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National MTB Series Round 5 – Follow the Dog Closure!

3 August, 2014 at 17:00

As you may know, the British Cycling National MTB Series Round 5 is a mere two weeks away, and will be taking place around the Tackeroo block, where Follow the Dog passes through. Due to the size of the event, this means that the sections of Follow the Dog within the Tackeroo block will be closed from Thursday 14th August until Monday 18th August for the races. If you are riding Follow the Dog during this period, a signed diversion will be in place. The diversion is on shared tracks so please take care and show respect for other forest users. This map shows what’s affected and where the diversion is:

Midlands XC Race - Tackeroo Closure

Midlands XC Race – Tackeroo Closure

For those wondering – yes, you can spectate! Just turn up on the day and pick a spot to watch from, and enjoy the fun.

As part of today’s trail building, we worked on the new rock garden next to Let Loose to put the finishing touches in place – this included a few last minute tweaks to the B-line to make it a bit faster (widening the corners), as well as making sure the rock garden was finished (couple of extra rocks here and there, bit more material to fill in the gaps, etc). And it’s done! However, it’s not quite ready for everyone yet – we’ve blocked it off until the race, and once that’s completed, we have a few small changes to make here and there before it will be ready for the public to ride. If you want a sneak peak before then, there’s still time to enter the race before the cut off date on the 12th August… 😉

We uploaded a few photos of the finished product on Facebook – here’s a quick look:

Stile Cop build day

21 July, 2014 at 18:46

Join us for the next downhill build day this Sunday 27th. Find us on the Mega Trail after 10am.

Stu.

Let Loose Black Section Progress – 6th July 2014

7 July, 2014 at 18:54

Yesterday’s trail building saw us push on with the black section on Let Loose. The to-do list was fairly simple for the day – move rocks and material into place, and tidy up the B-line.

As we turned up on site, we saw the results of the Forestry’s work this past week – they had delivered a few extra rocks on site for us for the rock garden, and cleared a path up to the rock garden in case emergency access is needed on race day.

With plenty to do, we all got to work. A few of us started shifting rocks and material into place for the rock garden, while Dave and Jez, the rock wranglers, got to work making them all fit. As the day went by, we saw it steadily progress up the hill. The current start of the rocks seems reasonably easy at first glance – it’s a gentle slope, relatively flat, and not too challenging compared to what’s coming. That leads to a gap between the trees, where there are a few small but tricky steps to attempt. Finally, we have the end section which is the trickiest of the lot, which was done last week. We gave it a test ride, and even with a confident rider attempting it, it looks difficult!

It’s not quite done yet – we have a lot more rocks to put into place, including adding some hefty slabs to the bottom where the landing area is, so we’ll be back to carry on the work very soon.

The level of difficulty of the rock garden presented us with another problem – we’re predicting the B-line will get a fair bit of use on the day, so Phil, and new volunteer Tom, worked on removing some tree stumps, widening the line, and improving some of the corners a little. Tom had joined us for the day as part of working toward his Duke of Edinburgh award.

After a good many hours shifting material and rocks around, we were all rather tired, so we packed up, grabbed a couple of photos, and headed back to base. Job done. 🙂

Big Build Day: Let Loose Black Section

2 July, 2014 at 08:34

What’s this? A blog post about actual trail building for the first time in about half a year? Yes, sorry…we’ve neglected it a bit. But no more! We’ll aim to get weekly or bi-weekly updates out once again. 🙂

So, without further ado – remember that Big Build Day we had last month? It was a fantastic success and we got a good deal done on the day. The section is being built in partnership with British Cycling, Run & Ride, and of course the Forestry Commission, and will be used in the upcoming British Cycling MTB Cross Country Series race, which is being held at Cannock Chase on the 16-17th August.

We had a fantastic turnout on the day – including the Chase Trails regulars, we had a total of 54 people arrive for the day ready to help, and we managed to get most of the new section surfaced, and made a bit of a start on the rock garden.

