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TOPIC: mud irony: my first MBRO35 ride (long)

mud irony: my first MBRO35 ride (long) 2 years 11 months ago #1045

  • boak
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Hi everyone, I'm one of the two ne guys on today's ride and thought of writing up my experience. I hate mud which is ironic because I bought an mtb for off road. Later on you'll see how I became rather acquainted with this gooey stuff!. This post is a bit long....

Although I broke off shortly, in summary, I had a fantastic time! You were all a great bunch and very welcoming, thank you.

So, it was my first venture into the forest, my first ride on the new MTB, and the first off road ride for a couple of decades. It started off simple enough, almost the kind of place I could take a CX bike, but within a few minutes I was being challenged with mud and took my first spill. Zee helped out by suggesting I reduce the air pressure in the tires from the astronomical 50psi to something much lower. After meeting Michael on his promotional orange Genesis fat bike courtesy of Online Bikes (mod: if I'm not allowed to say that, please delete) and him informing me that he's running a mere 5psi, I wondered how much difference it really made. (Hint: a lot).

The trails seemed simple enough in the beginning but I was still slower than everyone; I figured a bit of practice would get me up to speed and that would come later. I wanted the others to go first because I didn't want to slow anyone down on their fun rides but several of you took the time to stay behind or near me to help me out. I won't single anyone out, zee, Omar and a couple of others helped out here (sorry i cant recall everyones name) but Ben spent the most time with me so sorry to embarass you but thanks!

The trails became more technical and we came to a sharp decline followed by a sharp incline and that's where I took my next spill. I think Jeff has that on video (luckily I spent most of my time away from the video recorder nyuk nyuk nyuk) :)

We got to a place called the Diet Coke corner, had a few minutes break (one of many, thankfully) and I realised I forgot to drink or eat anything so out came the bottle of apple and plum diluted liquid and banana. I was rather looking forward to lunch around about now!

The trails felt like they were getting increasingly technical and after another little break where a lady was running hill repeats, someone said we should ride up. I figured he meant we were going to ride on the hard packed track the lady was running on and I felt relief that we were finally on some easier stuff but someone (I think Kath) also mentioned we're doing a downhill which I thought was odd because the hard packed trail was going distinctly uphill. All was revealed in a short few seconds when instead of going up the hard pack trail, we took a right. This isn't too bad I thought, "Which bit is the downhill?" I wondered to myself but before I knew it, the decline presented itself. The gradient wasnt too bad but when mixed in with slippery roots, odd cambers, ruts, juts and plenty of mud, things were rather tricky. I'm not sure if anyone heard me curse around these parts but if anyone couldn't make out what I was saying around about now, it's probably for the best. :) I saw on a YouTube video that when going downhill, one should not brake too often and just let the tires do their job. The truth was I really wanted to brake harder but was scared of locking the tires on the slippery mud and taking a spill. So I just resorted to swearing often and repetitively.

Anyway, a bunch more riding later and we got to this bit, which, if you look at the average gradient, it was a slight up-hill. But a closer examination shows many undulations, some steep, some shallow, but (and this seems to come up quite a lot!), very muddy. I was following Ben, we were the last two of the group, and I vaguely saw him waiting at the top of an undulation for me. For some reason I didn't take the route he did, I think my bike was off balance at the point where I should have followed him, or maybe I was being macho. Ben had a wonderful look at exactly how macho I was when (and I'm sure he must have had a puzzled look on his face when he saw a newbie taking an alternative route for the mud) right at the bottom of the undulation it was, well, a LOT muddier than any of the other muddy places we went through.

I figured at this point I really need to pick up some speed and a combination of downhill and my frantic low geared pedalling saw my front wheel charismatically going into the mud, followed by a sudden stopping sensation, and yours truly flying over the handle bars. There was but a mere fraction of a second that elapsed in which my brain registered "hot damn that mud looks deep" and so it was to prove as my face hit the softest mud my face has ever encountered. Face in the mud, body in the mud. Some people pay good money to be covered in mud for its healing properties, but I felt no such heeling! I got up, and my feet and part of my shins sunk into the ground. The thing was like quick sand.

I wasn't hurt at all, the mud was that soft (and deep) and I dragged my bike and myself out and climbed to where Ben was who made sure I was OK but suggested I should be mindful in case I start feeling the cold. My hands, face, and feet took most of the mud but my jersey didn't fair much better. What an experience!

We went passed a road and I thought of calling it a day. But I persvered on, though I think my confidence was down after that fall and I also noticed my increasing annoyance by little things like not being able to get onto the pedals quickly enough after walking the bike over a few obstacles. The rear derailleur was a little sticky but it seemed like the shifter was the culprit. Still I'm sure the mud also played tricks on the derailleur stopping it from changing quickly and developing a mind of it's own which further dampened my confidence.

Someone had a puncture and (I think it was) Neil who helped fix it up. I told the others I would make a move shortly but I was encouraged to carry on (you're a very encouraging bunch, I appreciate the kind words!) And I was really looking forward to lunch now. Some more riding and soon we came to a junction that I recognised and the temptation to call it a day was too great. "Lunch is just around the corner" I was advised and although I would love to have joined you all, I thought it would be best to leave.

And so there it was. Hope you all had a great lunch! On the way home all I could think was I wish I stayed but I knew I made the right choice to go as I was also a little tired. Those thoughts continued into the evening: wish I stayed. I hope to see you all soon though, I can't come every Saturday, more like once a month or so.

