All good things to those who wait!
Picture the scene - you're sat on the rear bumper of your car putting on your best cycling booties when a shadow creeps over you. You look up and there is a hairy Yeti in front of you sayin in broad Jockinese "I'm Kaiser, you must be Rhys".
And so the adventure began!
Not long after, and as if by magic, Gazz appeared. Now the posse was complete, ready to tackle Mabie. The roll call of steeds was a GT, an S Bike and my Alpinestar CroMega. Already I was suffering from a nagging worry that these guys knew something I didn't - they had front suspension
So with me in charge of the map, off we trundled. After a few stops to work out where we were going (I never actually said I could read a map), we were greeted with our first climb. This was also my first opportunity to show what I was made of. Whoops, buggered that one up then! On cue, my trusty steed decided it didn't want to play with its granny ring today so I was stuck with middle and large for the day. This I found out when I tried to change down on loose rocks; no gears, no forward speed - yep, you guessed right!
Welcome to the Butterhole Climb my boy
The other 2 wippets were well gone and were patiently waiting for me at the top of the climb.
After a quick slurp of juice and a natter it was off again to be greeted with a narrow track that seemed to go up and up and up - welcome to the Contour Climb. To say it was narrow in places would be an understatement. At one point, Gazz shouted to Kaiser to look at the view to which he was politely advised that he was too busy making sure he didn't end up at the bottom of said view.
All the burning of the quads and calves was worth it when confronted with the Descender Bender; a stretch of downhill singletrack that, on the map looked quite long, but seemed to only last a split second. During this descent, I had a face to face conversation with a bracken bush. This happened due to my trusty steed throwing a shoe (or more accurately, my front brakes). This resulted in me carrying wayyyyyy too much speed into a drop off and getting catapulted sideways when the front wheel dug into the dirt on the other side of it.
On a plus side, it gave the other two a chance to try out their technical skills on the same murderous rider-throwing piece of rock while I fixed my front cantis. And to improve my mood, soem fit lassie on a Halfords special decided to fix her seatpostright in front of me - God, thank you for Lycra
Once dusted off and everything ticketyboo, it was time to resume the whiteknuckle ride on a bike with no front suspension and cantis for stoppin power. At the bottom of the decent was a burn that two guys were having a rest at. As I came haring through the water one guy said "That's an old bike." The other guy commented "and it has no front suspension as well, and cantis. You must be brave, lad". Well, I thought, that was one word for it!
Then it was off up another climb.
Half way up the climb, Gazz and Kaiser were stopped talking with some other bikers so it gave me achance to catch my breath. While having a genral chinwag, another group stopped by us. During the improptu bike pow-wow, Gazz was overheard saying "If you turn it this way, it gets harder".
Then it was onwards towards the summit.
The next stage was the Roller Coaster which was certainly undulating! It was a mixture of forest trail, forest road and a few duckboards. It also had a few technical bits that the lads had to try out a few times to hone their skills - I just watched and ate bananas
Up another climb and it was onto the final big descent, The Bad Step. This was even more terrifying/fun for yours-truly as this was even more technical than the Descender Bender, giving my mountain goat-esque companions further time to try out their skills.
To cap off the ride, we completed the red route and headed off to the skills park to wind down.
All in all a grand day out that was enjoyed by one and all. The weather held out which only added to the success of the day. To prove the popularity of Mabie, the car park was packed on our return to the cars.
My thanks go out to Kaiser and Gazz for letting me ride along with them and for their endless patience in waitingfor me to catch up.
Bring on Ae and Dalbeattie
1992 Alpinestars Cro-Mega LX (re-sprayed and now DX'd)
1993 Cannondale M800? (polished alu-now XT'd)
1995 Cannondale R400 (lovely green but maybe a little small)
19-- Cannondale Killer V (finished off with XT groupset and discs)