I have just got back after a week mountain biking in Morocco with Velo Ventures. I am shattered to the core, covered in bruises, I smell of fire and am really content for the first time in a while. I have been trying to work out how to convey what I experienced but the whole point is that it has to be experienced, no matter how articulate I am or how many photographs I post it won’t truly do it justice. There are so many moments that I could tell you about, some moments that I will probably forget, but what I won’t forget is the impression that the country, the experiences and the group that I shared it with has left on me.
Before I went I watched some videos of previous trips, what you don’t get from watching them is why I get on my bike. From the video you don’t feel the vibrations of the road in your hands, you don’t feel the bike sliding around beneath you, or hear the rocks flicking up onto the down tube. You don’t go for your brakes only to find that your handlebar is twisted and overshoot a corner. You don’t discover that you ride better if you stick your tongue out, or forget to breath as you are so tense as you look at the rough road ahead and then remembering that you need to relax and go with it, as Alistair said “speed is your friend”. You don’t get off the bike and feel your leg literally shaking. You don’t end the day covered in mud, trying to work out how exactly you got your bruises.
During the week I learnt a huge amount, I have only owned my mountain bike for 2 months. I had only gone around Richmond Park. Richmond Park contains 2 “hills”, the High Atlas Mountains are high and they are mountains. We got up to over 3000ft. I learnt how to use my weight to get my bike to go over obstacles rather than stack it. At the beginning of the week going downhill I was constantly on my brakes, on the uphills I was frequently losing traction on my back wheel and getting off and walking. All the gang offered helpful advice and were really supportive, and on several occasions carrying my bike for me.
During the week I also made several school girl errors. When carefully (or maybe not so carefully) putting my bike down I managed to stab myself in leg with the chain ring creating 4 neat puncture holes in my leg. On one occasional I completely stacked it, one moment I’m on my bike speeding down the hill, the next I am in the red dirt, my foot trapped between my the frame and the handlebars with Dean Downing helping me get out. I had a point the following day where I lost my bottle and just stopped and had a small cry, the guys were there encouraging me to look around me and just appreciate where we were.
It was an amazing incredible breathtaking (figuratively and literally) life changing week, one that I am sure that I will blog about more.
To the gang thankyou for your patience, for all the laughter and the unforgettable moments. May there be many more cheeky climbs and around the corner and downhill.