Big Build Day - Let Loose Black Section

Big Build Day – Let Loose Black Section

Big Build Day: June 8, Black Section on Follow the Dog

25 May, 2014 at 09:00

Apologise for the silence on the blog…we’ll try and change that from now on and get the updates coming a bit more frequently… 🙂

The first of those updates is about our forum – you may have noticed that the old Bike Adventures UK site went offline recently – unfortunately, that was beyond our control and as such it appears we no longer have access to the old database of members, posts, and so on. Bit of a shame, but it gives us the chance to start fresh. While you can quite easily argue that Twitter and Facebook (mostly Facebook…) has all but made forums extinct, there is still a place for a forum – not everyone is on Facebook, and a forum is a lot more of a “permanent” archive than Facebook is – you can much more easily go through old threads, search for stuff, and so on.

Without further ado…here it is: Chase Trails Forum. Unfortunately you’ll need to re-register – though you can now login with Facebook or Twitter with just a couple of clicks, or sign up the “traditional” way, so it’s nice and easy.

Next up….BIG BUILD DAY! YAY!

We’re holding another Big Build Day, in exactly 2 weeks time! We’ll be building a brand new black section on Follow the Dog, which will run alongside “Let Loose”, on the right-hand side of the existing trail. The new black section will be used for round 5 of the British Cycling MTB XC series, in August. Once that’s finished, it’ll be opened to the masses and become a permanent black section on Follow the Dog. We’re delighted to be working on it in partnership with Run & Ride, British Cycling, and of course the Forestry Commission.

Our plan for the Big Build Day is to get started, and ideally finish the first “phase” of the build. If we have as good a turnout as we had in October on our last Big Build Day, we’ll be able to work on making it even longer – without revealing too much, there are plans for quite a decent length of trail if we have the manpower to build it. It’s in your best interests to come along on the day and lend a hand, and bring all your friends along too. 😉

When: Sunday, 8th June 2014, at 10am until around 3pm.
Where: Meet at Swinnerton Cycles Forest Centre, Birches Valley (WS15 2UQ).
What to Bring: Yourself, all your friends, and suitable clothing to work in – boots are good if you have them, flip flops are bad.
Food/Drink: Various food/drink including jacket potatoes (like our last BBD in October).

Finally, be sure to look out for our poster outside Swinnerton Cycles – rather striking, isn’t it? 😀

 

Big Build Day - June 2014

No trail building this Sunday 20th April!

17 April, 2014 at 17:00

Even the hard working trail pixies need a break – as some of the regulars will be off to Scotland for a bit of riding research, we’re officially cancelling trail building this weekend. But don’t worry…we’ll be back on the 27th April as ever!

Also, apologies for not keeping the blog as up to date as we’d like – most of our attention goes into Facebook and Twitter, where most of the action is these days. We’ll try to remember to update the blog in future…though of course, if you’re on either Facebook or Twitter, be sure to give us a Like and a Follow! 😉

Diversion on The Monkey

2 March, 2014 at 21:00

There’s a short diversion in place at the start of Tight Squeeze (the first section of the Monkey after the climb) from today.  It will be there for a few weeks while the newly laid surfacing on the new start to this section settles – weather permitting. Please don’t ride it in the mean time – it will damage the surface! 🙁

No Trail Building – Sunday 16th Feb

14 February, 2014 at 00:00

We are not trail building this Sunday (16th Feb) but instead conducting a trail inspection ride with a view planning where and what maintenance is required over the coming months.

We are also reviewing the possibility of holding “fix what you enjoy riding” Big Build Days to repair longer sections of damage trail – watch this space…

No Trail Building Next Weekend (9th Feb)

2 February, 2014 at 15:00

No Trail Building

There will be no trail building on the 9th February. This is due to the regular Chase Trails volunteers having a safety training session to bring us up to date with new regulations and guidelines.

If you were hoping to lend a hand, don’t worry, we’ll be back to normal from the 16th February – 10am outside Swinnerton Cycles as usual. 😉

No trail building on 29th December

22 December, 2013 at 12:00

No Trail Building Dec 2013

We’ll be taking a break from digging over Christmas, so there will be no trail building next Sunday (29th Dec 2013).

