Toss and Weester were talking about the quarries on their mid week ride last week, as it looked like a good turn out was on the cards. Clarkey, Toss, Weest, Jase and myself all up for a play in the quarries and a chance to take a look at the newly completed link.
Been what seemed like ages since we had all been out together, when in fact it was out Christmas ride, 4 weeks ago, so I was really looking forward to the crack.
Transport arrangements were thrown into confusion when the walking book of excuses that is Clarkey bailed, however we attempted to put all the bikes on Tosser's rack. Not ideal and was probably asking too much from it, so I popped up the road and got my car. Hastily loaded up and headed over to Futures.
Pulled into the car park and it was packed. Not seen so many bikers round here since race day, obviously word is now spreading about the trails up here, no doubt with the opening of the link people see it as a full day rather than a quick blast.
Climbed into Lee and found that the ground was pretty bad. The recent frosts had blown the sandstone and gritstone which had then formed a mud that had the consistency of Evo Stik. Murder to pedal through. I was particularly impressed with the Advantage tyres here, they never missed a beat all afternoon and they were getting pushed into the corners pretty hard.
Just one run down the middle Red and then climb up to the ramp, we took the left and headed along the gentle rise up the new track. Was quite hard going as the gradient was pretty constant and as we climbed we noticed the rocks that had been strategically placed for jumps on the way back down.
Start of Cragg and we turn the corner to be greeted by abuse! Cant bloody go anywhere without locals heckling you. Gray, Mart, Tony and a few of their mates were laid down having the crack after completing a lap. I enquired after Grey's beak following his beak / rock interface at Nan Beild and he showed me the pretty impressive range of sideways movement his conk now has. Had a quick shofty at one of the lads new Butcher... very nice it was too, pimped with XTR brakes which just felt brilliant to the touch. I want!
Bid the lads farewell and we set of on the loop of Cragg. I had warned the guys that it was a lot more pedally that Lee, but with the mud it was proper hard work. Weest and Toss both bottled the 1st drop, taking the homosexual right turn. We were soon at the turn around point. I have to say that the return leg flows much better than the out leg, so much so that Jay binned it on a fairly innocuous bend, good job he had his knee pads on as it was pretty abrasive the rock he landed on. Still, being a big strapping fucker, he did more damage to the rock than it did to him.
Back as the start, we were all pretty drained so we headed back over to the link. Now I dont know why, but coming up I though we would fly back down this, but found that we were pedalling all the way to maintain a bit of speed, maybe its because the surface is still so loose, hopefully it will speed up when it beds down proper. Managed to nail all bar 1 drop, despite a pretty heavy front wheel first nose dive off one of them which quite frankly shit me up.
Back into Lee and we decided not to bother with the Black, so we hit the red. The run form the Ramp back to the gate is just brilliant. Along the rim of the quarry, down the ginnel, cattle grid then over the jumps.
Paused at the cattle grid and gave some lads that we had caught up pretty rapidly plently of time to go on ahead and as we were waiting a bloke turned up on a new Orange ST4. Asked him how he found it and he mentioned that it wasnt a "Quarry bike" whatever one of those it. I though I recognised him and it clicked half way down, it was Mark from Singletrack.
The jumps were flown over and then we hit the forrest, just a fucking superb bit of trail here I love it. We emerged covered in clay for the spit down the access road and then the last little bit of trail they built into the car park.
Great day out, but it felt a lot harder that 11 miles and 1600' of climbing. Superb to be out as a group again.