Category Archives: Tribe News

Racing bikes in Scotland!

Bike

Deputy Manager at Grizedale, Dan, and Area Manager Clair applied to the Adventure Fund for support to enter some enduro mountain bike races early this year. This is what happened.

The two races could not have been more different.

The first race at Gisburn Forest in Lancashire was bathed in warm spring sunshine and had lovely dry trails. The Vallelujah Enduro in the Tweed Valley in Scotland threw everything the weather gods could at us. We live and ride in Grizedale Forest in the South Lakes, so are no strangers to wet weather, but what we faced in Scotland was something else! 

For those that don’t know, enduro mountain bike races consist of a number of timed special stages and untimed transitions in between. The trails of each race were a mixture of man made and natural trails that provide a multitude of challenges from steep, muddy and slippy, to super fast with jumps and drops that always make for very exciting races.

Riders have to have a good combination of skills and fitness to do well.

The first race at Gisburn was a one-day affair with a chance to practice the 5 stages in the morning and then race them in the afternoon. We had tracks that were tight through the trees, open tracks with big rock slabs and steep sided berms and fast tracks with drops. Clair did exceptionally well in this one and came 4th and managed to get a spot on the podium (in mountain bike races, the first five riders get a spot). Dan didn’t do so well with a few mechanical issues and a couple of little crashes that resulted in a mid pack finish.

The second race at Peebles was a bigger and more serious event and lasted the whole weekend. Practice took place on Saturday in nice, dry and warm conditions. The tracks were running very well and everyone was excited about the race on Sunday. Then the weather got involved and after 2 weeks of benign conditions, the wind picked up.

The rain came. It never went away.

This turned the trails into the slippiest kind of sloppy mud. Much of the transitions were spent with our heads down avoiding the wind blown hail stone bullets that seemed to pelt in sideways through the trees stinging any bit of exposed skin. A bit of snow fell and then the sun came out. Then the hailstones came back. The stages in this race were harder, longer and steeper than Gisburn and to be honest, by the end of the day, thoughts of results had gone out of the window and we were starting to suffer in the cold. We were happy to finish the race safe and sound after about 4 and a half hours on the bikes.

It’s been a good start to our race season and with the Adventure Fund’s help, we are doing more enduros throughout the season.

The next one is at Grizedale, more to follow.

Hitting the wall in Manchester

mara

Here at Go Ape we like to support our tribe into all things adventurous. We have an Adventure Fund set up for all staff to help them on their way.

Rob from Go Ape Buxton tells us about his first Marathon, fully supported by the Adventure Fund:

It was 12th March, 4 weeks before the Asics Manchester Marathon and after several conversations with different people I decided it would be good to challenge myself and sign up. Leaving myself short on time to train I got my trainers on and got straight to it.

I had a fairly decent fitness level to work with having completed several half marathons during 2015 so I had a rough idea of my pace and what I had to do to train.

1804RobThe four weeks in between flew by and I managed to squeeze in 12 training runs before the big day. My training plan consisted of three runs a week; a short run, a long run and a quick run. I increased my distance each week and my long run from the previous week became my short run and so on and so forth. Having reached 16 miles as a long run and a week left I decided to have last week to taper down and completed three short runs just to avoid any chance of picking up any last minute injuries.

All of a sudden Sunday 10th April arrived and it was race day! I made my way to Old Trafford where the start line was and jumped in with all the other runners. Nerves kicked in but before I could panic too much Dr Ron Hill and sounded the horn and the race was underway. I crossed the start line and set my watch going to track my race. The mile markers seemed to be coming quickly to start with and I realized this was because I’d started off far too fast! During this time I felt good, I felt fast at one point I’m pretty sure I believed I could win it! Running at around 8:30min per mile for the first 15 miles soon took its toll and I gradually slowed my pace down to around 9minutes per mile which felt much more comfortable. I kept picking out different runners to either pace myself against or challenge myself to overtake as when you see a Gorilla running ahead you know you’re not running fast enough!

It was around mile 16 that I hit the well known wall and I was convinced my legs were going to give way.

This feeling lasted longer than I care to admit. I fought through this mental battle with the help of a few jelly babies and an energy gel and finally made it to mile 21 where I got my head back in the zone.  The last 5 miles were very well supported by the public, which made everything easier as you can’t stop when people are watching you!

I reached the top of a hill half way through mile 25 and I could see the finish line in my sight! I couldn’t quite believe it, it was nearly over.

