March 9, 2013

Mountain Biking at Forest of Dean (Pedal a Bike Away - Trail Centre)

Today seven of us headed to Forest of Dean  for a bit of mountain biking.  The great thing about Forest of Dean is that they have a number of different tails for all abilities.  They have green trails and family trails and red trails and downhill trails.  It's one of the only places I know where the on site cafe has downhillers next to dads with toddler tandems next to middle effort bikers like me!

I went for the Verderer's Trail first - 7 miles of blue single-track.   It's not as difficult as Y Wal, partially because the climbing is easier and partially because the actual track is easy.  Then again, Y Wal is Red and Verderer's is Blue, so it should be easier.  Forest of Dean was described my one of my friends as "flat and boring" which it kind of is - until the descent.

The descent from Verderer's Trail is fun.  It's enjoyable and fast.  Nothing is thrown at you, everything flows smoothly, and every feature is fun - nice little bumps to keep you rolling, nice smooth burms to slow your speed, small drops that lead out to long gentle descents.  Verderer's Trail is just mountain biking fun.

This is a contrast to the descent off Y Wal, which I would describe as fast and challenging - I often feel like I'm attacking the side of the mountain.  It's filled with adrenaline and fear and speed and curves and semi-technical challenges that keep me scared and focused and exhilarated.

Verderer's Trail does not put the fear in me, but I feel awesome at the end, rather than exhilarated.  It's a subtle difference I know - but I like both rides - but for different reasons.

It was also a really nice day to be on a bike.  It was muddy and cool but not raining.  It was my first time biking alone - three of our group went off downhilling, and three were going much faster, so I was happy to pootle along by myself.

After finishing on the Verderer's Trail I tried the Red Freeminer's Trail - about 4 miles of Red grade singletrack.  It was a good chance for me to practice cycling over roots and some of the technical skills that I'm not so good at.

It was good for learning, but not good for fun.  After finishing the Red I pushed up once more and blasted the descent of the Blue again, because it's FUN.

Someday, when I'm better, I'll be able to rip it out of the downhills at Forest of Dean. Until then, I leave it to Ben:

1 comment:

  1. Who is Dean, and why does he get to have a forest named after him?