Cannock Chase – 31st March

A Cannock 'Banksy' ???

To start the day, 7 deg C and drizzle……. what the hell is going on!

I was meeting a group of lads from work, a couple of experienced, a few enthusiastic newbies and a couple of trail virgins. I had no expectations of it being a fast one, so took the Carver out on decent singletrack for the first time.

It took a while to get the group going, so eventually we headed off on the Dog, the range of fitness/ability was glaringly obvious, and when we hit the Monkey/Dog split several headed right onto the dog. The majority though headed off on the Monkey. Across the railway we hit the first tough climb and the damp trail was a real challenge to find traction on. Dan one of the enthusiastic newbies cleaned it for the first time… mind you, he couldn’t talk for a few minutes when he got to the top.

We carried on round the Monkey, a bit stop, start, but we were gradually covering some ground. At the Black option three of us dropped left while the rest carried on along the red. We met up at the fireroad at the end….. apart from Dan….. No Dan, where’s he got to? Soon a group of riders appeared and asked if we were with Dan. Turned out he’d ridden the first two rocky sections OK, but had hit the third too fast and had gone over the bars. Trouble was he’d hit a tree. The riders said he was OK and walking out, but said they were impressed that he was up and walking.

When he appeared he had the look of a man that was hurting. The bars on his bike were 90 deg out, an easy fix, but he’d lost his usual Dan enthusiasm. We carried on, but he was struggling, and at the bottom of Upper Cliff climb he called it a day. He’d hit the tree side on, and everytime he was taking a breath he was getting a lot of pain… broken ribs?

We carried on and everyone got to the bottom of the two descents wearing big smiles. I had to meet up with Rob, Ben and Caroline at 1 so rode with them up Kitbag Hill (That wiped the smiles off!) then headed up to the top of Marquis Drive. At the trail/road crossing we met, just in time for the work lads to ride by. Ben suggested showing us the Midlands XC race course, very nice it was too! At the point where it crossed the Diverted Dog run in we saw the work lads again… talk about a look of suprise.

Once we got back to Tackaroo we decided to head over the Northside, crossing the road and into the car park I saw a nice ‘take off’ hump next to the path, so rode at it and jumped it…. little did I realise the otherside was a ditch….. It was a heavy landing and I came very close to knocking my front teeth out with the Carver’s stem!

We tried to follow some old trails, but the forestry work had pretty much knackered the lot. At the bottom of ‘Pebbles’ Ben and Caroline decided they’d better get back as she wanted to get a decent run in to prepare for her first triathlon of the year. Me on the Carver and Rod on his Hummingbird carried on…. a pair of 69ers…. or are they 96ers… you don’t see that very often!

A really decent ride round the Northside was followed by a final ride on the Dog, rejoining at Tackeroo.

Two sausage rolls, a Red Bull and a Hot Chocolate were post ride fayre outside the Birches Valley cafe (guess who had what 🙂 ) Then it was off, back to sort out the kit for the Cotswols ride tomorrow.

The Carver performed great, I’m very impressed…..  Odd wheels rock!

Ride – #54     Bike – Carver 96’er

Miles – 30.8     Total 2012 miles – 1200.8


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