Sunday, 20 March 2011

Moors Valley Singletrack

The word singletrack strikes fear into my very soul. I struggle staying straight and upright on a lovely spacious byway let alone weaving in and out of trees on a track that is only just wider my handlebar. However, as is customary in my general life, excitement comes before fear, so I always agree to these things and just have to deal with the consequences.

Lyndal had said there was a great little loop of singletrack at the nearby Moors Valley Country Park. I had gotten excited and agreed before I realised I have absolutely no singletrack skills, but she reassured me and promised me it was "not technical at all, just flowing and nice". I wasn't sure whether to believe her or not. However, the loop itself is only 3 miles so I figured I could bail out after one loop if it was too scary.

We headed over from Ringwood on some great, wide forest tracks. Then when we were inside the country park she pointed out a little blue sign leading into a bit of track that looked like it had been made by a small deer that had gotten lost. 

I gripped the handlebars and immediately failed to keep up with the others as I cautiously teetered along. The trail was built quite recently and whilst the ground is in good shape (i.e. free of ruts and other nasties) the people who have built the trails are definitely not mountain bikers; most of it is lined with big slabs of rock to trip over, who thought that up?! Not only that but there are some sharp bends on the course, ideal for practising those handling skills.. but almost every one is around some sort of tree so leaning into it is out of the question!

Weaving around the trees
Nonetheless, after the first lap my confidence started to build and I started to push a little harder. By the third lap I knew that I was improving because I was almost hitting more stuff (and therefore must have been going much faster) and scaring myself a bit more.

Despite the trees and the huge rocks, it's a great little trail to whizz around on and once I'd gotten used to the narrowness of the thing I found it thoroughly enjoyable.

The highlight of the day however, came as we sat down to eat some lunch. The place was packed full of families and people out for the day, enjoying the sunshine. From where we were sat we had a great viewpoint of a tiny little humpback bridge. We happily munched our sandwiches and watched countless children ride over the bridge and fall over, or fall over on the little dip just next to the bridge. It was the best lunchtime entertainment one could wish for in a country park.

As we headed off for our final loop, we decided to tackle the tiny bridge. Lyndal went first. It was as she went through that I realised how tiny it actually was, her handlebars only just squeezed through the gap and she had a minor moment of imbalance, but managed to recover nicely off the other side. I was already giggling at her little stumble as I attempted the humpback of hell. I did a much worse job than she had done, and very nearly fell off as my handlebars bumped against the sides. By this point though I was laughing so much that as I came off the bridge I was completely off balance, hit a tree and hit the deck.

Jim, who was behind me, saw the whole thing and was wetting himself. Every child in the vicinity got their revenge.

Jim showing his hardcore extreme skills

1 comment:

  1. It has to be though Egg that you come off at some stage...
    It was a great little ride and I was very impressed that I did not lose the way there!!!or back!!