Despite the absence of many due to the Glentress trip, we had a big turnout.
Runners and riding:
Kaff – Specialized Myka FSR
Madge – Orange Diva
Sze – Cannondale Stealth Carbon Bling
Wendy – Specialized FSR WSD
Craig – Giant XTC Singlespeed
Dangerous – Giant Reign
Duncan – Giant Anthem
FBC – Giant Anthem
Glenn – Orange Alpine 160
Jeroen – Specialized Hardrock
Pat – Specialized Stumpjumper FSR
Richard – Scott FSR
Ritchie – Orange Crush
Rob – Turner Flux
Ron – Giant Trance
Simon – On One 456 Singlespeed
Tommy – Giant XTC Singlespeed
Brian – Scott Spark 40
Mark – Boardman Team
Miles – Kona Kula Primo Singlespeed
Fiona – Specialized Stumpjumper HT WSD
Steve – Specialized Camber
After the success of Wednesdays night ride over the shortened Whipps run, it was decided that we’d go the whole hog and whiz our way down to Hollow Ponds taking in the fast flowing single track the route has to offer. Apart from a few stops to bring the group back together and a tablet stop for Tommy’s painful back, we made it down to Waterworks in good time and crossed the roundabout in preparation for the great run down to Snaresbrook Road.
Craig led off, followed by Simon, FBC and Glenn and it was quick, with the rear hub on Glenn’s new bike buzzing like a chainsaw through the corners, all the way down. From Snaresbrook car park we made the traditional foray into the gorse and tissues of Dogging Wood, flushing out a number of “participants”, who hurriedly dispersed to the sound of zipping fly’s.
We made a quick tea stop at Hollow Ponds and after Jeroen’s mystery puncture was repaired, continued our circuit of the pond and returned to Waterworks via the same trail.
After riding the short but steep climb off the roundabout we rode the quick downhill to the tunnel. Pat had come up with a cunning plan, and with a little support we set about putting it into motion. To be fair, having to ride past the scene of his intended carnage probably gave the game away a little, but nevertheless the dash up the steep climb to the reservoir did cause its usual mixture of success and failure, although everyone gave it a real good go.
Glenn further enhanced his day by bagging the prime job of arse pusher to all of those that didn’t quite make it to the top.
Back on the trail we headed back north, meeting up with Steve and Fiona at Oak Hill and then with Dangerous, who got more and more racy as the day progressed, leading us around Highams Park lake we made our way to Chingford Lane.
Jeroen’s front mech, which had definitely seen better days, snapped, and faced with an early retirement, he was saved by new rider Brian, who’s studied and ingenious application of a cable tie, saved the day. I love it when we overcome little disasters like this.
At Whitehall Road we left the trail at the stream crossing and with Simon leading this time, found our way onto another great bit of trail that had obviously had a lot of work done to it by somebody. You really don’t expect to discover new trails so close to base and in such a well used area. I’m sure we’d ridden some of it in the past, but it had all been linked together really well, eventually bringing us out at the crossing on Rangers Road.
Inevitably, now that we were back in familiar territory, lunch was high on most people’s priorities and we headed towards Bradley’s via Connaught Waters. A splinter group, the hungrier lot, took a few short cuts to beat the queue, whilst the rest of us really earned our lunch, riding Duncan’s Log, Black Dog and Bottle Dog Logs on our way up. There was a small Nature Watch moment at the top of the trail from The Hump while Simon filmed an adder that was basking in the sunshine.
With lunch on board, FBC departed for his Mum’s birthday party and we headed up to High Beech for a loo stop and water refill. We then made our way past the Conservation Centre to cross ENR at the Drop-off.
Bypassing the now inaccessible Camber, we made our way in towards Loughton Camp and the run that was for many, the highlight of the day. Glenn suggested the long trail that skirts the camp and ends up at the bridle near Loughton Brook, so off we went. On his super new 160mm armchair, the holes and roots were no doubt a doddle, but for the rest of us, well, what a laugh. Simon and I did try to follow him but on our one gear hardtails, it was a big mistake. The high pitched, Barry Gibb like scream, half way down was me by the way. I have no idea how I stayed on the bike as I rode through the big hole on the downhill. Behind me all I could hear was yelps, ooh’s and aah’s as Rob’s highly pumped suspension sent him airborne over every bump.
Thankfully, everyone eventually made it down in one piece and after a brush with the forest fuzz we made our way up to Strawberry Ponds for the next dash downhill to re-cross ENR at Fairmead Road.
Halfway through The Swamp we heard a cry of “technical” from behind us and while Richard’s resulting puncture was being fixed, Tommy, Ron, Richie, Sze, Duncan and I busied ourselves building a new log ride with the aid of a fallen tree. Not sure Dave and The Mods were too impressed when they came across it at speed later on!
Back together, we were then in Last Ten Minutes territory and after a quick meet up with Lynn and Mandy, there was then the build up to the mad dash back to the car park and a well deserved and fairly lengthy thirst quencher at the SH where Kaff, who is hard core, was quite rightly miffed at the “what goes on tour, stays on tour” rules being so outrageously broken. So, so, wrong.
A great ride in glorious weather. Nice to see Craig and FBC join us again, hope to see you again soon.