I decided it was now or never, I picked up my pace for the last section and embarked upon what I thought was a sprint finish however looking back I think it was nothing of the sort!

I heard a cheer from the side, which was my family standing waiting for me to finish. I crossed the finish line and it took a good few minutes for it to sink in that I had completed my first marathon! I made my way through the masses of people to receive my medal and race bag which included my finishers t-shirt. Next stop was the bar for what I believed to be my well-earned pint and to find out my official time. I checked my watch and couldn’t believe I had completed it in 4 hours and 3 minutes! I was over the moon.

Now a few days have passed since completing the race and I still believe it was one of the most difficult things I have ever completed however I am already on the look out for the next one!

Thanks for sharing with us Rob!

NEW Go Ape Turbo Adventure

GorillaBeat_Blog

Latest adventure unleashed

Wind turbines we hear you say? Yes – wind turbines. Take a look for yourself. We’re currently constructing one of our multi-award Tree Top Adventures onto the horizontal axis of a Scottish wind farm to create a revolutionary experience. Go Ape Turbo will challenge adventure-seekers like no other experience in the UK. 

Go Ape Construction Manager Paul Love-Williams is leading the project. He said:

“The highest crossings are double the height of most Go Ape courses, and all obstacles are three times as long, making them extra wobbly and challenging. We’ve been tasked to develop our latest adventure and design a safe yet dynamic hybrid experience. It’s certainly taking Go Ape to a new level”.

The experience will last two hours, which will include a detailed safety brief. It will also include a two-tiered Zip, a first for Go Ape.

We have a slight confession. It’s time to own up! 

Our announcement this morning was an April Fool. Sadly there is no such thing as Turbo Adventure. *Cue sighs of relief from the Go Ape Safety Team.* But, good news, we do have new sites joining Go Ape family tree with Alexandra Palace and Chessington World of Adventures – that’s no joke! Keep your eyes peeled for more information.

The signs of spring…finally!

About Go Ape

Winter, it’s been a pleasure.

No really, we don’t mean it sarcastically. There’s a lot to love about the chilliest season of the year – the festivities, the frost and the snow, wrapping-up warm and heading out for a crisp winter’s walk, snuggling by the fire when you return. And you don’t need to get up at some ridiculous hour to be able to appreciate a stunning sunrise, either!

Yep, winter certainly is a magical season. But it’s nearing its end and that can only mean one thing: springtime! Spring hasn’t sprung just yet but the Go Ape tribe has been noticing signs of it in forests across the UK – slight changes in sounds, smells and colours.

Some of our favourite springtime signs are…

Birds singing

Spring is in the air, and don’t the birds know it! Our fine, feathered friends have begun singing to us from dusk ‘til dawn – they’re the soundtrack to our forests. Migrating birds will be returning to the UK from milder climates soon too; chiffchaffs from mid-March, swallows from mid-April and swifts from early May.

Daffodils and bluebells

Spring transforms the green (and sometimes muddy-brown) countryside to a vibrant sea of colour post-winter. Daffodils – the archetypical British flower – make their return, while violet-blue bluebells begin to bloom again. The UK is most beautiful in the springtime, there’s no doubt about it.

Blossom

As well springtime adding splashes of yellows, blues and purples to the countryside, ornamental cherries in bloom give gardens and orchards a rosy-pink hue. When the petals fall and blanket the ground, it looks like something from a fairytale book.

Bees

Bees, like us, can’t get enough of springtime in bloom. Honey bees and bumble bees find the nectar truly irresistible, spending their days buzzing around gardens and meadows pollinating every plant in sight. A bee’s buzz is a true sign that spring is just around the corner.

Spring lambs

It’s a busy time of year for farms across the country, as they prepare to welcome sprightly spring lambs into the world. Soon enough, the fluffy newborns will be dotting the countryside – see if you can spot any on your next walk.

Wild garlic

Vamps will be steering clear of the UK’s woods and forests over the next few months, as wild garlic begins to grow in abundance. Let your nose guide you to the plant; you can pick the leaves to use in cooking as a milder alternative to garlic bulbs.

Seeing any signs of spring yet? If you book a Tree Top Adventure at Go Ape, you’re bound to notice a few – the birds singing as you climb up the high ropes, a garlicky smell as you cross our obstacles, a view of blooming flowers and blossoming trees from way up high. We’re now officially back open for monkey business, so come celebrate the start of spring with us!

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