There was a lot of excitement over the Whyte bikes and everybody who managed to try one seemed really impressed. The bikes have a stunning look about them with the chunky carbon fibre swing arms and overly hydro formed tubes.
The turnout for the ride and demo day was great with over 25 at the start line! There was our normal mix of regular riders as well as a new riders to the club ranging from first time mountain bikers to people who’ve been on more rides than I’ve had hot-dinners!
One of our newest club members who’s local to the area was kind enough to offer to lead the ride today and was backed up by myself, our ladies ride leader Polly and Ben and Josh from Beeline Bicycles providing technical (and morale) support throughout the day.
The XC ride started at the main car park for Woburn Sands on Sandy Lane and took us along a wide sandy path to start with and then into the lovely loamy singletrack that Woburn’s not so famous for. We criss-crossed the woods taking in some great descents and long climbs before making our way back to the car park to start the second half of our loop. A few riders had to duck-out here due to time commitments and unfortunately 1 rider due to an aggravated knee injury.
With our (slightly) smaller group we made our way over to some of Woburn’s more famous XC trails including Empire Trail, impossible hill for a “game” and the log-ride. Now Andy’s version of a game might not suite a family meal or Christmas party but it worked really well on Sunday! Basically impossible hill (if you’ve not been there) is a pretty hard climb. It’s narrow, steep, loose and has some well-placed tree stumps. We all started at the bottom – not allowed to look at the hill or plan a line of attack and went up one by one. If we stopped we had to move to the side of the trail and wait there for the rest of the pack to head past – heckling and making funny faces to encourage them on their way (thanks Ben!). The winners were those who managed to ride it without stopping, putting their feet down or grabbing hold of a tree for a rest. Now a few people did manage to get to the top but Andy discounted anybody who had ridden it before which meant we only had 1 winner: Henryk! His prize was a bar of dairy milk! Well-earned mate especially given he was on a new bike with flat pedals and tennis shoes!
We made our way downhill and over towards the log balance next for some fun! The log balance is simply a felled and slightly flattened tree trunk alongside the trail and you’re supposed to ride along it. Simple. Very hard though. Almost everybody who tried this made it a few feet to start with before coming off and stopping in the dust or heather beside the log. Once 1 made it across (on the first go I might add) at least 4 more managed it straight after! This was a great section and good fun watching everybody!
Half of the group split off to take a look at Woburn’s better known trails – the DH and Dirt Jumps whilst the XC ride finished off with some new descents and a little more climbing in what seems to have been the last sunny day of the year.
I’ve uploaded some photos onto our facebook page of the ride and will upload the rest once I’ve got hold of them - feel free to comment or tag yourselves too.
I’d like to thank everybody who made the journey to Woburn Sands to join us and also to those who helped during the day – it was really appreciated!
I’d also like to send a big thanks to Beeline Bicycles for providing the Whyte demo fleet for the day and 2 of your lovely staff!
Mike, BucksMTB Club Secretary