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TOPIC: Night Ride - Weds 12th Nov 2014

Night Ride - Weds 12th Nov 2014 3 years 1 month ago #1080

  • Mr Incredulous
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Inspired by TT's advice to Boak about loving the mud and using it as a tool to add strength, moral fortitude and fun to a ride, I've pedalled up to meet Ben and John (The Wednesday stalwarts) in the car park. It's dry now after some heavy rain during the day and before long we were joined by Javi, already filthy from his singletrack ride from Stratford,and Winston who'd sensibly driven over from Edmonton.

Before leaving we check one another's tyre pressures to gauge where we are by comparison. Although sensible, this feels a bit wrong, after all it's not like squeezing another man's tyre is an over zealous sign of affection!

The forest already feels like it has shut its doors for winter. Due to a combination of fallen leaves, fallen trees and the boggy, muddy terrain, the go anywhere at high speed days we were enjoying only a few weeks ago seem a fairly distant memory and we are in that mode of riding a fairly standard set of trails that experience tells us offer the best chance of a flowing ride.

The descent through The Graveyard immediately lets us know that we are in for a sketchy, slippery outing and with wheels washing out all over we make it up to No Name Corner for a re-group. We ride the Connaught Loop backwards via a figure of eight around Grimstons Oak and start to head north towards High Beech using small bits of bridleway to aid progress and miss out the worst of the swamp. Ben has the first meaningful tumble just before the bottom of Lippets.

A stop at The Hump allows us to shed a layer or two before we head uphill using the top of Andy's (after some major off-piste) to reach the road near the church and we cross over and ride to the back of the Conservation Centre. By now we'd kind of sorted a plan to head for Wake Arms up the west side of ENR and then return via Deershelter and the trails to Strawberry Ponds via the east side. As is usual when riding in the dark on leaf strewn trails, things are rarely so clear cut and although we do eventually get to pop out on the trail opposite Miller and Carter, the route has not been conventional.

While we wait by the gates I come up with an idea for a ride for the summer (Ride the Rail) which involves following as close as possible from start to finish the new fence that has been installed all along the east side of ENR. Who knows if it'll be doable but we've got plenty of time before it can even be thought about again,

We cross the roundabout and head to the top of Deershelter Plain. In summer this is a trail that sees you locked into a thin groove covered by knee high ferns. In these conditions it is a very tricky water filled channel that constantly sees you pedal clash on the outer edges pushing you from side to side and making a stack very likely, Ben is leading and although I can tell he's loving the challenge, he is muttering stuff and I'm sure he is questioning my sanity for making the suggestion. John, Javi and Winston are laughing all the way down too, so it was memorable at least.

We arrive at The Boggy Valley and head over the stream towards The W which is super slippery and hard to get out of. The Stream Logs come next and the climb uphill after the logs is gluey and like pedalling on treacle. We make it to The V and again the climb out is tough due to the criss-cross of slimy wet roots. We are joined now by a constant rain.

We follow the trails alongside road and then veer east into the forest towards Loughton Camp. These trails are notorious for deep, swampy, wheel swallowing holes and we are not let down. We skirt the west edge of the embankment and John leads us downhill on the super rooty trail that is always a killer climb up. Oh boy, how or even if we all stayed on our bikes, I'm not sure. It was unbelievably slippery and John gaps the rest of us as we head for the final stream log ride. I'm next in line, I see him clear it and hear him shout that it's all fine. I approach, step up my cadence and as I drop over the top am suddenly pitched forward as my front wheel jams in a hole. I emerge from the gloop, my left knee has smashed against my gear lever and there follows a lot of hopping around and bad language. John is apologetic but it was not his fault I chose to ride a slightly different line. Winston does his best to take my mind off it by nearly following my example.

My bar light has drowned so I ride the next section to Sze's Bridge with one leg and one light working and progress is a bit slow. We ride across the clearing towards the Loughton Brook bridleway and Javi tries to manual the bog with comedic results, falling into a big puddle after his rear tyre washes out.

By the time we get to Strawberry Ponds the rain is now falling heavily. We are all filthy and fairly soaked so make the call for pub o'clock. We re-cross ENR and bridleway our way back to base apart from the obligatory Last Five Minutes. My one remaining light goes dead just before we make the car park and I call John past me to light the way. I think it was gone 9 by the time we made it back and we'd ridden fairly non-stop apart from the very few technicals and to extract ourselves from the holes we'd landed in,

While Ben headed for home and John, Winston and I headed for a pint, poor Javi had now to re-trace his steps through the forest to Stratford. I did feel for him, well up until I got my first taste of Jennings Bitter!
Never cease to be amazed!
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Night Ride - Weds 12th Nov 2014 3 years 1 month ago #1081

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A proper Wednesday Ride report, Nice one Miles!
the route has not been conventional.
That's because I led that bit!

The rooty slippery downhill was brilliant. Might be worth putting a mud tyre on the rear now as the Rocket Ron isn't suitable any more..

Some pictures (Hopefully they embed in the post):
www.flickr.com/photos/johneaster/15159706304/in/photostream/
www.flickr.com/photos/johneaster/15594505257/in/photostream/
www.flickr.com/photos/johneaster/15781234642/in/photostream/

Tip for next week: Bring a spare base layer and gloves for the debrief and ride home!
Last Edit: 3 years 1 month ago by Dangerous.
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Re:Night Ride - Weds 12th Nov 2014 3 years 1 month ago #1082

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Epic ride report. Thanks Miles.

Err Teresa let's you bring in muddy bikes on Wednesday? She's an angel!

Oh to be guided home by others lights, I don't envy that. Miles, is the knee ok?
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Re:Night Ride - Weds 12th Nov 2014 3 years 1 month ago #1083

  • Mr Incredulous
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Yes Sze, she does although it didn't feel right and there were only 3 of us. My knee is the size of two knees but it'll be ok thanks.

John, totally agree about the dry kit. It was heaven sitting in the pub in non moist kit. Thanks for taking the map photo - grrrr!

Really happy with my Maxxis Medusa's. The £6 Michelin's were great but these are different class.
Never cease to be amazed!
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Night Ride - Weds 12th Nov 2014 3 years 1 month ago #1084

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Mr Incredulous wrote:
Before leaving we check one another's tyre pressures to gauge where we are by comparison. Although sensible, this feels a bit wrong, after all it's not like squeezing another man's tyre is an over zealous sign of affection!
:)
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Night Ride - Weds 12th Nov 2014 3 years 1 month ago #1085

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johne wrote: They need to be in an 'album' for them to embed, then you just add the Flickr album link using the 'SlideshowFX Gallery' button.
Last Edit: 3 years 1 month ago by Dangerous.
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Ride Info

Place

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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Ability

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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Tools

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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Essential

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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Directions

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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About

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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