Sunday 12th

Grandads at Glentress

It's a pretty rare event these days - tk getting a day off Cycle Speedway Racing to play on an MTB. After the last disastrous non-event at Glentress due to foul weather and frozen old bones, this opportunity was too good to miss. Ian Mundy offered the ride but very surprisingly there were only two takers, Ian Browning and Terry. They fully expected a rush today but didn't get it, although they ran into Claire MacRae and Gemma Lynch at the end of this ride.

Meeting at ASDA car park, last to arrive Terry whipped the wheels off his Trek only to find the cassette launching itself across the tarmac spraying pawls everywhere! It took a minute to find them by which time he was on his way back home on foot. No, not to cry off yet again, just to grab another complete wheel and save the faff of trying to reassemble the original. Still no-one else appeared so off the three sped in Ian M's Berlingo, though I suspect it would never make the German city.

It was around 11:30 when we hit the trail after a short delay while Ian managed to find a free bolt for his failed X0 shifter clamp in the bike shop, and then had to scoot back to the car to get his shock pump! New rhubarb wheels looked very nice on the YT though.

A nice leisurely drag up the hill in perfect thin cloud and sunny riding conditions saw us reach the entry to Pennels Vennel only to find it closed and a fireroad diversion in place, not a pleasant start but we could see the huge area of recently fallen trees covering the trail from the firebreak. That meant no descents at all as we stopped for a breather at the foot of the final climb to Spooky Wood. The Trek fat bike with stout rider led all the way followed by t'other Ian while the skinny Trek with skinny rider actually walked the top section, totally knackered and well out of touch with this strange form of biking. There are no hills on Cycle Speedway tracks, see.

So then, we had a quick snack stop at Spook's picnic tables before lining up for take-off, Young Ian first, old Ian in the middle and Terry bringing up the rear. This was by no means the quickest descent of Spooky I've ever done but it was possibly the most entertaining since racing Jason Keith down here at least once a month many moons ago. To be right on the arse of trail expert and speed demon Ian Browning all the way down to the meteorite allowed me the perfect view of this colossal fatbike being launched into the air on every lip, brow and double, and hearing the crunching roar of those massive four inch tyres blasting stone chippings into my face. Good thing I was wearing glasses as those flints really hurt, but I couldn't ease back as the show was just too good although staring at the green cruise missile for three minutes didn't help me to concentrate on my own line choice!

Down below we couldn't help but giggle at our frantic chase. While I agree with most hardened MTBers that the trails are just too manicured there is still a fantastic buzz to be had, particularly on this best known and maybe best loved UK descent, and it really does (almost) justify the trip itself. Today wasn't the day for repeating the fun park however, the boys were being gentle with me so we completed the Red run down the very badly maintained Super G, the surface here really badly gouged and holed by over-eager brakers although the following Hit Squad Hill section hasn't suffered quite so much damage. Of course we don't mind rough terrain but the worry is the thing will fall into complete disrepair, despite all the money apparently being thrown into new sections of Blue and Green for casual users.

At almost every junction someone was asking Ian about his fat bike so we got a few short rests before hacking on again. The Pie Run came next and that dodgy little drop at the end almost tipped the big lad over the bars as he rolled off it, the Trek's gargantuan rear tyre level with the top of his helmet as it keeled over the timber lip terrifyingly. The two youngsters kept it safe by avoiding the drop-off altogether.

The YT led the fat and skinny Treks down through the Magic Mushroom at a fairly decent rate, particularly through the bridges section and we took another very short breather back on the fireroad before once again starting the climb to the Buzzard's Nest for the Blue Finale. Not satisfied with just the Electric Blue Blast from the Nest, the Big Fellah hauled us back up the hill to the upper starting point of Blue Velvet beyond the Pennels Vennel entrance and the chase was on!

Flippin' Fatties Everywhere!

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Although this trail is nice and wide to make newbies feel comfortable, it is edged by the odd sturdy tree, and at our speed we were using the whole width of it from edge to edge, coming perilously close to a few of them as we hurtled down separated only by a few bike lengthe between each of us. We arrived at the Buzzards Nest a few minutes later, all of us breathing quite heavilly but wearing those silly, childish but oh, so familar grins. Mundas led down Electric Blue doing his best to escape the other two as the frenetic pace continued, and although he got a 20 or 30 metre lead the gap was held at that from the half way point. More daft grins as we eased out onto the fireroad before the big Green Meanie led us the short distance up to the last piece of skinnier and super fast Blue section to eventually pop us out at Go Ape, quite appropriate, we'd gone ape!

The final short treat from the Red Squirrel was closed at the car park but we squeezed through the fence to challenge Ian the Younger to stay with us and hence become a Man. Ian B decided, quite rightly, that the fat bike wouldn't do him justice this time so invited Terry to lead off and see if Ian the Younger could keep up. And I have to say that he made a pretty decent job of that, staying upright and avoiding the many obstacles that flashed by as we dived down the sharp twists and turns to the fireroad. Once again there was an outbreak of the giggles. It had been a fairly short ride but so enjoyable and for me completey fullfilling my need for some decent off-roading.

So we had dispatched the sordid memories of our previous visit, condemned them to the depths of time never to be repeated, although of course we did return to the cafe for some ridiculously expensive cake and a gargle to top off a perfect day in MTB Heaven.

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Next Sunday Ride (plus other odd days) - See our Facebook page.

Next Night Ride: Thursday as usual.

Thursday nighters are 10-25 milers, 7:00pm start at ASDA East car park, Benton, 3-3.5 hours and generally OK for fit new riders but you need decent lights you can see with, NOT CANDLES. You MUST wear a cycle helmet.

Sundays are generally much longer, 8:00am to 10:00am starts from ride venue ending around teatime, and much harder rides.

Other ad-hoc rides are always being organised, see our Facebook page. Gloves, waterproof coat, snack and drink recommended. Carry basic tools.

The Best Bike in the World arrives at ASDA!

Well, not actually in the store, but outside in the car park on Thursday night, and it was John Rivers who turned up with it, lucky s**! And as if to prove it's pedigree it resisted all of Matt Holmes' attempts to wreck it on a sharp-edged, very high kerb!

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The bigger the group, the louder the laughs!

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