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Ticknock and Ballinastoe

August 6, 2011

I have a hire car for a week, so its time to take the new bike to explore some proper mountain bike trails.

On Friday evening after work I went up to Ticknock, the newest trail in the country.  Its a very straightforward single trail, from the carpark a straight steep mostly paved climb right up to the summit where you are warmed up by all the microwave transmitters, a quick loop with some quite stunning views over the city and the coast of Wicklow (it was so clear I could even see the Welsh mountains), then purpose built trails descend about 200 metres over 5 km.  Its quite straightforward, good fun and not too technical, but all too short.  But its nice to have something like this on the doorstep of the city.

And on Saturday I went up to the main trail within easy reach of Dublin, Ballinastoe.  Its significantly longer than Ticknock, and a lot more technical.  It was also very wet, so my Canyon got its first baptism of mud.

There were a few sunny spells though.

It is straightforward to climb up from the carpark to the highest point, although a little disappointingly it doesn’t go far enough to give the best views out over Lough Tay.  The trail goes mostly through mature conifer forest with a lot of clearcut.  This made it all very muddy and slippy.  One stretch at the top is very technical with lots of exposed rock, which wasn’t much fun to cycle over in the wet and rain, just too slippy.  A few riders I met up there turned back.

But the bike held up well, and the last stretch is really wonderful – a lovely looping section of singletrack, all dropping gently in level so you can just forget pedaling, just focus on getting a nice smooth motion.  Great singletrack, just a pity about the rain and that the forest means there are few glimpses of the views up here, which can be wonderful.

The bike held up very well.  I put more air in the rear shock which addressed one little issue about it I was worried about – a very low bottom bracket means I’ve had the pedal hitting the ground more than I’d like.  The bike is just so smooth I don’t even think about it, which is as good a sign as any of its quality.  Or maybe its because of the terrible weather.





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