Sunday morning, 6.30am. Sun is out, rise and shine. After the 1st of May ride in Tellin , which left me with a dual feeling - one of elation because of the beautiful landscapes, but also a feeling of bitterness because of the unreal muddy conditions making the ride leave a bad memory - I was keen to go to Libin, which is just a few K to the south of Tellin. This would give me the opportunity to ride once more in this magnificent region.
Sunny morning, ride to Libin went fine, cruise control on the MPS set to 130 and hey presto, one hour and 5 minutes later I was in Libin looking for the start. Took some searching but when I found it, I could park within 10 metres from the tent where the inscriptions were held. They offered distances ranging from 15 to 65K. I opted for the longest one and forked over a 5 note. Not far from the tent there was a big barbeque where they were already warming up the cinders for the wild-boar feast which traditionally takes place together with the mountainbike rides and walks being offered by the locals.
I set out with the Moots today and the ride started off taking a little stretch of tarmac which took us out of Libin and up to the E411. There we went offroad for a nice little multitrail section alongside this highway. The first distance split came up and I was not surprised to see the majority take one of the shorter distances. The 55 and 65K loops took us down off the plateau into the forest and along the river Lesse. Some 13K into the ride the first rest stop added a bit of Tesseire+water and some raisins to my energy reserves. We followed the river along a 65K-only stretch which became quite interesting after we crossed over a bridge and returned upstream along a very tricky singletrack ondulating up and down the river bank. Only one passage was too complicated to ride and the rest demanded some concentration and skill. I loved it. When we joined the 55K track again, we entered some kind of wildlife parc and climbed steadily for about 5K and 220 heightmeters until we reached the 450 metres mark. Some nice passages along the way and the trail didn't shy away from passing through the forest proper, little chalk markings leading us from one rock to another. The trail was strewn with timber and little logs, but remained ride-able . We stayed more or less on the plateau, although the trail went up and down continuously. We hooked up with the track of the Tellin ride north of Transinne with a singletrack passage upwards I remembered from last weeks' ride -when it was so muddy we couldn't ride it. This time it was only steep but no problem riding it. When we passed under what looked like a wooden gate I was sure we were on the Tellin trail. A quick downhill later and we were at the second reststop, some 31K into the ride. I had met up with an old acquantance from the "Rode Lintjes" and we rode together for a while, reminiscing. He was still on a bike without suspension which he has owned since 1985 but he told me he had just purchased a full suspension bike. I think he will be mightily surprised by the difference in ride quality and comfort.
the second rest stop the trail plunged towards Mirwart where we hooked
up again with the Tellin trail, but we took it in the other direction
this time. Another very nice technical passage took us alongside another river. We contoured Smuid and more or less stayed next to the river. Some very wet passages under the railroad left me with wet feet. I was beginning to wonder at this time if we would make the 1200 heightmeters that were announced. With hills on both sides of us the organisers decided to remain next to the river. Hmm, not good for a heightmeter-junkie like me. But then we left the riverside and started climbing . A wet passage through a stream left me with soggy feet again but with 26 degrees C I didn't mind at all. At the 3rd rest stop, 46K into the ride, I filled up on food and drink and asked the guys if they knew if we were yet to climb a lot. They told me a "big one" was coming up but when I looked at my Polar and saw that I had only 750 heightmeters at this time, I thought it would have to be a VERY big one to yield us 500 heightmeters in the last 18 or so K's. In fact, not long after the 3rd stop, the best climb of the day announced itself. Very steep and over lots of roots, forcing me onto the granny gear for quite some time. We nearly made the 450m mark but just before that the track dropped us down again. Not for long because we started climbing again. I saw the hill to my right and started to grin, yes, this looked good. Indeed we went to the ceiling of the ride, 500 metres over a slowly climbing track, sometimes narrow, sometimes widening up but steadily climbing. We were joined by the shorter distances and after a little descent we went back up again, until some singletrack spat us out at the edge of the forest and overlooking Libin. Great, my legs felt fried but I was elated. The track went into the fields and dropped us nicely into Libin, some 100 metres lower. When I checked my Polar I saw that we only made 62.2K but the last couple of climbs elevated the heightmeters to just over a 1000.
What I liked:
+ great region if you love forests
+ arrowing sparse but sufficient
+ some nice technical passages
+ 3 well stocked feed zones, evenly spread over the distance
+ friendly organisors
What I did not like:
- no showers?
- a little less mileage than advocated
- a little less heightmeters than advocated/expected
Synopsis: Great ride. These forests are very beautiful this time of the year with the young green foliage filling up. The sun was hot but because we were in the forest most of the time it didn't bother me. In fact, temps were ideal especially next to the rivers and the coolness which emanates from them. On the 65K I was riding alone most of the time, filling my lungs with pure air and listening to the sounds of the forest. Birds, the crickle-crack of my tyres on the track and the sound of my chain running through the gears were all I could hear. Forest murmurs. The organisation didn't take full advantage of all the hills they had here - or perhaps they were not allowed into areas where the Tellin organisors passed only a week before? Some nice technical passages - this sets it apart from Tellin - and still a reasonable amount of heightmeters. The trailbuilder didn't shy away from passages straight through the forest on virtually non-existent tracks, demanding the utmost concentration. I hit a rock twice with my rear wheel and upon cleaning my bike I saw that one spoke had ripped its nipple. Bummer and not the first time this happens to me with these wheels.
The Bare Facts:
Profile of the Ride
Some pictures taken by Schijfrem
Ride Stats : 62.2km and 1025 heightmeters
Hill Factor : 16.5
11-05-2008, 20:02 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf