Wednesday, November 07, 2007

"Singletrack" CHILTERNS RIDE - 2nd November 2007

“Squirrel chasing in the Chilterns”

Well there they were happily collecting nuts for their winter store when out of the blue a Hi-Viz clad human appeared at speed on a silver machine. Poor things must be traumatised along with quite a few pheasants and wood pigeons……These routes are relatively quiet so the wildlife are clearly not used to being disturbed, and there was a lot of wildlife to be disturbed on this occasion!!

As nobody seemed able to come out to play at the weekend and withdrawal symptons setting in big time after Afan, I decided to give myself a day off and try something new.

Originally I was thinking about Llandegla, but then Singletrack Magazine landed on the mat with a selection of routes in the Chilterns. The loop we have done from Watlington is one of my favourite ‘natural’ rides and I must have done it 4 or 5 times now. The ST ‘hard’ route also started from Watlington, but covered very little of the same ground, I was intrigued and decided to give it a go.

The brilliant weather from earlier in the week held out and so I had a fabulous autumn day for the ride. The start takes in a short section of the Ridgeway, to the west and then heads off up a woodland bridleway, a steady climb. Like the other ride this one is a series of climbs up the chalk ridges followed by fast downhill blasts, but the difference is that all the climbs can be cleared. The autumn colours were vivid and the ground deep with golden leaves – the latter made some faster section interesting, as you had no idea what lay beneath this thick blanket.

Ground conditions were good overall, only a couple of brief mud patches churned by horse riders. The only real problem lay on the climb out Turville, this was steady until it hit the woods and there the ground was very soft making it very hard going, but with the addition of leaves it became impossible for my tiring legs and I had to admit defeat this time. Fortunately the resulting downhill was very “entertaining”.

Sadly the last few miles consist of a road drag up to Christmas Common, which seemed to go on and on. I expected a great downhill run back to the Ridgeway, but it was short and not that exciting.

Overall a great ride though with plenty to challenge. I am looking forward to going back in the summer to clear that woodland climb. :-)

Route: Tracklog

Posse: Uphilla, 5Spot

Mechanicals: None

Weather: warm, sunny, dry.


dozer said...

Uphilla, looks like another good route. Happy to give it a go sometime, do we need to wait until spring though? You missed a good ride last night.

uphilla said...

Dozer, think one could be done all year, but will be less pleasant once the winter sets in, so Spring?summer will be a better bet.