Training for the Beast – Rachel Norman

After partaking in my first event last year, the Hopetech Women’s Enduro, I’d got the bug and I was itching to sign up for more. I wanted something to train towards to keep my fitness up and improve on my mountain biking ability. I thought the Hamsterley Beast fitted all the criteria needed for such a goal. I’ve opted to do the 40 mile route, the other options are 20 miles and 66.6 miles. 40 miles seems like just the challenge for me, it’s going to be a tough test but one which seems within reach. We’ll see how the 40 miler goes and maybe sign up for the 66.6 next year?! (I said maybe!).

From looking at previous year’s routes it seems the 40 miler will include roughly 5,500ft climbing over varied terrain with technical climbs and descents. So that’s what I’m training towards.

I’ve never ridden a 40 mile ride before let alone that much climbing in one day, and I must admit thinking about it now is making it really sink in just how hard this is going to be. Friends who have done it last year have warned me that it is gruelling but they’ve also said just how much fun it was and with a great atmosphere. It’s a non-profit event raising money for the Great North Air Ambulance Service and described as a festival-style weekend, so I do think it’s going to be pretty awesome to be a part of. Here’s a link to my fundraising page, please give anything you can to this great charity who we all, as lovers of the great outdoors, need to support.

I’ve signed up with one of my pals Holly, a fellow woman mountain biker. This will be her first mtb event and we’ve been training together. Living in Hope, the heart of mountain biking in the Peaks, I’m pretty lucky to have the perfect training ground on my doorstep. My weekly training aims have been to go on one longer mtb ride on my day off work, one shorter mtb night ride (group night rides with Café Adventure), one spinning – high intensity interval training session and regular leg strengthening exercises at home. This is more or less going to plan, however I know I can still do more!

One of the latest longer mtb rides Holly and I have done was 23miles with 3200ft climbing. We rode from Hope to Ladybower and Derwent Reservoir , taking in the Screaming Mile, Whinstone Lee Tor and Hagg Farm Berms. This was a great ride and a great day. Although we were tired and aching at the end of the day, and that was only just over half of the distance of the beast! However, training with a friend does makes it feel like you’re not training at all, you’re just having a fun day out in the countryside with your mate!

We’ve also just signed up for a big day out on a guided ride up Helvellyn with Julia Hobson of Endless Trails MTB guiding company. This is going to be a big challenge in itself climbing up one of the highest mountains in England with the top section being a hike-a-bike to the summit! It’s sure to be an adventurous day out and definitely contributes towards my training schedule. If I can get up to the top of Helvellyn and back in one piece it will give me a bit more confidence for the Hamsterley Beast!

So there you go, that’s my very relaxed “training schedule” which in brief, is trying to get out on my bike as much as possible, with my friends and have a good time while doing it! Which isn’t much of a chore because this what I love to do anyway. Roll on May and bring on the Beast!

If you fancy taking on the Hamsterley Beast yourself check out the event’s website and get yourself signed up here 

Rachel Norman

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