Well I had all intentions first thing this morning to go straight to the quantocks and spend a few hours exploring. Well I got to holford for just after 7am in the pitch black, I had no idea where to park so I felt rather out of place in this picturesque Somerset village as I drive around in the dark in my van.
Sod it I’ll take the easy option and abort the quantocks and visit Haldon Forest park near Exeter. I head straight down there and get there just after half 8. Pay for parking and get kit on to do a few laps of the red (challenge) trail. I visited Haldon previously in the summer with friends so I knew the layout and thought it’d be nice to make the most of it. I set off through the first section, this across a flat section to a fire road which you cross and things then start to get a bit more gravity assisted and fun! I was surprised how dry these parts were, just a few isolated puddles, this is great glad I came here. I reach the next fire road break, there’s a diversion in place due to issues caused by the recent wet weather and winds, I follow the diversions and it then sends me down a double track path which is incredibly sloppy sticky mud offering very little grip, I gently roll down feathering the brakes as I see the next diversion sign taking me back on to the normal red line. I follow this for the rest of the run and return to the car park. That was only half an hour, let’s do another loop.
By this time more people are out on the trail, I get to the diversion and it’s a real mess. Hmm this is really taking the edge off the fun. I continue anyway and finish a second loop. I’ve covered the grand total of 8.7 miles although that does include 2000ft of climbing.
I’d had enough by then. Riding the exact same trail is fine but the diversion is only getting worse the more it’s ridden. I pack my bike back in the van, chuck some normal clothes back on and begin heading back up the motorway trying to decide what to do. Sod it I’ll head back to the quantocks but this time coming from the south I decide to head to Triscombe, known for a DH race held there I think it’ll be ok for a start point. I had told my wife I’d be home by 2 expecting to only be at one venue!
I arrive at Triscombe after winding up a very narrow bumpy road to see about half a dozen cars/vans. Great sure I’ll find something. Time was getting on it was now 11:30, I quickly changed back into my shorts and got the bike out, I see a group of riders on rather heavy Duty DH bikes.. Hmm this could get interesting. I ask them for some advice, they’re sessioning a line off to the left at a fair lick of pace! They suggest following the fire road and then just choose a line and give it a go explaining they all lead down to the house at the bottom or back to the fire road so you just head up to come back round. Well I’ve got about an hour to kill so I go for a little loop around. Only a poultry 10mile loop but 1500ft down and back up! Lots of stuff that I feel really out of my depth with going down, really loose lots of reasonably sized rocks to ping you off course but despite these minor inconveniences it was still a lot of fun. I got back to the van at just after 12:30 and decide to call it a day making sure I stick to my promised 2pm return home.
All in all it was a good if rather hectic day. A grand total of 18miles and 3500ft of climbing on the bronson. I could of quite easily done more but it was fun and that what counts!
Next step is to get things sorted and have a chat to Tony at UK Bike Skills and hopefully pick up some new skills and address my confidence issues in more technical terrain. I shall no doubt return to the Quantocks, there’s so much to explore there, the majority of it unmarked so you really have to follow your nose to find it unless you’re a regular or have a GPS to follow a route.
Got home and decided that I really need to clean my bike!