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  • New Blue Trail – Cannock Chase
  • Premier Icon cany0n
    Free Member

    Is the NEW Blue Trail good? | MTB Cannock Chase

    Thought I’d share this video of the newly opened blue trail at Cannock Chase? You can decide if you think it’s worth visiting for!

    Premier Icon rjmccann101
    Full Member

    Rode it on Friday afternoon and enjoyed it. Nothing technical on the blue but lots of it is fun. The new red sections are good too. There’s 4 different ways to get from the start to the top of Stegosaurus and it’s easy to loop round and try them all. The new red with the step down and jumps was probably the best.

    The main issue will be maintenance, it’s going to get hammered and while it seems well built, it even looks like proper drainage had been thought of, big soak aways filled with stones can be seen in the video. Time will tell as with all these things!

    Premier Icon cany0n
    Free Member

    Rode it on Friday afternoon and enjoyed it. Nothing technical on the blue but lots of it is fun. The new red sections are good too. There’s 4 different ways to get from the start to the top of Stegosaurus and it’s easy to loop round and try them all. The new red with the step down and jumps was probably the best.

    The main issue will be maintenance, it’s going to get hammered and while it seems well built, it even looks like proper drainage had been thought of, big soak aways filled with stones can be seen in the video. Time will tell as with all these things!

    Agree with all your thoughts! I actually prefer parts of the blue trail to bits of Follow the Dog like the “black” boardwalk.

    Premier Icon vazaha
    Free Member

    Does anyone know of an online map for this yet?

    I could only find the Sherbrook etc stuff, but my google-fu game is weak.

    I can see where some of it is from the ^video but the edits throw you off a bit – i tend to stay on this side more than that side – looks like it’s worth a blast until the berms get fandangled.

    Premier Icon jekkyl
    Full Member

    If you live further away then I would say the new bits definately warrant another visit. The new bits are excellent, lots of fun and very fast in places. The new blue loop just starts right from Birches Valley carpark and takes about 15-20 minutes, less even, to do the entire blue loop back to the carpark. From the carpark start there are now essentially 3 tracks down to Stegosaurus, the new blue down the middle with the berm hill, the new red with a tricky step to start and then 3 jumps, all rollable but they look like they aren’t, and the old red which you now access by taking a left off shortly into the new blue. When you get to the stego start you can just hang right and go straight back up the hill to do the first bit again, like 3 minutes to the top. But don’t think that’s the end of the new bits, just follow the blue carry on, there’s loads of berms and there are loads of places you can get some air, honestly I was impressed with the work gone on here, the build is excellent. Have a go at the Ebike line (lol) on the uphill rock garden, it’s easy enough for non ebikes though, the nearly to last big step is a challenge, get yer speed up!.
    For the whole little blue loop after the switch back climb there is barely any elevation so it is perfect for kids. There’s wee rock bits, which are shit for you n’ me, will make the kids feel like they’ve really done a tough course. After that there’s basically berm after berm after berm all the way back to the start.
    There’s also some new red rock gardens, take the 2nd exit to the left on the top new blue and there’s a tricky rock garden which has a step down which I reckon will put a load of people over their bars and mangle themselves on the rocks. There’s also a really fast bit on the new blue, a sweeping slight downhill into 3 bumps but they’re on the bend so it’ll be easy to overshoot and have yourself into the sticks. In fact the first night we were there someone had mangled themselves there but after 3 goes round you get better at doing them every time. It is really busy at the minute, try and go after 8 in the evening or before 3 to get the best. When it’s busy there’s loads of stopping for wee ones losing their bottle or turning into the berm and going down, so you have to patient and just hang back. The weekend days will be carnage, I wouldn’t even. I think this really sets Cannock apart and will be seen a lot more novice friendly and will draw big numbers. For the rest of us you can just tag it into a loop of the dog/monkey or swap bits out at the start. Well done to the team who built this, you’ve done an excellent job.

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Full Member

    I rode the blue yesterday having heard it was open. My feelings are a bit different. I’ll ignore the fact it’s full of loose gravel that is bound to cause a lot of spills in the coming days because this will soon get compacted. But it’s narrow and domed, which while good for drainage makes it feel a bit precarious and the berms don’t do what they should. I always tell my grandson (and any other learners) to go in high and fast so the berm will do the turning for you and spit you out ready for the next bit. If you go in fast and high you’re going to run out of berm and end up over the top. I think it’s going to put some people off.
    But I was pleased to see an official “trail crossing” sign shortly after the rock garden where it makes way for people coming down Big John’s!

