Cannock's new Monkey Trail. Initial impressions.

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  • Cannock's new Monkey Trail. Initial impressions.
  • Ti29er
    Member

    I know this isn't going to read well but I have very mixed feeling about the new trail.

    I hope to enjoy it later in the year when it's bedded in better as it just seemed someone had seen an article on Glentress in January's MBR and then some trail images from Dalby in February's MBUK & March's pictures of Afan in What Mountain Bike and thought they'd compress everything & it'd hang together.

    I got the feeling the trail designer wanted to unseat or catch the rider out, not let the riding flow. And those endless switch-backs! Huge amounts of work went into this and they should be complimented on the quality of the work.

    I realise it's early days but I'll wait a while before riding there again, also, I met no one out there today who could begin to "clean" the trail.

    The local A&E dept will see many a rider through its doors in the coming months I fear & how long before the first fatality crossing that main road or the railway line?

    Flame away, but it's just an initial impression and one probably not shared by all.

    Premier Icon Chainline
    Subscriber

    Not shared by me, I loved it for the reasons you said here really, some of the best riding I've done. on my, virtual doorstep, compressed into one trail. Enormous fun.

    I cleaned it except for one switchback, but I was 16:32 SS so they were tough and I did crash on the rather large last rock drop off on the chuffing steep rock section but my excuse for that is I'm rigid and my saddle was way too high for that, it was very unexpected, my fault, should have recced it, its graded black!!! The red section was fine as was the rest of the black.

    I agree to some extent with the railway crossing, although that was there anyway to many that knew the trails, but there will be many more crossing.

    I also agree that unless you have your wits about you you could do yourself some serious damage, I hope that reputation spreads and coupled with the switchback climbing discourages some of the people that used the original FTD trail, many times I have been motoring down there to come across people ill equipped in terms of both skill and equipment to be on the trail presenting a dange to both themselves and others. It is/was graded red for a reason, many people pay no attention to that fact and treat it like a fire road.

    So please don't treat this post as a flame but part of a discussion.

    I must say chapeau to those that built it!

    sc-xc
    Member

    I thought it made the best of Cannock. I loved it.

    I rode it on a rigid SS, and didn't do the rock bit, and the werewolf thing caught me out. As for the climbs, yes – they are tight…but if 3 of us managed to steam around on SS where it's harder to sit and spin, then it's doable on any of the bikes you see round Cannock.

    A big thanks to chasetrails for livening up Cannock, haven't been for a year or so as I used to like the other side (quarry/stinger etc.) and the trails kept disappearing. I will definately be back soon.

    Also like the fact that the Horns has a free bike wash!

    Barry. Chase Trails member 009 and proud!

    richcc
    Member

    I rode it the other day. Great piece of work – design and build and thought that it compares favourably to some of the Welsh trail centres. I thought that it was appreciably harder than FTD. I think you may find less of the footie shirt and supermarket bike crowd making their way across there – though the two yoofs and girl in Jesus sandals seemed to be enjoying it!

    I loved it. For what the chase has to offer (hight wise) they had done a damn fine job. The last two runs are stunning. The first part is typical Cannock chase, never letting you go up or down for too long. Time will tell if the trail holds together, whether it does or not won't stop me having a go. We parked at seven springs today and rode over to the dog/monkey and all the way back to do the off piste stuff. It made for a good days riding.

    Hats off to all involved. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Premier Icon Nick
    Subscriber

    Not ridden it since they have worked on it, but hasn't the bit with all the switchbacks been there for ages, just unofficial? It was an ace trail then and I hope that it still retains it's technical charm since it's had the trail builder wand waved over it.

    maxsatnav
    Member

    +1 Ti29ers comments

    ive rode it twice, last sunday and again wednesday evening and in some places the trail had really began to give way at the edges and maasses of brakeing ruts have appeared in such short space of time.. i agree with the OP on most of the points made apart from cleaning the trail, except for a bit of a que on the step switch back we would have cleaned it.

    yes it is very good work and again would like to see it in a few months when it has packed down and settled and had a bit of rain on it… at the moment it is typical cannock very loose when dry

    on the positive it does now make the trail a decent length and i like how each section after all the switch back climbs seem to be better than the last.

