Saturday, 31 October 2009

Halloween Challenge (Evans Cycles Ride It, Cannock Chase – 31st October 2009)

Although not on official Chase Trials business Dave, Petra, Jessica, Charlotte, Jez, Andrew, Jay and me took part in the Evans Cycles Ride It yesterday and wanted to share our escapade with you all.

The day started off with thick dark sky lashing down copious amounts of rain. At 6am most of us were up and getting our gear together for the day our love of mountain biking meant we somehow overlooked the inclement conditions outside, besides as Jez said “just means more mud!”

We arrived at the Tackeroo campsite at about 8.30am to improved weather conditions meaning it was now just a little damp under foot. We headed over to registration and paid our fee to receive a map and gel bar in return. Charlotte and Jessica located us although they were not looking too well, we could see Charlotte’s bones and Jessica’s heart. It was marginally concerning to see that Jessica’s heart was not beating but she seemed chatty as normal so it didn’t seem to be bothering her. Dave, Petra, Andrew and Jay soon appeared and we all headed down to the start.

There were three different ride options for the day Short = 14 miles, Medium = 24 miles and Long = 28 miles. Dave, Andrew and Jay were feeling particularly energetic and had signed up for the long route, Jez more sensibly had signed up for the medium route whilst Petra, Jessica, Charlotte and I had opted for the short route.

At approximately 9.20am we were off, the route we had been told would stay within the confines of the Chase keeping to numerous bridleways that criss-cross the area taking in the beautiful forest scenery. The website promised it would be a great day out in the saddle. Jay, Andrew and myself had not been out riding for a while so were looking forward to getting on our bikes while Jez and Jessica were looking forward to searching for mud and puddles.

The route started reasonably sedately as we picked our way through the forest crossed over roads before heading back to the forest. The boys had decided to ride with us girls on the short route before heading off to their medium/long ride afterwards. With varying fitness and technical levels they were able to hone their bike control skills by riding at a more sedate pace than they may usually do. The route presented us with various surfaces to ride on from mud, leaves, tarmac, sand and pebbles which made for an interesting ride however, feeling this was not enough of a challenge the organisers had supplied up with climbs. At one stage Charlotte and Jessica’s enthusiaum was waning exclaiming “I thought it would be more down!” before assuming a strong pout. We were rewarded with some long and flowing descents but unfortunately they tended to follow some rather tough lung bursting climbs.

Still the day was not without its entertainment, at the half way point Andrew demonstrated a particularly flamboyant way to dismount a bike. Jay and I both experienced one of those ‘way hey’ moments when on a particularly rocky decent not far from The Ford, whilst Jessica chose to ride through a rather large muddy puddle before exclaiming “I’m soaked!”

At the drinks station where the routes split Petra, Charlotte, Jessica and I headed back to Tackeroo wondering why it was we had paid for the privilege of such a tough ride whilst debating that the published mileage must be wrong as we were sure our 14 miles felt more like 41! The boys headed off for more torture knowing they were set to climb up Abrahams Way, come down and then climb back up the fire road next to it before descending once more. After what felt like a short time later they too arrived back at Tackeroo.

Results for the day are to be published on the Evans website and although no certificates or medals were given I would like to express thanks on behalf of Petra and myself to the boys for riding with us and supporting us. Charlotte and Jessica would like to say a BIG thank you to Jez, Jay and Dave for taking pity on them and pushing their bikes up the numerous hills. Personally I would like to thank Andrew for the riding tips and to everyone for making what was a challenging day enjoyable and for reminding me why I like coming out riding at Cannock.

Lei xx

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you had an entertaining day. I was disappointed to see that Charlotte and Jess were the only ones who had made the effort to dress for the occasion!