Riders :- Cam, Pete Mc, NeilK, Coops, Seamus, John, Gadge, Foxdale, Ned, Skippy, Bazaar, Neil (cultured man), Steveio, Stevie Smith, Pete mate, Selwyn

FRIDAY – As we weren’t allowed into the YHA a quick reccie of the local pubs was in order the first one was soon discounted the second pub ‘The Boat’ soon became our favourite due Hob Goblin being on draught and a landlord with customer service qualities of Basil Fawlty, its a traditional pub with a quarry tiled floor due to it regularly flooding from the nearby river Severn, no jukebox, no T.V. and only two darts, we asked the cheery landlord if he had enough Hob Goblin he said “more than enough”.

Once unpacked it was decided to go on a quick jaunt in the evening around the local lanes while the strange yellow blob was in the sky. Whilst assembling the bikes in the car park a few noticed a Strava challenge, a short steep drop down to the river around a tree and back up the bank, Ned managed to come off once Bazaar (the tart) coming off twice before we even left the carpark.

Setting off down the railway lines Selwyn tried his best to make the ‘rut slut’ his by riding down the steps and losing control but somehow managed to regain it (rut slut is a blow up doll that gets awarded to fallers and you have to ride with it the next time out) It soon became clear we didn’t have a clue where we were going and had to ask a local rider who sent us up a fecking big hill (couldn’t help noticing he didn’t go up it) at the top there is a network of ‘jittys’ (local term for back alleys), as none of us really listened to the directions we soon got lost again this became a common theme this evening, I’m sure the locals we asked were taking the piss and passing us on to one another “ I’ve sent a group of muppets your way send them back when you’re done.

Eventually we found a trail, ‘Strava Pete’ found a good line that we didn’t see don’t know how we missed it could be because it wasn’t feckin there in the first place, he managed to go straight over the bars, On the ride back to the YHA NeilK had a lucky escape nearly getting covered with cow shit by a farmer muck spreading the farmer just turned it off in time…….funny how shit attracts shit.

Back at the YHA who was sharing with who was decided (older riders from previous tours knew who to avoid) Seamus took one for the team and went with Cam, I handed out ear plugs to the puzzled looking virgins. A quick fight for the showers a meal at the half moon pub where the chef had a nervous breakdown with 16 of us descending wanting to be fed then back to the ‘Boat’ for Hob Goblin at the end of the night the charismatic landlord looked a bit sheepish when he said “ I’ll have to go to Wolverhampton tomorrow you’ve drunk all the Hob Goblin” we did warn him that we were serious athletes.

Back at the YHA we all said goodnight to each other, NeilK tucked Ned in. At breakfast me and ‘Pete mate’ asked Seamus what was the loud bang from his room…..turns out it was Cam base jumping…. he forgot he was on the top bunk, technically an off but not covered by the rules.

SATURDAY Ride saw us setting off from Marshbrook to ride Long Mynd trails, Blazing Saddles bikeshop is in the car park ‘Strava Pete’ was sucked in by its wares and bought himself a shiny helmet that we all thought looked crap.

Long Mynd starts with a drag of climb but you are rewarded with great single track back down to a country lane, ‘Strava Petes’ senses were tingling which could only mean a segment was coming, a bugger of a climb finishing at a gate we all managed it apart from Strava Pete and his shiny helmet.

A great descent with bits of loose rock down to the cafe for lunch Selwyn got this wrong DOH ! it was typical tourist cafe prices that made the Steampacket look cheap Skilly was sweating opening his wallet. A steep climb straight after lunch just what you need Coops nearly saw his again, a fast single track with a steep fall if you got it wrong Selwyn got it wrong DOH!, another steady climb with a steep kick at the end then onto a grassy climb similiar to the E2E, Gadge managed to split his tyre wall at the most exposed part of the route while he repaired this we all took advantage and rested offering no help,(top tip 17 check wind direction before relieving yourself) the next fun section was a dusty rocky narrow track which was great fun except for Selwyn who punctured…..he was having a mare.

At the bottom me and Cam swapped bikes as he wanted to try the 29er experience and i wanted to try riding a bike 2 sizes to big for me. We didn’t realize that this disqualified us from the strava section Seamus reminded us of rule 27b. you have to complete rides on the same bike.

