I was supposed to be riding the Wiggle Chalky Chaser MTB Sportive today with Andy, but it was cancelled a few weeks ago due to un-passable tracks on the route and the likelihood that the rain in the meantime would not improve conditions.
We hatched a plan to go MTB’ing in the New Forest today instead and Andy came up with several routes from old Wiggle MTB sportives in the area. We settled on the Falling Leaves MTB Epic Course from (I think) 2012.
This started in lovely Brockenhurst, so we arranged to meet at Brockenhurst Station late morning. After kitting ourselves up, off we set.
This is the first ride of my new MTB, a Scott Scale 925 and a replacement for my GT Zaskar Carbon Expert as the chain would not stay on that any time it got muddy. Ridiculous for a MTB I know, just makes no sense. Thankfully they agreed to a return from my excellent local bike shop, Nova Cycles.
All was going swimmingly until about 4 miles into the ride, on an old railway track that had been converted, when I got that sinking feeling from the back tyre for the second time in a week. Sure enough, I had a puncture. Hmmm!
This turned out to be a pinch flat, but the tyres were so tight on the rims we managed to puncture the new inner tube 3 times trying to get the tyre back on! Eventually, it held and we were back on our way.
I really enjoyed the rest of the ride, on a mixture of quiet lanes, old railway tracks and forest paths. At one point the route took us down this 1ft wide path between gorse and I had to concentrate extra hard as this was effectively my first ever proper MTB ride. Really good fun and very different than road riding.
About 2/3 of the way round we were conscious the sun was going down and we needed to be back at the start before dark as we’d forgotten to put lights on our bikes. We made the executive decision to return to Brockenhurst by road.
This turned out to be fortuitous as the quickest route took us down Ornamental Drive, one of the prettiest parts of the New Forest and one I’d enjoyed on at least two sportives before.
We arrived back well in time for dark and had had a fabulous ride with a mixture of terrain, views and fun. Can’t wait to get out on the MTB again now!
Route: click here
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