It was around this time last year that I rode in the Ambazac mountains for the first time. Here’s what I thought of it then…
I spent the next three hours riding some of the most ball breaking trails I have ever ridden. Very tough around here. Yes there were some good bits, with fantastic views, but for the most part it was just too hard.
My second visit started off in much the same way, inasmuch as it had rained heavily in the days before, and just like last time, I dashed over there at the last minute to make the most of a ‘weather window’. Again, my guide was Paul Gibson, and again, he was pretty fit after a season of cyclo-cross.
The scene was set for suffering, but this time I really enjoyed it. It was just as hard, just as ball breaking, in fact some of the same route. I even had the same tyres on, probably pumped up to a similar pressure. Dudes, I probably even wore similar kit, as the weather was about the same. Only difference was that this time I rode a Stumpjumper hard tail. Last year I rode a Stumpjumper FSR.
The HT wasn’t the only reason I enjoyed it more this time though. I’m a little fitter this time, and a little more adept at dealing with the stony rocky stuff that riding in the Limousin throws up. We spent the whole afternoon riding rock, roots, leaves, wet grass, mud, and deep puddles along some fabulous trails. We were kept on our toes by the odd farm yard dog as we weaved our way along the mountainsides. We were treated to some stunning views, along with sunshine and showers. When we got back I had just enough strength to lift a glass of beer. “Cheers Paul!”.
I still think it’s bloody hard up there. You need to be fit to ride the Ambazacs, and they’d punish a careless rider, I reckon you could trash a pair of wheels every ride, but if you’re after a tough satisfying place to work on your fitness and hone your xc skills then I reckon the Ambazacs are superb. I’m looking forward to going again already, probably this weekend 🙂