It all started well. 28th January 2107, 8.30am at a friendly garage in Monmouthshire with the Green lane map review and briefing from veteran ride-leader, Dean, to the 12 riders present.
Green lane map
5 minutes in and patrolling officer was keen to learn where we were all heading… “Off across the fields, are we lads?”
“Err, no! Green roads only.” Came the rather surprised group response. Followed by quick run down of the Green lane map / route planned which quickly demonstrated the TRF way of doing things right.
Satisfied all things were in order, we were bid fair well by the police officer and set off to start what turned out to be a real adventure packed with surprises.
Welsh Rivers run high
The previous night’s down-pour meant conditions were slick. The guys on the noblies felt smug and definitely had a grip advantage at this stage. But we were reminded that the green lane map showed us heading into some seriously rocky lanes later where the trials tyre would deliver the goods.
On arrival at the next lane. Tyre choice was the last thing on people’s minds. Dean looked like his bike was going submersible. Under it went. 4 ft deep and past his handlebars, the previously benign lane from the summer had claimed its first victim.
All hands to the pump. After clearing the water and getting creative to give Dean’s drowned ride the kiss of life. The machine fired up!
Back in the seat again, the dirty dozen headed off deeper into the countryside on some corking Welsh green lanes. A mix of leaf covered sliders to bedrock steps that would challenge any Erzberg competitor.
A bridge too far
We were all having loads of fun. So much that half the bikes ran out of fuel before the next steep ascent up a roman-type road.
Fuel was diligently rationed out and a scouting party headed up the ascent which had had the surrounding trees felled making the going ‘exciting’.
One of the trees had fallen across the green lane blocking conventional progress which meant getting creative again! But
perseverance and team-work paid off with a stunning view into the Monmouthshire valley our reward.
Time was ticking on. All the fuel manoeuvres, underwater activities and challenging climbs had taken their toll. But sanctuary (Esso garage) was only over the next hill … would we make it?
Well, no. Less than 2 miles from the station – two of the team suffered their second fuel-out moment. However, the more skilled riders hung back and literally helped push / tow the strickened bikes and riders to a lay-by for a final all-or-nothing metering out of the last few dregs of fuel between the group.
Made it! The fuel rationing worked – we made it to the garage! A fresh gallon in the tank, a sandwich in the belly and a warm cup of bean juice and we were off again.
The darkest hour
This time though, the limits of a standard light setup on an enduro bike were tested to the full. The task was set, the green lane map showed us returning to base following a loop … but now there was one subtle difference, the amber light in the sky had gone! [eek]
I’m not sure this 100 mile trail ride-story can do this justice. The ride had everything. Every kind of challenge, every bit of fun and every bit of camaraderie that comes with being a member of the TRF. It was 12 hours of laughs and everyone make it back with massive grins on their faces and a few more stories to share around the camp fire – Great ride lads!
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Backstory – Dean
Dean is a veteran TRF campaigner, ride-out leader, trainer, founder and one of the most active ambassadors of Central Bristol TRF. Starting out competing in the mountain bike and BMX bike scene during his earlier years, Dean transferred these skills across to Enduro and Long Distance Trials riding. Competing at many of the more ‘extreme’ events Dean loves to share his passion with others imparting knowledge and confidence with all he rides with.Join TRF
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