As we got ready it wasn't raining but once again there was light rain as we set off. However the rain had stopped when we reached the top of the long fire road climb. I entered "Sidewinder" first and immediately had wet feet from the puddles. Ignoring that; the singletrack was fun and flowy. At the far end of "Windy alley" the trail was taped off because of forestry work. It looked like someone must have removed the tape from the start? It didn't matter as being a Sunday the forestry workers were elsewhere so we continued. Because of the forestry work the fire road was boggy and very hard work up to "Easy Rider". Jamie had a puncture while we were on the fire road and as he was fixing it (with the usual words of encouragement from everyone!) the sky turned blue and the sun began steaming the water from the land!

Puncture repair stop

At the start of "Va-Va-Voom" I got ahead a little to get some photos.

Phill enjoying

On the next section Phill and I were whooping and enjoying the fast easy descent so much that we missed the turn into the short singletrack section of "The Artist". Never mind we just had to do a little bit more climbing up the fire road.

The last descent is what this trail is all about. It's the hardest and longest section. It had been a good while since I had last done it and it has changed a bit in that time. Water has taken it's toll here and there - not making the descent worse; just making it different. I'd like to say cleaned it but I can't! After the initial flowy section I was halted by those in front on the tricky technical rocky mini-climb. Then further on I totally cocked up my line over a rock and brought Robbo to a halt. Sorry.

The rest of the descent was fun. Full on concentration required and I now had enough of a feeling for the new bike to really enjoy it.

There had been talk of another lap but at the bottom everyone decided a pub stop on the way home was preferable. We had a couple of pints whilst some of the lads stayed longer for a Sunday lunch. We got home at a respectable 5pm.

A great weekend. The new bike performed well. The rider just needs some more practice! ;)

Update: the photographs from this ride are now here