Archive for March, 2012

It’s the end of March and we’ve just experienced yet another week of glorious sunshine. What’s going on?

Once again we took advantage of Summery conditions and headed for the hills, our destination this week being the rough descent from the top of the Burma Road.

This weeks team were Fraser, Ben, Andy, John, Rob, Iona, Paul, Iain, Dawid and me (David)

People Get Ready

We were keen to get away promptly to make the most of the light, but of course things happened and we didn’t manage away until 6.30 Dawid also managed to lose us after less than 2 minutes riding, which has to be a record…

So… upwards and onwards… the Burma Road climb never gets any easier does it? Actually tonight it didn’t seem to take long as I was chatting with folk all the way up – including Paul from Cycletherapy on his first Wednesday ride in many’s a year.

We hung around just a touch too long at the top (getting chilly now) and set of through the gloaming. The track down to Balinluig has always been very braided at the top, not very pretty, but the infinity of line choices does make it interesting to ride.

Group near the top of the Burma Road

It’s a shame the fast grassy section that follows has become so cut up; most of the nice wee drops have been skidded through, leaving axle deep ruts. C’mon folks, if you’re going to venture out into the hills on your pushbikes, please learn to ride them properly first! Fraser, who certainly can ride a bike, was the victim of a hidden hole which a Black Sheep 36er might just have made it through! Witnesses say they have never seen anyone loop over the bars quite so fast…

The ruts claim a victim

The lower track is steep, rocky billy-goat path, with a drop to the stream below to add excitement. This bit of path (almost) always has water running down it, but bikes don’t seem to have had much of an impact here.

It was getting pretty dark by this point, but Paul hadn’t brought lights (rather optimistic about our ride time) and it would have been wrong to interrupt the flow of the descent so Andy, Paul and I kept on into the gloom.

Moonlander descending

We stopped at the gate above Balinluig Farm to regroup, then set off on somewhat gentler tracks for Lynwilg and the most dangerous part of the whole trip, the road back to Aviemore.

Now all we need are some papadums

We stopped off at the Old Bridge Inn for some refreshments, and some excellent roast potatoes, possibly the finest post-ride snack imaginable. Thank you!


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Magical March

This really has been the most amazing winter for off road bicycle riding. Trails are dry, dusty even, wind hasn’t been too bad, and there are no midges!

Last Wednesday (14th) we set of from Lagganlia seeking sweet singletrack. Trail pixies have been out clearing  fallen trees from many of the tracks, unfortunately not the route we chose to get to the top of Creag Dubh. The windblown trees covered every junction, and we ended up following forwerder tracks that led nowhere. We got so lost!! All that floundering around was forgotten on the whooptastic ‘Green Dream’ – is it possible to ride this trail without grinning like a maniac?

What should have been a relatively gentle meander back to Lagganlia was somewhat spoiled by an entire avenue of fallen sitka spruce trees, and we ended up bushwhacking again, grrr…

Never mind, off to the Suie Hotel for fine Cairngorm Beer and the usual 40 packets of crisps, and planning the following week’s ride which proved to be an entirely different beast.

So, a night ride on Cairngorm? Why not, let’s do it!

Glenmore Lodge was the base for our adventure, and we managed to resist the urge to play on their skills course (and the £10 ride and meal deal)

The Allt Mor trail is fun to cycle up, apart from the steep pushy bits and the anti-bike obstacles. If only there was a more bike-friendly way back down; hopefully this will happen in the not too distant future.

The sky was perfectly clear, and it was magical to see first Jupiter and Venus, then the brighter stars appearing. By the time we reached the top, it seemed every single star visible to the naked eye was out. Here’s Orion appearing to the right of the Goat Track (and Fraser’s forks)

Coire an t’Sneachda (Corrie of the Snows) isn’t living up to it’s name; there’s no way we could have done this ride until at least May in the last three years. Although it’s fairly accessable (especially from Cairngorm Car Park if you want to cheat) this isn’t a route to undertake lightly; there’s a lot of opportunities to hurt yourself and despite the fine weather it was pretty chilly up there.

So, not wanting to hang about to much, we set of back down to Glenmore. It’s an awesome descent. Sometimes trails feel easier at night, I think it’s because you just focus on where your lights are pointing (really?) and there’s no distraction. Well, tonight some sections I’d normally ride were frankly terrifying. Can I really ride down that? Not tonight. Fraser and Andy of course rode everything; Fraser on his first visit too…

Safely back down at Glenmore, we headed to the Lochain bar for afters, and forgot to plan next weeks ride. Should have time to dust my bike before then!

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The last 2 rides

It has been a little while since we have updated our blog and a few Wednesday night rides have taken place. The weather has been pretty good while we have been out on the rides but a little windy in the open.

Last week we rode out along the old logging way to Badaguish, it was a good turn out for a cold winters evening with seven of us in total and a wide variety of bikes from a single speed rigid 29’er to 6″ travel full sus bikes.

We pedaled round the flowing singletrack of Badaguish which was in really good condition with only a couple of muddy sections to goosh through. Everyone re-grouped at the bottom of the Canadian trail to the sound of howling huskies from the nearby sled dog centre. We then raced back down the old logging way to the Old Bridge Inn for a nice cold beer and a  few bags of crisps.

Last Wednesday it pretty much snowed all afternoon which may have put a few people off heading off into the hills but as we left the shop it cleared up a bit.

Just three of us this week, winter Wednesday night regular Oli and Joe Barnes who was taking a break from building the mountain bike section of the Red Bull 50/50 race course which takes place on Saturday up Cairngorm mountain.

We decided just to head up High Burnside as the trails are pretty interesting up there with some fresh snow on them.

The ride went up the usual fire road and singletrack climb past the sheep skull which was very slippery towards the top and up to the trails which are skiers right of the rock slabs.

Oli and Joe in the snow

The three of rode some corners for a while on a new trail that is under construction up there and then slid and drifted our way down to the lower fire road through all the fresh snow. From there we headed up to Ed’s trail with the big swooping berms and the wooden North shore style bridges which we managed to slither our way across in the snow and made it over the streams and slippery rocks at the bottom without incident. We then all headed off to get some food from Costcutter as it was getting pretty late and were all fairly hungry.

Hopefully we will see you next Wednesday.

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