    Yes i suspect the A+E will busy as the road crossing is a very fast and busy road and i am surprised that there are now the roads to cross 3 times and the rail way twice

    MY final thought…… well done to all involved on the work but the jury is still out im afraid…

    Premier Icon takisawa2
    Subscriber

    Rode it Tuesday night. My Ventana felt totally the wrong bike for some reason. Cant wait to get my SS Inbred up there. Was sceptical about my ability so 32:18 especially for it.
    I'm a Chase Trails member, no 124. Embarrased somewhat about never having lifted so much as a twig to help build what those boys have done.
    The last two runs are just excellent, really top drawer trails. Someone has really scoped out the terrain for that bit & they've got it spot on. Well done.

    MikeWW
    Member

    Gotta to say I think its great and would be ideal if a few of you guys aren't overly impressed and ride elsewhere ๐Ÿ˜€ Flows really well, switchbacks give you some quick height gain, hardly any fire road (certainly not long slogs) and more to come when the other sections open. Great ending to the dog as well with those berms, werewolf drop and the final few bumps. It has been too dry for a new trail but given the useage this last week wasn't too bad today. a bit of rain and some repair work and it will start to settle well.

    ski
    Member

    Is there any vids of the trail online yet?

    rode it today for the first time today and was very impressed with the trail-it beefs up the previous offerings and challenged all of us in various ways.
    i got excited by the black snippets and felt that, unlike landegla, they actually live up to their grading-what do you think?

    Premier Icon iain1775
    Subscriber

    Ski
    my vid – http://vimeo.com/11094588
    curerently working on a better one

    I kind of get what the OP is saying and it is going to need a hell of alot of maintenance at the end of the month
    Its good though that it has aspects of all those as it was badly cut up on Monday and worse by Wednesday various places. I think it generally flows okay and the switchbacks are definately preferable to endless (a la The Wall or Penhydd) fireroad climbs There are a few places where the tree stumps could do with removing or the odd tree thinning out as they are too close, or just on the edge and easy to catch when you are going full chat and maybe one or two (max) corners that are a touch to tight but apart from that, assuming it beds in okay (rain needed me thinks) it is pretty good

    Oh and I cleaned all but one tight loose corner, and I reckon I would definately clean the lot on my hardtail

    ski
    Member

    iain1775 – Member

    Ski
    my vid – http://vimeo.com/11094588
    curerently working on a better one

    Thanks iain1775 – nice vid

    Premier Icon postierich
    Subscriber

    Takisawa
    I'm a Chase Trails member, no 124. Embarrased somewhat about never having lifted so much as a twig to help build what those boys have done.

    Being a member of Chasetrails is just as good as helping out, espically if your riding time is limited!!!!
    Must remember to renew!
    Ti 29 most of the silly wheels boys have struggled could be worse you could have had a suspended one,Rain coming tonight ๐Ÿ˜€ hopefully.
    Ditto the road crossing some one is going to get hurt as the dont half motor along there

    richcc
    Member

    I've never seen triangular sign for cyclists crossing but it might be worth someone talking to Staffs County Council to see if some kind of advisory sign could be put up near the crossing.

    costello
    Member

    rode it friday,overall very impressed with it and i'll def go back,the switchbacks are a bit tight and i measured one tree gap on the singletrack and it was the width of my bar with an inch to spare,the trail/sand was already rutted and wearing in a few places but i reckon it just had'nt bedded in yet,just needs abit of weather overall i'm just glad i've got a decent place to go other than wales,saw a fair few "serious" riders and lots of people on appolos etc just enjoying themselves on whatever they could,
    7/10

    its very funny that some people are concerned that the trees are too close together!

    maybe they are meant to slow you down?
    maybe it makes a trail that littl ebit harder to clean?
    maybe you should mtfu?

    robyzf1
    Member

    If this was a natural trail and the sand was getting rutted and the trees were tight wouldn't we all be saying what an amazing technical trail this is?

    Haven't ridden this so can't comment but was at Aston Hills last weekend and the ruts that appear on the downhill runs there certainly made it more challenging and technical but it didn't detract from the thrill and enjoyment of completing the trail.

