After a long day at work where achieving goals was difficult as the plans had changed last minute I was really looking forward to taking out my frustrations on the bike in the forest. Department of Cycling have a Wednesday night casual mountain bike ride that has been taking place from Barlow Road car park in Riverhead.
Tonight there was a great turnout with 2 riders in the beginners bunch taken by National Downhill Mountain bike Sophiemarie Bethell and another 12 riders out on a longer ride led by Piki, Sasha Smith, national under 23 champion. The ride started out with a gentle climb up a single track which was a good taster of things to come. Sloppy, muddy and full of ruts that had to be skillfully (not so skillfull in my case) tackled. A gravel climb to our next track was a great warm up and then it was on to our first unbelievable descent.
A short inlet into the trail and then all I could hear was Piki out front screaming with delight. Little did I know that the scream I heard was going to be a tell tail sign of the gnarliest track ahead!!
At times the descent felt like we were dropping vertical and no matter how hard I pulled on the brakes, there was no stopping the all mountain beast of Avanti Torrent! Passing a rider that had toppled over the handlebar I squealed with joy as I managed to make the drop, after checking they were ok, obviously. Our first major descent done meant another climb to our next trail of fun, but this climb was through gorse and a lot of walking had to be done too. It was here, along a relatively flat part of the trail I had my most heart stopping and crackup moment. Straight through a puddle my front wheel slid out from under me. Knowing I was about to hit the deck I put my hand out to break my fall only to find there was no ground where my hand wanted to land so over I went into a gully followed closely by my bike, over the top of me. It was only a small gully so I didn’t go far but for a second my mind thought to itself, “I wonder how far down I am going?”
Our last trail for the evening was “the nature trail” which I have in daylight, when there hasn’t been any rain and found it difficult so what was it to be like in the dark when so muddy?
It turned out our biggest worry was following directions as Jamie and I lost the trail and thought we may have had to recall our Boy Scout skills to hack our way out of the forest.
An amazing night with some amazing people that made the glorious riding even more fun. I found out I prefer riding the gnarly trails at a slower speed to work on my bike skills and hope to become faster over time.
If you ever fancy trying this out get in touch with the MTBclub Captain Sarah, email@example.com
P.s There was one more thing that made the night even more amazing. When I got home this was on the table in front of me…..