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TOPIC: Saturday Ride - 15/11/2014

Saturday Ride - 15/11/2014 3 years 3 weeks ago #1090

  • Mr Incredulous
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A bit late - thought I'd posted it up already

What lucky folks we are. The sun was out, the rain had stopped and the forest looked absolutely stunning. Yes the trails were not dry and dusty but for the time of year it was warm and we did our best to have some fun out there.
Enjoying it all were Hannah, Kaff, Jim, Ollie, Omar, Richie, Big Ben, Sam, Hugo, Marc, Greg on his £95 single speed and Me
.
While we did the usual pre-ride milling about the car park warm up, Big Ben was making lady friends, but more of that later.

Having ridden on Wednesday night I had a bit of an idea as to where the best conditions would likely be. The trails haven’t got anywhere near as muddy as we all know they can get but they are in that state where they are super slippery and there were an awful lot of shouts and squeals coming up the line as we hit the trails and made our way down through The Graveyard.

I repeated the night ride start, riding a figure of eight from No Name Corner to the back of Connaught Waters before heading towards The Swamp and back up to the bridleway just down from Grimston’s Oak. Not yet on side with the fact we had somehow lost Hugo, we made our way towards the bottom of Lippet’s, lead by Marc and Sam. At the bridleway we had a re-group and realised we were one short. After a couple of calls I managed to get a fix on his whereabouts and as we moved off in a direction to hopefully intercept him, we were joined by Little Ben.

We waited at Fairmead Road for a few minutes before Hugo arrived and as we were that way anyway, we crossed ENR and headed up to Strawberry Hill Ponds via some of the usual single tracks. A bit concerned that I was unwittingly following the route taken by everyone last week, I had a chat with Sam and we made a few decisions to ensure we did, as well as possible, do something different.

The Bridge of Si’s. Have to say that this is getting right on my nerves now. It has been a couple of years since we first rode the bridge between the ponds and despite all of its potential for disaster, it has yet to claim a proper victim. Why won’t somebody just take one for the team and fall in? As far as I can see it, with me invariably leading over each time we go there, it makes it increasingly more likely that the first person to get dunked will be me. We rode it the hardest way, Big Ben and I decided it was getting a bit too easy, we then reversed the route and rode it again. Jim and Hugo played at making a mess of it but nobody even got close to breaking our duck – most disappointing.

From Earls Path we rode up to The Robin Hood and then north along the edge of ENR to ride the nice descent back to the bridge. This trail, which has a left to right camber for most of its length, was unbelievably slippery. We made a sharp left and headed for Katie’s Cellar, the stream under Loughton Camp.

The only way from here is up, it’s just a question of how up you feel like coping with, so we decided on the steepest way. This involved us safely negotiating the new log ride over the stream, scene of my big spill on Wednesday night. Now named John Says It’s Fine, the log ride needed some work to make it sturdy so a few of us set about making it so. Sam adopted the role of chief dam unblocker to create some flood relief and with bits of timber being dragged in from all over we got the job done and it was ready to go. Big Ben made all of our efforts worthwhile by falling off his bike before he even got to it!

Despite the plethora of off camber wet roots, Jim once again showed off his climbing prowess and whizzed up the hill like Walter Snetterton’s guide in Across the Andes by Frog. The rest of us, in various ways, made our way up too. All I can say for sure is that it’s a lot less sketchy going up than down. Greg, riding 36/14 FFS, didn't make it.

Re-assembled next to Loughton Camp, we braved the deep boggy holes and made our way north to pick up the trail towards the V. We veered off to the east to head to Hugo’s Log and quickly found ourselves involved in our second bit of trail restoration. For anyone who was there on the day it was named, Hugo’s departure at speed into the bramble bush next to the logs was a real “I’m glad that wasn’t me” moment. Naturally therefore, given the current conditions, we approached the scene with caution. This proved to be totally justified as the tree trunks that make up both sides of the ride over were as greasy as soap, making it just as difficult to walk over. Again we set about making it safer but the subsequent riding results, Richie aside, were neither effective or stylish.

The remainder of this trail takes you via a stream ride to the half way point on the Rooty Staircase downhill but instead of carrying on to the bottom we made our way back towards the Boggy Valley and then we took the trail north to Broadstrood Car Park. Rather than take the usual westward run along Secret Squirrel, we headed east to Golding’s Hill Ponds and with Little Ben leading the way rode the downhill which despite needing to be pedalled all the way was great fun. We re-grouped after the bridge and rode up to Lost Pond where Hannah got some great photos.

We followed the trail through to ENR and after making the road crossing we headed up to High Beech for a quick loo stop. Mutiny broke out at the realisation that we were close to lunch and not for the first time there was cheating on the run down to Bradley’s.

The post lunch ride took some organising but we settled on a dash down Andy’s followed by a trip over to The Owl for the steps downhill. I followed Kaff and offered a few tips on how she might like to hasten it along a little but she was fairly frank in making her explanation that the speed was being dictated by others up the line. Emerging into the first field, which was swampy and slick where the horses had been through, there was a sudden halt which caused a big shunt back in the group. We eventually made it down to the back of West Essex and onto the Sleeper Bridge trail where just as I was about to call the dash for the pub I punctured – nightmare!

At the debrief we were joined by TT and daughter Millie. Big Ben appeared briefly, but, as I mentioned earlier, he’d been a big hit with the ladies in the car park before the ride and it seemed he’d been left something on his windscreen and it wasn’t a parking ticket! Good luck with that mate.

We sat through the end of the rugby and then the England game kept the usual suspects supping the quest ale (Jennings Bitter) and failing to make an early night of it. Hope you had a good welcome when you made it home Omi!

See you next Saturday .
Never cease to be amazed!
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Saturday Ride - 15/11/2014 3 years 3 weeks ago #1091

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Mr Incredulous wrote:
Greg on his £95 single speed
:)
Last Edit: 3 years 3 weeks ago by Dangerous.
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Saturday Ride - 15/11/2014 3 years 3 weeks ago #1092

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Mr Incredulous wrote:
Greg, riding 36/14 FFS, didn't make it.
:)
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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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