    I thought Mountain biking was all about technical trails that challenged you to get through them. I love trail centres and some are really technical and really make you work hard just to clear sections and if you don't then so be it.

    andy7t2
    Member

    rode it yesterday for the first time and it's a great trail for the terrain the builders are working with, the last two sections of the monkey and the last section of the dog are top draw.

    Big thanks to chase trails

    Ti29er
    Member

    On Friday there was a flimsy 2ft notice on the grass waring of bikes.
    Rubbish really.
    How about some road markings?
    How about some countdown 100m, 200m signage away from the crossing?
    How many thousands of visitors do they expect, 10, 20?

    Another concern, as expressed above, is the FTD flip-flop wellie brigade, mostly clueless and oft' not wearing lids; it's going to hurt & intimidate many riders who think it's much of the same FTD trails, which it most certainly is not.

    As much as I didlike the H&S executive (my uncle wrote many sections as a non-exec director) I do think some more signs would be in order.

    aperrott
    Member

    rode the new monkey trail last monday, the build is impressive for the area considering its not that hilly. Definitely needs bedding in but the loose stuff is good for the balance skills! The steep rocky black section descent is one of the trickyest things I've ridden at a trailcentre yet. I've read about people comparing it to wales, i'm not sure on that one as although the trails are good, there obviously isnt the scenery and 'mountain' feeling of wales. Overall though, compared to the old follow the dog trail its light years better and definitely worth a visit. Good work.

    emac65
    Member

    Christ on a bike, people moaning about crossing a **** road ! Well I've been crossing that very road for years now,several times a week & guess what I aint even nearly been run over yet……

    Sounds really good. Wish we had something like that around here for winter riding.

    robyzf1
    Member

    yeah buzz, but what if the trees were too close together?

    DJTC
    Member

    i thought it was a great trail, especially for being only an hour away, to get to riding like that usually takes around 3. i thought the flow was awsome througout the trial, cleared every swithcback on second go round, i thought it made the climbing more fun instead of endless fire roads etc. it will be interesting to see how it holds up because considering how new it is there is some quite severe braking bumps in certain sections that may need to be armourd up. e.g. the two table tops to massive! berm, before the berm was a really boneshaker from people locking the brakes on. but it was a great ride and will ride ss next time cus that will just make it more fun!

    dandan
    Member

    I rode there on Friday got talking to a good few riders ], was on an apple green Five, I honestly thought it was excellent my mate didnt like it as much as I did, next time I go I will be taking my hardtail.

    A big well done to all involved I will be traveling back down from Liverpool again in the near future ๐Ÿ˜€

    LMT
    Member

    Its a superb piece of trail, no complaints from me, the guys have done an outstanding piece of building and i understand clixbys are hanging around for some repair work. The ground at cannock is bone dry at the moment and the amount of bikers the opening weekend was immense.

    As for the roads, i learnt over 30 years ago how to cross a road and im still alive now, so i think i can manage that!!

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
    Subscriber

    lol @ trees being too close together! really? that statement is surely a wind up? or perhaps a nice 15ft wide fire road would suit you better? ๐Ÿ™„

    I love the trail. I'm local, not a member of CT but have given the odd morning up to help out. I take the OP's point about the road crossing but with so many potential users so close and so little space available the road crossing can't be avoided. I think the railway crossing is less dangerous than the road – the train drivers all seem to be aware and sound their horns as they approach. Some of the car drivers are reaching some very high speeds along the A460 so be careful FFS!!
    The trail is bound to break up initially with the amount of users at the start. The amount of users will die down and the trail will be repaired. Hopefully more users equals more trail pixie helpers.
    BTW – the switchbacks are great! As for the werewolf drop – just ride off it – can`t see what the fuss is about (and I ride like a girl most of the time).
    One thing I shall add is that the rest of the Chase and cheeky stuff was deserted today – fantastic!!!
    Johnnywhitesox(aka johnnymac)