Oh, by the way Zee, I checked the air pressure later on and the front had 15psi (though its possible my air pump isn't very accurate at such low air pressures) and the rear was at 20psi. The maxxis ardent 2.25in tires are rated at 35-65psi. Now the bike is washed and waiting for its next adventure.

I had a good time and I got to inclines that I didn't think I could get up. It was pretty much because I saw you all do it that made me want to have a go. I also forgot to mention Marc had a single speed bike which I thought was very cool on such terrain and Michael traversed a bunch of logs on his fat bike which was great to watch!
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mud irony: my first MBRO35 ride (long) 2 years 11 months ago #1048

  • sze187
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Brilliant write up, there was a lot of sniggering whilst i was reading it. It's funny seeing your account of what happened. That's a tough ride for your first ride, but you will learn to love the mud. We've all been there so can empathise.

See you soon.

Z
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mud irony: my first MBRO35 ride (long) 2 years 11 months ago #1052

  • Dangerous
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Good to see some new blood enthusing about the ride, nice write up
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mud irony: my first MBRO35 ride (long) 2 years 11 months ago #1053

  • Madge
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Brilliant write-up..How much did you pay him Sze?

Oh and don't lie, Baok will never learn to love the mud.
Off with their heads!
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mud irony: my first MBRO35 ride (long) 2 years 11 months ago #1054

  • Mikey
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I enjoyed reading that, nice to see a different perspective.
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mud irony: my first MBRO35 ride (long) 2 years 11 months ago #1058

  • Mr Incredulous
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That was a really good read and It's so nice to see people taking the opportunity and time to add to these pages and comment too, that's what it's here for after all.

Hope to see you out there again soon.
Never cease to be amazed!
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Re:mud irony: my first MBRO35 ride (long) 2 years 11 months ago #1062

  • TommyTank
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What a brilliant write up Boak. You will come to love the perverse pleasure that is Epping mud in the winter, it will draw you in every week, sap your energy every time, you'll laugh about it with your fellow riders, then as the weeks progress the ground will firm up and you'll realise it's spring.
Then you'll thank yourself you stayed and did those hard yards, they're worth it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I can't believe scummers are allowed on this site!
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mud irony: my first MBRO35 ride (long) 2 years 11 months ago #1073

  • marc
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This is great - takes me back to my first couple of rides with the group on a terrible bike, with terrible levels of fitness.

I'm still just as unfit, so the new bike and plenty of experience in the forest must make all the difference, as I feel can keep up with everyone on everything except the draggy climbs on my SS

The mud gets better to more you ride it :)
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mud irony: my first MBRO35 ride (long) 2 years 11 months ago #1074

  • Madge
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Wow Tommy, that was well poetic. :cheer:
Off with their heads!
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Re:mud irony: my first MBRO35 ride (long) 2 years 11 months ago #1096

You'll 'learn to love the mud', just like Fair Weather Sze ;-)
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The rides always start from Chingford Plaines car park (see map below) which is opposite Chingford Golf Course and 5 minutes walk from Chingford Overground Station.

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Time

Be bike ready at the meeting point at least 15 mins before ride start time. Pedals turning at 11am every Saturday morning or 7pm most Wednesday evenings

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Saturday: medium/fast pace, distance approx. 18-25+ miles, duration approx. 4-5 hours. Wednesday evenings: fast sprint, distance approx. 10-15+ miles, duration 2-3 hours.

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The forest is full of hazards that can bring an end to your ride, so bring a mini pump, spare tube and multi-tool so we can all spend more time pedalling.

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It's simple NO helmet, NO ride. Other than that you can wear whatever keeps you warm, dry and happy. But, be warned some days the forest can be extremely muddy.

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Under 35?

No problem, we have regular riders who are 25 years young and some who are 50+. As long as you can keep up you are more than welcome to join us.

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M25, Junction 26 (Loughton & Waltham Abbey). From roundabouts, follow signs for Loughton A121 & Epping B1393 for 1.3 miles. Take 4th exit at Wake Arms roundabout for Woodford A104 for 2.8 miles. Turn right onto Rangers Road A1069, follow for 1 mile past the Royal Forest Hotel and down the hill. Take the first right onto Bury Road, continue for 200m and turn into the car park (see map below).

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MBRO35 (Mountain Bike Riders Over 35) are a social group of riders, not a club. As you may have guessed we are mostly over 35 years of age although some that ride are younger so don't let that put you off.

The group ride on a Saturday morning at 11am in Epping Forest which is to the North East of London. A lot of us have lived around and cycled in the forest for a good number of years and we are lucky to have some regular riders who know their way around the miles of singletrack very well. We ride all year round and usually get a pretty good turn out in all but the foulest weather. We are a sociable group and the emphasis is on enjoyment rather than speed or the mileage travelled. Having said that, the rides can be fairly quick at times and whilst we welcome riders of all abilities you will need a good level of fitness in order to keep up as well as a mechanically sound mountain bike. We ride mostly on the forest singletrack, the narrowness of the trails and exposed tree roots make for some challenging technical riding.

In addition to the regular Saturday rides we also do forest night rides on a Wednesday evening at 7pm as well as occasional away days or weekends. If you prefer your wheels on firmer ground, there is also a strong road contingent within the group that often rides out into the Essex and Hertfordshire countryside on a Saturday or Sunday. The road rides usually leave earlier in the day and head out via High Beech for trips of anything up to 70 miles. Most local rides are followed by a debrief in The Station House pub in Chingford where thanks to a very amiable Landlady we have a place to wash the bikes and store them in safety while we have a few beers and discuss the events of the day. You can also read about some of our most recent rides in the Ride Reports section on the forum.

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