Things didn't get off to a good start for me when I got my bike out of the car to find the front tyre was flat! I was back on the hard tail for the first time in a while and had fitted some new tyres. I've been a long term tubeless user but have always used proper UST tyres however some bargain prices had tempted me to try some "tubeless ready" tyres. The tyres had been fitted, with sealant, for a few weeks but hadn't been ridden. During this time (in the shed) the back tyre had kept going down but the front had stayed up. An hour and a quarter in the car and the back one was still up but the front one had now gone down?! Hmmmm... they were also a pain to get seated in the first place. So far I'm not that impressed with the "half way house" tyres.

Once the tyre was pumped up my bad luck continued as I rode through some dog sh*t whilst getting a parking ticket! Bloody irresponsible dog owners really get my goat! Luckily Mick and Adam were late (there's a surprise!) so I had plenty of time to de-poo with a stick!

Things were much better once we started pedalling. The trails were damp but not too bad and once I got dialled into the slightly slippy pebbled surface I soon began enjoying it. It was pretty busy as you would expect on a bank holiday but we never got held up at all.

The first few sections were dispatched and then I decided to avoid the fire road climb by doing the singletrack climb to it's left. This is natural and so was pretty muddy. I could hear some words of dissent behind me as I led. I soon noticed it was now Adam behind me and not Mick as it was when we started. He had tilted and headed for the fire road. His tyres were rubbish in the mud. My new tyres (Dirty Dans) were good in the mud and I was chuffed to clean the trail.

The descent down to the railway crossing had everyone smiling and once we were across the railway and road the excellent Monkey Trail kept the smiles on our faces. We didn't need to hang about much at re-grouping points as everyone was keeping up a similar pace and we timed our entrances to sections so that we would hopefully not get held up by other riders. It all worked well. Mick and I did all the optional black graded sections with the others sticking to the red. The black sections certainly require concentration and we were both very happy to clean them all.

The last section of Follow the Dog was still closed for repair but everything else was open and we got back to the car park after about two and a half hours. Everyone had really enjoyed the ride and we headed off for a pint on the way home.