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6th September 2009

Reports by Kathryn Watterson and Liz Finney

Kathryn Watterson writes:

Clocaenog was a 25 minute drive from Chester; the ride venue was situated at the visitor centre which was open to riders and spectators for refreshments. Parking was marshalled and on hard standing.

Once vetted the ride took you round the edge of the water sports lake and across a dam towards the picturesque forest. The route through the forest was on a good firm track with very few stones. The routes were clearly marked with stewards at a number of check points and road crossings around the course. There was very little road work (mainly minor roads).

Water for horses was available at every check point for competitors riding without a crew.

This ride was well organised and should be included in any riders diary.

Liz Finney adds:

The Clocaenog ride has been missing from the national calendar for many years, but last year, Cheshire group member Kate Williams ran a pleasure ride from a new venue, at the Llyn Brenig visitorís centre. It was well supported, with a lovely route through mostly forest tracks, so Kate offered to run a competitive ride this year.

The run-up to the day of competition had the usual traumas --- entries coming in late, not enough offers of help etc. but the ride itself ran very smoothly. It was really well marked, with help from the local members of the Trail Bike Federation . The tracks had benefited from the recent rain and even the softer tracks were very rideable. The views around Clocaenog are stunning, and the weather perfect for riding.

Kate copes with a hectic full-time job and also has three small children, but still finds time to organise and help with Cheshire group events. Her husband was designated as timekeeper, with their young twins as runners. Kate was also ably assisted by Maura Amies and her husband - Maura managed to juggle duties as Ride Sceretary with those of a new baby, only 5 weeks old on the day of the ride! We really need more people who are prepared to take Kateís example and offer to run rides, like most areas in the country, we are desparately short of ride organisers.

The final number of entries meant that the ride ran at a profit, which seems to be the most important criteria at present. Also equally important, the riders all had a great time and will no doubt be back next year to keep Clocaenog on the ride schedule for the foreseeable future.

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