Monday, 21 June 2010

Fathers day ride

Up and out early on sunday, last ride for a while so was planning to do one I did a couple of years back, trying to squeeze in all the local downhills. 1st stop winterhill, down san marino was ace I remember riding this years back, early 90s rigid steel bikes, stems so long your bars had a different post code, used to take about 6 or 7mins with a stop halfway to rest your arms, took just over 2 today. Then I had to climb back up, Matts been doing some silly fast runs up here so I thought I'd time myself. Spun up in middle ring most of the way but near the top where I should have been putting the power down I was busy keeping my lungs inside my chest and dropped to granny. 11:58 I'm pretty happy with that for now. Down the shoulder and over spittlers edge (bone dry) to great hill. Not done the full hit since last year, it was awesome, top excellent as ever, middle has finally dried out after about 4years, bottom was well sketchy - superb. Chased (and caught) a roadie up moor road, down the phone line, saw Matt at the reservoirs, rivi was busy. Ice cream run, pike, kennel run, a pretty quick run down wildeswood should have had me finished but instead of riding up chorley old rd I ended up exploring near Akon village again and ended up at montcliffe quarries. Down through walker fold wood and barrow bridge and home absolutley shagged, felt a lot more than 34miles, reckon the san marino beasting burned quite a few miles from my legs, 5400ft of climbing is not bad tho. Beautiful day, fantastic ride, makes you really appreciate stuff.

Friday, 18 June 2010

A bad morning

Worst commute in a long time mostly down to scrotey fecking chavvy scum. Set off and my knee was playing up, got up in the night on weds to try and calm charlie down and for no reason while walking down the landing my knee exploded in pain. Still not feeling strong, hoping it will sort itself out soon. Down Darcy lever, see a guy riding towards me, he's on first name terms with the staff down at JD sports but he's on a bike so good on him, I move way over to the side of the trail give him plenty of room, as he goes passed he swerves towards me shouting "woah!" nobber.
Remember the human crap I found the other week? Well theres loads there now (with bog roll), it's right around the corner from a gypsy camp. I knew the camp was there before but didn't mention it cos I don't wanna jump to conclusions, but it's kind of a BIG coincidence. Plenty of areas seem to have a trail called "dog shit alley" well manchester now has it's own "human turd ginnel" awesome.
Worst tho was at clifton junction there's a couple of factorys being demolished and the local theiving scrotes are slowly asset stripping it themselves, fences always have holes in them, and occasionally you see some dodgy looking characters knocking about. Today there was a huge transformer in the middle of the trail, they must have dragged it so far then got bored so left it. I eventually managed to drag it out of the way - getting oil on my gloves :-( - and rode off through a puddle - hang on puddle?! dryest summer in ages! Shiiiiiii... it's oil thats been leaking out of the transformer, all over my tyres and now dripping on my frame. Arghh my brakes! Clean the excess off with ferns and grass but it's not shifting the rest so rode along till I found some discarded clothing (theres always some thing) a sock, fairly clean looking too. Cleaned most of the oil off and tried brakes for the first time, felt ok, nice one, got away with it. Nope couple of miles on the brakes start squealing and a distinct lack of power. Contaminated pads, proper pissed off now.
AND there was a tree blocking the trails
AND the shower wasn't working properly (again)

Update: called environment agency about the transformer/oil and they're looking into it, on my way home I saw the scrotes had been back to strip it down it's off the trail now but still loads of oil about - hope it's not dangerous stuff. Managed to clean my disc pads with blow torch, ethanol and sandpaper (some useful stuff at work eh?) so may be OK now. Gloves stil stink after an overnight soak and washing twice :-(

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

A short one

Me and Burk did a rather good ride yesterday, weather was nice, route was ace (walna scar classic) We were both riding well, I cleaned the climb up park head road for the first time and I just about managed the top section of walna scar again. The downs were awesome and we almost escaped unscathed but burk got a flat in the quarry above torver. Short but very very sweet, bloody brilliant!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Taking the bike for a walk part 2

