A brilliant ride going back to the ZigZag roots in mountain biking with an intrepid, active couple from London.
Down from London for a few days, Louise and Edd had already done a nice long hike the previous day over one section of the South Downs Way, from Ditching Beacon to Devils Dyke. Keen to explore more and to give mountain biking a go they had arranged for some basic tuition, a guided ride and some pointers of where to go next time - should they enjoy the experience.
For me this was also a special ride. ZigZag Alive first started as ZigZag Cycling, providing great mountain bike experiences on the South Downs and beyond. As we've grown in to the wider swim, bike, run and triathlon coaching we've kept some of the best of the mountain biking. So it was lovely to be approached by Louise and Edd for a taster of off-road cycling.
Though active runners, Louise hadn't ridden any kind of bike since childhood and Edd's last time on a mountain bike was a few years ago as part of his stag weekend - which seemed to involve more pub stops than actual riding. No matter. We started with getting used to the feel of their bikes - provided by our partners at the Adur Outdoor Activities Centre - and going through some basic techniques to help build confidence and feel in control.
There was a bit of initial wobbliness and getting used to the gears before then heading out to the hills to explore some beautiful routes. We got out to both Chanctonbury Ring and Cissbury Ring, adding in some lesser known trails along the way. We also made a brief stop at Coombes Church to view the thousand year old frescos.
And of course snacks and other cakes have to feature in our rides - ZigZag Alive booster flapjacks and a finish at Shoreham airport's cafe to cram in the well earned calories.
Big congratulations to Louise and Edd for tackling just under 500m of climbing, putting in some long ascents, adrenalin pumping descents and over five and half hours in the saddle. Brilliant stuff!