Off road cycling

Although not heavily promoted, quite a lot of our members enjoy off road as well as road cycling - there's no anti-mountain bike sentiment in our club. Nina Davies, is our highest acheiving member (see below). She has an impressive enough road pedigree, but she is a cross country mountain biker who has an international profile. Nina and her husband Chris Davies will be providing more content to this section in the near future, so keep an eye on it.

In the meantime read below for Chris' intruduction to the uninitiated. Suggestions welcomed.

Mountain Biking

There are a number of different options within the MTB world, but the ones that would interest most Ogmore members will probably be XC (cross-country) and Enduro.

XC is just like a road race; you pay your fee, turn up, and race.

Enduro is the same but it's not a race. It's a bit like a road sportif in this respect. Despite it not being a race, some of the best riders turn up and the pace at the front can be spectacular. You need the same sort of fitness for this as for the road, good endurance, high aerobic capacity and a bit of mental fortitude.

The big difference comes in the skills area. Off-road riding is technical and specialized. If you want to do it well - you have to practise. The disadvantages are (compared to the road) you'll fall off more often. The advantages are - you'll never be run over by a truck! One of the things we have enjoyed about the off-road world is the democratic nature of the racing - the winner is always the strongest rider in the field - no exceptions. On the road it is sometimes more of a lottery, you miss the break, you get jumped by a wheel sucking sprinter or you're on your own and Forza turn up mob-handed etc!

Of course to do MTB you need a specialised bike. Hard tail or full-suspension, it's your choice; but most racers go hard tail. You need good suspension forks and brakes in tip-top condition.

Hopefully we will be able to organise and lead a one-off MTB club run before the end of the year to give members a change and a bit of fun.

Nina Davies - palmares

Far too modest to sing about her own talents, I am grateful to Chris for providing some background into OVW's highest acheiving member.

Newer members may not know Nina too well but she, like me has been in the club 10 years or so (with a break or two riding with trade-teams). She started as beginner in her mid 20s and progressed well enough to be selected for the Commonwealth Games 2002 for Wales. It was a good games and she got 15th in the TT and supported Nichole Cooke when she won the gold in the road race. From then she was a regular for GB riding Tours in Canada, France, Italy and Australia as well as doing all the big classics and World cups, Fleche Wallon, Primavera Rosa, Tour of Flanders etc. In 2008 she followed me in a switch to MTB. I had a serious accident when a car flattened me and I was nervous for a while on the open road and took to off road riding because of that. She was seriously bad at it for a while - the engine was good but the handling was pretty dodgy! This improved with practise and now it's pretty good.

The beginning of August demarks the end of the MTB season for Nina really. In some ways the season was better than last year and in other ways, not so satisfying. Last year Nina won the UK championships and enjoyed wearing the jersey all season. She also finished second in the World Championships in France. This year she decided not to go to the Worlds (no sponsorship - last year she was funded) and she dropped out of the Nationals at the end of lap one after risking her neck one time too many on a very technical course. However she has won the Welsh Championships in addition to winning the NPS MTB series (the Premier Calendar of MTB). In the NPS she finished all 4 races on the podium with 2nd, 3rd, 1st, and 1st. At the time of writing she is also ranked number one in the UK but this may change if she doesn't race anymore this season. She hardly ever crashes in the races - she quite often crashes in practise!

Chris Davies