Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Thetford - Bomb Holes & Singletrack!!

I was glad when Dozer suggested a ride at Thetford as I had heard some good reports.

It was by coincidence that I had contact with a local guy, Nick (Tubbs on STW), who initially gave some useful updates on the local conditions and then agreed to guide us.

One big bonus of his guidance that would please the Yorkshire men amongst us was that he suggested parking at Brandon Country Park rather than the forest centre and promptly saved us a fiver per car! Another local and STW gal, Caroline (Caro) from Ipswich, also joined us.

The journey over from Northampton was quicker than expected at around 1½ hours. Brandon was heaving with cyclists when I arrived – apparently it was some sort of training day for the Thetford Winter series – even so, I have never seen so many MTB’s in one place before.

The morning ride took as around the area of the way-marked trails, but on sections that were dry and not affected by fallen trees and debris from the high winds of the previous week. (Nick had kindly done a recce during the week). We also took in a couple of the bomb holes that Thetford is famous for, nothing too extreme, but fun. On the first Dozer came to grief when he hit a muddy patch in the bottom and grabbed a tree. Caro promised us she would be slow and she did not disappoint, which was handy giving the rest of us time to get our breath back. It was a mixture of fire roads and singletrack, nothing very steep, but constant peddling needed.

After about 8 miles we headed for the Forest centre CafĂ© for a lunch stop – once again heaving with MTBs – some that would be more at home on downhill courses. Caro left us at this point and Nick headed us for the ‘private’ area used for Dusk ‘til Dawn and past signs warning of shooting taking place. Quite a bit of fire road cranking, but then some long twisty sections of single-track with berms, (apparently built by our motorised cousins). I really enjoyed these sections, though it was not natural territory for Dozer and Sicknote did a spectacular dismount coming out of one section when his rear wheel hit a slippy root. The only downside was riding across the seemingly endless furrows, I couldn't quite work out how to tackle these. Nick’s local knowledge gave him a big edge here and he was soon out of sight – I had fun chasing him at one point and could just about stay with him. We found another bomb hole – this time with a small lip built into the exit to give some air – Les managed this well the first time then lost it on attempt number two, ending in a heap on the ground.

Total run was around 20 miles and toward the end the legs were very tired. As Dozer said – there was no coasting here, you were always cranking away. If you know the area this is a good winter outing as there was very little mud on the trails we rode. The mystery of the day was the fact that Nick and his bike were as clean and shiny at the end of the ride as at the start, obviously he knows the right lines to take, nice bloke too!

There was some talk of getting teams together for the Dusk ‘til dawn race later this year :o ...time to start training??

Posse: Dozer - Specialized Enduro; Sicknote - Specialized HT; Les - Specialized HT; Nick - Cove Handjob; Caroline - Specialized HT; Uphilla - Turner 5Spot.

Weather: Cool and dry :thumbu

Crashes: Dozer skidded on a mud patch at the bottom of a a bomb hole; Sicknote "dismounted" after hitting a tree root; Les - wiped-out after tackling jump out of Bomb Hole; Caroline - too many to mention ;-)

Mechanicals; None

Tracklog; Here


Farqui said...

I'm glad the ground was good for ya - others didn't fare so well over the wkend.

T'was a darn shame that we couldn't make it, it sounds like you had some fun.

Hehe, I recall that Thetford offers some good single track and would love to explore it some more. The TL should help future visits, thanx.

So some are "thinking" of following DDave's XC antics from last year and entering the '07 D2D. I'm not so sure about these teams events, but wouldn't want to do it solo either. I guess a few laps within a team won't drain riders, but what'd'ya do when your knobblies aren't rollin ?

uphilla said...

Drink Beer, eat Pies and cake :-)

dozer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

dozer said...

Uphilla, thanks for doing the write up. Twas a good day out and worth repeating soon if local tracks don't improve!

I can see we would need 2 teams for the D2D!

I'll go for the one named 'Beer, Pies and Cake'
and let Farqui, Rob + ? enter one called? 'Lucozade, Energy Bars and sleep?'

uphilla said...

Think we could have some fun thinking up team names and seeing how many people we can offend!!;-) I think Rob will have some difficulty getting his horse through the trees, won't he??