notes from the nature trail

If you go down to the woods today, your sure of a big surprise. If you go down
to the woods today , you better believe your eyes. For every bike thats taken
off road, Went to Salisbury ( avoiding the toads) Coz, todays the day for
Trailquest Orienteering.

Oh, and there were some Munis there too. Jerry and Paul and I with our trusty
one wheeled mounts joined in with 189 teams of two wheeled MTBers for a
competion navigating our way across the rolling wiltshire country-side in serch
of those elusive check-point clippers. We were late starting, the second to last
team allowed out I believe. Armed with map and instrutions NOT to be late we set
off at a smart pace into the woods. The first check point was easy to find, I
spotted the fluttering orange ribbon marker from a 100 yard away. Onwards and we
thought we would soon have a second in the bag, skiding our way down a slimey
hill side I thiught I saw another ribbon on a gate, just at the point marked on
our map. It turned out to be the red jacket of a chap fixing a puncture on the
other side of the gate… where was this checkpoint, we scoured the area,
looking behind the water trough, under a dead tree, on both gates and in every
clump of nettles. Eventully coming to the conclusion “some bu**er has nicked
it”. Getting back to the competion we spent the next 2.5 hours riding up and
then down a bunch of tracks collecting another 5 check-points for a total of 190
points. The riding included some fantastic slippery down hills, some plain old
mud plugging, a few good hard pack stretches and briefly the muddyist farm yard
I’ve been across since the spring, this time I did NOT fall off in it however (
much to jerry’s relief). As to the nature trail of my title, well we did see
some cows and some birds and a rat. Not as exciting as mountain lions and bears,
but Wiltshire doesn’t run to such exotica. Back at the event centre after nearly
3.5 hours, we slurped down very welcome cups of tea and scoffed flap jacks and
bananas waiting for our score to be posted up with every one elses so we could
see how we did.

We did OK, second I think in the “fun” class and we managed to get more points
than a few of the senior women and several of the senior men ( not fun classes,
these boys and girls are GOOD and very competitive). But for the first time in
any MTB race I’ve munied we won a prize, a spirit of the event type prize of an
energy bar each. Wasn’t that nice of them.

There are trail quest events each month in the south of england, if you would
like to join the growing number of Muni riders who take on the MTBers at their
own game why not come along. Trail break have a web page at
with most of the info you’ll need on that page.

By the way, I lied about the toads. sarah