From all of us here at Chase Trails, we’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. 🙂

Big Build Day on Stile Cop – 24th November 2013

18 November, 2013 at 16:00

Stile Cop Rocks

We’ll be holding another Big Build Day this weekend, on Sunday the 24th November. The cross country and downhill builders will be joining forces to work on the Red course on Stile Cop – we have a huge pile of material and an equally huge pile of rocks to shift into place, and will be making improvements to the red course, including some upgraded TTFs (technical trail features) and improving the surfacing.

We’ll also have plenty of hot food, cakes, and drinks available at lunch time for all volunteers.

If you’re interested in joining us, please read the following carefully. We’re meeting at Stile Cop at 10am, not Birches Valley like we usually do.

When: 10am until 3pm, Sunday 24th November
Where: Stile Cop – postcode WS15 1ND.

That postcode will get you to the correct road, but not the exact location – if you’re driving up Stile Cop Road from the A460 / Hednesford Road, Stile Cop will be on your RIGHT. There should be plenty of room on the fire road, but if it does happen to be full, there’s a car park nearby – if you’re driving up Stile Cop Road from the A460 / Hednesford Road, go past the gate on your right, and take the next left into the car park.

Map with directions from Birches Valley: http://goo.gl/maps/1iLTE
Street View image of the fire road entrance: http://goo.gl/maps/ctIjQ
Street View image of the car park entrance: http://goo.gl/maps/au5sJ

The gate will be open from 10am until we pack up at about 3pm. If you’ve been to Stile Cop before, please note that the turning circle at the top will not be available to use – it’ll be reserved for the Gazebo and Land Rover / trailer. Please do not block access to the gate. And finally, please make sure any valuables are hidden from view, inc sat-nav mounts, bikes, etc – the area is pretty remote and quiet.

Big Build Day Oct 2013 – Surfacing the start of a new section…

21 October, 2013 at 13:00

With the last Big Build Day being all the way back in January 2012, we thought it would be a good idea to run another one, so on Sunday, we held 2013’s first BBD. I asked on our Facebook page if anyone planned to turn up and got about five responses, so it was a nice surprise when we had 39 volunteers turn up in the end!

The aim of the day was to surface the beginning of an exciting new 1km descent on the Monkey. While most of the trail has been there for a few years now, Forestry harvesting meant we had to postpone completing it but now we’re having a strong push to get the section completed, hence the silence on the blog – for the past few months we’ve been out working hard every Sunday. Today’s task has helped surface approximately 10% of the trail, so we’ve made good progress so far, but we still have plenty to go – you can help speed it up a bit if you join us on Sundays. 😉

IMG_8859

We had previously prepared the ground for surfacing the start of the descent on the BBD (pictured above), but with the immense manpower that was soon finished. The trail corridor was quickly prepared, trimming back branches and marking the line to extend the trail parallel to the fire road – as such, we had to dig the trail from scratch. This extra bit of trail may be relatively straight, but it does twist in and out of the tight trees a little so it keeps you on your toes if you apply some speed. It should be similar to the end of Bomb Hole on Follow the Dog, so if you enjoy that, you’ll enjoy this.

IMG_8874

Once that was dug out, we all stopped for a spot of lunch – Andrew’s parents had kindly baked 60 jacket potatoes as well as assorted cupcakes. Very delicious cupcakes, as evidenced by the fact I had 8 of them…

Back to work, we moved on to surfacing the trail. With three piles of material available, a lot of barrowing was in order – which got somewhat interesting as the day went by, due to the work area starting to resemble Glastonbury’s mud. A combination of rain the previous night and lots of foot traffic meant we got the barrows stuck quite a lot. But the hard work paid off – by the end of the day, we had completely flattened all three piles of material, with the end result being….

IMG_8889

We’ve put a quick clip showing the whole trail on Instagram (more of that social media malarky 🙂 ) – as you can see we got a fair bit done.

As the whole section still has plenty of work to do before we can open it, we finished the day by brashing the trail – the entire section from start to finish is heavily brashed and completely unridable, so please do not try and ride it, or you’ll cause damage, which means we have to waste time fixing it. Trust us, it’ll be worth the wait in the end!

