Another Climber turned mountain biker

By Ben Meakin

In March last year I went over on my ankle dropping off the top of a bouldering wall. At first I was told I had badly sprained it but I was later to find out I had ripped the cartilage and crumpled a small part of my bone. Up until now I have had two operations trying to fix the problems and fingers crossed I'm on my way back.

Last years climbing wasn't the most productive year due to being scared of damaging my ankle more. But I still managed to boulder 7C+, lead 8a and fit in a E6, I can’t complain really...

At the moment I'm still recovering from my operation in December. I have started training again so lots of fingerboarding, campusing and rings action so I'm in shape for the summer and ongoing projects. I have been given the green light to start biking; sadly Nick heard about this and put my name down for the Welsh Ride Thing (WRT). For people who don't know, it’s a selfsupported bike ridelasting 3 days and two nights. The only down side, I don't bike at all, I don't even own a bike !!! This is going to be hard.

I need to do some training... fast. So at the weekend Kenny and myself went out into the Peak for an easy ride to start the ball rolling. We did the Bradwell loop starting in Hope, the ride was 21 km going up and down a very beautiful part of the Peak. We set off at a good speed which was very quickly stopped when I (not Kenny) got to the first hill, we were not even 3 km in and I was feeling it. The ride went up to Shatton Moor, it felt like the longest hill in the world, each time we turned the corner it just keeps on going. I did not want to show it but I was hurting and was gritting my teeth hard. When it eventually ended my legs felt well used and they were burning like hell. But the next part was worth it, a small down hill section into Bradwell. Next up was Pin Dale, its a hill, with the trailcovered in small limestone rocks. I tried my best to keep up with Kenny but it was just too much and I resorted to pushing. I didn't feel too bad because behind me were two other guys doing the same. At the top Kenny was ready with camera in hand to catch the moment with a grin on his face.

The last part of the ride was up Dirtlow Rake and down the Limestone Way. I biked half way down until it became too steep and I chickened out and got off. The bike I was using had a dropper seat post so on the downhill parts I felt pro, but I didn't look like it. It was more like a controlled fall down the hills. As we entered Hope at the end, we could see the pie shop and we had earned a well deserved snack. The best part was that my ankle felt good all the way round, it means I'm doing the WRT !!

Later on this year we are bringing out our own range of bikes and I was lucky to test one out with some new developed bike luggage. All I can say is it's a very exciting time at Alpkit HQ with lots of new products.