We all have a few runs on the little jumps, gaining confidence in our abilities, and I start clearing them to the landings, getting faster onto the next. Tom was also hitting the smaller jumps along with Andy R, and I think they both were on form.
Myself and Tom then went for a ride along the boardwalk sections each taking a different line. The left Tom, the right me, my line was interesting, winding and getting ever narrower until a line choice, a 10m skinny or a wider boarwalk section around. I chickened out of the skinny not wanting to break something this early into the ride. Both lines meet back up and go into some tight banked corners which had me twitching like a rabbits nose.
We then left the skills area and rejoined the trail, with Will, Jim and Andy taking off again. This was still smooth wide trail slowly climbing and winding along. We were overtaken by a man riding a rigid cyclo-cross bike who disappeared out of sight even with me trying to keep up. The tail group of me, tom and pete slowly gained some distance on the others and before long were ahead before resting at the collection of wooden grouse or turkeys?
The trail then went UP, a long laborious climb that was dull and not very interesting except for the forestry machinery working either side of the trail, cutting and transporting the logs.
As you can see the weather was once again with us, blue skies and hot sun. The trail however was wet, with large puddles everywhere and the sides of the trail a slippery mush of pine needles and clay, which was proven later on.
The top of this climb brought the first decent, aptly called rollercoaster, huge berms and little jumps. This then climbed again for a small section before forking off to a black or red. We headed down the black, involving 6ft jumps and massive puddles at the base of the take-off (not ideal). The trail then doubled back on itself and dropped down on to some what can only be described as horrendous rocky trail that almost shook my brain and bike to pieces. Will had an indecent incident with his saddle and his Cox-six at this point which rendered him temporarily immobile with expletives and pain.
Zig-zaging our way down the hillside with sections of board-walk and nice big berms and little jumps with puddles we made our way to the first black. Myself and Tom were practising and imagining the camera footage we could get on the next ride.
The next black section split away again with myself, Tom and Andy taking this route and the others taking the red route down, with the parting words see you at the bottom. Little did we know the black route was and extra 2 miles. The black started gentle before launching us into some big air jumps and berms.
We found a sign for Dirt Jump area and decided to go for it, I headed in first catching my big ring on the rocky step down into the area. "I don't think any damage was done, I need to check tomorrow." The first few jumps were small warm-ups for what was about to become the ride of my life.
The next set consisted of tabletops, lipped tabletops and step up jumps. All with approximately 2m tops, the first few I took steady getting into the swing and gaining speed before finally catching my first cleared tabletop landing it smoothly on the downward landing, then up off the next lip to clear the step up jump. I was so happy at this point my lower leg was shaking with the adrenaline rush.
A rocky step down section followed by yet more jumps and we finally exited the area on to a fire road. A short ride up the next back section "drop-shore". There is a video of other people riding it here
Thankfully none of us ended it like that!
The black run continued into some tighter woody runs with the wet side to the trails. I was following Tom down this section, all was going well until a small jump unbalanced Tom and he wandered off the trail into the slippery mush I wrote about earlier. The front wheel washed out under braking into a tree (these things seemed to have a magnetic attraction to Tom today) So with Toms bike washing out from underneath him, and stylishly ending this manoeuvre in a sort of penguin slide on his chest to a standstill in the middle of the trail. I was a second or two behind him seeing this all unfold in front of me i braked hard the back wheel locking up I squeezed the front harder, trying to avoid a repeat of Myself and Andy A's accident last year in Afan. I couldn't get my weight back quick enough before the bike upended itself and dumping the rider (me) into a belly flop with Tom as my crash mat.
We both stand up shouting at Andy to slow down as there were bikes and bodies on the trail, and begin the steady job of checking over the bikes for damage before turning our eyes to our wounds. A few grazes and a severe winding to Tom were the only injuries.
A quick phone call to the other members and some confusion over post numbers, our map had up to 100, but they said they were at post number 246. We assumed they were almost back and said we would meet them at the cars. We carried on along as we rejoined the red, before myself and tom split off form Andy who carried on the red to the cars. More Jumps YEY. and then a slogging climb back to the beginning of the split and we continued along the red.
The next black called B-Line we consumed some energy gels before dropping in, onto some northshore which twisted and turned with little jumps and then a cheeky off camber 2ft drop off on to the trail at the end. I thought I could roll down it before last minute deciding against it and landed rubber side down. Tom however got attracted by the magnetic force that was coming from the tree to the left of trail at the end of the northshore and ended up riding straight at it. My first thoughts were that he must have broken something as he dropped to floor and lay there panting it out after getting winded again. So we decided to give the rest of this black run a miss and skipped across on to the red run, which darted across and down some steep decents before a horrid climb and a final roll along the side of the reservoir before returning to the car park.
The route, speed and timings can be found here (need to check the privacy on this so leave a comment if you can't see it, thanks)
Endomondo Mountain biking Workout