It was another club social at the Forest of Dean. 15 riders, all out for fun and giggles, headed out into the torrential rain, gale force winds and mud. We were lucky enough to have a guide with good knowledge of the local singletrack which got us away from the motorway-style hardpack of the trail centre and onto the slippy-slidey, rooty, stump-jump gullies and descents of the deep forest.
The persistent rain soaked us to the skin, but the café was warm enough to keep us from chilling to the bone at lunch, and the majority braved the rain a second time. It didn't take long until my drivechain was grumping, grinding and misbehaving. Then, snap, the ride was over. The chain was mangled and a quick-connector was not going to salvage two broken links and, no doubt, further weakened ones. All was not lost, however, Steve joined me and we had a right laugh as I tried to pump and not-brake whilst he pushed me uphill. We were back to the van in no time.
3 months old, lubed every ride and ridden by a small female. Modern 11 speed, not so sturdy.
It was a privilege to chase the fast riders down trails, learning and hanging on to back wheels for dear life. My ability in mud and rain is much less than the dry, but this year I have noticed a vast increase in my confidence and enjoyment on this kind of riding. Hitting doubles blind, crashing, sliding, loosing wheels on roots, and not caring about it. That's what it's all about, right?