GMBC trail centre weekender ride report!

Great fun to hit the trail centres around Dumfries and Galloway with Glasgow Mountain Bike Club. Our first post-COVID weekend away together, and the first since Marina Cycles began to sponsor the club.

The clash with Mother’s day perhaps put some people off, and one attendee’s car broke down on the way. So it was a select (elite?) group of 3 who stayed over in the woodland wonderland of Marthrown of Mabie to enjoy nearby trail centres.

Arriving a bit more tired than expected, I opted to dodge the planned evening solo spin, and instead chill out and take a wander with Andrew around the nearby forest for sunset (and later to admire the dark skies), along with a cheeky takeaway curry and a beer or two round the log burner. Great chat, none of which can leave the cottage, was had, and a fairly sensible bedtime meant we arrived fresh and early to Dalbeattie the next day.

A relaxed start to Dalbeattie had us just riding along and enjoying the trails, right up until “The Slab” qualifier, which we all got down no problem despite a couple of gasp. The Slab itself caused a little bit more pre-thinking, I headed straight down it without pausing at the top to pick out a line, a tricky but not too nerve wracking option. Looking at the slab, it was pretty intimidating with a thin, damp, greasy layer removing all ability of a tyre to cling onto the rock below. My ride down had confirmed that it was at least as grippy as it looked. Andrew immediately decided that personal safety would take precedence over riding this today. Blazej took a good look, even a couple of runs from part way down to get a feel, but in the end, left this for another, dryer day.

Carrying on the ride, plenty of singletrack fun was had, right up until “big feature” #2. The terrible twins definitely lived up to their name. This time, although the scale of the feature was less daunting, I’d never ridden them before, previously citing the icy conditions and probably other concerns as a good solid reason to come back later. I took a good look Blazej joining me to check out the lines and work out what had happened to the previous riders that had left significant tyre marks in the rock-snot. At least one must have dabbed heavily.

We decided that the dirt line forming to the right of the upper twin was definitely not the feature (It’s meant to be 2 rock slabs!) so was pointless to ride, especially when there is a perfectly good chicken line around via the main trail.

Then much consideration was given to the layout, camber, and run in to the rock. The huge puddle to fully soak your tyres (and lightly coat the tread in mud) wasn’t reassuring, but the line from this definitely looked like it would work – and braking could be done between the twins. Probably. The second slab wasn’t much to worry about anyway, just a nice smooth roll down.

As it didn’t look as high stakes as the slab, the 2 stupidest in the group gave it a go, I got down safely and on the edge of control. Blazej got down safely.

The rest of the day went smoothly, with a nice cafe stop at Brambles next door, where only one of us fed the chickens. Don’t feed the chickens.

After some post ride mechanical care, the spin round Mabie trails was cancelled and a bit of exploration of the adventure playground and viewpoint was done pre-dinner – some really good challenges on the low ropes there. Finally a great dinner cooked by the man himself Mr Blazej!

And there was much celebrating, and all beer and homebrew cider was drunk.

The next day dawned with a super wet forecast, but we had arranged to meet Scott in Kirroughtree, and at least it was warm.

Fewer big features than the previous day, but plenty of testing sections and slippery rock features, covering the red and parts of the black to allow for people’s schedules later in the day. A good bit of flowy singletrack, too. My preference for steep descents was heavily outvoted!

A stop in the cafe to refuel then the drive home taking in the longest single track road any of us have driven!

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