Last Weekend

Calne MTB

I briefly talked about our Calne MTB inaugural ride in a previous post but I thought I would record the ride for the sake of a blog post 🙂

We met at the Ivy Inn in Heddington and 10 of us set off promptly at 9.30am.  The benefit of being local riders, was that no one had t o unpack a bike from a car, test brakes, bounce forks, change clothes, put a coat on, brush their hair (maybe not that bit) etc – in other words there was no faffing about. All this had been done at home and the ride started smoothly.

We climbed out of the pub car park and up the Hampsley Road climb. Its a 100m elevation gain over 1 mile and is quite testing as it gradually gets steeper as you climb. I got a Personal Record on Strava that morning and was pretty pleased with the result – though I was gasping for breath at the top of the climb.  I really must use this hill to train for next Summer’s French trip to Bike Village again.

Hamplsey RoadFrom here we headed over to Roundway Hill and through the woods. This is a nice bit of singletrack and could have some of the best downhill in the area if it wasn’t a conservation wood! Then it was off to the “plantation” for some whoops in the woods – not as much fun in the wet and mud as it is in the summer.

Another short sharp climb up the side of Roundway Hill above the White Horse, finds us at the back of Roundway Down and on the firetrack along part of the Wessex Ridgeway, then crossing the road we them follow a rutted farm track. Its the kid of track where you have to take take as every 10 metres or so its becomes too deep for your pedals to do a full rotation or you come to a puddle of unknown depth and contents. The flints around this part of Wiltshire can cause all sorts of punctures so extra need to be taken and if speed permits, a manual or better a little bunny hop over is the best option.  Crossing over the Wansdyke and again picking up the Wessex Ridgeway we climb up to the Cherhill  / Lansdowne Monument and descend on to Cherhill Down.

By now we have done most of our climbing for the ride and while its only around 300m, the cold, mud and wet conditions make it feel a few hundred more.  The last 100m climb in particular is on slippery, muddy grassy tracks that require twice the effort of a hard packed surface.

Cherhill Monument and White Horse
Cherhill Monument and White Horse

We then follow the “old Bath road”, a 2km stretch of single track that runs parallel to the new Bath Road or A4. This is great fun in all weathers with some bombholes and ruts to navigate along the way to Knoll Down woods at Beckhampton.  From here its pretty plain sailing (or pedalling) past a small clay pigeon shoot – we always slow down to make sure they have seen us – and then we pick up the National Cycle Route that takes us through Yatesbury, into Cherhill village and the Divine Cafe.

Eveyone has ridden about 25km (with about 5-10km ride home for most) by now which isn’t too far but was a good measure of everyone. We had one guy that hadn’t been on a bike in 2 years so much further would have been a little unfair!

The Divine Cafe (Tel 01249 817348) serves up a great slice of cake or chocolate brownie and nice cup of tea for £3.50 and we sat and had a chat and plotted next weeks ride…

Some Strava stats for me on this ride:

  • 32km ridden
  • 390m climbed
  • 2 hours moving
  • 8 Strava Medals including 5 PR (personsal records)

So not a huge ride by any stretch but a good one with some good company.

I wore some Endura Overshoes for the first time on this ride. Read my feedback over on The Gear Factor.

Weekend Plans

What plans do you have for the weekend?

I have a 50k ride planned tomorrow, leading MB Swindon around some of my local routes. We have some climbing planned, some sweet little down hill sections, jumps, bomb holes and a lot of pedalling!

We will be doing some steep climbs to the historic Roundway Hill where Oliver Cromwell had a bit of a scrap

The Battle of Roundway Down was fought on 13 July 1643, during the First English Civil War. A Royalist cavalry force under Lord Wilmot won a crushing victory over the Parliamentarians under Sir William Waller who were besieging Devizes in central Wiltshire, which was defended by Lord Hopton. Roundway Down and Oliver’s Castle are about 1.5 km (0.93 mi) north of Devizes and now form part of the North Wessex Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. – Wikipedia

We will be riding near the Hill Fort known as Oliver’s Castle – http://www.devizesheritage.org.uk/olivers_castle.html – and down to Bromham and up through Devizes along the canal and the Caen Hill Lock Flight – pictured.

For those reading this coming on the ride – don’t worry 12k or so will be mine to and from the start. The ride is about 36k and we will be out for about 4 hours I suspect.

Anyway, i am sure there will be more pictures to come and a blow by blow account of the ride at some point in the next few days.

Enjoy your weekend, where ever you are.

Roundway Ride

Had a great ride today (http://connect.garmin.com/activity/269365392) around the local area on some unknown trails for me.

It was only about 14 miles but my legs feel like it was an epic. Two big climbs helped it feel like that. As the picture above shows some of it was pretty wet. Buy the one part I wasn’t looking forward to on my hard tail turned out drier than expected.

Roundway
Roundway, the fun bits

Yes there was a little down hill section that the other guys said was a bit steep and rooty. Having not done anything ‘technical’ on my 29er and certainly not with the SPDs on I was a little apprehensive. It turned out to be more fun than I expected and the steep track had drained enough to prevent it being too slippy. It was the first time I had dropped the seat post and got into a proper negative riding position. The route took us along the hillside with great views (better on a nice day) to our right. The trail through the trees was good fun with some off camber roots and narrow tree gaps. Then there was a decent bit of down fun to be had, nice and flowing with some twists and turns on the steep hill side.

After this and a pedal back up we looped into another wood for a short section where we also came across some jumps. Not for me today, but a good spot to come and session in the dry..

Also next time I must take the GoPro…

If anyone is interested the 2.0 Storm Control tyres were ace today…