: If you love speed, adventure and a good vibe! Go do this! It was one of the best days in the last few years
That was my day and now here is some advice from Manon to start your downhill adventure. I promise you it will be one of the best days of your life! Let me know if you go!
*In the photo Marit Huisman attacking the corner
ADVICE MANON CARPENTER
- Right equipment for the job. Make sure you've got your bike in good condition and all the right gear/protection you need.
- Find out where is good to ride near you, pick easy trails to start on and see how you get on.
- Take it steady first few runs until you know where you're going, look before you leap!
- Skills before speed. Don't feel you have to rush into going fast, build up on smaller obstacles if there's a jump or drop you want to try until you are comfortable and confident you know how to ride them
- Have fun!
About Marit Huisman
Marit used to race when she was younger. Since stopping racing she has devoted her time to developing women’s cycling and creating projects and initiatives to get women on the bike. Her best moments on the bike are riding with friends through beautiful areas and challenging each other. In her spare time she likes to play guitar and really hopes that she can play in a band one day!
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