Cannock Chase in the Sun – 23rd May

An early start saw me heading out of Birches Valley car park at 7.45. It may have been chilly in the trees, but in the sun it was already warm and within 15 minutes the arm warmers were heading into the backpack.

I had the place to myself, the first rider I saw was at 10.35.

The route was basically the Monkey Trail, with a double lap at the split point, a double on the Cliff descents, a bit of off piste exploring and a partial lap (I took a wrong turn) of the Midlands XC course that starts and finishes at Tackeroo campsite.

The trails were really dry, with even the boggy sections of the XC course dry.

The Muk rode superb, I’d kept the Larry/Endomorph tyre combination and it worked really well on the polished stones that make up most of the Cannock trails. It climbs like no other bike I’ve ridden, get in the lowest gear, stay seated and it’ll just keep driving forward up ridiculously steep gradients (stand up and you’ll spin the rear)

The Blackspire 808 bars however were a bit of a liability. They’re just so wide. I was regularly clipping trees! I’m going to put some narrower ones on for this coming weekend as the Erlestoke course has some really tight and twisty wooded sections.

Don’t worry the mega wide bars will be back after the weekend.

One issue I had was braking bumps, OK, the Muk is a rigid bike (no suspension) so I’d expect to get bounced round a bit. But at some corners the Muk started to almost pogo! It was almost like the ruts were hitting the natural bounce frequency of the tyres. Cornering while bouncing is an interesting but slightly unnerving experience!

But overall the Muk handled Cannock brilliantly, the pogo thing being far outweighed by the amount of extra grip you get. It’ll be going back for sure……..

I can’t wait to get it to the Forest of Dean,  and the Verderers Trail!

Ride – #86     Bike – ’12 Salsa Mukluk

Miles – 20.2     Total 2012 miles – 1805.2

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