Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Darlington - Hamsterley Hill Rush - Darlington

Ash is in Training for the TransRockies next year and asked on the Hamsterley Trailblazers Froum for a 50km training loop within the forest, all on fireroads and with no crossovers or riding the same track twice. Rift came up with a route and The Hamsterley Hill Rush was born.

With a free day today, I had to try it out. Obviously, I couldn't just do the ride, I had to ride there and back too. Here's my write-up from the forum:

Well, Wood'n'Wheels to Wood'n'Wheels in 4 hours dead. I did however, skip the second of the inward loops, arounf Penningtom Rake, which I think cut off about 7km, so I only did around 43km. When I got to the crossroads at the start of that loop, I'd already been riding for 3 hours, so I decided to cut the ride short, since I also had to ride home. I'd not realised quite how quickly I'd get to the Grove, so I did do all of the rest of the ride.

I think I made the right decision to cut the ride short, since the heavens opened as I got back to Hamsterley village and I got rained on for the hour and a half it took me to get home from there; not helped by the jockey wheel on my chain tensioner unscrewing itself on the approach to Darlington, requiring a 10 minute roadside repair.

* Ride to forest: 32km (20 miles) on the road
* Most of "The Hamsterley Hill Rush" (Ash's Loop): 43 km (26 miles) off-road
* Ride home: 32km (20 miles) on the road

- a total of 107km (66 miles)

In hindsight, setting my personal best time for riding from home to the forest (1:35) wasn't a good start, leaving me pretty tired. I had to push up some climbs that I made easily on the GMSR; I was trying to make up for setting off late.

I left home at about 8:50 and arrived in the forest at 10:25. I took a ten minute break for some food and drink and set off on the loop at 10:35. Had a 10 minute snack at 12 o'clock (here: and another ten minute break at 1:00 somewhere on the first of the two inner loops. I reached the start of the second loop (which I skipped) at 1:35. Reached the end of the Grove link at 2:25 and legged it back to the visitors' centre to arrive at Wood'n'Wheels at 2:35. I had another ten minute break then set off home, finally getting home at 4:50. A straight 8 hours door-to-door, roughly 50/50 on and off road.

Without map reading and the road riding, sub-4 hours would be doable. 3 hours was over optimistic

Distance: 66 miles (107km)
Surface: On- and Off-road
Time: 8 hours
Weather: Cold and foggy, turning to cold and rainy
Bike: Kona Singlespeed (with 2.25″ tyres)


mactually » Blog Archive » 2006 Biking said...

[...] th in The Great Milk Stout Ride 2006 (pictures), on the ss Kona * In October, I rode from home to Hamsterley, rode the 50km Hamsterley Hill Rush and then rode home again, on the ss Kona * November and Dec [...]

mactually » Blog Archive » Half Term Plans said...

[...] y Hill Rush) and then riding back again. It’s 114km all in and took me 8 hours when I did it in October 2006 (I missed out a 7km loop), so it’ll be interesting to see how long it takes next wee [...]