Eight people turned up for this tough loop around the Chilterns, taking in quite possible some of THE best singletrack the Chilterns has to offer.
This was the third time we have put on this ride, and back to popular demand we hold it each year. This year I modified the route slightly to miss out some sections of trail that were still unrideable due to the heavy rain we have had over the past month or so.
The route itself heads out to the Golden Ball monument at West Wycombe. On the hill above West Wycombe lies Saint Lawrence's Church and the Mausoleum, the church aptly features a golden ball on top of the church spire. This high ground location has been occupied for centuries; first it is believed a Bronze Age settlement first existed here, and research suggests there was a Pagan Temple on this settlement in a similar style to Stonehenge. Later on the West Wycombe hill was home to a Roman settlement or some kind, and local historians believe a religious temple was constructed here (though the exact site remains unknown).
The ride started at 10:00am on Sunday 29th July at the main car park at Coombe Hill Monument. It was a great mix of faces, some regulars, some new members, and some first timers to our group rides. After introductions, a quick briefing and our usual pre-ride bike and helmet check we hit the trails.
The route took us from Coombe Hill out to Chequers, Cadsden, Whiteleaf before heading off towards Speen, Bradenham and West Wycombe. The route out takes in some great technical singletrack and some tough short ascents. The weather all the way out to the Golden Ball was fantastic and we even managed a quick bit of sunbathing up on the ridge over some banter and lunch.
The route back takes in a long long climb from West Wycombe back up the ridge towards Great Missenden, a tough climb that goes on and on, but everyone managed in one go or with a quick stop half way up. Back on top of the ridge east of the Golden Ball we once again head back towards Bradenham taking in loads more fast singletrack, climbs, descents, bombholes and a couple of short road sections to join it all together.
We were doing so well with the weather until we hit Bradenham woods again were the heavens open and we got soaked (understatement). A quick blat through Bradenham Woods (different trails to the way out to the Ball) we stuck in a hard grind to head away from the weather back towards the Cadsden area to pick up some trails back towards Coombe.
Our route uses a different route and trails on both the outbound and return journeys but we utilise some of the same singletrack back towards Cadsden to add in a fun figure of eight loop and enjoy even more singletrack on the way back.
Everyone enjoyed the ride, the weather and an ice cream once back at Coombe Hill.
I would like to thank everyone who attended the ride, and thanks to all the other vast amounts of bikers out and about who were asking about the ride and the club.
See you at another group ride very soon....!
Scott, BucksMTB Club Chairman