Yes, good weather forecast this morning and time to spare. So I rode my MPS to Nandrin to do another lap on my favorite trails. I have been coming here for many years now and each time I continue to ba amazed at the way this track is laid out, sometimes easy, sometimes difficult, but destined to leave me tired and happy at the end of the ride.
The Merlin was purring happily as I rode out around 11am . The weather was warm, but not too warm with the sun hiding from time to time behind some clouds. I made good progress as the trails were surprisingly dry - nandrin dry that is - with only the occasional puddle. The trails were pretty clean and some of the grass had been mown. Nevertheless I recommend wearing long trousers since the tracks are sometimes overgrown and filled with nettles and brambles. I got a nasty sting from some nettles before entering the Bois des Gottes. Speedy downhill followed by a tough ascent on medieval cobbles. Then another fast downhill where my Merlin worked its magic and I could ride screaming fast without being worried of getting out of control. The trails then settles a little bit with some more relaxed climbing towards Ellemelle. This is about as far south as it will go and from Ellemelle I make my way up into the Bois d'Herberlain, with its 300 metres the highest point of the route. The track here is also surprisingly dry. But during the hollow road descent I do discover some hidden puddles - ouch.
In Tinlot I switch from the White route that I have been following onto the Red route. This is the more difficult route and things get really serious quite fast. Past Stree and into the Bois de Lonfontaine where I encounter the first really muddy patch. Yeah, Nandrin wouldn't be Nandrin without at least one mudhole. Into Outrelouxhe for a descent along a little river. This is by far the most beautiful part of the route and today I wanted to check out an option for an extra climb. Descending all the way along the Bois des Dames and then make my way up the crest. Well, I was walking up that crest. The narrow and steep track was just too difficult to ride. It looked more like a gully with rocks, and muddy . So I walked 3/4th of the climb until the slope got a little less steep and the track dried out. From then on I could ride. I descended along the track I normally ride up. This track is rock-strewn and very difficult to negociate. I left the speed a bit high and luckily the Merlin carried me over the rocks without flinching. I believe any lesser bike might have meant a bad fall. Down the slope and I turn to the left to follow the river upstream a bit until I turn left again for a very steep climb. This one is dry but covered with a lot of tree rubble left behind by forestry works. I have to dig deep but I make it all the way to the top. The descent towards the culminating rocks gives me time to recuperate. I stop to eat a bit, check out the bike and take some pictures.
I'm well into the ride now and only have about 15k left to ride. The singletrack leading from the rocky outcrop over the ridge and then down towards the Rue d'Oxhon is overgrown and I have to ride low to avoid the branches. At the bottom I check my body for spiders and ticks. Some Deet keeps most of the bugs away but it doesn't hurt to check now and then. The last climbs - the first 2 on a narrow tracks between two barbed wire fences and the last one in a forest, steep and long, sap the last of my strenght out of the legs. But then I'm back in Nandrin. When I look at my average it is the highest I ever done here. Even with the walking section. I believe this is mostly due to the bike and the exceptionnally dry trails I found here today. Still, I'm very pleased with my ride, I felt strong in the beginning, only beginning to fade after the walking session but I was able to find some extra strength to complete the ride in good speed. I have added a link to the GPS track of today. Please take note that the northernmost section includes a very difficult walking section.
Ride Stats : 49K and 840/912 heightmeters (Polar/Garmin) in 2h50mins
GPS Track on Garmin Connect : CLICK
01-08-2009, 19:50 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf