Well bugger me summers back, had planned to ride saturday but the met office assured us sunday would be the best day so I made other plans for saturday but with it being so nice I had a nasty suspicion it was gonna be throwing it down sunday. My fears were unfounded and I set off at 10 in glorious sunshine. Plan was to do a try out for Killdave, big mileage, no saddle dropping, no taking helmet off for climbs, a decent pace as little stoppage as poss and try for an overall >8mph average. Had planned a route over to cragg quarry weeks back but never had the chance for various reasons - mostly weather based. So heading for cragg obviously I went straight up winterhill :-) down kennel and wildes, upto the pike down AICR, over to leadmines. Going along the top I ran into a horny bull (quite obviously so) and 4 cows completely blocking the trail, had to shout at them quite a bit to get them to move. Looking back on this it might not have been a great move, if I was in my home with 4 ladies in an excitable state I doubt I'd have appreciated a mountain biker crashing through.
Over to white coppice and up through the plantation. Saw lots of guys in power ranger suits at roddlesworth, must be some mental DH tracks over there :-) Water (and cake) stop at tockholes cafe, up darwen tower, down whitehall, up the 666 along the rollercoaster at entwistle where I was chasing another mtber, first time I've ever seen another rider there I think. Fast drop to turton tower then up the road to crowthorn.
I was still going OK, faster than my usual "all day pace" can't believe how many riders were out, I think everyone who owns a bike saw the weather on saturday and thought "right I'm definitley riding tomorrow" Holcombe horseshoe was great best I've ever ridden it, upto the tower which was open but no time for a brew keep going to pleasent view. Down raven shore and up via the train station, a tasty bit of riding this, will be back. Up east st onto sand beds lane and a loooong climb to cragg, no signage but finally found it. Did 1 loop, it's good and as I was taking it easy it flowed rather nicely as opposed to my usual charge into everything and either stuff it up or grab massive handfuls of brake. At this point I ran out of food (oops) had meant to go to lee quarry too but that would have been pushing it I think so back the way I came, pub stop for a coke and water refill chatting to some bikers, hope the smell didn't offend my clothes were smelling pretty lived in by then. The climb back up to holcombe was fine and along the top I was buzzing, combination of the coke sugar rush/caffeine hit plus a cracking tune on mp3 player I was giggling as I belted along, great fun.
I saw mr potatoehead from STW on the horseshoe had a quick chat then ripped down crowthorne to the strawberry duck, I had meant to do the rollercoaster and turton tower again but halfway round entwistle I changed my mind it was only 5:45 plenty of time so I necked a caffeine gel, rode down BJ alley over to belmont and went up san marino. Was pretty tired and not confident, aching all over including ribs (!) and my stomach was starting to go a bit funny but I settled into 22x32 and took it nice and easy and cleaned it. Anyone offering the hero biscuits? I'll take one. Turns out I was 65miles in when I started that climb, I'm quite happy with that. Wanted to lie down at the top but knew I'd never get back up so bent over stretched my hamstrings and went all dizzy when I stood back up. Was going to ride back down but didn't fancy loss of concentration high speed crash so backdown through the golf course and barrow bridge.
Did some proper post ride stuff too, ibuprofen, a cold bath (really feels nice on mashed legs) and a choccy for goodness shakes, supplemented with double soss egg n chips which soon settled my stomach.
Not feeling too bad today just tired obvioulsy, final stats were 74miles, 10500ft ascent, 9hours, 8.2avg, 4 flapjacks, 1 gel, 6L water. I'm very happy with that, biggest hardest ride ever. There's about 15miles of road in there which will help the avg but I had gates and some map checks to slow me down. If the weather for kielder is like that and I ride like that, then I've a decent chance of finishing, some big ifs tho. All in all a pretty fantastic weekend.