This post has been a little long in coming to fruition, some months ago I collected Jeff and headed south leaving the hills behind, meeting up with Josh and Nat for a Thursday ride. Having ridden with them in the summer we were on the search for some new and varied trails to feed our post Alps (Morgains) void. If you have been there you will know what I mean.
Cannock Chase, or more specificity “Stile Cope” is home to downhill section that form the chase trails which also includes the XC loops. Located just outside of Rugeley, Staffordshire, it is well placed and easily within reach with only a relatively short drive. I have visited both the XC and downhill trails a number of times and have been impressed with the variety and quality of what is on offer. The downhill area offers a number of good quality trails packed with features that ride well all year around. Along with an easy push up route, making it possible to get a good amount of time on the bike.
Although the trails themselves are packed into a small area of woodland, each has a different style with something for novices to more “extreme” riders. With each new visit there always seams to be something new or improved. I would love to be more of a local, saying that I think I would miss the Peak District too much! They also run mini races and timing sessions which must be awesome, racing your mates on your local trails, sweet.
After a quick blast down one the “Red Course” a straight forward red trail, which is fast but not overly technical. Ideal for a warm up before hitting some of the more technical trails in the woods. Despite a fair bit of rain leading up to the ride the trails were on the whole well drained with only the odd puddle to deal with. Running summer tires makes a pleasant change from the normal spikes that were and are still on my bike. With the easy push up we completed a number of runs, checking out different lines. Which was fairly tricky in the rooty woods.
With such a large number of trails littering the woods it is easily to drift from one to the next and before we knew it we found a new section of trails that we had not seen or ridden before. Steep rutted and rooty it was just the sort of thing we were looking for. After walking it we discovered the top of the trail, like may of the trails it branches off one of the larger trails near the top of the hill.
We dropped in for the first runs, the most difficult section being a short but technical straight between two tight s corners. Close to the trees and a nice tasty route ready to catch you out. After a tentative first attempt confidence and getting your balance just right seamed the key. Josh seamed to enjoy it more than most, with a couple of small crashed as he lost his balance into the next corner.
We then branched across to a trail called ridge run, as the name suggest it runs very straight with only a couple of corners to slow you down. A good puddle appeared in one of this corners. With Nat foolishly saying he was up for a good splash, no pun intended. And after a couple of poor attempts we got him good. With the light fading we headed home, satisfied with the days riding.
Jeff shot a few video clips and has knocked them together into a short video.
12-11-01 Cannock Chase Stile Cop, 24 Pictures by Jeff