Deep Haze, Off-Piste.

Midweek ride or midweek booze up…?

I had a vague plan of where to go… All of us have lived round here for years, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not anything new under the sun (or the moon, for a night ride). My vague plan was essentially plaited out of snot after doing a bit of Strava stalking of other peoples local rides, and it entailed going a little out of our comfort zone for the evening. It entailed hills. And it would probably entail taking the bikes for a ramble. And it would almost definitely entail getting moaned at and shouted at by my fellow FBBC’ers. The trails viability would lie somewhere in the grey area of being whats know as ‘cheeky’, but at the same time, we’re all responsible grown ups and we aren’t about to mow down any parties of orphans out on a day trip or to do any wanton damage to the surroundings…  And anyways, even after all these years, im still seeking the ‘golden trail’ and when that means bits of trail that are super techy, steep and steppy, and not really designed to ride bikes on, you sometimes do have to push the boundarys a little… Is that really such a bad thing?

So i sort of thought i might have maybe known where we might find some new trails… A couple of us had been exploring the other week (and reliving many hours of our very happily misspent youth), so after a bit of map surfing i reckoned there might be a way of linking some bits of trail together in some new ways. Well, i was partially right. Yes, stuff did link up, but also it entailed a LOT of stumbling round the edges of fields (made worse as i forgot the hip flask), until we found the right path (kudos to steveo and his sense of direction). But once we were on it… In the words of Flavour Flav, ‘YEEEEEEEAAAAH BOI!!’.  Steps for days! Trail so tech you couldnt be sure if you could make it for the next few metres, let alone clear the lot… I know one of our riders succumbed to a broken ballsack, but others were lucky to either make it through, up, over and along without so much injury, either by utilising the modern medium of the dropper post, or the more oldschool method of getting off and walking. It was the highlight of my ride tbh, had to fight for every inch of that trail to make it down with minimal dabbing or sustaining personal injury, a real challenge! Hopefully i’ll be able to persuade the FBBC’ers to return, despite the massive hills and severe risk of personal injury… I think the tamer stuff over Cheddleton way that we got to later may suffice to tempt them. Some nice trails up there too, despite only being short. Sort of reminds us of how Hanchurch Woods used to be before they cut it all down.

So that was the riding, what about the beer? Well, we called in at The Hollybush at Denford on the way back (variously known as ‘the smelly dog pub’ or ‘the ship’, dont ask me how or why). Unfortunately, no chips this week as we arrived too late, but still some excellent ales, among them ‘Four Leaf’ a tasty, almost chocolatey brew, and ‘Flummery’ which was an IPA in the style of Titanics plum porter (sorry, but i can’t remember the brewerys for some reason…Ahem!). A proper good end to a proper good ride out. As for the vital statistics of the ride, well. Theres no pictures as it was dark and not even worth getting the phone out to try and take any snaps, and  i’ve no idea how far we went due to not taking my garmin. But one free beverage was consumed, and a massive amount of trail smiles were had. Makes it a mid-week winner in my book!




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