This was a welcome continuation of the idea of many small rides instead of epics: I had to be back home by 1pm, and I didn’t want to be out of bed before 8am. It takes about 45 minutes to drive to the Forest of Dean from my house so I would be left with around two and half hours of riding time.
I was supposed to meet some riders at the Pedalabikeaway centre but I arrived 10 minutes late and they had gone. No problem – I’d heard about some new jumps on the Freeminers trail and I was keen to find out what they were like. I last visited the trail in October 2013 not long after the reopening and looking at the photographs from the time it was clearly wet.
Things were different this time: it was a spring morning, birds were tweeting, the sun was shining and dusty trails crunched under my tyres. I’d started off with bleary eyes and a sense of weariness. Energy levels were not there so I backed off my pace a little bit and within minutes I felt an all over physical high. This was what mountain biking was supposed to be about!
I found the line of new jumps about half way round the trail. There are five of them and they are all of similar height. This is exactly what I needed – a perfect set of drops for training. I spent half an hour taking various video shots of myself riding the jumps. I didn’t see another rider in all this time.
I did a second lap of the trail and took some video of some other features.
After that I had enough time to loop round some of the Verderer’s, do the jumps again, follow some tracks, do the enduro climb and then link in to the top of the Verderer’s trail. The line of rollers near the end of the Verderer’s is still one of my favourite sections of trail.
Dean Trail Volunteers have plans for more features on the Freeminer’s trail. The technical features like the jump line really lift the trail above the identikit swoopy trails that are appearing all round the country. Watch out for the big puddle at the start of the trail. I heard that someone went over the bars there recently.
The Pedalabikeaway car park was absolutely rammed when I returned at around midday. Sometimes it’s great to do things that are not a stretch and just concentrate on enjoying them.
Video coming soon!
Some trail maps on the fodmtb pages.
|Distance||22 km (13.6 miles)||Elevation gain||400 m|
|Moving time||1:58 h:m||Elapsed time||2:32 h:m|
|Av moving speed||11.1 km/h||Max speed||32 km/h|