I managed to get the day off last minute cos my boss is such a nice man, lowey had offered to lead me astray with promises of huge climbs, awesome descents, lickle ribbons of singletracky goodness all served on a bed of cheeky trails. So off we went, late start, weather looked lousy but we persevered and as we hit cumbria the sun came out. I introduced Lowey to tebay services' westmorland shop, lamb damson and mint pies - fantastic! We set off from Stoneycroft into a lovely ascent, well it would have been on fresh legs, steep and loose but mostly rideable. Lowey was a climbing demon, me not so, tebays finest exports were threatening to make a re-appearance. The climb continued, my stomach settled and my legs remembered how to pedal. Monster hill (2700ft), it got steeper and steeper til eventually it was a push, a carry, then a scramble! Fantastic views from the top, proper lakes panorama, then we went down, fast gravel track to start with huge drainage ditches thay offered some airtime. Next was along Gasgale gill, the most unrideable downhill I've ridden but the doable bits were ace, loose rock, fixed rock, hard pack singletrack, it had everything. Had to get off and clamber down some really rocky bits and sections where the path had been washed away, the massive drop to one side didn't help on techy bits, on trails like this it always feels like the big drop is magnetic and my arse is full of iron filings. We made it down incident free, a quick ride along crummock water to Buttermere and then a lower return leg (only 1500ft) a gentle climb up lovely singltrack - except when it crossed streams where the trail kicked upwards big style, damned hardwork on tired legs. The drop back to Stoneycroft was briliant, steep loose and gravelly at first then a more gentle twisty turny slot car racetrack where you could pick up and carry loads of speed with hardly a pedal or touch of brake. Lowey had a sketchy moment when he nearly lost it at a washed away section but just saved himself. Great ride, only 15miles but hardwork, 100% cheeky, 100% fun.

More pics by lowey

School run dad

I took Charlie to nursery for first time today, by bike :-) he was cool with it. Nice short stretch down a quiet pavement, his mum made me promise to stay off the road, she allegedly trusts me and my riding but not drivers. His cahir on the back of pompino was a bit of a bouncy ride so think I will stick it back on the inbred, bit more cushioning with big tyres (and that "steel is real" trail buzz dampening of course!).
Gets bloody busy in that nursery car park just before 9, some stupidly big 4x4s too, with only one entrance cars get blocked in too despite the fact that there's loads of parking on road outside.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

A clean run

Was going to ride in on road yesterday taking it easy but unexpected dry weather can't be wasted so onto the SS was fetched and an offroad blast into work. Nice, even the latest rain has been soaked up and nary a puddle to be seen. Good stuff. Someone had taken a dump right in the middle of the trail at forest bank and unless dogs have started wiping themselves with paper napkins I do mean someONE, dirty beggar! Bit of rain on the way home but that cleared up within 10mins so managed not to get covered in mud, lovely.

Dark broody skies this morning meant I stuck to the road, they didn't produce any rain but that could still have been a very good move as I may be joining Lowey on a ride tomorrow. Hiking section guaranteed :-( Very slow ride home tonight to preserve my legs.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Taking the bike for a walk

