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Being shown around my classic stomping ground

Another chance to be shown around trails.  Not as glamorous as Switzerland, but just as good! Mortimers Forest and Bringewood, Ludlow, Shropshire, England

The woods of Mortimers Forest and Bringewood are where I grew up mountain biking so I always love going back.  A few years ago I built a long section of singletrack trail to link in above a much loved piece of trail that had been a staple of rides for many years.  It was my way of giving back to the forest riders and builders.

Over the last few years whilst I've been away riding 1000m+ descents my Dad has still been out exploring every corner of these forests.  Sometimes walking with my Mother, other times out on road rides with his Wednesday night Pub Ride group or usually with his main Sunday morning off road group. They are trail connoisseurs, though they might not look it.  They are the type of group that make up every British Forestry carpark on a Sunday morning.  Escaping the wife for a few hours of banter with the boys.  Not descending at pro downhiller speed, they still have fun weekend after weekend.

1 beast, 1 29" trail weapon, 1 5'8" trail searcher
Today however it was midweek, my Dad had fed the cattle and got permission from Mum to go out riding.  It's not been too wet around here recently, some soggy climbing took us up and around Mortimers Forest and towards the first new descent.  The start is hidden, as every good secret trail should, and then joins into a great terraced section that gently traverses the hillside to your left.  A few gentle rises keep the trail going between the bumps and downs.  A field comes into a view on your left, a sharper left corner and the faint trail continues.  It's seen bike tracks for sure, but not too many, just enough for the trail to stay defined year in year out. And more importantly for it to remain a secret pleasure to those that have found it.

We climb back up a sticky fire road and just past the start of the previous trail is the next trail.  This time loamy and with slightly banked corners.  It's seen a little bit of spade work to get it to ride.  Tight, but if you pump the bike into and out of the short tight corners you keep speed into the next section, an opening with one of those rare perfect corners.  Just enough grip, just enough support, perhaps its today's conditions that make it so good, or perhaps its the trail sculptures skills that do.  I hit it a few times to try and get a good photo:

We head around and up towards another area where my Dad has been exploring for a few years now.  It's great to be shown trails that tightly twist their way further down the hillside making the most of the great dirt and less than amazing terrain available.  What results is a slow but fun trail that snakes it's way through dense young forest.  You don't need to pedal, just look ahead to try and keep your flow!

 Around the hillside we go again,  "That trail down there isn't so good anymore, heavily rutted and always so muddy" my Dad explains.  We hit the the old old downhill track that then sends us into My Trail.  It's fast, I've not ridden it for two years, but I know exactly where to be.  I hop an off camber root, I know what the trail is should to do, but will it?  How eroded has it become?  I spy a little rut, I plan to hit it for support and carry speed back up the hillside over the next little pump bump rise and then down into a corner. Dropper post up.  I didn't have one of these when I built the trail and it makes the 100 metre length of climb easy, drop post, and drop in! Wow its good today.  "TREE!"  And a big one.  To finish my trail we have to lift our bikes over the tree.

It's time to head back out of the bottom of the valley, but not without the real classic of the area.  This old trail has been there for many years, often we'd lap it several times it's that good.  Today was as good as autumn could bring.  It sits low in the valley and was full of leaves and moist air.  Sticky, with the odd slippery root thrown in, but still fun!

My Dad now won't ride much in these woods much, he know's of better places for winter riding conditions.  Come spring he'll no doubt be back with a group of old dudes to (slowly) shred the singletrack!


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Verbier is a very mixed place.  There is great piste skiing & free-riding and access to world class ski touring, but more often its known for it's decadence.  Huge picture perfect chalets with wealthy families and their beaufituful/handsome ski instructors fill the resort. And if not that, the seedier side of ski resorts, the bankers with their paid for woman. . .

Talking of horrible, those exposed switchbacks half way down from the Chateau were bloody horrible, lucky the rest of the trail was very good fun.

Well of course, its Swiss Valais, the footpaths are "tip top" and the lift companies are bike friendly.  There were still a lot of pistes open for skiing, but after 11am you can use the lower lift from Le Chable to Verbier to access the snow free trails that lead back into the valley floor.  Time to explore:

Many thanks to Lorne for some of the cracking photos :