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TOPIC: Saturday Forest Ride - 29th March 2014

Saturday Forest Ride - 29th March 2014 3 years 8 months ago #309

  • Mr Incredulous
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Saturday saw what felt like the proper start to the spring/summer season with Kaff, Julie, Hannah, TT, Si, Little Ben, Sam, Ollie, Richie, Ron, Glenn, Keith, Hugo, Alex, Mikey, his brother and Me making it to the car park for the off. It was nice to see Gentle John there also, although as he’d not been out for a while and turned up like Billy No Mates, he declined our offer to join us.

As is now customary, we hung about for possible stragglers while Richie fiddled with his stuck brake calipers (do you need brakes when airborne) and eventually headed up Bury Road. Our pre-ride plan to head via the quickest means up to High Beech definitely worked out well although we did interrupt the bridle bonanza a little to ride a few bits of nice singletrack on the way up. Richie Skywalker’s brake woes finally forced an early retirement and Mikey and his brother went off in search of something less uphill.

At High Beech we had a quick loo stop and after I strangled a threatened tea mutiny we rode fast downhill towards the crossing of ENR at the drop-off. Not for the last time that day, what looked like firm ground turned out to be a pit capable of swallowing a front wheel and both Tom and I had a big moment before getting safely onto the Ups & Downs.
The Drop-off again looked scarier than it really was. Hannah shamed a few of the blokes and made it look easy. The Camber caused carnage again with Julie making herself into a very wide pace car.

We rode the trail to the V & W where we had a little play time. At the stream logs Simon very chivalrously stood guard to assist any maidens in distress but only Hugo seemed to take his presence as a warning, slapping on the anchors while Si and I shouted at him to go faster. After a brief stop for ‘Dreamtime’ we made our way through the Boggy Valley and followed the trail out to Goldings Hill at Broadstrood car park.

The plan had always been to head over to Theydon so rather than heading for Secret Squirrel we rode half way on the downhill to the bottom of Indian Summer before making a right turn towards Debden. I think Keith and I were the first two onto the trail and we quickly came across a dead end where a massive tree had fallen. We could see the trail but not how to get around due to the stream. We eventually found an opening made by a previous rider and made our way onto the steep climb out of the valley which, with all momentum lost was really hard work. The two choices now left to us both seemed grim but as it turned out the climb up to the ridge was ok and really dry. We followed the ridge to the top of Indian Summer and then cut east again to cross the bridleway and ride the really nice twisty climb up to Jacks Hill car park. If there is one uphill I can say I actually enjoy, it’s that one.

As we’d not been there in a long while, from Jacks Hill car park we were now into the part of the ride I’d been really looking forward to. Slightly returning the way we’d come, we left the car park and headed fast downhill towards the massive growth of Rhododendrons that guard the entrance to the Theydon Drop-Off. First though we had to negotiate the stream crossing and the slightly submerged plank that seemed to be the only way over looked decidedly touch and go. With Si right on my back wheel , urging me to my doom, we half-munualled (is that a word?), half-jumped our way over and moved quickly to clear the way for others. The crossing turned out to be pretty sound but as with all bridges you miss it at your peril which Julie then did. Her description of the groin and hip stretching she needed to perform to get her out of the stream made most of our eyes water and left her a bit shaken up but like a reet hard northerner she hopped back on the bike and we were underway.

The Drop-off, scene of Sze’s and then Dawn’s big incidents, was eyed up by Alex like he’d got an early Christmas present. Being a responsible bunch, we sent little Ben and Ollie down on a recce as it looked like the pond was across the final set of rollers and they dutifully guided the way to a safe exit. The climb back up was dry and twisty and as you can now ride down that as well a few of us gave it a go which was like riding on a bed of marbles and was really good fun. After negotiating the boggy pit that had formed around the bridge we made our way fast downhill on the twisty trail to Debden camp site.

We’d already done quite a bit of climbing and from Debden, the only way is up so some good natured muttering came from Ron. No pain, no gain Ronnie! We paused at The Deer Sanctuary for a re-group before crossing Jacks Hill and, after negotiating the swamp, to the joy of everyone went uphill some more, making our way up to Fork Handles – again, a climb I kind of enjoyed.

Glenn, who’s been out for so long with an awful injury, was doing a great job of getting around on his Alpine so nobody should have had cause to moan when after crossing the sleeper bridge, joy of joys, we went uphill again to the back of Ambresbury Banks. It’s all good training, honest!

We made our way over to ENR and, not for the first time that day, we passed a solo MTB rider who, despite our nods of acknowledgement, looked straight past us like we were members of a satanic order (personally I think it’s the green shirts). No wonder bikers have got such a poor reputation with other forest users. To make matters worse, poor Julie’s day went further downhill when, after being forced into a muddy puddle by one of them, he then told her to basically MTFU. Why do pricks like him not pick on someone a bit bigger?

