Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Reminder - Concerts Weekend

Just a quick reminder that the Forestry concerts are taking part on Friday and Saturday this weekend - see here for further details of car park closures and times.


Monday, 25 June 2012

"Mudhem" - Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th June

If you where there or have seen the photos from this year’s Mountain Mayhem, saying it was a little muddy is a massive understatement! The torrential rain on Thursday had saturated the clay so after the two practice sessions, it was obvious that slip sliding around in the mud was going to make the “riding” entertaining to say the least.

Camp Chase Trails was an impressive site consisting of 4 tents, our gazebo for sheltering from the rain and a caravan for refrigerating the beers and cooking the bacon butties (thanks Petra).

Muggins here was volunteered to do the first lap – don’t mention to your mates that you’ve run the odd 10k or half marathon unless you fancy taking the baton first for the “Le Mans” style start – a half mile cross country run before jumping on the bike.

Special mentions go to Abby and Lynsey for their dogged determination under extreme circumstances – on a particularly tricky section not even halfway around, Abby parted company with her bike landing on a root injuring her ribs. In considerable pain, she continued and clocked an impressive time considering she was riding one handed at times. Lynsey on the other hand was struggling in the foul conditions and the fading light. Starting around 6pm and expecting to be back before night fall, she didn’t have lights. Come 10pm and complete darkness, we were getting worried and checking with marshals, nobody knew where she was …. At just after 11pm, Lynsey rolled into the arena still in high sprits considering her ordeal. You can read her account here.

Looking forward to Sleepless in the Saddle, the conditions couldn’t be any worst ….. could they?


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Double Evilness - Trail building

As we’ve now finished work on Tackeroo (all it needs is a little settling time), we split into two teams to do a couple of “evil” jobs that have been on the cards for a while – a rock slab for the bottom of ‘Evil Slab’ and an easier bypass for ‘Evil Root’.

Weather was hit and miss again – sunshine with heavy showers …. when is summer going to start? Donning waterproofs, Bruce, Martin and Steve worked on ‘Evil Root’ while Bruce2, Dave, Liam and myself set about “blackening” the entry to the step. Whilst there, we also replanted a waymarker post and drained a few puddles.

I reckon we got the seal of approval from the RAF as an Avro Lancaster bomber flew directly over the top of us, skimming the tree tops, on its way to the Cosford Air Show …. an impressive sight!


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

No Trail Building on Sunday 24th June

Advanced warning that there’s no trail building on Sunday 24th – most of the trail crew will be riding or supporting at Mountain Mayhem, the largest and the most prestigious 24-hour mountain bike event in the world.

Chase Trails will be entering two teams of five and a solo rider – ‘The Pixies’, ‘The Trolls’ and ‘The Loner’. We had a great time last year and the plan is exactly the same this year but at least we know what we're letting ourselves in for!


Monkey Trail Diversion Update

We've had an update from the Forestry to say that the diversion on the Monkey Trail (Five Ways to the Upper Cliff climb) will be in place for another month due to the contractor having machinery problems – one of their harvesters went up in smoke so it’s doubled the time they will take to complete the felling.  

With a bit of luck, the diversion should be removed the same weekend as we open Tackeroo – a double whammy for those that ride the full trail.


Sunday, 10 June 2012

"The End is Nigh" - Trail building

This Sunday was a completely different story to last week, all lovely sunshine, blue skies and fluffy white clouds. Once again the Rollers called as we plug away at all the final fiddly detail bits that absolutely have to be done but seem to go on for ages. At least that was the idea….

However, last time we worked on the rollers, one concern had been to give riders visual cues to stay on the riding line by planting saplings on the sides. It seems daft but works nicely, so we carried on transplanting and Dave added a decorative row to the top edge of a berm - 'The Pearson Plantation'.

We were quite taken by the idea of planting aromatic herbs in the cracks in the rockwork for a soothing aromatherapy session at the conclusion of the trail … as usual, Chase Trails are pushing forward the concepts of international trail design.

On a more ordinary note, Phil and Bruce took the wacker to the top of the trail and worked their way along the whole length, flattening and consolidating the soft spots. As they went they extensively brashed the trail to discourage riders who rip up the surface by riding before it’s weathered in and means it has to be redone and opening delayed.

This begs the question - when will it be reopen? With Mountain Mayhem coming up and other organised distractions on the Chase (see other posts), the aim is to open again on 14th July subject to us being able to organise a fly past by the Royal Guards motorcycle stunt team.


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Forestry Commission Concerts - Friday 29th & Saturday 30th June

Due to the Forestry Commission Live Music Concerts, Birches Valley Visitors Centre Car Park will close early to members of the General Public on :

Friday 29th June – closes at 3.30pm
Saturday 30th June – closes at 3.30pm

The Car Park will re-open at 5.00pm for Concert Ticket Holders only. The upper car park will be closed all day on both the Friday and Saturday.

Follow the Dog and the Monkey trail will both be open as normal during this period. If you intend to be on the trail after 3pm on either Friday 29th or Saturday 30th June, alternative car parking will be available at Tackeroo Campsite.

Also from Monday 25th June to Wednesday 4th July, a large number of heavy vehicles will be using Birches Valley for Concert Site setup and take down so please take extra care during this time.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have any queries, please phone the Forestry Commission office on 01889 586593.


Sunday, 3 June 2012

This is summer? - Trail building

It had been Noah's Flood all over again and the merry quartet of trail builders became progressively less merry and considerably moist > damp > wet > saturated as the day went on. In the absence of any possibility of constructive work it seemed a good idea to see how well the sumps and drains were working on Tackeroo Rollers as this was what they were supposed to deal with.

Armed with a minimum of tools we stalked the trail and found to our satisfaction that the drainage system was doing its job rather well. The terrible weather did highlight some spots for tweaking and mainly we tweaked away there and then.

Having swum upstream to Hugh's Bridge, and only reached 'damp' on the Tackeroo sogginess scale we carried on along the trail towards Werewolf Drop, fettling ponds as we went. Once again the Chase Trails Hi-Viz cloak of invisibility worked like a charm and riders went by without a word of acknowledgment.

After draining a succession of ponds, meres, lakes and our enthusiasm, we noted the location for future sumps, and hightailed it back to The Urn for something that was wet but not cold, and then home for a hot bath. Fun in Marquis de Sade sort of way.