Living In The Now
LIVING IN THE NOW – Adventure Motorcycling in Wales
After my expedition to Tajikistan last June I became somewhat obsessed with off road motorcycling. I bought an Enfield 350cc in Nepal 20 years ago and had my fair share of adventure motorcycling back then. I embarked upon all of that back then with absolutely no experience at all, but after seeing the boys deal with crazy terrain in Tajikistan I decided that this was one thrill I wanted to have a go at again. Adventure Motorcycling really is living in the now!
I already owned a motorbike and was working my way through the licence, not so I could go speed riding on UK roads, but so I could go on adventures travelling around the world on a motorbike!
My dear friend Ant’s who had run the expedition to Tajikistan gave a talk at the Adventure travel show and one of the main sentences that resonated with me was:
“stop making excuses and just do it!”
So, with this in mind I booked myself a place on Black Desert Training’s 2 day off road course in Wales.
It really was one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve ever had.
Black Desert is run by Tamsin and Craig, who have both completed the Paris Dakar Rally numerous times – arguably the toughest endurance race in existence and run weekend courses on private moorland in South Wales – one of the best off roading spots in the world.
After a night in the local B & B and a rather heart attack inducing fried breakfast and local instant coffee, I turned up at a ramshackle barn still clearing its morning mist. We were given some old endurance kit to put on behind the hay bails which still smelt pungently of the sweat of the person who had worn them before. The kit is really important as you need protection in case of falling – which happens all the time!
We were then given a bike and started with some training on how to ride a bike off road. The main difference is that you stand on the pegs a lot with off road motorcycling rather than sitting in the seat as this gives you a whole other level of control and balance. Tamsin, who on all appearances looked petite and very feminine came into her own as she became an acrobat on her bike, moving around it in the mud like it was the easiest thing in the world. We were made to do crazy angled turns, taught how to break suddenly in the mud and skid and then taken on our first ride out.
Oh my God, I was hooked! It was just so exhilarating. We were taken on crazy trails on the edge of cliffs, taught how to deal with “rutts”, rode across boggs that you could not believe you were actually doing without falling, taught to go down steep hills with control, how to stop on a hill – which is just so scary.
It was AMAZING!!! I was screaming with excitement as the adrenalin was pulsating through me! It was really scary, but the thing was – you had no time to think about it.
You just had to concentrate on what was in front of you. It was too dangerous to stop and think and take your mind off the task at hand, because one split second of loss of concentration could mean hurtling off the edge of a cliff!
I was living in the Now – in the full sense of what that meant!
The thrill continued all day and that night I returned to my B&B absolutely exhausted and after some Welsh curry I collapsed.
Another day of absolute adrenalin fuelled madness on the moors followed and I left there feeling absolutely amazed at what I had achieved and with a new favourite sport under my belt. I was however absolutely shattered, not just from the physical endurance of the past 2 days and the numerous falls I had taken – the bruises already coming out in massive purple and black areas, but because of the sheer mental concentration that had accompanied the physical.
This living in the now was tough work – but so worth it!