The few days running up to the ride had us a little bit worried – with forecasts of lots of snow and sub-zero temperatures we thought we may have to change the ride completely or even worse cancel it. Riding in the snow is great fun but accessing the start point could have been tricky if the snow was heavier than expected…
A call to The FC warden confirmed that the ride could go ahead at the planned start point so off we set (after sending 17 texts & 17 emails & updating facebook…)
The start was delayed slightly because a number of riders were stuck behind a faux-by-four on the entrance road into the woods that kept slipping back down the hill! Rob also forgot his helmet so we played a few rounds of ‘The Box Game’ – it’s good fun and kept us warm whilst we waited.
Despite the delayed start we made good progress along in the snow and slush towards Ashridge. Some of the trails were running really well when the snow was compact, other times it was really hard going pushing through the slush – never going in a straight line.
The route Adam set was good fun and gave us a lots of time to take in the rolling scenery and clear skies! The last few climbs before the café at Ashridge were pretty tough with the group spreading out a lot here as some found grip where others slid around. We made it to the café in good time and were welcomed by a BBQ!!! Awesome! Burgers, soup, cake and hot drinks were a welcome treat and we hung out at the café for about an hour chatting and relaxing.
After a(nother) group photo for the website we set off towards the first descent. Now riding these in the dry is pretty tricky – lots of roots and some tight corners, so hitting them in the snow was always going to be a bit of a challenge! Log drops, off camber roots and gullies were all lined up in front of us, carpeted in fresh snow.
Adam set off at a good pace, seat lowered with his dfoot out on the corners to bring the bike under control leaving a trail of tyre prints snaking down the hill. One by one we descended, sliding and drifting, dodging and hugging trees – hope your shoulder is OK Rob!
At the bottom of the hill we regrouped and made our way further down towards the Grand Union Canal. This is normally a really easy ride home – fast and hard packed with lots of room. However the snow and slush really slowed us down making it a bit of a slog back towards Aston Clinton along the canal. We reached the bottom of Wendover woods and decided to cut the end of the ride a little shorter than planned and head back to The Café In The Woods along the road instead of the bridleways because the snow had turned to slush and it’s one hell of a tough climb with 0 grip!
We grouped up for more cake and coffee before heading our separate ways.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to Adam who planned the route and made sure we stayed on track and to all of the riders who came to ride with us!
I look forward to seeing you all again soon on our next group ride – details TBC soon.
Michael | BucksMTB Club Secretary