At the ride debrief in the pub Skippy surprised us all by telling Stevieo he was very dry……..Seamus suggested wet lube and a room.

Selwyn gained the ‘rut slut’ with 2 off

SUNDAY Took us to the trail centre Hopton Wood about an hours drive away which was unfortunate given the amount of flatulence in the van, it has some great steep drops, twisty turns, lots of roots and an excellent skills section, Selwyn got another puncture Bazaar stayed with him to help repair it, when they didn’t appear for a while Me, Ned and Coops went to look for them, Ned arrived back first and said there was no sight of them strange as me and Coops were right behind him and saw them both…..How the feck Ned missed them Bazaar dressed in a bright yellow shirt and shouting “Hey Boy”and Selwyn with his long dreadlock. A couple of young rubber ninja youths were showing off doing jumps, till we showed them how it should be done and told them you should be gasping for air like a beached whale and sweating like a nun in a cucumber field. Surprisingly there were no offs though Selwyn tried his best again as he was already the keeper of the rut slut it wouldn’t have mattered.

We all went to a very nice curry house for the evening meal which took an unusual turn, I was in the toilet reapplying my lippy when Pete came in and told me “He missed the top step and fell down the stairs”….he should have checked who was in the trap before he told me….it was Selwyn who couldn’t wait to tell everybody, the rut slut was Petes.

MONDAY Another trail centre this time Cannock Chase probably the best one we’ve been to, ideal conditions dry and sunny, the ‘Monkey Trail’ was the first route to try described as ‘for the experienced technically competent rider’ why the feck were we on it then, with big climbs and technical descents there was only one possible outcome, Selwyn over the bars on a rocky section, trying to muffle our laughter and show insincere concern we were all impressed Selwyn got up dusted himself down went back and did it again. We waited in a small clearing in the trees catching the sun while a puncture was being repaired, sounds idyllic, wrong…..it was more like the camp fire scene from blazing saddles. Seamus was suffering the worst luckily there was a portaloo at the level crossing and the kind railway worker let him use it before the ‘train left the station’.Seamus was also disqualified from any Strava challenges now as his handicap weight had changed considerably and he was caught blatantly taking a short cut.

The next trail is ‘follow the dog’ more sweeping sections through the trees finishing with a rock garden that Gadge got the full benefit of on his hard tail. On the second lap legs were tiring Neil S (cultured man) was behind ‘Strava Pete’ and shouted at him to get a move on, Peter replied “ don’t fecking grunt at me or I’ll go slower” Neil K the tire kicker was shouting at Seamus to get out of the way but in truth he didn’t have the legs (or skill) to go past him. Back at the van the rut slut was about to be handed back to Selwyn when a bombshell was dropped Ned had come off twice the slut was his to keep for a full year till next years tour.

The last night was spent drinking The Boat pub dry again and taking the piss out of each other, playing chess, backgammon and darts with only two arrows take ages, we even managed to get a short lock in, the trophy for outstanding contribution and entertainment on tour went to Strava Pete, by one vote once we could read ‘Skilly’s’ writing though in all honesty there could have been a few winners. Skilly wanted to give it to sweet cheeks being a ladies man one bird shit on him…..feathered.

TUESDAY Unstrapped Cam from the top bunk to stop him doing his HALO routine (high altitude, low opening) and we all packed ready for the journey home, stopping to do some fecking shopping at Chester which turned out to be more technical than any of the rides full of fossils stopping for no particular reason in front of you.

Fall Table :-
Pete C……1
Pete M……1

Thoughts from the tour:-

Sweet Cheeks what a gal.
Cheese could be the future.
Neil K knows his shit and boy does he talk it.
Ned needs to start writing notes before he rides….He forgot his garmin, SD card, to charge his camera, fasten his camelbak bladder.
Neil S is a cultured man drinking Merlot but occasionally his mask slips, proving you can take the boy out of Pulrose but you can’t take Pulrose out of the boy.
Selwyn doesn’t give up.
Shiny helmets don’t make you ride better.
Maps are redundant when Stevieo is with you.

A great tour, thanks to Coalport YHA who really looked after us