If you’re into mountain biking, you’ll know who Danny MacAskill is. If you’re not, then a quick Google search of his name will throw up a host of YouTube videos where he performs unbelievable mountain biking stunts, usually in spectacular locations.
He certainly knows his stuff when it comes to mountain biking, so it’s something of a treat to hear what he thinks are some of the top pieces of gear out there at the moment.
In an interview with T3, he recently gave a glimpse of his essential mtb kit – it’s certainly interesting to see what he splashes out on and where he economises a bit more.
At the top of the list is, of course, the bike he rides. With a price tag of nearly £6,000 this is out of reach for most of us! His preferred wheels are the Santa Cruz 5010CC X01, which he described as “the perfect UK mountain bike”.
Danny explained that “with a 130mm travel front and rear, it means that you can climb to the top of any mountain and take on any sort of downhill”. He also revealed that he likes the fact it doesn’t have much suspension, and that this means you have to “work with the bike to get it down the trails”.
Another essential piece of kit for Danny is his camera. His first choice is a GoPro Hero 7, which is always mounted on his helmet.
He revealed that he never rides without it because it’s a great chance to “passively film content”, and it means you can prove the crazy stunts you pull off (or share the crashes) with anyone who doesn’t believe you.
When you’re heading out for a day on the trails you’ll need some kind of backpack to carry all your essentials. The one recommended by Danny is the Evoc Enduro 16l backpack, because it not only has space for everything you’ll need when you’re riding in remote locations, but also has a back protector.
And what should you be carrying in your pack when you’re out mountain biking? Water, food and the tools you’ll need to fix your bike if it picks up some damage.
He also has some advice for anyone who wants to feel a difference on the trails without spending too much money on new kit – pick up the right pair of shoes. His choice is a pair of Five Ten Adidas Free Rider Pro trainers. “They’re generally really breathable as well as being nice and lightweight. They will literally transform your riding,” he asserted.
At around £100 a pair, they’re not the most expensive piece of mtb kit you’re going to buy, so could be a good place to start if you’re just getting going in the sport. Of course, if you’re new to mountain biking it’s best to do some beginner’s mountain bike coaching to make sure you’re prepared for what you’ll encounter on the trails.
With the cold weather on the way, one piece of kit you don’t want to be without is your gloves When choosing think about their warmth, breathability and waterproofing. If you get cold easily, you may decide to sacrifice breathability for warmer, more waterproof gloves for instance.
Fred raced this one in the u12s at the South Downs venue of Matterley Basin. Flowy singletrack in the woods combined with fast open sections combined to give close racing. Fred started at the back and was immediately held up behind a crash. Pushing hard he fought up to 17th having passed 18 riders. A good ride!
Edith and Fred both raced here in the u12s. This is a very familiar venue after many years of the old Rampage series and frequent Southern XC visits here. Pan flat, but tight and rooty, this course rewards speed through corners and power, lots of power! Edith raced hard and came in 12th. Fred got off to a good start this time and was rewarded with an 11th place. It was also Easter Sunday, so chocolate eggs followed!
19/05/19 Southern XC Round 3 – Crow Hill, New Forest
Edith and Fred returned to the much-loved venue of Crow Hill in the New Forest. The course here is loamy, fast and in contrast to Checkendon is nicely hilly. Loved by Fred, and less so by Edith! Good starts by both saw them racing well up until a ‘racing incident’ between Fred and Edith resulted in Fred through the tape and crashing off the course, right in front of the race commissaire. He wasn’t impressed at the Price sibling antics. Finishing the remainder of the race cleanly saw Fred in 13th and Edith in 9th.
This is a new woodland venue for Southern XC and featured a fresh cut woodland course with a reasonable climb and fun descent. Edith raced hard for 10th and Fred had a very close race resulting in a sprint finish for a 10th place. Good racing! Good to see new venues and it should develop into a cracking race venue for the future.
This one was a full family outing with Fred and Edith in u12s, Karen in vet ladies and me in open men. I reckon this is the best venue on the Southern XC circuit, and every year it gets better! Why? Well it’s a Southern Enduro venue too, giving some cracking descents with berms, jumps and drops abound, all earnt with some stiff rooty climbs too. Get your droppers on for this one and have some fun! Well fun I had and scored a happy 8th placed finish.
Edith and Fred both got 10th placed finishes and then we all cheered Karen on in for her race. Just to make it an endurance day too, Karen rode to the venue and started her race with some 60 something miles in her legs already. Luckily it didn’t slow her down and she scored a 3rd placed finish. Podium!!
Is there anything better than pulling on an extra layer and heading out on a ride in one of the best mountain bike sports in the South of England. Last weekend despite the ‘liquid sunshine’ we went up to the Surrey Hills to check out some new trails as well as some firm favourites like Barry Knows Best, Yoghurt Pots and Graveyards.
There’s no doubt that winter is on its way. The nights are starting to draw in. The trees are turning all kinds of pretty golden and red colours and there is a definite chill in the air at times. As the weather worsens, it can be easy to leave your bike in the garage, promising yourself you’ll hit the trails again when the weather warms up.
But Cycling Weekly has recently offered some advice on how you can remain motivated to get in the saddle during the winter, and stay in shape in the coming months.
If you’ve been regularly riding all summer, including in competitions, the first top tip is to give your body a proper break. Take two weeks or so out of the saddle to relax and let your body recover from the busy mtb season.
