Ride report this week is from Alex who has migrated from a couple of evening rides to his first day ride.
Sorry its taken me a few days to get around to this.
Anyhow it was a great ride with a huge mixture of riding during the day. I knew it was going to be good after a great car park start, so nice to be able to get a good coffee before getting going. With some friendly faces that I knew from other rides I knew I was in good company. My new bike was still looking shiny as we set off on the gentle climb into the woods. Quickly finding some great looking single track through the trees. The ride leader obviously knew where he was going, and the well made and twisty single track snaked about with several tasty obstacles set into the trail. I made some of them at least! Some nice drop offs too, which we mostly cleared well, apart from a little Bar Bending, or at least twisting sustained by Pete.
After that it was the start of some climbs and fast descents before a quick lunch. The afternoon carried on with lots of challenges and great fun. Steep drop-offs to either side of the single track shouldn’t have been a challenge, apart from the fact that being told not to fall down the sides meant they seemed to draw you even stronger. I seemed to survive it and the descent that followed was fantastic, although I seemed to get strung out in the middle of the group. I was pretty sure I was on the right path, but could see nobody in front or behind for ages… started to get a bit worried, but it was too much fun and fast to think about stopping and panicking about being lost in the woods. It turned out allright though and we all met up at the next road crossing. My favourite section for the afternoon had to be the tunnel through the willow, or brambles or whatever they were. It wasn’t technical it was just really unusual and great fun. (Visions of being in some kind of cycling maze.)
The late afternoon gave us more climbing to the old tower (a well deserved tangfastics break, why are they sooo goooood ) and a choice of whether to take a long or short option. Nobody seemed to complain too much so it seemed the long XC route was decided upon. I was starting to tire at this point, but an extra hour couldn’t hurt could it…. ?? As it turned out the next part of the route was an absolute killer climb up , and then up , and then up. At this point I wasn’t sure which was more painful my legs, or my arse complaining from a badly fitting saddle… We made it up and the reward was a set of some of the best single track descents of the day. Slightly slippery, and scary in the wet mud but enough traction to keep you confident…. really fast! At this point the pace seemed to have slowed… the mud on the ground had made all but the big descents quite an effort throughout the day and now it was all taking it’s toll. But the timing was perfect… one last 50 foot or so drop (near vertical) and we were back on the path to the car park. I could definitely visualize, and I am sure I could smell the bacon cooking in the car park cafe. A breakfast baguette has never quite tasted so perfect I am sure!
Overall a fantastic ride on a route that really had a bit of everything to offer. The pace was good but not so much that we were going to pass out however by the end of it I could feel we had had a really good workout.
What a great first experience of riding with Brighton MTB. (in the daylight at least… ) Thanks for all the support and pointers on the route. Very much looking foward to the next one!!
a few photos here
(too busy cycling to take some good ones )