Monday, 6 May 2013

Roots bloody roots

Tonight I didn't feel like driving to Dalkeith for the CaniX run so after dinner I went out for a ride on my mtb. I've been feeling quite ropey today and didn't want to go too far so I decided to head to Butterdean Wood.

I thought I'd try to be a bit more adventurous en route and investigate trails that I'd never been. The first one was a bit of a disaster as I had to lift my bike over a barbed wire fence and then belly crawl under it. I survived this only to scrape my shin on a jaggy tree stump! I wonder what it's like to be a woman who doesn't have skint shins and bruised legs. I guess I'll never know! It would have been worth it had the track been decent but it was unrideable so I cut my losses and climbed over a less jaggy bit of fence back onto a quiet lane.

My next adventure took me into a field and I rode down the very dry and bumpy margin towards a wood. Unfortunately there was no way into the wood so I had to ride on the field margin for about half a mile. It wasn't very glamorous and I was feeling a bit dejected by this time, but I consoled myself in the fact that it's better than being on roads.

More farm tracks ensued as I made my way towards Butterdean. At least these ones were well defined and I felt a certain sense of satisfaction knowing I'd struggled on this section last year when it was super muddy. Finally I reached the wood and in I went. It was utterly deserted which was good as it's mostly frequented by dog walkers who often don't like bikes being on the trails. I remembered the wood being quite rooty but it's totally insane now. There has been so much erosion on the trails that the tree roots are all exposed and this makes for a very interesting ride. I used to hate roots, until I learnt how to navigate them properly and now I actually enjoy them (except when they're wet and slippy!).

Amazingly there were still some vaguely muddy patches in places, a sign of how bad the drainage in Butterdean is. I made my way along the paths to the south of the wood and finally when you can't go any further you turn to the West and here the path gets very narrow and winding. My legs were suffering at this point but I was enjoying the technical trails. There's a brilliant long straight that's got crazy roots running across it and I had a great time riding that bit. By this time the sun was beginning to set and it was shining like laser beams through the trees. I was tired but had a big grin on my face by the time I reached the car park marking the end of my loop.

I retraced my route back towards Haddington, adding in the trail that leads through Letham. It's a lovely path with nothing technical on it so you can get a good speed going through the low hanging trees. I thought how nice it would be to video this bit and decided I might try to find someone who's willing to lend me a Go Pro camera. I'm not a huge fan of these cameras as nearly everyone is wearing them on mountain bike trails now and they can make things a bit dangerous if the rider is looking to give the viewers a thrill, but I think they are good if used carefully and sparingly!

Just made it home in time before the light completely faded which was lucky as I didn't have lights with me. My legs are well and truly shot to hell now but I have 2 rest days coming up so time to let them recover before I subject them to more punishment :)

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