Sunday, October 31, 2010

FtD + MT = FAB

After the clock change I didn't feel too bad getting up early on a Sunday morning to meet Roger and Ryan at Cannock to explore the new Monkey Trail (MT).

Uphilla has recently raved about the new MT that splits from Follow the Dog (FtD) but were weren't expecting the FtD to have changed.  But it seems that the trail fairies have been busy everywhere and reinforced the existing sections with huge boulders - kinda like the opening section of Coed y Brenin. 

After a couple of miles on FtD you slip over the busy railway line and road and find the new MT section is much steeper, nicely technical yet flowing.  Unfortunately our young warrior found this too much and once he'd lost the energy to grumble we bailed and took the sign posted short cut back to Birches Valley.

We were pleasantly surprised to find little/no water on the trail after the recent rain. I wonder how long that'll last...

The young'un got a bit more practice riding off-road and the old'uns got to blow away some cob webs.

Cannock has lifted it's game and the trails are a definite improvement providing some decent Welsh/Scottish style riding.  We're looking forward to a return visit so we can enjoy the rest of the trail fairies work :p

Posse; Farqui (5Spot), Roger (FSR), Ryan (teeny iron horse)
Weather; Overcast, slightly misty with a cool breeze
Mechanicals; None

Monday, October 11, 2010

ROMAN CHALLENGE - Hackleton, Northants

It is hard to believe that it has taken so long to get round to doing this ride, but finally this year I got sorted and put entries in for myself, Friend Chris and Dangerous.
The event is organised by Hackleton W.I. to raise funds for the Village and offers a variety of routes to suit families and fitter cyclists. This year there was a new Maximus option which took a tour of MK giving a total of 42 miles.
We had loosely agreed to do at least the 32 mile option and arrived at Hackleton Village hall just after 8am. Everyone must have had a good breakfast because we decided to go for the longest option! It was clear from the start that this is a very well organised event and we were all given detailed maps to complement the excellent way marking.
The riding is a mixture of road and bridleways, most quite easy going, but before long we did come across a ploughed field – David gave it go and did well, others walked it! The MK route was not marked out specially, but followed much of the Millennium trail around the city – most of it very green and pleasant, (and flat).
We did go a bit wrong toward the end of the MK tour, but quickly picked up the route again and headed back North. Talk of a pub stop had started, but we thankfully came upon the second W.I. refreshment stop with squash and biscuits to keep us going. Once through Salcey Forest and nearly home a quick pint was fitted in and then back to the village hall for a superb WI ploughman’s lunch!
The weather was a key factor for our experience, but I would recommend this event for a late Summer day out. Chris set us a quick pace and I guess the relatively flat landscape made this achievable – if it had been muddy the story would have been very different.

Posse: Uphilla; Chris: Dahnhilla.

Weather: Dry, Sunny at times, some wind.

Mechanicals: None.