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TOPIC: Saturday 15th March 2014 - Forest Ride

Saturday 15th March 2014 - Forest Ride 3 years 7 months ago #252

  • Mr Incredulous
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The sun was out and so were the ladies - joining Kaff, Madge, Fi, Hannah and Julie at the car park were TT, Ron, Little Ben, Omar, Ollie, Baz, Sam, Neil, Lee, PK, Hugo, Slim and Myself.

Even though it was a lovely day and the spies had predicted drying trails we still had a reluctance to leave the car park. TT, Neil and I were all victims of mystery puncture demons and although it's strictly forbidden to fettle pre-ride, with Julie being a late arrival, we set about fixing them nevertheless.

As predictable as an end of season collapse by The Spurs, Simon rang to say he was going to be late (maybe he went back for his bike) so I gave him a rough idea of intentions so he could catch up. I had a kind of plan that should have got us up to the bottom of Lippet’s on some fairly dry trails but just after we headed off, TT did a disappearing act as we made our way towards West Essex. Ron passed on his message and after a quick detour we made our way through some horrible boggy stuff to No Name Corner to pick him up. After a short wait and a few messages left following his non-arrival we did a circuit of the pond and headed north again.

At The Hump we had a bit of a play before heading down to tackle another new log ride on the way to the stream that John E had told me about. Having made it safe for everyone else and standing there while the whole group, one way or another, made it over, I suppose it was a Karma moment when I then stacked it taking my turn at riding it. Having set it up for everyone else I’m not really sure why I chose the line over it that I did but it was a long way to come down and my cheesy grin was all front as it bloody well hurt! Big mention to Hannah for holding the girls end up, so to speak.

At High Beech we met up with TT and Simon and made our way in a very off-piste manner to the Double Logs. Somehow we’d lost half the group on the way and Sam very selflessly rode off south to find them. The rest of us waited, bathed in sun and eventually, from the west and very much from no man’s land, the remainder of the group appeared. Apparently a whole group again, we rode to Wake Valley car park to cross ENR and towards Deershelter, totally oblivious to Selfless Sam being hung out to dry. Sorry Sam, my fault completely.

We rode down to The Boggy Valley and re-grouped at the head of the trail that takes us all the way down to The Rooty Staircase. I nodded to Si to lead the way and with the trails drying we got a bit racy for the first time in a long time, which felt really good. It’s a great piece of singletrack and like a lot of our old favourites, due to some new fallen trees, will need to be learned all over again. I guess that’s how the forest has always evolved and it’s no bad thing.

We collected everyone together again just before the rooty descent and set off to tackle the twisty bottom section. Little Ben showed some nice style bunny hopping a tree root and right behind him TT lost his grip on the bars causing him to veer off line just before Si pulled hard on the anchors. Fourth in line, I was wondering what had caused the problem but it was soon clear as the bottom of the trail appeared to have dropped into the stream bringing it to an early end. We filled the gap in the trail with branches to create a way over the gap and pushed our way out onto the bridleway. From the path we climbed up to Goldings Hill Ponds and it finally dawned on us that we were missing Sam.

A quick call found him at The Ridges so we made our way to Broadstrood, where we met Glenn and Howard, to ride Secret Squirrel and meet up with him. We’d just about got a nice bit of flow going on the drier section of the trail when my day got even worse when a stick made its way into my back wheel and snapped the rear mech hanger, bringing us all to a halt again. My bag of bits contained a replacement so after a bit of untangling we re-fitted the mech and carried on to Jack’s Hill where, after crossing the road, Sam led us through the puddles and swamps of the bracken field before we rode The Ridges which, as ever, were a mess.

Despite making a stop for a Madgesterial comfort break we now lost PK and Hugo. It turned out they rode way past the point where we all turned back for the road. Paul had stopped to assist Hugo following a bit of an off and in the delay had not seen where we went.

We were on route for Bradley’s now and after making our way through the fallen trees on Golden Naked Ladies we hit the trail to the Woodcutters and then, after negotiating the impatient traffic on Woodridden Hill, made or way back to Wake Valley car park. Just after we had passed the Double Logs again, and due no doubt to a few people thinking of their place in the lunch queue, the group seemed to split. So close to Bradley’s nobody was going to get lost so it was every man (or woman) for themselves. The trail just after the logs is a real mess and having been through there a few times lately it must have helped as our little group made the front of the line a good bit in front of everyone else. A good twenty minutes after the rest of us arrived, PK and Hugo thankfully found us again but lunch, as a result, was a bit drawn out.

As it was a day for following our old favourite trails, after lunch we headed down to The Robin Hood and did the Strawberry Ponds loop back towards base. At The Bridge of Si’s we interrupted a couple acting out something that reminded me of a scene from Game of Thrones (Melisandre). The trail from there to re-cross ENR was just about the worst we encountered all day.

After Fairmead Road there was a small Bridle Bonanza before we hit some singletrack again returning to No Name Corner and back to the car park via The Graveyard. It had felt like a bit of a stop start day and we didn’t rip it up in terms of mileage but it was lovely to be riding again in the sun and with the trails showing some promise of recovering if we get a decent spell of dry weather.

The last controversy of the day took place at the bike wash where we queued up while two unknowns washed down their bikes – and in the wrong place too. Kaff was particularly miffed at this and she sat there waiting for her turn with a growing level of miffedness. Hannah took control and washed down the mess they’d created. As they didn’t even go into the pub, Teresa is now looking for them to put there nuts in a pie.

The debrief followed and we were joined by a leather clad “Legend” and Hawkeye, John and Richie who sounded like they had a great day on their Jumps and Drops day with The Jedi.

See you when it’s drier!
Never cease to be amazed!
Last Edit: 3 years 7 months ago by Mr Incredulous.
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Saturday 15th March 2014 - Forest Ride 3 years 7 months ago #254

  • Madge
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Golden Naked Ladies? Are you talking about my tan?
Off with their heads!
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Saturday 15th March 2014 - Forest Ride 3 years 7 months ago #255

  • Madge
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I mean the golden bit, not the naked bit. :ohmy:
Off with their heads!
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Saturday 15th March 2014 - Forest Ride 3 years 7 months ago #257

  • Mr Incredulous
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Madge wrote:
Golden Naked Ladies? Are you talking about my tan?

I thought your recognised skin tone was grey!
Never cease to be amazed!
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Saturday 15th March 2014 - Forest Ride 3 years 7 months ago #258

  • Madge
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One can dream.
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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