Sunday, 19 February 2017

Cannock Chase, great riding, great company, no broken bones!

I've been excited about today for the whole week! We gathered at 6am at McDonald's for a quick breakfast and banter initiation session. Our group was the C&D clubmates who've enjoyed cyclocross this season, plus KCC Cyclones U14 Josh and my marvelous neighbour Gareth. It was then just over an hours drive up to Cannock Chase. 

If you're wondering about today's ride name 'stay on the brown,' was my advice to young Josh Brown when he missed the trail! Perhaps the closest we came to a mishap all day in what can only be described as a brilliant days riding around the trails at Cannock Chase.

Before we start I have to mention Chris B's fantastic specialized classic dual suspension mountain bike. His mean green machine did him proud today. I'm not sure about those tiny wheels though 😉

The excitement was palpable as we got our kit together in the car park. I was considering riding flat pedals without clips but after a test ride on Friday I switched back to new SPD's. Much rejuvenation has gone on with my trusty Focus 29r, with new pedals, chain, wheel and cassette. The tubeless on the new wheel has been a bit fiddly but it's definitely sorted now. It's not the quite the best bit of kit for the job being a hardtail , as full suspension helps at Cannock. I really don't think arguing for a full suss bike will go down well with the Queen of Cakes, especially as I don't need it...unlike a cyclocross bike!

We took on the Follow the Dog and the Monkey Trail giving a lovely 13 mile loop of hard climbing, technical bits and best of all fast flowing downhill sections. My only disappointment was that part of Follow the Dog was closed meaning I didn't get the chance of facing my demons on the boardwalk I fell off just a few weeks ago. My ribs still ache from that but I am much better and riding without pain is definitely a much better experience!

I'm editing the video now and hoping it shows what a great time we had. Ashley and Josh set the early pace but us oldies came back into it. As ever the highlight of the day was Lower Cliff. We looped back for a second run. It's just too much fun! We saw a nasty crash at the bottom of Lower Cliff. Thankfully the rider was okay with just some cuts and bruises. It was a good reminder that this is great fun but you have to ride within your limits.

On my limits I did manage to banish some of my demons on the rock sections known as Tom, Dick and Harry. It wasn't pretty or particularly quick but I did finally ride down the bits I've avoided before. 

The plan is to make these away days a regular thing. Realistically once a month somewhere like Cannock Chase is really doable. I like that idea. I also can't wait until my SuperSam can follow Josh's lead and get some serious trails under his belt! It's also open to all, I'm sure many more of my cycling friends would love to have days like these. Right now though I'm shattered. Gareth and I have never been round so quickly. So a massive thanks again to our company today, you were great!

I hope you enjoy the videos...Happy Pedaling!