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
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.