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TOPIC: Saturday Forest Ride - 22/11/2014

Saturday Forest Ride - 22/11/2014 2 years 10 months ago #1107

  • Mr Incredulous
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No doubt similar to many of us, I was awoken fairly early by the sound of heavy rainfall and I must admit to immediately contemplating staying put in my warm bed. However, such is the allure of the forest and the sense of joy that spending a day with such a fine body of men (and women) brings me that I dashed that thought, whizzed down a bowl of porridge and headed north to the car park.

Shortly after I arrived I got a text from Hugo who was delayed in traffic and was requesting us to hang around for him. On a normal cold day the thought of telling the group that we were being asked to stand around in the drizzle for half an hour wouldn’t be good news but with HRH needing her pistons freeing and Si having only just arrived it seemed likely we’d be a good while departing anyway, so we ran with it. Hannah, Madge, TT, Richie, Si, Jim, Kean, Mikey and I made up the numbers. Ron was there on his crutches to see us off having made his way down in his automatic Smart.

Following Greg’s arrival last week with his £95 single speed bargain, Mikey obviously considered he’d been thrown a challenge as he turned up on a bike that took the term ‘Halfords Special’ to a whole new level. As everyone knows, Mikey is a bit particular in how he specifies his steed, so his arrival on a 40lb full suss complete with twist grip 5 speed shifters and a saddle that had a mind of his own was a bit of a shock but a good laugh.

In the end, following another text, we left without Hugo and headed out of the car park towards The Graveyard. Superbike Si, who has honed his two-wheeled skills on some of the best race circuits in the country, barely made it onto the first bit of singletrack before stacking it. Nobody laughed, much.

Hannah had mentioned last week that she fancied a ride out to The Horseshoes for a fishy lunch and with rain forecast for most of the ride it seemed like a good plan and it also meant I didn’t have to think too hard about an alternate. Via the usual trails we headed towards the bottom of Lippet’s and then via a slightly newer route made our way to The Hump. Next stop was to be High Beech where we were due to pick up Glenn.

We got ourselves to The Ups and Down Ride and while we waited for a lady on horseback to pass us I had an idea to escape the gloop by trying a bit off off-piste into the back of the Conservation Centre. Choosing an entry point was the most important thing and I got that a bit wrong, skidding on a diagonal log as I left the bridleway. Once we got going though progress was good and it made quite a nice change to just head in a general direction and make it up as you go along, especially as it was mostly on fairly solid and mud free going. Jim and I paved the way but it being Epping, you can’t relax for too long, and as soon as you think you’ve got it cracked your wheels disappear and you end up stuck in a swamp up to your axles.

We met up with Glenn at the High Beech loos and made our way across the green opposite Carl’s. In avoiding the logs just before the bridleway, TT’s newly tubeless front wheel washed out and he hit the deck. Luckily there were no ill effects on his already damaged wrist.

Normally when heading to Copped Hall we would ride the single track down past Mecca and Big View to Woodridden Hill but following the success of our earlier off-piste section we had another go, this time with Glenn leading the way, driving through Rushey Plain and the forest alongside Claypit Hill before crossing Wake Road towards Big View near Sunshine Plain.

It was good fun and picking your way over all of the logs and fallen branches kept you thinking. We were surprised how far we were down the trail before the road crossing when we eventually emerged on the bridleway but most importantly, apart from a few waterlogged sections, it was mostly dry.

On the trail through St Thomas’s Quarters, Jim snapped his chain powering through a deep boggy puddle. Powerlink added, Glenn said goodbye and we crossed Crown Hill and were then onto the descent to the Deer Tunnel. It was so slippery that I stopped at the bottom just to watch people fall over. We made it through the Tunnel and then onto the great little trail that takes you up to the stile in the heart of the estate.

When we got to the end, Kean made the point that as the trail is all slightly downhill it kind of lulls you into riding a bit faster than is actually sensible, which was spot on. Every change in direction was like being on ice in a pair of trainers. So many of the corners are cambered and those that are flat are covered in big roots and I think everyone had at least one incident.

As quietly as nine mountain bikers can, we managed to leave the estate without picking up any abuse from the residents and headed uphill to The Horseshoes for lunch. We were filthy and the main bar was a bit full so we opted for al fresco dining, right up until it started to pour down. Luckily the landlady took pity on us and moved a couple that were occupying a big table to make room for us, handing out black bin bags as makeshift seat covers. Hannah had a nice looking fish stew while Jim, who normally lasts the whole day on a bottle of Evian and a muesli bar, tucked into a big plate of Ham Egg and Chips and the rest of us made do with executive beige. Si was feeling too comfortable and entered into some no doubt costly negotiations to wangle his way out of his afternoon kids party and stay on for the rest of the ride – that will be very expensive.

In light drizzle we made our way back over the M25 and through Woodridden Farm to the road crossing and from there up to the Big View singletrack. Si was leading and wasn’t quite sure of the way so, from second place, I shouted left at the turn, stupidly taking my hand off the bars and pointing the way. I went down on a root like the car park sniper had made a re-appearance! Right behind me, TT and Richie had a great view and had a great laugh. This was to be a karma moment though and Richie had an even better view when TT hit the deck on the same corner. I laughed, oh yes.

