An Imperial Progress to Cannock Chase

31 05 2011

Steep climb demon and long-standing Muddy@rser Ming (aka Mick) heads to Cannock Chase for a spin round the trails.. Seems like its the place to go for Muddy@rsers right now 🙂

Ming writes:

“Whilst on a course with work I was located in Derby and I had the opportunity to sample the two Red graded trails at nearby Cannock Chase.

The ride starts at a well equipped trail head run by the FC (£3 parking all day) with clean loo’s, a café and a cycle shop (trail centre prices unfortunately).  As you leave the trail head you pass under a Go Ape high wire facility and head out into Cannock Forest.  The first trail is called “Follow the Dog” and this is 7 miles in length; about halfway round you have an option to extend the ride by another 8 miles or so and go down the “Monkey” trail which has some optional black sections.

The well signed Follow the Dog is mainly singletrack; runs in and out of the tree’s and has some lovely small jumps and twisty sections.  Unfortunately most of the berms on the first half are beginning to suffer from some bad braking bumps though judging by the piles of aggregate by the side of the trail, remedial works look to be planned.  In amongst the singletrack are the odd slabby rock section and wide wooden boarded sections with the occasional log ride.  This keeps the ride interesting and tests a lot of skill areas.  I particularly found the narrow logs a test and also the jump landing onto the ramp of another jump sections led to a few comedy moments.  The fire road sections are short and climb to allow the next wiggly down bit.

Crossing into the well sign posted Monkey trail you go over a railway crossing and a busy road (careful kiddies) and the ride changes with many zigzag climbs up the small steep hills.  The singletrack drops get a bit steeper and drops and jumps crop up more, a couple of miles into the Monkey you hit the first optional black section which rattles down the hill more directly and has some biggish step offs and rocky sections, some of which are a bit tricky and resulted in a delicate bits top tube interface on one occasion when I wasn’t carrying enough speed!

The black run soon merges with the red and a relentless series of zigzag climbs and drops continues for miles with forested sections and harvested woodland sections mixing up the singletrack flavour.  The open sections catch the wind and this adds to the fun on the fast descents, especially as the drop off the edge was very steep in places.

The final bit of the trail back down to the road and railway features another black run with a couple of steep blocky rock garden sections that I have to say I bottled (not good missing out on a course at work with a broken wrist or ankle MTB’ing).  The red diversion around these sections is fast but as with most of the trail the berms are a bit tired and filled with braking bumps.

Crossing the road and railway leads to a fire road climb and back onto the Follow the Dog trail.  Here some of the trail is shut for maintenance with fire road diversions and you pass through a caravan site towards the end of the route.  The trail is less extreme and more sinuous singletrack than the previous 8 miles but still good fun with the odd rocky and small woodwork sections.  The final run back to the trailhead is rather eroded in places and features a killer set of rollers right at the end just to catch out the tired and or cocky.

Doing both trails it’s 15 miles and 550 metres of climbing with a relentless feel to the ride.  Dropping or climbing continuously in a seemingly never ending cycle of saw-tooth hills.

Grip levels are on the whole good, with the trail composed mainly of a red sandstone hard-pack filled with small pebbles and cobbles.  There is the odd root to catch you out (ahem) and some of the braking bumps and berms are filled with pebble and cobble washout in places leading to some slidey bits but they are easily visible.

When it gets wet the grip is still there, just a bit tricky with some of the larger cobbles kicking the wheels off line.  The mud is very, very gritty though and you can feel and hear your pads and drive-train disappearing underneath you.

Cannock also has some short DH tracks but I decided against investigating these due to time constraints and injury risks.

It’s a long drive to Cannock, approx 4hours and you can ride both trails in 2 hours so you could make a long day of it but maybe it would be better to insert it into a long drive to North Wales or Alex Salmondland breaking the journey up into two days. “




One response

2 06 2011

Thursday 9th of june 5.30pm MTB demo ride evening with lots of nice bikes to try and a BBQ laid on so hopefully a nice evening in the forest riding and chatting.

Meet at Cuckmere Cycle Company near Exceat for an evening of riding the mountain bikes below:

Rocky Mountain Element 70 – 19″
Rocky Mountain Altitude 50 – 19″
Rocky Mountain Slayer 70 – 19″
Trek Fuel EX 9 – 18.5″ –
Trek Fuel EX 8 WSD 17.5″
Trek Top Fuel 8 WSD – 15.5″
Trek Remedy 9.8 – 19″
Trek Superfly Elite – 19″
Trek Superfly 100 – 19″ – available to buy ex-demo
Gary Fisher Roscoe – 17.5″ – available to buy ex-demo
Sunn Radical DH – Short
Mondraker Factor R – Large
Mondraker Foxy R – Large
Mondraker Foxy RR – Large
Mondraker Duen R – Large
MSC (hopefully)
maybe more to come……

There is free car parking available for several cars but even better if you ride over tbh.
We’ll be putting together a nice 20/30 minute loop to get a feel for each bike so you can each try 3 or 4 models you fancy.

Sorry couldnt find how to post it up on the front page if someone could do that for me it would be awesome

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