05/04/09: Dig for Victory

We attended a trail building session today.  It’s been something we’ve been planning to do since last year, but between my knee op and my inability to get out of bed before 7.30am, never quite managed to achieve.

Our main task was to do some maintenance on Follow the Dog, namely section 2.  Section 2 has sadly been closed for a while due to forestry works, which has taken quite a toll on quite a few parts of the trail.  Some parts had been quite heavily mashed, and today’s job was to fill in the parts that had been demolished by the logging vehicles and prepare it for resurfacing.   It felt good to give something back to the trail, we got to meet new people, and it certainly gives you an insight to how much work the Chase Trails folk put in.

It’s also slightly depressing how selfish some riders can be though – there was evidence that people had been riding the closed section, most obviously in the form of the destroyed fencing.  I mean, seriously…it’s bright orange.  It has a giant ‘No Entry’ sign on it. If a trail is closed, then it’s normally for a good reason, and riding it before it’s repaired/ready is just going to damage it further, and increase the time and effort required to bring it back to a fully sustainable, ridable state.

So seriously, if anyone even thinks about riding over the partly repaired section that I lovingly raked before it’s ready…well, I will kill you in your sleep.

Post trail building, we went to the café before going off for an afternoon ride.  Mr Toast had a rather ill-advised banquet of a bacon baguette (following the bacon and mushroom sandwich he had for breakfast), a sausage roll and a cookie.  He then went for a ride with Rob from Chase Trails, and rode trails far harder than he was expecting whilst feeling quite, quite ill.  He enjoyed it, because it pushed him outside his comfort zone (that’s the ride, not the café pork frenzy – although I think he enjoyed it at the time…).

As I’d done FtD the day before, I hit the green again.  I think either my fitness or my common sense is improving – I finished quite a bit faster than I was expecting, but I didn’t go quite as fast at the start, mainly due to the sheer number of people out walking.  Inappropriate iPod music of the day: Iron Maiden’s ‘Be Quick or be Dead’ as I climbed a hill in the granny ring.  I think Mr Dickinson would be bagging and tagging me…

I didn’t get lost this time, and ended up at the top of section 13.  Did 13, 14 and 15, and headed back to Swinnertons.  Top day all round!

And now, I shall take a moment to promote the next big build day:

Chase Trails Big Build Day – Sunday 19th April
Swinnerton Cycles Forest Centre 10am
BBQ & Refreshments Provided
Prize Draw for all volunteers including exclusive Chase Trails prizes
Tools Supplied (If you have a spade you can bring that would be good)
Bring Sturdy Footwear & Outdoor Clothes

Dig for Victory!  Chase Trails want you!  The Deer have ears!  Etc, etc

I don’t think you need to bring veg though…

Remember, the more people that help out, the better maintained the current trails will be, and the faster the new ones will be constructed. Yes, I know that’s a bit rich coming from someone who’s only been to one trail building session so far, but I live 60 miles away.  What’s your excuse?!

And besides, they have prizes.  Prizes!

Ride: Cannock

Trail: Green loop, sections 13, 14 and 15

Highlights:My awesome zen raking skills

Bad bits: Er, none really.  I need to get faster and fitter, but that’s about it.  Oooh no, wait!  Midges!  MIDGES THAT GO STRAIGHT FOR YOUR EYES!

Post ride food snaffled: Had a pre-ride cookie.

Good dogs seen:  The shar-pei and the St Bernard were out again.  There was also a HUGE bear dog thing.  I think it might have been a Pyrenean Mountain Dog. Again, it’s all a bit exotic. Lots of russells and spaniels too.

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