After a nice bit of spinning on a forest path we then hit an evil climb and this is where the 29er comes into its own if you have the legs! At the top we waited for the few who may have walked and after a break we headed to one of my favourite descents coming out of Maidensgrove. It starts off quite slowly, but once you hit the steep decent you can’t help but to get speed up, and as you are in the gully you have to wall ride wherever you can!
As you will find in the Chilterns, every good descent means there is a tough climb back to up, but the one up to Hangmans Hill is one of the best! But you are rewarded with some on the best views the Chilterns have to offer! (Pictures 4, 5, 6 & 7). After cruising through some fields and taking in the views we had a very quick decent though a field which nearly caught every one out! Then we have the joy of a very steep climb.
As we were enjoying a nice cycle through the woods, and I fixed Grants 2nd puncture, I threw myself over the bars in front of the group! We then tackled the decent which was made famous by Damon last year for making such a hash of it (this can be seen on our YouTube page). This was one of the reasons why Naomi got the name Power Smurf as with 40 miles under her belt the roadie on an £800 Rockhopper sailed down the descent, as opposed to Damon on his Titanium hardtail, who made it seem such hard work.
After lunch in Hambledon and with Harry nursing her bruised arm from the fence she hit we headed back to Watlington after another grueling climb, with people pulling wheelies on the road to Stoner dear park. Once there we hit a very fast decent in to Stoner which left brake pads burning. Once we removed our teeth from out the back of our skulls we headed off to the Church at Pishill for a Cuppa tea and flapjack.
Then it was the ongoing climb in to Russell Water followed by a small decent with a drop and Wall ride to join the track back up to Cockpole green. Which if you thought that the first decent wasn't that steep, when you climb back up it you realise you could have gone a lot faster! Then all we had to do was do the first climb as a decent and it was beer time! But it really was the best till last with the last descent is very fast with multiple line choices, wall rides with a couple of exposed roots added in to the mix!
In short it was a great ride with great company hopefully Power Smurf would be proud! As the Chiltern ride is all natural you do not need big travel or even full sus at all.
Old it my be but Hardtail's are king when it come to rides like this one mainly because you will be able to ride for longer, 100mm is ample for the terrain and if I am completely honest a 29er would have chewed up any one of the bike's out on the ride and probably knocked an hour off the ride. But that said the 26 was a hell lot of fun and while I know the better bike to use is the Whyte 829, if I am leading a ride in the Chilterns I will likely be on the 04 S-works Stumpjumper found in a cubby hole at beeline!
If you are interested we will be using a similar rote for the annual all dayer next May, check out our FB and web page. Keep an eye out for more continued partnership rides between Beeline and BucksMTB in the near future too.