Words: Gary Palmer
Pics: Kaye Mortimer Ryan
Ten brave souls gathered outside the scout hut on the old London Road just outside Wooten under edge, I get a text from Paul & Richard saying he’s stuck on the M5, after much thought I decide to say sod em they can catch us up (Paul’s idea honest)
Off we went along the road, the first off road bit is a right gnarly rocky decent but everyone made it, what a bonus. Losing troops this early in the campaign is tragic J
Weather had been good to us so the trails were riding great, nice bit of tight single track in this section, bit of ducking and weaving around and under trees
About 3 miles in we turn left down a narrow gulley, this chucks us out on to cow fields which have been well trodden to make the decent kind of interesting.
The group got separated here so we waited on the road, Lee was riding at the rear and he knows this area like the back of his hand so I wasn’t concerned, after about 5 minutes I could hear voices (result), to my surprise it was Paul and Richard, I asked them if they had seen the rest of the guys and they hadn’t, mmm what has happened me thinks.
Just about to trudge back up the hill to find them and out of the woods they appeared, Lee does know these woods like the back of his hand but he had his gloves on today and it confused him. He bought the poor blighters down the hill, didn’t recognise it so took them back up, can’t beat a bit of extra hill climbing.
Couple of miles on the road now which brings us over to the lodge at the bottom of the stinchcombe hill, to say this hill is one of my favourites would be a slight underestimating it; it’s like the north face of the Everest.
When I eventually got to the top they were all waiting there patiently, this next bit is quite nice, it’s a narrow track which follows the escarpment around the edge of stinchcombe golf club, speed is the key on this bit, keep your balance steady, if you were to come off it would make for some interesting cartwheels to the bottom. Great views here as well
After a short break we carried on around the rest of the golf club
Just past the golf clubs we turned into the woods again, there is some great single track in here, we were riding against the flow a bit, slightly up hill and we passed a few jumps, a gap jump got the better of Callum and he had to give it a go, Michaels got a great video of this death defying feat, after seeing this Callum and James got called the kids (crazy fools)
We eventually got to the top of Breakheart quarry, a quick briefing of what to expect and off we went. Big respect to the guys that have built and maintained the trails in this section, it’s spot on, tight steep switch backs with a few jumps chucked in, the only downside to it is when you get to the bottom, guess what you’ve got to get right back up to where you’ve just came from, this climb is quite technical, some great tight switch backs, a few roots and steep over the edge drops if you get it wrong, fair play everybody made it up.
We found a bench in the quarry where we sat and had a bite to eat while the kids played on the tracks, I got marked down here, when we did the recce there was a motorbike trial going on and a bunch of nice ladies were serving tea and cakes for a small donation, couldn’t believe they weren’t here this time.
Off again, the next track is quite steep and rutted, I attempted to embed myself into the clay bank on the right hand side, only to demonstrate to others that safe riding is all about taking the right line, this bought us out by the New Inn pub which on a previous ride the Perry cider was sampled and enjoyed by a few of us, to cold for sitting in pub gardens so off we went by road on a steady climb over to North Nibley, Lee and myself swapped position here, I always like to make sure everybody gets round on the hilly sections J
When we got up the hill at North Nibley there was some playing to be done, there is a small quarry at the top with some tasty drop inns, fair play to Kaye, Paul, Michael, Graham, Richard, Paul Allum, Gary L, James and once again Callum for showing us how it’s done
The kids knew some of the downhill trails here so I suggested that those that want thrills go with them and those that want to be bored with a bit of history come with me, so off we went our separate ways.
The Tyndale monument is at North Nibley, Tyndale was the guy that translated the bible into English, it really is quite impressive, luckily for us the doors to the tower were open so a few were banished to it
Things went a little bit wrong from here, I thought I told Lee to ride over to the tower to meet us and we would all ride back to the cars together, oop’s I didn’t.
After a lot of waiting for people to turn up that weren’t going to turn up we decided to head back.
Only about a mile and a half back to the car twisting and dodging big muddy patches pretending I knew where I was going after a few fallen trees had diverted me. We must have been waiting a fair while because when we got back everybody was looking spic and span and bikes away.
A big thanks to Lee for being the back marker, always adds humour to a ride and everyone else for coming, I certainly enjoyed it I hope you all did too