27/06/10: A call to arms

So after my spectacular Saturday performance, I decided to take Sunday easier and go biking with my friend Chris and her little girl.  I had planned to do some trail building, but I was feeling particularly sorry for myself and decided to have a lie in – plus my right arm was feeling a bit weak.  When you’re already limited to the upper-body strength of a kitten, this is quite a downgrade.  I think I could lift cake and little else…

Little Alisha had been biking with us before, but had struggled with any form of slope.  She did much better this time around, riding with much more confidence and only throwing the occasional strop, normally when I suggested that she wouldn’t get ice-cream unless she displayed a sufficent amount of ‘awesomeness’.  To be fair to  the poor child, her bike weighs more than any of my bikes, but she rose to the challenge admirably, and got to see ducklings, baby coots and… er, fairies for her trouble.  She could actually go at a fair old clip when she put her mind to it, but I decided to be cautious on the dangerous fireroad. -_-

Before setting out, Chris had bandaged up my arm as it was oozing.  I looked a bit of a sorry sight – a mashed up, bandaged arm and a scraped face.  Went into Swinnertons and looked at the helmets, as my previous one is now a bit dented. Fielded a few concerned queries about my arm, and felt a bit of a pillock explaining how it happened.  Fireroad.  Really.  Fortunately I managed a gentle pootle around the greens without doing myself any further harm!

Today I bowled into work and again had many queries about my injuries, the answers to which became increasingly ridiculous (fox attacks are on trend at the moment, by the way).  The mortified head of admin strongly suggested that I should have seen a doctor or visited A&E, and said that given my arm was oozing yellow stuff (proper medical term there) I should at the very least see a pharmacist.  So I popped out at lunch, the pharmacist took one look at said, “Doctors”.

The boss gave the go ahead to go to the doctors, expressing amazement that I hadn’t had it looked at earlier.  This slightly puzzled me – one doesn’t take up valuable NHS time for a mere flesh wound!  The nurse thought differently.  Apparently my arm is a bit infected (I like to think of it as The Monkey Clap), so I’m now dosed up on antibiotics and have a special iodine dressing.  Oh, and I also had to have a tetanus jab, and got a stern telling off for not getting it looked at sooner. :/  Hopefully I’ll be cured of the Monkey Clap soon, my arm will stop oozing and be back to its previous glory!

26/06/10: F.U.F

With the improvement in my riding over the past couple of weeks coupled with my MAGICAL KYLE STRAIT KNEEPADS I decided to have another go at the Monkey.  Given that Simply Red and Keane were hogging Birches Valley, we parked up Marquis Drive.  Incidentally, I’m still not sure how to say ‘Marquis Drive’, I tend to say ‘Markee’ as if it was French, but having been roundly mocked by my brother who threatened to cut out my heathen foreign tongue I’ve been told that the ‘proper English’ pronunciation is actually ‘Markwiss’.  Say what you see, folks!  Unless it’s tortilla or hyperbole.

Anyhoo, I digress.  Started off by heading over to Tackaroo and doing what I normally consider the end section.  Flew around grinning until I got to Werewolf Drop, where I stopped, thought about it and then carried the bike down.  Didn’t want to fall off, that would be awful!

Sections  1/2/6 were closed so I followed the diversion round to 7.  Managed everything fine, including Evil Root Number One!  Well, I say fine, I got over it then stopped abruptly – but at least I got over it and didn’t fall into the bank.  This, dear reader, is what we call progress!

I managed to get up the fireroad hill up to 8 entirely in the middle ring, which I found strangely surprising – normally if it’s a bit warm I hit granny ring a few metres up and wheeze the entire way.  I didn’t stop at the top, but carried straight onto 8 – stopped at the break as I saw there was a group of lads.  They assured me that they’d be slower, so graciously encouraged me to head on before them.  No rest for the wicked!

I’m definitely getting better at 8, remembering to keep my speed coming out of the corners, especially the ones before the jumps.  One day I might actually be able to jump them!

I headed off to the Monkey at the decision point – I love the swoopy section at the start.  Then it was onto my nemesis, the link descent!  I actually managed to ride most of it – stopped before the steps, but I honestly think that next time around I’ll manage them; they’re nowhere near as bad as I remember.  This means that either my memory is playing tricks on me (not unheard of, I remember when section 14 was on the side of a sheer cliff…) or that the Chase Trails chaps have done a bit more work on them (I know they widened them).  Managed to take all of the corners with the exception of one of the last left hand turns, but otherwise I was very pleased.

