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Dalby Forest is a Forestry Commision forest with an extensive system of man made trails of ranging from easy to hard. The 'Black Route' is a short but very intense mountain bike ride suitable for those wanting to scary themselves in as short a time as possible.
Man made trails, which is generally well drained, but can get muddy, especially in the last part of the route.
Hazards and warnings
You need to be a skilled rider capable of dealing with very technical trails. Even then, the logs at Cross Cliff are very slippery in wet weather, and best bypassed. If you are unsure about your level of skill, consider one of the other routes instead.
The black route at Dalby initially follows the newly upgraded red route, before diving down into a loose and rocky descent, and re-emerging slightly further down the red route. After following the red route again for some twisty singletrack through the trees, the black run makes it's way down a very vicous descent. The same pattern of using parts of the red route, with the odd diversion is followed until you reach Crosscliff.
The red run heads off in a different direction here, leaving you to face the log section on your own. In dry conditions the logs are slightly scary in places, with some narrow sections, adverse cambers, and short drops. In wet conditions the logs are not recommended as they become very slippery, and you are unlikely to stay with the bike for long.
After the logs the black run pretty much follows the route of the old black route, with a decent down a narrow gully, followed by an ascent of a similar gully. After a brief it of fireroads and a section around the edge of a field, you have a shorty slidy descent to the track near where you started, and then a final climb on the fireroad, to join a few hundred yards of the red route to complete the circuit.
If you have the energy and the inclination, the jumps, logs and obstacles across the road at Dixon's Hollow should give you some good entertainment, although here too the logs become very slippery after rain.
'Twas the night before Christmas, and I needed something to pre-emptively work off the 'holiday bloat', so a quick trip to Dalby sounded like it would fit the bill.
My riding companion and myself made swift work of the initial descents, but found the climb up the gully, with it's slimy moss covered rocks to be hard going, and both of us failed to clear the climb, before giving up and walking. The big descent down towards the lake proved pretty tricky as well, as it was quite muddy, and slippery. Personally, I think the route the 'red route' takes here, with it's big bermed corners is far better.
We arrived at Cross Cliff with no further drama, and set off along the logs. They appeared pretty slippery, and fear started to grip me as the log run became progressively steeper, and with more off camber sections. I stopped to take a photo of my riding buddy, who shot past me, and prompted fell quite heavily where the planks took on a weird slope. I got back on the bike, and promptly fell off in the same place. A quick test with my feet found the surface to be so slippery you couldn't even stand up, let alone ride. So, with no regrets we decided to follow the wimpout trail next to the logs. Anybody riding this route in winter would be recommended to do the same.
After that we made good progress around the rest of the route. The rocky drop down the ravine, followed by the long technical climb proved do-able. The section through the dense trees was still muddy, but at least was an improvement on how it used to be. Still, the combination of mud, and poor light caused by dense trees and an overcast sky made for a tricky ride. After avoiding the very steep and washed out short descent by Jungleby, we climbed the last hill, and finished up with some pleasant swoopy corners which were part of the red run. Fading light prevented us making fools of ourselves on the logs and jumps, but on previous visits, I usually have a go, if only to prove to others that men over the age of 25 can't jump!
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