Out in the lakes with Burk yesterday, weather was looking iffy so I had 3 routes planned STW ambleside, Loweys skiddaw cheek and borrowdale with styhead loop. I let Burk decide (thank god) he said number 3. Did the first bit or borrowdale, watenlath to Rosthwaite was as good as ever, unclimbable but a superb steep rocky descent. The next bit was new, looking at the map it should have been bimble along stonethwaite beck, ride up langstrath valley, hike up stakes pass then traverse along the top then fantastic downhill to seatoller and finish borrowdale. Nope. OS could do with a grading system. Stonethwaite was fun but energy sapping, langstrath was horrible, loads of unrideable stuff, just dead rocky and stuff. Stakes pass was as expected. Halfway round the "traverse" which was about as rideable as langstrath, we saw what was ahead, another monster climb, I'd somehow failed to note the plethora of contour lines. Feet were hurting I wasn't in the mood for all this, Burk was feeling the same, this downhill better be worth it. Finally got to angle tarn and could see a giant staircase before us. We were broken men, a quick break and some scrummy westmorland pie lifted my spirits, one more push and we're done, off we went, properly sore feet and knackered legs arms and back but we plodded on. Finally topped out and started riding again, came round a corner to see another staircase just as big. I wanted to cry. Thoughts of lynching the STWer who'd recommended this route were discussed, good job Burk helped choose the route or I'd be the one lynched. Another map check showed that this WAS the last climb, onward and upward.
Finally made it, helmets on, saddles down, suspension plush-i-fied and dooooooooown we went. Was feeling wooden at first hitting stuff to slow, not surprising after over 2hrs of walking. But I soon loosened up and it was very very good. The downiest downhill I've done I reckon, remided me of "6 inches only" but better, 1900ft and 3.7miles of down. Not as mentally steep and dangerous as top of dollywaggon, bit more tech than nan bield but less "fall to your death of the side of the hill" consequences. Really really good, battered your uppper body and a few goes down it and you'll have forearms like popeye, had to keep switching braking fingers on the long steep sections. I shall be going back soon with comfy shoes, the right mindset, pads and a different route up, Burk definitley won't, I'll invite Johnnie, shh just don't tell him about that climb :-)

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Dawns crack

Out nice and early saturday to get a 3towers-lite ride polished off before lunch - well around lunchish anyway :-) So by 8:00am I was already up on winterhill and dropping down the kennel run to meet up with Johnny at pigeon tower. Gorgeous morning really nice, still, clear skies, I was already overheating tho. At the bottom I get a txt, Johnnie's running late so I do wildeswood aswell - Mistake. Ripped my rear ust tyre just as I came out of the wood (that spot has got several times before <250miles in that tyre, now ruined grr) and so the faff-a-thon started. Finally got to pigeon tower where johnnie had his back wheel out (sticky piston) and an empty camelbak - bladder had emptied all over his back/arse on the way up. So we sat and faffed trying to get our bikes working, Matt rode passed upto the pike, matt rode passed down from the pike, eventually we moved on, across belmont old rd to hoar stones, more faff, matt rode passed down to belmont probably on about mile 35 while we were struggling to break into double figures. Anyway more faff and climbing over walls fences and stuff resulted in quite a nice ride, 40miles, 5000ft, but 7hours(!) and about 60/40 ride/faff ratio is terrible. Had to burn back from peel tower on road to prevent me ending up in doghouse at home, still a meaty ride with some good hard climbs but will have to take Johnnie on the full leg burner version sometime.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Stroppy bugger

Just had a call from a belligerent DHL driver, "i'm trying to deliver a pram and you're not here" well yes I'm at work, what are you gonna do if royal mail call you right now to say they're trying to deliver a parcel to you eh? "tried your neighbours and no-ones answering" and...what is your point caller? Bring it back tomorrow or monday maybe? "I'm going to have to try the rest of the doors on your street before I can take it back to the depot" any chance you'll tell me which stranger you leave it with? I've not heard back so presume he's either taken it back to the depot or lobbed it over a wall. What pissed me off was his attitude, proper miffed he was that people are out at work during the week, not quite "on message" is he?
"Don't worry if you're not at home to receive your order as you will be left a calling card with a telephone number to re-arrange delivery.
Thank you again for ordering with Mothercare. We look forward to you shopping with us again. "