I successfully crossed both the railway crossing and the road without being hit by any large metallic objects and headed onwards.  Fluffed the start of the climb and the first switchback, but managed to do the rest of them up to the top. 

I experienced a comedy over the bars dismount on the rocks on the exit to the section before Klondike Bridge.  It was on the very last rock I think – I’m not entirely sure what happened, all I know was that I ended up a tangled heap on the fireroad with my bike stuck on top of me.  Rather tragically my first thought wasn’t about my welfare, or even that of the Professor.  No, my first thought was, “I hope to god nobody saw that”, followed by, “Got to get up before anybody sees me”.  Wiggling free of the Professor, I stood up, checked that everything was in order, and got back on the bike.  I was fine, not even a flesh wound.  So I took the bike back up to the start of the rocks and did them properly, with less face planting.  Went straight onto Klondike Bridge and it was business as usual.  Except more awesome!

There’s a few protruding roots on the Monkey – not Evil, perhaps not even Malevolent, but possibly ‘Spiteful’ or ‘Mischievous’.   Managed them fine, managed the drops, including the weird diagonal one fine – I’ve definitely gotten better in that department.  I even did the first rock descent of the Monkey without incident, although I balked at the second (“Too ‘s’ shaped!”) and the third (“It’s got a sticky outy bit!”).  After the Klondike incident, I thought it was best that I didn’t push my luck.

And so, I carried merrily on my way, happily riding any woodwork, rocks and drops that came my way.  I exited the trail, and headed up the fireroad to the next section.  The bit of fireroad I’m referring to undulates – descends steeply then rises steeply, like a giant bombhole.

“AHA!” I thought.  “Physics!  If I descend with a great amount of speed, then it’ll slingshot me up the climb, minimising the need to pedal!”

I think, dear reader, that it’s fairly evident that like Emperor Palpatine, my overconfidence was my weakness.  Or perhaps my UTTER LACK OF COMMON SENSE.  I barrelled it down the hill, and as I hit the sandy gravelly stuff near the bottom I thought, “Oh dear, this isn’t going to end well” followed swiftly by, “This could actually be quite serious, shit, I’ve got Glentress in two weeks”.

I skidded across the ground on my right hand side, bouncing my head off the floor a couple of times in the process, just for good measure.  I lay there for a minute or two thinking, “Ow, have I broken my leg?”  Eventually I gingerly sat up, wiggled my fingers and feet, then stood up, pulled the Professor to safety, and sat on the grass slightly dazed, pondering whether I should phone someone. Feeling a bit dizzy and nauseous, I decided that not moving for a while was probably the best bet.  Assessing my injuries, I realised I’d taken a chunk of skin off my right arm, and had managed to smear blood on my shorts

Two chaps went by, one nearly lost it in the same place as me, but stayed on and got halfway up the next hill.  They looked back at me and asked me if I was OK, and by that point I was actually feeling fairly coherent.  I explained what happened, and said that I was fine, just a bit dusty.

Still feeling a bit shaken, I walked up the hill, got back on the bike and descended the next bit of fireroad.  SLOWLY.  Next few sections were a bit of a daze, I remember pushing up some switchbacks because I felt rubbish and thought I might pass out if I tried to climb.  Actually, I say ‘some’, I seem to recall they went on forever, but it was OK, because there were loads of foxgloves and it was quite trippy and oooh stars!

I actually rode the next few sections fine –  bridges, drops – and thoroughly enjoyed the descents, which I managed to ride the entirety of without stopping, crashing or fluffing the corners.  Stopping briefly at Lower Cliff, I sighed as I realised I’d run out of water again.  It had been a marvellous day, it was just a shame that I was a bit broken.   Crossed the railway again and headed up Kitbag Hill, which was positively murderous.   By this point I’d overshot the rendezvous time with Mr Toast, so sent him a text message saying that I was going to be late because I’d had a little accident, but I was OK.

I arrived back at Marquis Drive to a slightly concerned Toast, who marvelled at my injuries, and swore that I wouldn’t ride alone again.

 I was attacked by foxes, clearly


After returning home and having a shower (which hurt… ), the full extent of my injuries became clear.  The final tally was:

  • Patch of skin removed from right arm near the elbow.  Two days later it’s still oozing little yellow blobs.  I don’t know if this means it’s infected, or whether this is part of the ‘healing process’.
  • Bruising around the elbow and upper right arm
  • Heavy grazing around the elbow and upper right arm
  • Bruised left palm
  • Impressive facial graze that looks a bit like a Victorian gentleman’s beard
  • One dented helmet, requiring a new one

Couldn't let the right arm have all the fun


Most flattering picture ever?