    Premier Icon st
    Full Member

    Just missing the “like” button for the last point in you post there John ;o)

    Premier Icon _tom_
    Free Member

    It might just be the videos I’ve seen but looks like those new jumps are going to cause some accidents! Looks like you can carry a lot of speed into them and they’re small so lots of potential for overshooting. Bit like the old rollers before they changed them. Again could be wrong this is just how it looks to me.

    So does this give you an extra option at the start of FTD/Monkey then before you get to stegosaurus? I never really liked the original start to FTD. Looking forward to giving it a go, was planning a Cannock trip later in the year, haven’t been in years!

    Premier Icon markforrest
    Full Member

    Ridden it a couple of times now, on the whole I’d say it’s a nice addition to the existing FTD trail – can see us using it fairly often particularly in the winter months when other areas on the Chase are a bit sloppy.

    Would agree with the concerns above though; there are a few places where a sudden tight corner can catch you out if carrying too much speed and also feel like some of the berms aren’t high or long enough. When we rode it on Tuesday there were already a few places where it was clear people had gone over the top of the berm and one in particular where this had caused some damage to the trail. Seems to work better when ridden slower, which works for me.

    In fairness, when they did the Snakes and Adders section a couple of years ago the contractors did go back in and widen a corner where riders had been going wide, so perhaps they’ll have a look once it has been ridden for a while.

    Premier Icon giantriderjay
    Free Member

    We rode it last Thursday after opening, was packed. Incredibly loose, like when a road gets stripped for re-surfacing and they leave it for the cars to bed it in. Doesn’t really work for mtbs! My mate, who rides everwhere at max speed tbf, lost his front wheel from under him and had a bad crash, much skin was lost. We heard another chap had come off and dislocated his knee.

    Rode it again on Sunday and the surface was better (more grip when wet?). Rammed with families, no problem here, but avoid at weekends if you’re not patient.

    They’ve done a decent job, but some wierd places that don’t feel quite right. Off piste was trashed with all the rain so good to have an alternative.

    Premier Icon vazaha
    Free Member

    So does this give you an extra option at the start of FTD/Monkey then before you get to stegosaurus?

    The New Blue essentially takes over what was the first section of FTD* – the FTD/Monkey starts just to the right of it, and is essentially a few jumps, two quite mahoosive berms, and a bit of squiggling before exiting at Stegosaurus.

    I rather enjoyed it, even though the 4th section was closed – i think it was for felling/works rather than anything worse – and it was rather shorter than i was expecting. The 4th section looked like it was quite long, so missing that meant missing a lot maybe?

    Very flowy with nothing overly demanding but still needing enough attention to keep you on your toes – i thought it was perfect for people just coming in to cycling off-road. Will be interesting to see if the berms deteriorate in the same way that they have in the outer reaches of the Dog (eg Seven Dwarves etc), because it is berm heavy – being closer to the centre will presumably make maintenance easier.

    I like that the end essentially spits you out onto looping round again, which is exactly what i did, and enjoyed it even more knowing what was round the corner. I can well imagine it was a bit sketchy a few weeks ago, but it’s proper bedded in now.

    Even on a mid-week, term-time Monday morning it was pretty busy, but it’s not like that’s a bad thing is it? There was a girl ~ 4ish with her Dad that held a few of us up for a bit, but we were all larging her up at the next crossing point – it was all very lovely really.

    A huge chapeau from me to all that made it happen – thanks!

    *Some of us might remember when the first section actually started over by where the sculpture trail now is

    Premier Icon twonks
    Full Member

    I went late last Friday whilst off for a week. Love the new blue and as said the last but one step on the straight climb got me. Just stalled on the bloody thing and came to an abrupt stop.

    The whole design and build of everything they’ve done is great imho. The new Dog start is also splendid. The jumps look huge when approaching but are perfectly rollable. The second go round I launched off them and must have gone at least 18 inches (jumping is not my thing 😉 )

    The only bit I don’t really like on the whole route is stegosaurus. I can do it by keeping left and spinning away but, just don’t really enjoy it for some reason. Still, it’s easy to divert around and doesn’t detract from the riding.

    Well done and thanks to all involved 🙂

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