Ride No. 3 – Mabie Forest
Had a wonderful Ride no.3 up in South West Scotland today – mountain biking in Mabie Forest, by the Dumfries area.
I awoke this morning to piping hot coffee beside me, and oats bubbling away on the stove. My lovely partner got me up, fed, and motivated for today’s ride – I was more than willing to stay comfy and warm in bed all day. He did remind me though that it would be my third ride (for the goal of 100 this year), so I better get a move on! With that number in my head, we set off for Scotland in the wee hours (…. about 10am….).
We opted for Mabie Forest, which is a trail centre (aka ‘purpose-built’ trails), as it is not too far from where we live (just over an hours drive away) and makes for some really fun winter riding. No navigation or planning necessary, just pedal your bike around your chosen route (we did the red loop) and expect to have some undulating ups and downs – nothing too easy, nothing too hard – and lots of fun swoopy trails. Trail centres are brilliant in the winter too – as the good drainage ensures you don’t end up wading through bogs all day (always fun to do), and you’re guaranteed a relatively short, fun spin in the woods. I know they aren’t really epic adventures, but they really can’t be beat in those long winter months of rain, darkness, and cold.
We set off in the thick fog at the valley bottom and eventually discovered some sunshine, after climbing up above the cloud level. The weather made for really interesting photos – since the air was heavy with condensation and mist, there was fat droplets of dew sticking to everything. Then the sun would come out for a bit and illuminate the misty air and the dew droplets – really gorgeous. Since it was just above freezing temperatures though it was a mighty chilly ride to begin with, my goodness. I forget just how numb your fingers and toes go on a bike in the winter!!
I’ve ridden Mabie before about a year ago, but they were doing work on the red route, so much of the trail was diverted. It’s now all open for business and it is super duper fun to ride now! There is a wicked downhill section with little kickers and jumps (which you can roll) liberally placed everywhere. Also, the trail is at the perfect gradient where you can gain quite a good bit of speed for sending the berms and flying off these little kickers, but it isn’t so steep that it’s all over super quickly. Really impressed with the quality of trails on Mabie’s red route – good mix of sculpted trail and more ‘natural’ feeling trail, a nice balance between technical and flowy, and I think they used the trail builders really got the most out of the lay of the land. Mmmm, makes me wanna go back to ride it again sometime soon.
We made it around the red route, back to the car, and back to England in just enough time for me to have a quick shower and scamper off to work (for the evening shift). As a consequence, I’ve gotten off of work at midnight, and have been dinking around online for about an hour —- now it’s nearly two in the morning… eep. Need some sleeeeeeeeeeeep. I will leave you with a couple more photos of Ride No. 3 – enjoy!