So, rightly or wrongly, following my fairly nasty crash last Saturday leaving me with a cracked rib, a torn bicep, and limited mobility in my shoulder. Not to mention the serious pain every time I put weight on my arm. I though it might be a good idea to join some friends for a day out Downhilling at the Forest of Dean (FOD).
The weather wasn’t the best when I arrived, a bit drizzly and not as warm as it should be in May, then £7 for all day parking!! “Well this is a great start isn’t it”, though walking around it’s not hard to see where the money goes. The carpark is pretty big, and all tarmacked, which is great, and rapidly filling up with people and bikes even at 9:30am when I got there.
So after an hour and a half drive, I take a walk around and use the facilities which are great, very clean and even have showers available. Also at the centre are a workshop, bike shop, bike wash, restaurant and little coffee kiosk with plenty of benches outside, so you can enjoy some food or a coffee and sit near enough to your bike to feel comfortable.
After a quick tour of the centre, we all built our bikes and headed off to the trails. There are so many to choose from, ranging from a green family trail right through to extreme bike park graded trails. They’re all manicured and maintained really well, with expertly built berms, jumps and drops. Again, its quite obvious where the money goes here.
You can book uplift at FOD, but as we made the last minute decision, the uplift was full, so pushing to the trailheads was the only option. This wasn’t too bad as the fire roads and push up trails are clearly marked and not too steep.
Once at the top of the hill, the bike park graded trails are split into 3 grades ranging from 1 dot, being the easiest and 3 dots being the most extreme. In my injured condition I stuck to the 1 dot trails, which are full of large rolling jumps and quick berms, with long open sections. I really enjoyed the trails I did ride, as I was able to roll everything, not put too much pressure on my shoulder and still ride wide open!
I will be going back to FOD, more than once. I will be booking the uplift to get more runs in and try out some of the more technical trails once my arm has healed up and I can use it properly. I also want to ride the Blue, and Red enduro trails there as I have been told they are fantastic to ride. I did get the chance to ride a short section of these, from the carpark up to the base of the DH trails.
All in all then, a great day out. Though I am paying the price for it now. As I type this, I’m lying on my sofa feeling like I have set myself back a few days, which might not be good for next Friday at Bike Park Wales….. but we will have to see.