Stood up

Nightride was thursday this week, Si couldn't make it so would just be me and Johnnie. Usual route up, met a guy (Richard) riding a merida on Burnt Edge, got chatting, invited him on our regular(ish) tuesday rides, I asked him who he was on STW, turns out STW is not as ubiquitous in the mtb fraternity as I thought, "whats STW?". Anyway, kennel run was big fun, wildeswood awesome, how good are dry trails? Got to barn and awaited johnnie's arrival, he has been known to be a little late before now so I patiently sat in the sun. After 20mins and no show I gave him a call, no answer, decided to wait a few more minutes, he called back "oh we're supposed to be riding tonight aren't we? oops" So I headed up the hill on my own, did some new stuff in china Japanese gardens that Richard recommended and finally had a look at the stuff near wildes that I think Matts been doing. Not bad will use some of it again. Up onto winterhill again for san marino to finish. Thought I was quick last week but this was a lot quicker, I stayed off the brakes and was hitting terminal velocity on quite a few sections, legs were killing on the last bit. Hit the bottom absolutley buzzing, shouting lots of expletives, pumped up and adrenaline and endorphins, arms and legs tingling from the workout. Almost better than sex.
Hardest ride since april, legs are starting to function again, chest/lungs need to buck up their ideas, a few runs might be an idea.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

hard going

A return to proper man size riding, we'd planned to go to the lakes on a decent bank holiday monday, wanting to avoid the crowds we went to dunnerdale to do harter fell, eskdale, bunrmoor tarn and back. Me and burk did this ride many years ago and he refuses to go back, it was a bit traumatic for him, he wasn't on top form and had had some dodgy milk with his breakfast so was really suffering at the end but my (very) hazy recollection was of a decent day out.
Anyway me Si and Johnnie headed out - eventually sat nav issues - it was a lovely day, steep road climb, nice little downhill then the pain started, proper push up Fickle Crag and most of the way to Grassguards. Grassguards gill was a hard technical climb then another push through the rest of the forest which was flat but too rooty/rocky to ride. Johnny came off in a bog on the top of harter fell and we all had to push down a very big rock, there was a very sketchy line but I wimped out. The rest of the down was great, went on for ages, rocky bits, water run off troughs, gravel landslides and smooth grassy setions, lovely. At the bottom I was flying had to go off path to get round a family, I saw a boggy bit so manualled over it and landed front wheel on the other side which turned out to be just as boggy and the wheel sank and I fired over the bars, right next to the family and right infront of Johnny and Si (Lowey you would have loved it) Grassy landing so no damage apart from my dignity being in tatters. Some gorgeous twisty flowy cheek and then some almost as nice Bway got us to Boot and a pub stop. Time was marching on, it had taken over 3 hours to get 7miles! Change of plan, no loop round burnmoor just straight back. The ensuing post pub giddiness caused a couple more crashes, when Johnnie hooked up on a low branch I tried to squeeze passed on the rocks and had a slow speed OTB with Johnnie catching my backwheel as it passed his face. Another too enthusiastic approach and I had a bit of a staggering stop. We weren't looking forward to the long uphill so decided to hike straight up the hill on an FP instead of riding to the foot of the traversing climb. The beer stop really made itself known as we sweated our way up in the sun. Me and Si got pounding headaches mine didn't stop for the rest of the day. Ride and push across the fell, push through the forest again but then the down. Mmm mmm, fantastic, techy singletrack for ages, couple of stepping stones crossing that were just rideable, and a squeeze between two conifers which almost ripped Si's face off when he didn't duck enough and then a rock just after had johnnie off. Bit of a trek along a BW before the last downhill, I was tearing down when it suddenly got all rocky, had to slam on I (and Johnnie behind me) was going way too fast. I ripped this tho, proper rocky with hairpins and slippy gravel but I was just flowing, absolutley loved it. A bit more ace cheek to avoid the 3mile road to the car. 15miles in 6 hours sounds rubbish, I later remembered the full 22mile ride took me and burk around 9hours. Really tough going but those downhills are ace and worth the pushing I think. I'll go back soon but go up the last downhill (fickle crag is 80% unrideable) and just have to keep the pace up and avoid too many stops.