We made our way through Golden Naked Ladies and then over Wake Arms roundabout and down to Wake Valley ponds via the rapidly diminishing Double Logs. Kaff, who’d already had a toys out of pram moment at the prospect of lunch at the Theydon bakery, had got a sniff of Bradley’s and suddenly got more than a bit racy, buzzing my back wheel in an attempt to make the front of the lunch queue. The stick my bike kicked up that went through her forks and threw her over the bars was something I was truly ashamed of, right up to the point I got my sausage sandwich. What made it a real Karma moment was that she still made a good effort at beating everybody there only to find Bradley had no doughnuts! Sorry Kaff!

After creating a little faction of their ownsome, Sze and Madge were waiting to join us after lunch. You could tell from the mood both of them were in that, apart from getting lost (!), a lot of mischief had taken place on the way up from the car park and it continued while we supped our tea.

Sam headed back early to take his place at Arsene’s side, Gentle John joined us too, and as it was by now getting on, we wound our way to the top of Lippets for a last blast downhill. It’s still nowhere near dry enough to properly go for it but it’s getting there. The final bit of singletrack took us back to The Graveyard via Duncan’s Log and then the last five minute dash back to the bike wash.

We were joined in the SH by Paul The Lock on his ‘pub bike’. Hannah dashed off to finish converting her house into the Hammersmith Odeon, Simon managed only a lime and soda before leaving to take on the mighty Warren Hill, Sze had got stuck into a Yellow Hammer and I managed to get home fairly sober before it got dark.

All in all it felt like for the first time this year a real ride had taken place. Everyone felt tired and was in a good frame of mind. Maybe it was the ground we covered or the odd bits of fast trail we came across but it did feel like we’d earned our pint. Let’s hope we are set for a nice period of settled weather and a further improvement in the trails.
Never cease to be amazed!
Last Edit: 3 years 8 months ago by Mr Incredulous.
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Saturday Forest Ride - 29th March 2014 3 years 8 months ago #310

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FFS, 28 views and not a single comment!

Come on folks, It's bad enough that I can only write about stuff I actually see. Being at the front is by no means the best place to be aware of all that goes on so it does need a bit of input from everybody else to make the ride reports worth doing otherwise they just become a me-centric view of our collective day in the forest.

They are supposed to be a catalyst for comment, further discussion and extended piss taking. Join in, it may be a laugh.
Never cease to be amazed!
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Saturday Forest Ride - 29th March 2014 3 years 8 months ago #311

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You forgot to mention Keith moaning about a climb. First time I've heard him moan on a ride. :lol:
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Re:Saturday Forest Ride - 29th March 2014 3 years 8 months ago #312

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I'm scared to for fear of further ridicule !

Pretty gutted I missed it but it was like I was pulling a bag of sand behind me.
Either that or I'm just unfit.



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Fitness is cheating
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Re:Saturday Forest Ride - 29th March 2014 3 years 8 months ago #313

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You should see the state of my legs they are black and blue

Tommy don't even think about it.

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Re:Saturday Forest Ride - 29th March 2014 3 years 8 months ago #318

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Richie wrote:
I'm scared to for fear of further ridicule !

Pretty gutted I missed it but it was like I was pulling a bag of sand behind me.
Either that or I'm just unfit.

You now know what Ronnie feels like every week!
I can't believe scummers are allowed on this site!
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Re:Saturday Forest Ride - 29th March 2014 3 years 8 months ago #319

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What's going on with your Karma Tom?
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Re:Saturday Forest Ride - 29th March 2014 3 years 8 months ago #321

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I don't know Dave, perhaps who could check with some of the 'new' administrators
I can't believe scummers are allowed on this site!
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Re:Saturday Forest Ride - 29th March 2014 3 years 8 months ago #322

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Game stats

Dave, how do I load an image of the map? Do I need to put it on flicker?

I don't know whether you heard Miles, but there was a lot of talk behind my back about PowerPoint slides and laser pointers
I can't believe scummers are allowed on this site!
Last Edit: 3 years 8 months ago by TommyTank.
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Re:Saturday Forest Ride - 29th March 2014 3 years 8 months ago #323

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TommyTank wrote:
Game stats

Dave, how do I load an image of the map? Do I need to put it on flicker?
The garmin thing you're trying to embed is not an image, it's a widget (like my strava stats). The forum doesn't support widgets in posts currently as it could open the forum up to vulnerabilities. If I can find a method that doesn't compromise the site then I'll add 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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