the Spaniard’s birthday ride

Back to the Forest of Dean today and conditions couldn’t have been more different to 2 days ago. 
it was the Spaniard’s Birthday ride and as i opened the curtains on the morning of the ride my heart sank as there was torrential rain falling from the sky and squally winds blowing the tree opposite, not the best weather for riding in. To save time i thought i’d ride over to Dan’s to pick up my lift. I got soaked through even wearing every waterproof item i own. 
the van packed, we headed for the motorway, barely able to see out of the windows as my dampness steamed them up. we were able to inform Craig loudly that we drive on the left in Britain as he proceeded to use the right hand lane towards oncoming traffic! nothing else could go wrong today surely?
then we hit the traffic (thankfully not head on) on the motorway, an accident caused us a half hour delay, but it wasn’t all bad, Dan had haribo and it gave the rain chance to ease off.
we arrived at Park end to beautiful blue skies and warm sunshine, a vast contrast to when we started out. We began to unload and assemble the bikes ready to ride and it was at this point Ian said “er…i think i left my rear bolt through…at home.
so things could get worse, a 2 hour drive to find one of us couldn’t ride. what a disaster. luckily though Park End isn’t just home to the Deanforestrialway, it is also the home of deanforestcycles who we able to supply a lovely Marin FS for the day, ride saved!!
we hit the off piste trails doing shuttle runs back to the top and descending without ever hitting the same descent twice
ride 101, lots of twisty routes with jumps, berms and rooty off camber corners and a few man made log bridges. but my favourite trail was a super fast one, nearly all straight apart form a very tight ‘S’ bend and a finish that plunged down a band making it very hard to miss  the muddy puddle at the end. brilliant fun! after this we had a quite bite to eat and then headed over to the way marked trails for a “best of session” on the Verderers trail. we passed a lot of tired looking Enduro riders as there was also a race on at the time. I also got recognised from the shorts i was wearing, they usually get a comment or two but not “are you Gary?” turns out Shona had been riding with “Gary” back in December 2012 here’s the blog entry for that date and remembered me from the shorts! that wasa slightly bizarre encounter and i suspect Shona was holding back on the climb on her singlespeed so as not to show me up after we exchanged selfies the MTB world isn’t really that big is it?
we completed the final descents on the trails and made it back to Park end to return the hire bike in time to use their hosepipe, clean ourselves and the bikes up before heading home.
so, almost disaster but it was all part of a bit of an adventure. I’d like my birthday to go in much the same way.
ride101
22 miles
total 2209

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