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canoeing, kayaking and other adventures

canoeing and kayaking adventures born in the Southeastern U.S. and now centered in Scotland...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Donation to Glentress - 23/8/2008

Back in the saddle, red route, wet roots and mud, end of the day... I crashed again. Thankfully this time didn't return me to the care of the NHS. My prize was a looks worse than it feels welt on my right knee behind an ugly gash that looks like scar material. Seriously, it looks worse than it is. But it did make me wonder what do you call scars upon scars?

With Robie visiting from down south, Kathryn wanting a taste of more red trail and Brian's paintballing adventure not meant to be, we headed to Glentress for a day on the red and blue trails. I still find Glentress trails to be harder than other reds, not for actual difficulty but for layout. The ride gets most of the uphill over "quickly" with about 90% of uphill done before the second downhill trail starts. It is hard on my back. We skipped the first red taster trail and climbed straight through to spooky wood, with a few stops for people to get their lungs or legs back under them.

Spooky wood descent was good fun, as always. I stopped a couple of times to make sure Kathryn made it through some of the obstacles ok. She, Robie and I were reasonably matched for pace, which was really good except I was a tiny bit sad for skipping the taster descent. I find it the most challenging, mentally, and want to keep working on getting it back to where it needs to be. Another time is soon enough. That trail makes the uphill longer, which makes later trails more challenging than they ought to be for those who get tired.

Spooky wood descent was followed by other trails who were more noteworthy for what we saw than the trail itself. Robie's crashless crash above the must-not-miss hairpin, the occasional gaggle of riders around a flat tyre. Kathryn bailed above a soggy Pie Run, which I don't blame her. It was wet, slippery and messy. We met her above Magic Mushroom. At the bottom, we could choose an escape to the Hub or a finish to the trail. George and Kathryn chose cafe (hub) and the rest of us chose to finish the red route with Falla Brae first.

Falla Brae used to be my favourite of bike trails until Rattle and Hum at Mabie, which was replaced recently by all of Drumlanrig Castle. The reason for favouritism was simple. It offers a taste of cross country riding in a primarily downhill park. Now, erosion seems to be getting the better of it. Sadly. A jump has been built at the entrance, which can either be taken or avoided, followed by a few ups and downs along the ride. The last down has some tight turns and exposed rocks and roots. I slipped left on one of the exposed roots leading up to a turn, recovered but overcompensated with a wild, Flintstones-style flail on the right that landed me leg/knee first on the trail with the bike and rest of me following quickly. Ouch. I was up and dusting off before the next rider came, but he did slow down and ask if I was ok. I said yes and thank you before he rode on promising to tell my friends ahead. No sooner was I around the bend when I heard similar sounds and saw a heap of rider and bike in the same place. He dusted himself off, more embarrassed that he wiped out in front of me than having wiped out at all. I asked if he was ok and offered my sympathies. The telltale trickle of blood was working its way down my leg, so there was no hiding it. I let him and his cadre of faster riders past before continuing on my way. The rest of the ride was uneventful.

I had wondered if I should avoid seeing Kathryn before cleaning off the war wound. No such luck. She shared her badge of honour, too. I did clean off before lunch.

After lunch, Neil, Robie, George and Kathryn climbed the hill again. Given Brian's lack of significant brakes and my back waiting to act up, Brian and I chose to potter around for a while instead. We ended up climbing the hill part way and running the last of Falla Brae back to the car park. We had time for a bike wash and another wound wash before everyone else caught up.

Sadly, no photos this time. Neil was not pleased with his crop of photos and my camera stayed in the bag. For a Glentress trail map, click here.

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