Tag Archives: mountain biking

Gisburn Forest – Playing Out

Sunday’s Road Trip

A few weeks ago there had been good intentions expressed by around 8 riders from work.  When the end of last week came, it was clear that 4 hardcore, reliable chaps would be making the trip.  On Saturday, following a disappointing performance by his football team, one of those chaps drowned his sorrows and his chances of riding on Sunday along with them.  So…. I picked up Chris on Sunday morning and we met Russ an hour later at the car park where the Gisburn Forest rides start!

We three musketeers set off and by 2/3 of the way up the first climb it was clear that I was the unfit one.  Chugging a fruit bar immediately we’d set off to make sure I didn’t go hypo (curse you, Diabetes) didn’t help, as my stomach closed around it and threatened to have me hurling whilst I waited for my heart rate to return to normal within a mile or so of setting off!  However, things got better and over the next 3-and-a-bit hours I had a bloody great time.  Russ bailed halfway round because he needed to travel to London that night, so Chris and I completed the Red Route loop with just each other for company.

Best & Worst Bits

There are some long, hard climbs in the forest.  It’s not nice that the route begins with a long, hard (for me) climb and I can remember wondering if I was going to enjoy the day.  However, those climbs give way to brilliant lengths of singletrack!  Over Winter 2009/10 there’s been a fair amount of trail-building and it shows: the Red Route deviations from the main loops are fantastic fun.  My Focus Fat Boy hardtail and Chris’ ancient fixed rig coped with the terrain, but a short travel full-bouncer might have made things a little easier.  In fact, some of the funniest moments were simply listening to the sounds Chris involuntarily made on some of the less-expected drop-offs!

I fell twice.  Both times, it was because I was going too slowly, not too quick.  Lesson learned.  I bailed on two drop-offs, with a squeal of brakes and an unrepeatable exclamation along the lines of “I’m not going off that ****ing thing!”.  However, the whole day was brilliant and we swept along the vast majority of the route with silly grins on our faces, no doubt catching flies in our teeth – in fact, I’m sure Chris had one stuck in his throat when we finished.  The cuppa from the butty van in the car park sorted that out though!

If you get a chance to spend a day there, do it! Tell ’em Phill sent you 🙂

A map on MapMyRide is here, too:

Lee Quarry Mountain Biking

This is my first blog update for a little while as I’ve been off on a late Easter break. It’s been fun and has involved barbecues; family reunions; baptisms and seaside days out among other things – we can cram a lot into a week!

Mountain Biking at Lee Quarry

But this entry is about the rather wonderful place they call Lee Quarry.  On Monday, Number One Son and I threw our bikes in the back of the car and headed just outside Bacup for the afternoon.  On arrival, our first thought was “Ooooh, pants” as the hill up to the entrance from the car park is a bit of a doozy.  Nevertheless, we trudged up, rode a bit, trudged a bit more and got to the trails.  We weren’t disappointed!

As you can see on the Google Earth map, we only did about 1/3 of the quarry.  We should have taken a map really!  The quarry is brilliant: an alien moonscape reminiscent of 70’s Doctor Who sets without the Daleks, but 70’s Daleks would struggle with the killer gradients on some of the trails.  There are sections where you definitely have to get off and push/carry but hey, for every uphill there’s a down!

The trails are well marked and a lot of trail-building has been done over the winter.  There’s a new pump track which you can see in one of the photos above, and the skills area has been improved.  Parts of the red route run alongside the green and blue trails, which is excellent if (like me) you take your offspring along with you.

We had a fantastic couple of hours and we’ll certainly be going up there a few more times over the summer.  I’d go if I were you.  Tell ’em Phill sent you! 🙂

Here’s a short video of one the little technical sections.  I posted a couple of others on YouTube too if you fancy a glance:

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