Sunday, 9 September 2012

What's on your Christmas list?

I know it's only September but you do have to plan ahead!

This weekend, the core members of Chase Trails paid a visit to Thetford Forest to meet up with their trail builders - the TIMBER folks. It was an early start on Saturday morning to get to Thetford by 9:30 am. After exchanging introductions and signing in, we had a quick briefing on the day’s work – rebuilding a flowing single track climb. Whilst pruning back the branches and raking off the pine needles along the trail corridor, the sound of an engine echoing amongst the trees signified that the Kanga had arrived. This is a compact stand-on tracked machine that can be fitted with various hydraulic powered attachments. The TIMBER guys have it kitted out with rotovator for breaking up the sandy ground. Their trained operators took it in turns to work along the section whilst the rest of the volunteers piled the rotovated material to form the new trail bed.



It wasn’t long before their other “toy” arrived by trailer – a Bomag. It’s a remotely controlled articulated roller weighing in at just over 1.5 tonnes – definitely something for the Chase Trails’ Christmas list. It made short work of compacting the new trail, especially as it vibrates while trundling along the trail – much quicker than our wacker!


It had been a productive day with over 100 metres of trail refurbished. After a little weathering and once the bracken grows back, it will take on that natural look all the Thetford trails have. To finish the day, the guys laid on a BBQ – a perfect way to soak up the rays while exchanging stories over a burger or two.


After a hearty breakfast, we met up with the TIMBER guys for a guided ride around the best bits of their trails. For those that think Thetford is flat, think again. OK, we’re not talking mountains but there are descents and climbs which add to the variety of riding. As you’re pedalling constantly, it’s a good workout – covering just short of 20 miles, we finished at the visitor centre cafĂ© for lunch.

A big thanks to everyone involved in organising our visit and making us feel so welcome - the FC rangers: Emma (from Thetford) & Gary (from Cannock) and all the TIMBER folks. Click here for more details about TIMBER - who they are and what they do.

Dave, Jez and I will be heading east again next month for ‘Dusk to Dawn’ organised by Thetford MTB Racing. Click here for more details. 

Andrew

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