4 weeks in glorious sunshine and superb trails unlike anywhere I have experienced in the world. Ian and I met in Portugal and Mr Potter knows it well...I on the other hand had been a guest here 10 years ago when Ian worked as a guide and now have myself a husband to ensure I stay on the right track in more ways than one....Yes there were a few entertaining moments for all (but I) when Ian just let me keep riding up certain lung busting climbs whilst he stopped the guests at the right trail junction and radioed me back just as I had recovered and was wondering where everybody was. He thought this was highly amusing as did others....grrrrr.
So what moments stood out for me apart from Potter ‘Good guide/Bad guide’ moments.....in case you don’t know what I’m referring to, in the AQR Crew Guiding World we Potter’s are known as ‘Good Guide/Bad Guide’ and our true colours are really shown when we work together.....Don’t forget we are a married couple, Ian overdoses on coffee and I’m always right! Now I’m not talking about irresponsible actions that affect guests in anyway....it’s just we have been told by most guests that they prefer both Potters to be in guiding action when out on an AQR guided trip. I’m not too sure why, but I think Ian and I bring out the best and worst of each other at the right times and this balance creates....um....POTTER HARMONY? No......um.....I will think on that one...’ENTERTAINING’ is the only word I can think of that has been repeated by guests often....but I’m sure there is a better word.....DIFFERENT, SPECIAL, HYSTERICAL....although a very good friend called us ‘THE DREAM TEAM’, which I quite like, although Ian thinks he is the ‘dream’ and I’m the ‘nightmare’ and that is why it works so well because you need ‘YIN’ and ‘YANG’ in your life....according to Chinese philosophy YIN is the female and negative force and YANG is the male and the positive force......DID A MALE COME UP WITH THIS CRAP!!!! I then carried on reading this strange philosophy and it doesn’t mean one is better than the other, instead they are both necessary and a balance of both is highly desirable....which I guess I will agree with, because I know I’m not always the best behaved wife or guiding compatriot, but at least Ian doesn’t get bored....and I keep a smile on his face most of the time J
So what moments really stood out for me in Portugal....was it the endless dry trails and blue skies, the blooming wild flowers and Eucalyptus trees that reminded me of my once upon a time Sydney home....or my favourite part of the guiding job and that is riding with groups of people from all cycles of life and seeing the endless smiles and personal satisfaction that comes with riding a bike in the fresh mountain air....Was it the single track or climbing to the top of the 4 peak Challenge, enjoying the undulating descents and unspoilt views....OR was it the food.....always a favourite subject with Mr Potter.....Ian and certain guests (John....most of you on coaching week, Simon & Anth) who overdosed on FIGOOS.....ingredients – figs, chocolate, brown sugar, almond and lemon juice or for me it was definitely THE GARLIC CARROTS.....ingredients – garlic & carrots....it might not sound as exciting as the figoos but they were delish, although I didn’t seem to have as many food groupies following me as Ian did L
Then there were the FUNNY moments that always happen on any mountain biking adventure....
Paul – Trying to bunny hop a ‘little’ river and making a big splash from head to toe as it was a little deeper than expected J
Anne – AQR’s physio who was given MY permission to ‘DO’ my husband J
Anth – Who does a great Marilyn Monroe impersonation on the bike J
Hannah – I will let Hannah explain how she remembers ‘car up and car down’ J
Iain – When we called the waitor Manuel (Faulty Towers), it really wasn’t his name J
Manuel – The sweetest waitor I know who was in training...but who I adored because he always brought me extra ‘Garlic carrots’...he was trained well by me J
Viv – Who decided riding every day was not enough, so found a bike machine to use with perfect views across the valley (see photo) J
Steve & Alison – Who know all about my ‘little screw’ issue that went a-missing....please tell me it was a wind up and didn’t involve ghosts (gulp) J
Helen – Who kissed the only muddy patch across the entire Algarve and got herself an instant tan, and a brown bike J
Alison & Al – also met in Portugal 10 years ago and also have their own ‘Yin & Yang’... Alison storms up the hills after a few Portugese alcoholic beverages....Al not so J
Mr Potter – who just should know better (I will let the photos do the explaining)
I must admit there were a few little tears as well as we departed Alte because for one month I really fell in love with this area and all the adventures that came about whilst guiding full time ...... :(
J.....but then I realised after endless motion sickness stops during our 20hr drive back to France that I was returning to Luchon, my little mountain home in the Pyrenees, and although I’m often sad when guests depart there are a whole lot more mountain bike adventures coming up to look forward to in 2011.
So now all the organisation and preparation that went into ‘AQR in the Algarve’ is behind me for the next month or two, as already enquiries about the 2012 ‘AQR in the Algarve’ have started to roll through, with most guests already committing to next year as this area really offers the perfect winter escape for mountain bikers. So March 2012 look out for dates on both the guiding and coaching weeks out in Portugal as I will be confirming them in the near future....but until then bring on Luchon as the trails are ready to roll on and new rides have been added to the AQR agenda....PLUS another 'Coaching & Training' week by special request in August and the Tour de France week which I'm already counting the days 'til.
Cheerios for now
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