Monday, 17 December 2012

Yer Tiz! The 5th Annual Chrimble Ride

It's that time of the year again! It doesn't seem that long since the fasties and pasties rocked up to the Forest of Dean trail centre, but as it turns out it was a year ago. So this weekend I took the Rose out of it's mothballed state and headed south for the 5th Annual Chrimble Ride! This year we were whittled down to the core with only me, Jim and Mikey up for some dirt. But what we lacked in numbers we made up for in riding by doing two solid rides over the weekend. Trails of choice were the new loops at Ashton Court, 50 Acre Wood and Leigh Woods in Brizzul.

Ashton Court is where I first discovered a love for two wheeled fun not long before I left Blighty. Set against a backdrop of the beautiful mansion and the (gert) lush countryside, the trails have undergone a transformation since I last rode them. Gone are the rooty, sloppy singletracks. They've been replaced with a professionally designed and built network that mirrors much of the old but adds a lot of new features. The trail surface is made up of hard packed rock so it's bullet proof in winter. Just as well given the British weather.

As Bristol isn't exactly mountainous the elevation gain isn't that huge so there's not a lot of help from gravity on the descents. Therefore the trails have been designed to encourage riders to pump their way through the flowey burmed corners and whoop filled straights. It takes a little getting used to and you have to be dialed with good technique, but after a while the whole thing starts to feel like a dirty big rhythm section and with some elbow grease (well, quad grease) you can carry some decent speed. Mikey and Jim ride these trails every week so I had to work hard to keep up. Plus the Rose kept me on my toes as it's modest tires lost traction over the slick rocks.  The tight, banked turns definitely highlighted some cornering weaknesses I still have, but on the second day (riding the same trails) I started to get a feel for pumping through them and keeping my speed up. Something to keep working at over the next 12 months and hopefully bring back to Briz' for next year's ride!

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