So I’ve been a bit quiet on this front the last while as I’ve been pretty focussed on my MBL Award. Last week saw myself and two others become the first to achieve this new award from Cycling Ireland, so a proud achievement!
18 months ago I started out at Tollymore. I had no formal awards, but had plenty of experience in mountain biking. It didn’t take long to get my TCL award but I wanted more. I didn’t want to be limited by the remit of an award, I wanted to be limited by the skill and ability of the guys and girls I was out with. This led me to the new version of the MBL award.
CI had put alot of effort into to developing this award. Having taken the Scottish Cycling equivalent, they went on to redesign it from the ground up to include alot more focus on coaching. Assessment went from one day to two days and the award slots into the European Qualification Framework at the top end, above the equivalent British Cycling qualification so a handy one to have.
For me, coaching is just as important as the guiding. Everyone can benefit in some way from coaching, so for guides not to have the skills to do this is ludicrous. British Cycling have abandoned the MBLA scheme in favour of their own shceme, which leaves coaching out as an optional extra! This disregard is sad to see, but highlights how Cycling Ireland are committed to developing a good pool of coaches as opposed to developing awards to create profit.
The assessment itself turned out to be two great days, sunshine and great trails. The first day was focussed on coaching with lots learnt. If you don’t learn something on assessments you’re doing something wrong. Day two was focussed on leadership with one of the best days riding I’ve ever had in the Mournes. It was nice to actually enjoy the assessment and not be stressing the whole way through like some other awards.
Now I’ve finished this chapter I’ve been trying to figure out what to do next. Its strange not having an award to focus on but maybe it’s time to start working on the log book for MIA, what’s the worst could happen?