Great pic’s Jamie/Kaiser…. Now on with this write up obligation that has been thrust upon me
Once awoken by the chorus of dawn farts, we had our highly nutritional cereals, bacon butties etc whilst the light sleepers commented on the sleeping behaviours of the group before setting off into the wilderness.
A few miles of single track road saw us onto the trail. Immediately we encountered another group armed with high tech bouncy bikes, who kindly held the gate open for the MacRetro old school masters sporting a variety of hard tail, rigid, and single speed 29ers. At this point some of us may have felt a slight feeling superiority/true spirit of off road riding. Feeling safe in the knowledge that our decades of experience, guile and trail craft would see us triumphant and true. In reality they may have been thinking what a bunch of idiots.
Anyhows, now on the singletrack the first obstacle we encountered was a river ford, which was complemented with a bridge. Courageously and in the true spirit clockworkgaz took his 29er to the low road and cut through that river as smoothly as John Wane would have on his horse. Meanwhile I spectated from the bridge (wishing for entertaining disaster) with selected others. The wise Velo pointed out at this stage that “the mtb is the evolution of the bike, and the bridge is the evolution of the ford”. Jamie, possibly Kaiser followed suit with successful crossings, whilst zigzag decided to stop half way across, only reason being to test his seal skin socks.
We countinued sweating up the landy track through the Coulin Estate to summit above Achneashellach Station. At the start of the decent we found the single track detour, I’d avoided this last year wanting to follow my route guide only to regret after reading subsequent reports. The start of this is dodgy, however it soon turned to a pretty steep event well worth the taking. Half way down whilst regrouping TK announced he’d left his glasses higher up, while discussing his need to back up it became apparent that they cost £8. Thought bubbles appeared above several heads with the words “fvck that”. The remainder of the decent was every bit as good as what had come before, and we were soon at the road wide eyed and talking quickly.
Buoyed by our heroics we set off down the road to Coulags. Kaiser started a trend of holding onto to others and Zigzag showed he had the strength of many men, as he soon found Kaiser, gaz and TK fanned out across the road attached to his horse power.
Regrouping at Coulags we had a quick munch and headed off into the valley. TK found his glasses.
The single track is gnarly, narrow, with sharp rises and bl00dy water bars. After fair bit of swearing, dismounting and remounting it levelled briefly for us to cross river on a narrow bridge with the lunch spot bothy in sight. Whilst munching down on lunch and b!tching about the path, the group of modern bouncy bikes seemed to effortlessly race past resulting in debate. Velo’s decription of the trail seemed most apt, something about riding on a trail of golf balls, baseballs or cricket balls. Riding on various sized balls whatever the actual words were.
Setting off after lunch TK had the first puncture of the day, choosing to forsake the tried and trusted inflation method of the pump, he opted to use one of those modern compressed air thingys resulting in frost bitten fingers. Off again with short ride and push sections we started to ascend towards the Bealach na Lice, the ride sections became shorter and the push, sweat and swearing became more frequent.
Somewhere along this section gaz found and mounted an ancient stone phallus only to feel that ancient power of c0ck surge inside him.
Once at the top we did the pictures thing and after regrouping and suitably rested we looked forward to the long glory ride decent ahead. With glorious mountains surrounding us and blue skies above we started on the gradual downhill ride by the lochs towards the true decent. Weary from the effort so far, we started to fall off our bikes at every other up, down or corner. TK tried to damage his leg with his bars Mr P went over the bars, down the bank etc…
We soon reached a flat section with moab style slabs where Kaiser punctured. At this point I promised the guys that the main decent is nice, gradual as well as long and smooth. This seemed right in my mind, as the bit I propelled myself over the bars and rolled about in agony for 15 mins last year seemed smooth as I writhed about.
Unfortunately this was a lie. We started the main decent, which is endless and a mix of slabs and sharp rocks and large sharp stones. Again we started to fall off, Zigzag managed a tumble, shortly after my front wheel pitched into a rock lined hole and pitched me over the bars.
This is the type of decent where a rest is required (often). The effort involved turns your shoulders to jelly, hurts your thumbs trying to keep them gripped round the bars and your fingers tired from continuously pulling the brake levers.
Once at the bottom of this epic decent we lay on the roadside groaning and weary whilst we regrouped for the 10 mile of road back to HQ. Mr P set the initial pace, last off the hill it seemed harsh that we drafted on his wheel for a couple of miles until he was spent and the pace continued. Soon it was down to 3, gaz, Kaiser and myself, then two as gaz got dropped. Unspoken but with carpark dash on our minds Kaiser tried a conversation decoy hoping to slip away at the last moment, this relaxed the tempo only for another predator in the form of zigzag to bridge the gap. Nearing Kinlochewe, zigzag and myself used our selection of gears to leave Kaiser spinning behind us, as we rounded the last corner and got out of the saddle and sprinted with the might of Boonen and Gilbert the dash was won by half a wheel by myself.
Knackered, we had a well-deserved beer before showering, applying our brylcreem, aftershave and evening jackets and dining. Conversation was more sedate at the table and a few sleepy twitches were evident as the beer (and soft drinks) were slowly consumed. A late drink in the bunkhouse saw us retire to a more intense night of snoring…
And that was day 1, I don’t have the energy to add pic’s and I’m sure the other heroes will fill in the many gaps…
Day 2… later …. Must go to bed