Another thing you can do is sign up for a couple of mountain biking events in the spring. This will give you a goal to work towards and encourage you to go out for rides in the depths of winter.
This time of the year is also a great opportunity to introduce new things to your training regime. Book some mtb coaching to get some fresh ideas, for example. The publication suggested that this is a good time to bring strength-based exercise into your regime.
Building up your overall strength can help address imbalances in your body, reducing the risk of injury once you hit the trails again.
At Beyond the Mud we want to enable as much riding as possible! Which is why we started guest blog posts, these blog posts let you hear about riding in new places from other passionate mountain bikers and hopefully give you some ideas on where you could go on your next mountain bike adventure. This latest blog post is by mountain biker Carrianne, we hope you enjoy reading and thank you Carianne for sharing your adventure with us.
Outdoor loving, late thirty-something, Mum to two boys. I got into mountain biking in my early twenties, and I love the opportunity for exploration and friendship riding bikes has provided. From cycling North to South Wales off-road for a friends 50th to adventures nearer to home and getting lost in the woods trying to find new trails! Now I have a young family, mountain biking allows me to occasionally escape and have some all important ‘me’ time as well as having the fun of sharing my love of bikes with the kids and finding new adventures together as a family.
I don’t manage to get out on my mountain bike as much as I would like, and opportunities to ride anything other then local trails are even rarer! So when I had a child free day on the same day that some friends were heading to the Quantocks I was there!
Parking in the lay-by on the A39 just before entering the village of Holford, the first climb of the day was a bit of a challenge for legs still stiff from the car journey! It was 5km and about 320m up to the main ridge of the Quantocks. The reward was the descent down Hodders Combe, 4km of swoopy singletrack heaven and a big smile on my face! It had been a long time since I’d done such a long, natural descent and I was pretty nervous at the start – but I quickly got into the flow and it was a real confidence boost with nothing too steep or technical.
The Hodders Combe descent dropped us almost back to where we started in the village of Holford and from there it was a 3km, 300m climb back up to the ridge where we stopped for a quick refuel before the descent into Weacombe. This was another lovely flowing trail, starting in the open moorland before dropping down into the wood – again nothing too technical or steep just 2km super flowy fun.
The third climb of the day was 2km and 100m to near the top of West Hill and the descent into Smith’s Combe. Smith’s Combe was the shortest, at just over 1.5km, and most technical downhill of the day with a tricky loose rock section in the middle which I was super proud of myself for making it down – it wasn’t pretty but I didn’t walk!
The next section was a bit of a slog, with tiring legs, we followed the contour around the northern edge of the Quantocks before heading up a drag of a fire road climb back up to the open ridge and past Bicknoller Post for the final time. Crossing across the whole of the top of the Quantocks gives you a chance to admire the spectacular views – out towards the Bristol Channel and for miles inland.
The 5km final descent, Lady’s Combe, back to the car was super fun, starting in the woods dropping down to follow the path of a stream – making line choice all important! The trail zig-zagged the stream, taking a right-hand turn, up the final little uphill of the day, before popping out back where we started.
Loved getting out, doing a proper ride on some fantastic singletrack. The Quantocks offer a lot of quality riding in a small area, hopefully won’t leave it so long until we return!
TOP TIP: Take a packed lunch – there isn’t anywhere to buy food on the route.
Keeping active is important as we get older but often people forget about strength training and building muscle in favour of cardiovascular exercise like running, swimming, rowing and so on.
Ideally, you should aim to focus on both if you can – something that has just been reiterated by the UK chief medical officers and the Department of Health and Social Care, which has just published new physical activity guidelines that emphasise the importance of building strength and balance.
The guidelines haven’t been updated since 2011 and now recommend that adults should do strength-based exercises at least twice a week to help delay the natural decline in bone density and muscle mass that typically starts at around 50 years old. The overall message has stayed the same, however – any activity is better than doing none at all and more activity is even better than that.
It’s thought that a drop in muscle mass and bone density is one of the main reasons why older people lose their ability to do daily tasks with ease, with falls the main reason that people above a certain age are taken to hospital. This could be avoided, however, through the likes of carrying heavy shopping, brisk walking, swimming, gardening and taking the stairs.
Physical activity can also help protect against chronic health conditions like type 2 diabetes (reducing the risk by 40 per cent), coronary heart disease (35 per cent) and depression (30 per cent).
The guidance also includes safe levels of activity for both pregnant women and new mothers, with a moderate amount of exercise for the latter proven to help them ease back pain, regain strength and reduce the chances of developing gestational diabetes.
“Physical activity is an under-appreciated asset in our clinical arsenal. It is cheap and brings a long list of health benefits.
“As we age, our muscles weaken and we can become stiff, leading to falls and difficulty performing everyday activities. Physical activity can prevent fragility and support mobility in old age. By keeping active, both throughout the day and also through hobbies, we can slow muscle and bone decline, ultimately keeping us independent for longer,” Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, said.
When it comes to strength training, going for Pilates in Waterlooville or your local area could prove particularly beneficial. This practice aims to strengthen the entire body in a balanced way, with emphasis on core strength as a way of improving general health and wellbeing.
It is suitable for people of all ages and levels of ability, so don’t worry if you’re a complete beginner… you’ll soon pick it up. Regular practice can help improve your posture, muscle tone and balance, while also relieving any stress and tension you may be experiencing.