On the plus side, the Professor seems to be relatively unscathed, as do my legs, probably thanks to my MAGICAL KYLE STRAIT KNEEPADS!  If only I’d had elbow pads too.

Or common sense.

Ride: Cannock Chase

Trail: Tackaroo and sections 7 and 8 of FtD, the Monkey

Highlights:  Being awesome on the singletrack, attempting stuff I’d wimped out on before, almost 100% defeating Evil Root Number One

Bad bits:  Failing on fireroad.

Post ride food snaffled:  Er, I think I had some crisps.

Good dogs seen: I can’t remember.  How tragic is that? Q_Q

Missus Toast – Fine Until Fireroad!

Oh dear, another late update.  What did I do last week?  What have I been doing this week to keep me busy?

Well, on Saturday I brought my friend Chris to the Chase for the ladies ride.  Deciding to keep it fairly gentle, we headed around the green, joined the blue on the Heritage Trail, did section 12 of Follow the Dog and then down Tackaroo Blast.

Section 12 was an odd ‘un – it took me a few attempts to get up Evil Root Number 2, but I managed it.  My non-mountain biking friend managed to put me to shame by getting over it on her second ever attempt.

Tackaroo Blast was good fun – I’ve never been down ventured off any of the official routes.  I did wince slightly for my helmetless friend as I ducked under low hanging branches that thunked off my helmet-protected bonce, particularly as she’s quite a bit taller than me.

After we got back to the café, we had a bite to eat, wished Petra a happy birthday and then headed around the full blue route.  My friend was a little apprehensive as she had a charity run the next day, and wasn’t really used to doing off-road riding, but she managed magnificently, hammering up the hills.  She didn’t really have a huge amount of choice in this as her bike’s gearing is set up more for road riding – she doesn’t have the same range of granny-tastic gears as me. 😛  Fortunately, despite being tired and achey after the ride, she was fine the next day and completed her run easy.  Woot!

Sunday was a bit special.  I knew it was going to be a bit special after seeing a Scottie and and Minature Schnauzer before we’d even gotten out of the car.  Bumped into the full Pearson Posse ™, Jez and Andrew and decided to tag along as there’s nothing quite as inspirational as watching small girls fearlessly tackling obstacles that you’ve been mincing around for three years.  Got to section 7 and Evil Root Number One, and decided today was the day I was going to give it go.  First attempt was nearly there, front wheel over then an abrupt self-induced halt.  Second attempt…


I’d like to say that I effortlessly tackled it then carried on up around the corner, but I’d be a filthy, filthy liar.  What actually happened was I managed to get both wheels over the root, and in my surprise ploughed (or capsized briskly) into the bank.   But still… I got over the bloody thing, and I didn’t even have to mince over the left hand side!  Rest of the ride went pretty smoothly, apart from some tree hugging attempts on Evil Root Number 2 – again, I managed to get up and over, but nearly barrelled into Jez’s bike via a tree.

Floundered on Werewolf Drop – nearly psyched myself up to do it, but struggled getting my initial balance and getting my feet square on the pedals.  Part of the problem is that people tend to congregate around there, and the longer you have to wait, the worse it gets.  Needless to say, Charlotte and Jessica had already flown over it and were halfway to the next section, probably slightly bemused by my cowardice.

So, apart from Werewolf drop I have now ridden all of Follow the Dog.  Soon, my pretties!  Soon!

Ride: Cannock Chase

Trail: Green, blue, red, cheeky

Highlights:  Defeating Evil Root Number One. Andrew may have classed it as being “75% done”, but that’s good enough for me… for now!

Bad bits:  Freaking out on Werewolf Drop.

Post ride food snaffled: I can’t actually remember. Had a mid-ride bacon sandwich on the Saturday (mmm, nutrition), but think we got back too late for anything on the Sunday.

Good dogs seen: Loads!  Scotty, Schnauzer, Husky, Collie, Russells, Borders!

The following week was a heady combination of basking in victory and being slightly spaced out from insomnia.  Managed to get a reasonable night’s sleep on Tuesday, and rode into work on Wednesday – I was quite pleased to beat my previous record of 43 minutes, getting into work in 37 minutes.  I love riding into work, for the most part it’s pretty quiet and traffic free – only downside is walking into the office sweaty with helmet hair…

Really looking forward to Scotland next month, and I’m also planning a possible solo adventure to Coed Y Brenin on August Bank Holiday.