We made it to Mecca and were in the mood for a bit of a play. We looped around the drop-off a couple of times before HRH had a very graceful, almost slow mo OTB at the bottom of the climb out. Hannah, doing her bit for womankind, laughed loudest but fortunately Madge bounced well and was soon back on her bike. We then spent 10 minutes on a bit of a hill climb challenge. Trying to get up what looked like a fairly easy slope onto the ridge has never been made to look more difficult than by us lot. We all had a go, some efforts were pathetic and others fell into the galiant try category but Mikey, on his coil sprung dream machine, didn’t really stand a hope.

We crossed Claypit Hill and spied a film crew in the car park. They were accompanied by a young lady in what I can only describe as a pink onesie in the style of a rabbit with a unicorn horn on her head – most bizarre!

Inspired to create some art of our own, we hung around a bit at the top of the Bombhole downhill and set about taking some dramatic mtb live action shots. TT and Si’s high speed silver birch log pile face off took immaculate timing to execute as did Hannah’s front wheel stump insertion and face plant. Si’s bravery had come at a cost and he was now complaining that his saddle had invaded his private space – he said he felt violated!

We arrived at Carl’s and followed the trail to Wellington Hill before riding the Church Trails and then the customary slippery dash down the log rides of Andy’s. We were all pretty wet and cold by now and it was getting dark so I was a bit surprised that an immediate call of “Pub” wasn’t made. We made our way towards The Owl and onto Kaff’s trail before heading for the sleeper bridge alongside West Essex GC and then, with the light fading further, along the bridle back to base.

First back, TT, Kean and I headed the dash to the bike wash and considering what we’d ridden through it didn’t take much effort to get the bikes pub ready. The debrief, where we were again joined by Ron, ended up a surprisingly lengthy one due to the extreme interest Ritchie and TT showed in studying my OS map marked up with all of the forests most well known features. Who’d have thought it!

Beer of the day was Cyclops ale – a strong ,dark and slightly sweet, creamy ale. Very nice.
Never cease to be amazed!
Last Edit: 2 years 10 months ago by Mr Incredulous.
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Re:Saturday Forest Ride - 22/11/2014 2 years 10 months ago #1108

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Despite the conditions I found this was a great ride, the reason why I endure these conditions, to have such laughs.

Highlights for me: deer jumping across my path on the estate then racing along beside us; 2.5 pints of AK (you'll pay for that Si); pedal pedal pedal (you'll pay for that Hannah; and the impromptu Crufts show in the SH.


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I can't believe scummers are allowed on this site!
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Re:Saturday Forest Ride - 22/11/2014 2 years 10 months ago #1109

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"and the impromptu Crufts show in the SH" Ha!

Great ride but also enjoyed the extended lunch stop.
The whole copped hall loop is a lot of fun in those conditions. We'll have to try and conquer that hill at Mecca again soon.


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Fitness is cheating
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Re:Saturday Forest Ride - 22/11/2014 2 years 10 months ago #1111

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Sounds like a classic Epping ride :)
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Saturday Forest Ride - 22/11/2014 2 years 10 months ago #1112

  • Madge
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A fine write-up and a great ride. Thanks to Si and Richie for getting me to High Beech.

As the (self-nominated) head of the nomination committee, I nominate myself for two awards:

(1) The Cleanest Bike After A Hose Down Award

(2) The Least Likely To Cry On A Ride Award

Other awards up for grabs:

1) *Most Improved Skills*
2) *Most Improved Bladder*
3) *Best Mechanic*
4) *Worst Mechanic*
5) *Best Bike/Outfit Combo*
6) *Most Ropey Cycling Clobber*
7) *Most Improved Beer Consumption*
8) *Most Improved Shots Consumption*
9) *Most Improved Beige Consumption*
10) *Most Likely To Know Where North Is*
11) *Most Likely To Know What A 29 er Is*
12 ) *Most Likely To Care What A 29 er Is*

Obviously, I'm expecting to receive 1, 3, 5, 10 and 11 but the rest are up for grabs.
Off with their heads!
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Saturday Forest Ride - 22/11/2014 2 years 10 months ago #1113

  • Madge
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Help, I don't know where that smiley face came from!
Off with their heads!
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Saturday Forest Ride - 22/11/2014 2 years 10 months ago #1115

  • Mr Incredulous
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Madge wrote:
Help, I don't know where that smiley face came from!

That was Hannah laughing at your OTB.

A good selection of potential awards there YRH. If I may be so bold, I'd like to add the following 5 to the list for consideration:

Magic Moment (for that one-off comedy spill or karma moment)
Yellow Jersey Award (for the most cowardly rider)
King/Queen of the Mountings (Person most pre-occupied with sex)
Stevie Wonder Award (for the person most likely to get lost if left on their own)
Man Servant Award (Person most likely to get a mechanical and stand back while someone else fixes it)
Never cease to be amazed!
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Re:Saturday Forest Ride - 22/11/2014 2 years 10 months ago #1117

  • TommyTank
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HRH

You may also consider these awards

The Jedi award- person least likely to get some air.
The Jaylube award - self explanatory
The squeaky wheel award - least amount of maintenance between rides (or ever).




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Re:Saturday Forest Ride - 22/11/2014 2 years 10 months ago #1118

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HRH, Can I add the tommy tantrum award-person most likely to throw their toys out of their pram


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Fitness is cheating
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Saturday Forest Ride - 22/11/2014 2 years 10 months ago #1119

  • Madge
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Hmmmm....seems I maybe up for a number of awards.
Off with their heads!
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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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