Return to the Iron Mountain

Guiding duties for MB Swindon at the weekend around the ever amazing (for many reasons) Blaenavon…  So here’s the write up I did for the club website:

Return To The Iron Mountain

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For some bizarre reason people started to turn up just after 9am for a 10am ride. Its possible it had something to do with them camping in the Brecon Beacons the night before and being up early but I’d like to think they were equally as eager to get on the ride. Continue reading “Return to the Iron Mountain”

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We’ve come a long long way together… (Vitus Escarpe VRX Long Term Review)

NW3
Cadair Idris

Its been two years since I decided it was time to change my full sus bike (Giant Trance X2) and after much research I decided on the Vitus Escarpe VRX.

Longer and beefier forks. Wider bars. Bigger wheels (650b). I was excited! Continue reading “We’ve come a long long way together… (Vitus Escarpe VRX Long Term Review)”

You can at Cannock

You can at Cannock

I’ve been a bit negative about Cannock on Instagram and on Facebook, calling parts of it a little boring and dull. In my video above I even said I hated it for starters. But lets have a think about it for a moment.

I would definitely visit it again if in the area

Its been almost 3 years since my first visit to Cannock Chase and true to my word I came back as I was in the area.

The sun was out and my meeting was literally a 10 min drive away so I couldn’t wait to get on the bike. Within minutes I was, well, underwhelmed.

In 3 years I have come to want more from a trail centre.  Don’t get me wrong the facilities and centre are great with a bike shop and cafe and a Forestry Commission office (where you will pay with a card to park if you don’t have the £6 (yes £6) to pay for parking.

£3 for 2 hours or £6 all day.  I’d have liked to have seen a 4 hour option as 2 is not enough to enjoy the trail and have a coffee – actually 2 is probably not enough to even get around the trail unless you just race it.

The setting is nice and the forest is very picturesque but the trail surface is in most places a sort of sandy cobbled finish which is a bit sketchy and I would have done well to have lowered my tyre pressure I think.

Parts of the trail just don’t flow, and they could do if a single tree here or there were removed or the trails were routed around them.  There are a number of spots where bars wider than 750mm will not fit so you have to slow and weave your way past them.

There is a section called the Devil’s Staircase which features some steps (duh), but the steps are unnecessary in my opinion and spoil a perfectly good steep switchback.

Anyway – enough of that. I did manage to find some flowy bits – Look out for Pot of Gold and Lower Cliff – these are probably the best sections for flow.

The other highlights for me were the technical Black sections and woodwork.

I’ll let the video tell the rest of the story.  Hope you enjoy it!

Would I go back? Have I changed my mind?

Well yes, sort of.  Its not my fave place to ride by a long way, but it has some rewards for your visit.  I also want to return and visit the Stile Cop down hill trails and I’ve had the offer of an off piste guide for some additional fun.

PLEASE subscribe to my YouTube Channel and like the video PLEASE – Or write some comments.  Thanks.

Gimme Shelter

 

G0016377-0001It was hot yesterday; 28 degrees I think. So I went for a 30km ride carrying enough gear and equipment to theoretically guide 8 people around in the middle of Winter! That included tools, first aid kit, spare clothes, a rescue blanket and even a group shelter.

I also took a map, even though I knew exactly where I was and where I was going – testing myself on compass bearings mostly. Part of the plan was also to make sure I was eating and drinking correctly and generally being a model mountain biker and wannabe guide.

All in the name of conditioning and practicing for the weekend ahead.

To be continued…

DCIM100GOPRO