12/06/10: Goodbye, fair youth!

Saturday was the last bike ride of my twenties.  Oh my.  To bid farewell to the passing of my youth and welcome in the inexorable tide of middle-age, we ventured further afield than usual to Llandegla.

It was a lot more enjoyable this time around – the start of the red, which had previously been fairly battered by a combination of forestry operations and heavy rain, had been repaired and was fairly speedy going.  Strangely it was a lot rockier than I remembered – I think I still remember our first visit to Llandegla where everything was pretty much butter smooth.  I caught my pedal on rocks a couple of times, which means that either I need to look where I’m going more, or I need to increase the pressure in my rear shock…

Rather pleasingly the climb up gets easier each time we go there – to put it in perspective, the first time we went to Llandegla I had to stop a couple of times before we even got to the grouses, whereas this time around it was our one and only stop.  Well, you’ve got to take pictures, haven’t you?

This is my thoughtful pose...


Went around fairly speedily, and even managed to ride most of the Not Shore section – didn’t manage the start, but got on and started a bit further up and rode the rest of it.  It just requires a bit of oomph to keep momentum over the logs, but not so much that you can’t take the corners.  Exited it feeling a bit smug, and fairly confident that I’m close to doing the entire thing.

There are things I love about Llandegla, I things that niggle me slightly.  I love the feeling of speed you can get there, swooping through the forest, around berms and over rollery jump type things.  So many of the sections are fast and flowy fun.  However, there’s a good chunk of downhill fireroad, which seems a waste after all of the climbing, and we somehow managed to completely lose the end of the red route somewhere around the pump track, and ended up getting back to the cafe via the car park. :/  It seems a bit churlish to complain about such issues though, especially when the trailbuilders have obviously put in a lot of work fixing the start back up, and adding a pump track and skills loop, and the rest of it is such good fun.

I ran out of energy towards the end of the afternoon slightly, due to having only eaten Weetabix and half a bacon sandwich.  I did try and have a flapjack before setting out, but the ones in the cafe contained stealth banana, therefore rendering them inedible, on the grounds that banana is the fruit of Satan.  Mr Toast ate it though.

After a swift cup of tea and some Jaffa Cakes, we headed up to the skills loop.  There were a few kids there with AWESOME SKILLS, who seemed rather bemused by the height of our saddles.  Whilst they fearlessly threw themselves over the skills course at great speed, I gingerly approached the drops section.

The skills course is graded in the same manner as a lot of freeride and downhill courses, with a system of three dots.  One dot is easy, two is harder, three is hardest.  Naturally, being a massive pansy, I approached the one-dot drops with a sense of trepidation.  But they were actually quite easy – I think some of the stuff on the Monkey has toughened me up a little.  After a bit of gentle encouragement from Mr Toast, I took the two-dot drops as well – which truth be told, didn’t seem that much bigger than the last drop of the one-dot drops.  I didn’t try the three-dot drops though, they didn’t really look overly rollable!:P

The berms section was easy to ride, both one and three-dot sections.  I guess the actual difficulty arises from riding them lightning fast.  I dropped the saddle for the jumps (one-dot) – I’m still incapable of jumping intentionally – probably because I’m trying to jump and not jump at the same time.

Anyhoo, I predict that I meekness will recede slightly as my Kyle Strait knee armour has now arrived, which will increase my skill levels by four hundred and eleventy percent.  Undoubtedly.

 That's a very, very green bike...

Ride: Llandegla

Trail: Red route and skills loop

Highlights:  Fast flowy singletrack.  Doing the TWO DOT drops.

Bad bits:  Trying to pagger it up a hill and knackering myself for the rest of the trail

Post ride food snaffled: Jaffa cakes and a cup of tea

Good dogs seen: A friendly trail labrador, and… a chihuaha


05 – 06/06/10: Ball ache

Did two days at the Chase at the weekend.  Saturday was glorious – beautiful blue skies and sunshine.  Did a lap in just over an hour (1 hour 5 minutes, to be exact) – I was going fairly speedy on the trail, but I found the warmth, although very welcome, to be a bit draining.  I took a fair few breaks at the end of certain sections, especially when there were already riders congregated there.  Rode everything with no trouble with the exception of the Evil Roots and the Werewolf Drop – I think I need to be in the presence of small children to shame me into it…

To be fair, the Werewolf Drop genuinely doesn’t look too bad from the bottom.  It doesn’t really look any steeper than the exit to 8.  I think that the main thing that worries me about it is the turn – if it went in a straight line ahead like the exit to 8, I’d probably ride it.  But then again, it took me two years before I’d ride the exit to 8 on a regular basis.  Ho hum.  I don’t think my confidence is helped much watching other riders go down it – so many skip it, a lot come down it in a wobbly fashion and struggle to take the turn, or get their wheel wedged between the rock and the tree… given my innate belief that I’m possibly the worst rider on the trail, I can’t help but feel that if they struggle then I’m doomed to painful failure.

