It’d been too long since we’d snuck out of the office together, so this week we loaded up the van and pegged it to the Forest of Dean for some primo bike time.
The morning was all about the XC, and thanks to a stonking dry and bright day the FODCA trail was in top shape for a good thrashing.
While Kim and I took things at a more leisurely pace, the lads hooned off whooping and yelling as the battle of the egos kicked off.
Carl managed a spectacular off just minutes in by heading down a rooty bit of steep slope, spurred on by the confident attacks of Weaver and Doddy, who were on much bigger bikes. Carlos is a man of no fear but he’s not quite at the same level as those two nutters and did one in style! But with no harm done he was soon back on it.
The bone dry weather meant there was no sticking in the mud and the guys flowed over the roots with ease, finding a few nice jumps to fly over. Doddy had insisted on taking only one bike – his big Intense, but he still hauled ass up the climbs with barely a moan.
OK, that was a lie.
After a couple of hours we needed a break so we retired to the carpark by the cycle centre for some well earned sarnies, and fizzy caffeine.
We split things up in the avo. After all pushing up to the top of the downhill area, Ric, Jamer, Doddy, Weaver, Spoy and Carl hit the big stuff, while Kim and I veered off in a more XC direction to tackle the flowing lines that wind down the side of the valley.
There were a couple of hairy off camber moments, but also the best riding of our day, as we screamed down a straight as an arrow bit of rocky singletrack with amazing views. We were out of the woods for once, under a bright blue sky and with the trees turning to autumnal gold for miles around. I was buzzing off it so much I had to stop and calm down a bit at one point – adrenaline overload!
We dropped back down to the car park and caught our breath and some of the last rays of the day outside the Cycle Centre, while we waited for the boys, who were getting serious in the woods. Here’s Ric with his lowdown on the downhill games…
“The morning may have been for XC riding but the afternoon was all about the big bikes. I’ve always loved riding in FOD as the push ups are pretty easy and there are tracks hidden all over the place.
"We got things under-way by sessioning a mint little section at the very top with loads of berms, rollers and kickers. Run after run was rattled out until Collins Boy started shaming all of us on his XC bike and ‘Cannonball’ Carl Milligan had a few offs.
"Squadron Leader Weaver took to the front then as we hit a mint off camber track right down to a huge step-up jump. It was high-fives all-round as Jamer and I landed it clean and Weaves was pulling it super-pinned every run.
"Mention of the day should go to Spoy however who managed to land his Cannondale so sideways that a massive cloud of tyre sealant puffed up. This was getting silly so we called it a day and went back to the van for Red Bull and cake.”
Roll on the next one!