    Ifrider
    Member

    I rode today too, had such a good time I was late for a friends' wedding nearly ๐Ÿ˜ณ Being 15 mins from me this has been some of the best riding I've ever done over the Chase (and that's a bold statement I know)
    Not feeling too fit at the mo', this was one of the first times I've ever used a granny ring too. I like the way there's some techy stuff where FTD missed out on, particularly liked a steep downhill section that was so loose it had me (and the guy's that were watching me) shouting expletives as there was actually no control whatsoever.
    Big thanks to Chase Trails from me ๐Ÿ˜‰

    costello
    Member

    dan dan,saw your apple green 5 as i was leaving about midday,i was driving out of the carpark and i saw this bloke with a big grin on his face! i was thinking "oooohh i'm liking that green 5"
    best colour ever mate.(though not as nice as my raw works red intense :wink:)

    Premier Icon votchy
    Subscriber

    Group of us rode it Saturday morning, very easy to get carried away on and I'm sure there will be a lot of accidents but no more than any other trail centre, each section seemed to egg you on to go faster, yes some of the trees are right on the apex of some of the corners and easy to clip with a shoulder but what section of singletrack through woods doesn't? the switchbacks are very tight on the climb but we all managed to clean everything, agree it needs some rain on it to help bed it down but definitely makes cannock worthy of a visit or two again this year. Overall well done to the trail builders.

    MikeWW
    Member

    Talking to one of the CT guys yesterday and he reckoned they were seeing 1000 riders a day on it at the moment!!!!

    Never mind the road crossing what about the folks living next to the railway track. That gate clanging shut every two mins is going to be very anoying. Although living next to a railway must have its disadvantages.

    Ti29er
    Member

    They have wrapped rubber strips arond the metal contact points.
    CT guy is living in cloud cookoo land, 1000 a day!
    That might be an average, but in the 2hrs I was there, I saw maybe 10 people; & that's part of its beauty.

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Subscriber

    There was a big queue yesterday at weirwolf drop. Looking at how most people went down it I think it must be a lot harder to walk down it than ride.

    But it's a magnificent trail, even though I don't expect it to make for more than 5% of my riding on the Chase.

    -m-
    Member

    CT guy is living in cloud cookoo land, 1000 a day!

    Isn't there some sort of counter at the bottom of a descent just before the small bridge before you go back across the road/railway? If that's what it is then they probably have a pretty good idea.

    I must admit I did think that it might be a bit of a bind if you lived at the house by the level crossing…

    st
    Member

    Within the first 4 days of opening the counter had clocked 1,600 riders and that's with it missing an unkown number as it doesn't pick up every pass due to the speed at the location it's been placed. Since then the bike shop has reported the car park has been at weekend levels of traffic all week and the lads will have done a more up to date check of numbers over the weekend.

    Ti29er, everyone's entitled to their opinion and I'd be amazed if any trail in the world suited all riders. To suggest that the trail builders have just cherry picked from photos in recent articles of other trails is rather naive though. The trail has been on the drawing board for around 3 years now and has been shaped by the views and styles of a variety of riders.

    In terms of flow that will always be a subjective one. For me the trail flows really well, as with Follow the Dog many of the sections need to be ridden hard and out of the saddle to fully appreciate them but then that throws in a whole range of different issues with clearing tightly spaced trees and not getting caught out on tricky corners.

    In my view for a trail to have long term appeal to riders it needs to throw in a few curve balls for the first few laps of even the most competent rider. If you ride it perfectly first time then the incentive to become a regular visitor is surely reduced.

    The switchbacks are all fully rideable on a good day and I would take exception to any suggestion that they are wrong based on having been ridden on a 29er. It's a mountain bike trail not a cyclo cross track.

    scruff
    Member

    *tumbleweed*

    bluebird
    Member

    I rode the new Monkey trail for the first time on Saturday and was really impressed.

    It was my first ride for 4 and a half months after breaking my arm so I'm fairly rusty, but I thought it wasn't overly difficult, just tricky enough and the faster you went the trickier it became. I didn't ride the long set of rock steps but they reminded me a lot of Laggan's rock steps – no bad thing. Once I've got my eye in again I can't wait to have a go on them.

    All in all I think the trail bulding guys have done an amazing job with the topography and type of dirt they've got to play with.

    If you find the the switch backs are tight, practice riding them?

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