Got back in time for a rounders match and barbecue.  I’m not sure, but I’m fairly certain our team (go Team Charlotte!) beat the other team eleventy hundred to three.   The match was somewhat hampered by the fact that nobody knew or could remember the rules of rounders, and that nobody on either team could catch.  Or throw.  Alex reflected that the reason most people became mountain bikers was because they were rubbish at team based sports featuring balls…

After  Team Charlotte’s glorious victory, it was time for a barbecue.  After nomming through a variety of meat and an obscene (but delicious) amount of cake, Mr Toast and I eventually decided to go on a second lap.  To our credit, we managed the first few seconds before deciding we were too sausage filled to manage the fireroad hill, and elected to go home.

On Sunday we decided to hit the trails again – we still had a lot of barbecue and cake to work off (note: despite what certain Forestry officials may say, barbecued cakes don’t work…)!  Bizarrely, the trails were transformed – it had evidentally been raining heavily Saturday night, so there were puddles!  Puddles!

I’m not sure what happens to me when the trails are a bit damp.  I find them so much harder to ride, my confidence drops right down – I don’t know if it’s because I’m going more cautiously, which in turn amplifies every little bump and slid which I’d ignore (or wouldn’t happen) if I was going faster.  I don’t know whether I’d benefit from changing the tyres – tempted to go for some Minions or High Rollers.  Or maybe I’m just solar powered, and don’t fare as well when the weather’s poor.

Nearly had a comedy off on the Stegosaurus, coming off the last rock onto the bridge.  Took it a bit wide, nearly went off to the right, panicked and nearly went over the handlebars.  Some part of my bike smacked into my knee, making me wish my MBR subscription knee pads would arrive.  Feeling a bit wonky, I gave the rocks and the boardwalk on 7 a miss, despite riding them twice the day before.  My cowadice is fuelled by precipitation. 🙁

Second lap I went around with Mr Toast – we did the first few sections, then went up the Heritage trail to take the Tackaroo sections.  And it was awesome… sproingy, sproingy deer.  I blame the braking bumps on Bambi…

Oh, and the saga of Mr Toast’s Mojo has now drawn to a happy close.  A quick recap:

  • Husband buys second hand Mojo
  • Husband loves Mojo
  • Husband spots crack on Mojo – having cracked his carbon Zaskar in the same place, he’s concerned
  • Not knowing whether it’s cosmetic or serious, husband posts on MTBR forum.  Hans Heim, partner at Ibis, responded quick-sharp and said to send it back for warranty
  • Husband is grateful, sends Mojo off to the US
  • Epic disappointment as Parcelforce and Fedex struggle to get the bike out of the country.  Guaranteed next day delivery takes over a week
  • Turned out the crack was just cosmetic though, but a replacement front triangle is offered for a discount.  Not bad considering husband is the second owner, and the bike is out of warranty
  • Customs hold the bike for aaaaages.  Incidentally, customs also lost my Stroopwaffels sent by a friend.  Curse you, customs!
  • Eventually… the Mojo arrives.  Hans has given Mr Toast a very special treat…


Mr Toast mentioned in one of his email to Hans that if he’d been the original owner, he would have got it in green.  So Hans sent him a completely green bike – new front triange, refurbished rear triangle, new bearings, new linkages.  Look at it – JUST LOOK AT IT!  Trust me, the photos don’t do it justice.  Awesome, awesome customer service from Ibis – wish more companies were like them.

The plan is to go off to Llandegla tomorrow, taking the Mojo on his maiden voyage.   Well, maiden-ish – frame’s new, the rest isn’t.  As far as I know… 😛

Ride: Cannock Chase

Trail: Follow the Dog, and some more Follow the Dog

Highlights:  Rounders and barbecue.  And cake.  Lots of cake.

Bad bits:  Being a bit skitty in the wet

Post ride food snaffled: Can’t even begin to list the naughtiness…

Good dogs seen:  Mainly Jack Russells….

