No, not a term from suburban swingers circles (that can be the subject of another posting ! ), but a reference to a double dose of riding this week. Dandy’s equivalent of a ‘Brucie Bonus’ (see how my finger is firmly pressed on the cultural pulse of the nation).
Wednesday night, which after a brief flurry of activity in the forum saw MarkyMark, DannyP, D-Dub, Lloyd & Dandy gather at the usual meeting point (the Esso ‘Hylands’ garage on the A246 in Bookham).
Mark had a cunning plan, and as it was the only plan, we adopted it unanimously. So off we headed, running the gauntlet of the local dog turds plantation, before heading left/East down the Admirals Track towards Bocketts Farm. We took a few of the cheeky little diversions at the edge of the trails to make it interesting.
As ever when I’m riding, there was a split in the peloton as we headed up Alsation. Regular readers of these posts will know I really ‘put the hammer down’ up this hill 🙂
Luckily, Mark had the good sense not to ride Life on Mars the wrong way, so we took Stane Street then Mickleham Downs to Chainbreaker.
This was riding well, but didn’t stop Mark heading the wrong side of the tree just after the log drop (which is not really a drop anymore). Danny and I both sped past leaving him floundering in the undergrowth. Judging by the swearing, he was fine.
I struggled again (like last week) with the High Ashurst climb, but somewhere up ahead I believe everybody else cleaned it. Then it was the ‘Brockham Descent’, you know, the one with the tree in the middle. A great descent, but then you have to climb all the way back up, coming out at the Smith & Western. As ever, the aroma of frying chips and meat was both attractive and repelling. I have to visit one day, a Moles Night Out perhaps?
China Pig was next up. Again, this was in great condition, though both D-Dub and Mark (again) had a few ‘moments’. Lloyd also had lighting problems, with his head torch failing completely (dud battery?) so it was the bar light only for illumination.
We headed across the A25 to Norbury, to tackle the inevitable climb. I slowed down a little on the Infestation descent, so as not to get too far ahead of Lloyd so he could use my lights to get some sort of sense of the trail direction. The reduced speed somehow gave me the impression I was floating over the roots, compared with the more usual battering I get as I try to hammer down as fast as possible. It felt pretty good.
Then it was the usual tracks back to the garage, arriving shortly before 10pm. Only about 2 hrs for 15 mile (25km) distance, with over 700m of ascent according to my Satmap. Excellent, thanks guys.
Today (Friday) saw me in Wrexham for a meeting. I’d driven up on Thu evening and spent the night in a local hotel, fresh for the 9.30am appointment. Funnily enough, the bike was still in the car from Wednesday night. Even stranger, I’d packed a fresh set of cycling clothes to bring with me, too.
So at 1.30pm, I found myself in the car park at the Llandegla Visitor Centre. After a fine flapjack and an excellent cappucino, and having morphed ‘Clark Kent’ style from a besuited businessman into Dandy the Drop-Off Demon, I rolled out onto the trails at 2.15pm.
The Road Mole and I were here last year, riding this trail in the morning and hitting Penmachno in the afternoon ( http://www.muddymoles.org.uk/rides/penmachno-hidden-welsh-gem ). Penmachno outshone Llandegla in our opinion, but today Llandegla felt really good. Maybe it was because I felt like I was bunking off school.
Here’s the link to the Black Run section, the only section the Moles are interested in, no doubt, and this was the route I tackled today. It’s a 21km (13 mile) ride. Not sure about the total ascent, but its definitely hilly. http://www.coedllandegla.com/NetsiteCMS/pageid/22/index.html
The first couple of miles are a steady climb (with the odd downslope) on mostly car width trails. They wind through the trees initially, before entering an area that’s now open and exposed, following forestry operations. There were some diversions today because of forestry, but I don’t think too much was missed unlike our last visit to Brechfa in May 🙁
There’s a nicely flowing ‘black’ section that starts at about third distance. There were lots of bumps and tabletops, and some big berms, but I think it needs a few more drops.
I caught up with a local (I’m guessing from the accent), and when he went slightly wrong I sneaked past him and managed to open out a gap. I’m sure he was just pootling round for a gentle afternoon’s spin, but it made me feel good.
Unfortunately he overtook me on the next decent climb, but I nearly (though not quite) caught up on the next downhill section. They have a ‘jumps’ section at about two thirds distance, which was pretty good fun. After that it’s more woodland trails, with a few jumps thrown in every now again, though the whole trail is perfectly rollable.
This section is not as scary as it looks, honest (photo again lifted from Llandegla website)
I rolled back into the car park around 4pm. It’s a great way to spend a Friday afternoon, and if you’re in the area then it’s definitely worth a visit. I’m not sure I’d recommend making a special trip here though. It’s worth going the extra distance to Penmachno and Coed y Brenin, I think, but it was certainly better than working on a Friday afternoon 😉