Further details for Sunday’s Big Build Day

16 October, 2013 at 19:27

If you’re coming along to this Sunday’s Big Build Day, here’s some extra info about the day.

Meet:

Either meet at Birches Valley outside Swinnerton Cycles Forest Centre at 10am then follow us to the build site (5 miles away) or head straight there, parking in ‘Beaudesert Old Park’ car park on Rugeley Road (WS15 1QW gets you close) then follow our signs to the build area. Unfortunately the build area is a good walk from the car park (up quite a steep hill) – approximately half a mile – click the thumbnail below for walking directions.

Beaudesert Old Car Park: https://plus.google.com/104548429352956398678/about
Driving directions from Birches Valley to Beaudesert Old Car Park: http://goo.gl/maps/c1poK

The car park is halfway between the caravan site and the golf club (on the opposite side of the road).

Aim to be at the build site for an 11am safety briefing before we start work.

Lunch:

Filled jacket potatoes and cake plus hot/cold drinks will be provided at lunchtime with a free raffle for the chance to win exclusive Chase Trails merchandise. You’re welcome to bring your own lunch and we’d probably recommend bringing some water to drink throughout the day.

Anything else?

There’s no fixed finishing time so if you can only make the morning, we don’t mind if you beat a hasty retreat after lunch.

If you’re meeting us at Birches Valley then driving to the build site, there is no need to pay for parking. If you plan to leave your car at Birches Valley all day, ask for one of our volunteer parking passes.

There will be a covered camping toilet for the ladies.

No XC Trail Building 6th October

3 October, 2013 at 12:00

Most of the Chase Trails regulars are off to Thetford Forest this weekend for the Exposure Lights Dusk ‘Til Dawn bike race. This is a 12 hour event running from 8pm on Saturday until 8am on Sunday.

As such, we’ve decided to cancel the XC trail building.

However, Stile Cop will be holding a build day to work on the Red Route, so why not head over and lend a hand there instead? They meet over at Stile Cop at 10am – click here for directions if you’re not sure where to go.

Forthcoming Events – October 2013

1 October, 2013 at 11:00

A few events you may be interested in this month:

Sunday 6th October – Chase Trails Downhill Trail Building
10am @ Stile Cop

Thursday 10th October – Chase Trails Mid-week Maintenance
10am @ Swinnerton Cycles Forest Centre, Birches Valley

Saturday 19th October – Evans Ride It Mountain Bike Ride
Starting @ Tackeroo Caravan Site
The RideIt! series are organised Mountain bike and Sportive bike rides that take place twice a month all over Britain. The RideIt! series is a fantastic way to meet like minded cyclists and get out and ride in stunning surroundings.
For more details see www.evanscycles.com/ride-it

Sunday 20th October – Evans Ride It Road Sportive
Starting @ Tackeroo Caravan Site
The RideIt! series are organised Mountain bike and Sportive bike rides that take place twice a month all over Britain. The RideIt! series is a fantastic way to meet like minded cyclists and get out and ride in stunning surroundings.
For more details see www.evanscycles.com/ride-it

Sunday 20th October – Chase Trails Big Build Day
10am meeting @ Swinnerton Cycles at Birches Valley
Come and get involved in building a BRAND NEW 1km long descent on the Monkey Trail! It’s been in the making for a number of years and now we’re having a big push to get this exciting new section open as soon as possible. Please come and lend a hand at our next “Big Build Day” to help build the start of this trail. Food and drinks will be provided at lunchtime along with a raffle to win exclusive Chase Trails merchandise. Tools are provided so just come prepared for working outdoors.

Thursday 24th October – Chase Trails Mid-week Maintenance
10am @ Swinnerton Cycles Forest Centre, Birches Valley

Thursday 31st October – Forestry Commission Halloween Forest Fun
10:30am – 12:00 noon meeting @ Birches Valley Café
Halloween Forest Fun – Come and join us for our spoooooky halloween forest fun session at Birches Valley Forest Centre. Bring a pumpkin to carve, have a go at some natural crafts and brave our self led, fearsome forest trail! Come along if you dare!!! Booking essential.