31/05/10: “More of a dog person”

You may have noticed that I didn’t post an update for last weekend.  You may have assumed that was because I didn’t ride… but you’d be wrong.  Alas, the true reason was the ride of the 22nd May was… not pleasant.  In fact, it could roughly be summarised by this graph:



I fell off quite a bit.  I actually managed to fall uphill.  I completely lost my confidence, even struggling on sections of FtD.  At one point, I wondered why the hell I was even riding a bike, as I obviously hated it.  I did manage to do most of M8 with a huge grin on my face, which was quickly wiped off as I lost it on the last sandy corner.  Meh!  Meh, I say!  To add insult to the now mounting number of injuries, there weren’t even any dogs.  None.  Not even rubbish ones.

But that was last week, and we will not speak of it!

Yesterday, on the other hand, was face-meltingly awesome.  Given that I’m really struggling to enjoy the Monkey as it’s a bit above my skill level at the moment, I decided to stick to the Dog.  It’s a bit of a conundrum – I want to be a technically better rider, and I know the only way I’ll achieve that is by riding stuff that will push me.  But I don’t want to come back from a day in the woods covered in cuts, bruises and grazes, and thoroughly miserable.   For now though, I’m happy to be happy, personal improvement be damned!

The ride threatened to be a non-starter, as Mr Toast noticed an alarming amount of play in the rear wheel.  A few minutes of fiddling got it into a rideable state, and after assurances that it wasn’t likely to explode I set off down FtD.  Managed to bottle it on the exit of section 2 again, and was a bit wobbly on the Stegosaur, but it was all good. It was a bit frustrating – how come I can ride this:


But not this:

Resurfacing on 6 has made the short climb a bit easier, especially given that Anti-social Pipe (well, it’s not exactly Evil standard) has now been covered.  Got to 7 and bottled the crazy paving leading up to the boardwalk and took the chicken run – I did it last week, but the step up seemed a bit more pronounced this week.

Rode everything else fine – seemed to fly around compared to last week, and absolutely loved every minute of it.  Rode 8 with a lot more speed and confidence, although I imagine my facial expression is still a bit ‘special’ on the exit.  The remaining sections were also fast, especially over the road on the new ending!  By Odin’s Beard, you can get up some speed on those sections!  Apart from Werewolf drop which I still walk down…*cough*  The descents are smooth and flowing, I can pop down the drops before the rollers without batting an eye, and I can even do the switchbacks.  I got back to Birches Valley a very happy bunny indeed, which was a relief.

After a quick mooch around Swinnertons, I set off for a second lap.  I was slightly bemused as I stood at the entrance to the first section – a chap, walking a small dog, was also with his two small daughters who were on bikes.  The youngest had stabilisers.  I waited for them to pass, but the littlest one set off down Follow the Dog.  I expected her dad to go and retrieve her, but instead he encouraged the other daughter to follow, and set off after them.  I heard a scream, then set off myself – they’d managed to get to the first corner.  Fortunately they pulled over, and I managed to overtake them.  A minute or two later, there was an entire walking party – about 8 adults, and a few kids on shoulders, looking slightly miffed at the passing bikers.

Rode the end of section 2 without hesitation, much to my relief – looks like I just needed to get my confidence back up.  Rode the Stegosaur a bit more elegantly second time around, and also managed the rocks before the boardwalk using my patented technique of ramming into it with as much gusto as possible and hoping that suspension will make up for lack of ability.  It worked!  Might have to try it on Evil Root Number One sometime…

I was a bit worried about time as I’d said I’d meet Mr Toast at half four, so I decided to go up past section 13 (RIP) and just do the end sections.  I didn’t manage this, as I became… distracted.

Ignore the bike.  Yes, that’s right, the Professor is glorious, but LOOK BEHIND HIM!  GEESE!  GOOSEY GEESE!!!!


 Baby geese!  Goslings!  A big pile of them!  GOOSESTEPPING!



Ride: Cannock Chase

Trail: Follow the Dog, and some more Follow the Dog

Highlights:  Everything!

Bad bits:  Nothing!

Post ride food snaffled: Tea and some sort of slice of chocolatey… stuff.  Gets points for the choccie and biscuity stuff, loses points for the stealth sultanas.

Good dogs seen:  Loads – a husky, lots of Russells, and an immaculately groomed King Charles Spaniel.  Normally I’m not a fan of them, but this one looked EXACTLY like some sort of Japanese anime character.