Friday, 16 December 2011


Wednesday we finally made it out for a night ride, on my way home from work was looking like a clear night, got a tow too, I passed a guy at some lights, dunno if he was trying to stamp his authority on me or whether he was just in a rush but he had decided mashing a big gear was on the agenda so I tagged on as he came passed and just sat and span for a few miles until he turned off. Cheers. Met Si at moss bank park, sky had clouded over but was still cold, cold enough for ice, I got very sideways on the off camber tarmac at barrow bridge. Up to winter hill crashing through icy puddles, the boggy section to 2lads had firmed up quite a bit, the descent was ok til I hit the chute at the end, too fast into it couldn't scrub speed some high speed sideways tripodding occured. Si had similar trouble but as he'd been more cautious on approach it was less entertaining. Wildes was OK, very rocky under the trees and I was very wary of ice so slowed right down on the cobbles. UP Bstard and down ICR, less rocky but some big ditches/holes seem to have opened up. Si flatted just before the last (uber rocky) corner so I sat and chilled while he sorted it. 2 things occured, how steep is ICR? you only realise when you stop and look up it. Also the sky had cleared completely and the stars were brilliant, specially with trees and hills  as reference. Lovely. Back up through the gardens and up to the pike, big black ominous clouds were rolling over winter hill, oooh. Drop off the pike was fastest I've seen for a while, firm and grippy, my favourite part of winter is the frozen trails. It was getting on so we decided to go straight down georges lane and home. Only 20 miles didn't feel like I'd earned the big bowl of jumbalaya I had waiting (but scoffed it all anyway) good to be out tho and a good night for it. Trails were deserted, saw 1 group of runners and 1 set of lights in the distance that was it - the part timers have packed in for winter it seems.

Car reg 208SF

A new naff shape honda civic, driven by witless doddery old fornicating geriatric disciple of onanism in  need of an eyesight test and/or a driving ban! I'm tanking round the height roundabout, 2 forward lights, more hi viz and reflective trim than a health and safety convention, headtorch aimed squarely at the aforementioned driver as he is approaching the entrance to the roundabout in the righthand lane, I'm indicating to take the exit immediately after his entrance, he floors it and cuts right in front of me. I slam on swerve and give a full blooded bellow inches from his side window he keeps staring straight ahead and drives off. What a nobber!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Wet one

Was looking forward to weekend ride, finally getting offroad again but Sunday dawned to incessant rain, Si (sensibly) gibbed and Johnnie was incommunicado. I chilled out, took my time having some brunch, rain eased so I set off a little later than planned. It was soaking, mud/puddles everywhere, reservoirs close to overflowing, the normally little trickle of a waterfall swollen and pounding out gallons of water a second.  Started off mooching up the valley and round the verboten reservoirs, it's a shame we aint legally allowed to use these trails, well surfaced and sheltered perfect for winter, no point in summer too many walkers but there weren't many around, those who were seemed pretty grumpy. Hit witton weavers and briefly got that warm innerglow of legitimate trail access, walkers were still miserable tho so maybe it's not the FP thing after all. Through golf course bit of an explore round egerton then figured I'd better do some proper hills. Up horrocks fold and smithills dean, pushed up onto 2lads, very slippery going down. I was going to do the 1st half of wildes and shoot home with nicely worked legs but decided a bit of suffering was in order so down to the bottom over to the school and up b'stard climb and suffer I did. Ouchy. Could really do with a longer stem for climbs like that, I was too far forward wrists at wrong angle and couldn't get enough pull on the bars, not going to happen tho, bike's perfect for 90% of stuff so will have to put up with it. Through the gardens up to the pike only just cleaned, down the drops and all the way down George's. The drop through the golf course was the first time I'd felt really comfortable descending all day but then it is well surfaced and quite smooth. Not bad, 33miles felt like more, absolutely filthy, surprisingly didn't shred my brake pads but rear (box fresh couple weeks ago) are looking pretty anorexic now, just keeping my fingers crossed that my forks survive the winter. Mid ride fuelling was provided by Charlie who had been baking in the morning, shortbread cookies nyom nyom, proper nice, very lembas-esque (reading LOTR again)

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Sods law in action

"Commuting has been fairly OK-ish, I've shouted at a few drivers not looking where they are going but nothing really scary, fingers crossed that continues or improves" How stupendously naive of me, had a run in with a lorry this morning. basic facts: me in mandatory cycle lane, flatbed lorry on road, lorry cut into my lane, my jacket caught on the mesh rebar (apparently - cheers lowey) on the back, jacket shredded. Nice. Knocked on door of lorry driver shouted something then drove off. Grrr. I was well lit up, hi vis-ed and I was not in a blind spot - I could plainly see driver in his mirror pity he didn't return the favour.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Unity my arse

I've a bit of a love/hate relationship with linux, been running a linux web PC/server for quite a while now, even done some proper training on it. You can modify and customise everything, normally stable, no worries from virus or malware, masses of free software and community support. Ubuntu does seem to be as advertised linux for human beings, setup and go and if all your hardware is covered it is pretty much as easy as windows but if you hit any snags then you have to resort to terminal and it goes pear shaped pretty quick. The 'nix does not run strong in this padawan. Setup ubuntu 11.10 on my laptop and everything worked from the start graphics, wifi, even hibernate works now, Unity looks good, very mac-esque, seems to have simplified it (ie removed all the techincal stuff). Decided to setup 11.10 on my home TV, everything went on no bother but res was stuck at 1024x768, had the same troubel in XP so update drivers then go to control panel and unhide unsupported res, no biggie. Thing is, as far as I can tell, the idea behind Unity is that it is supposed to work straight away and they don't want you tinkering with it, fine but if you're gonna have it that way get some drivers on for my JVC telly, meanwhile time to ctrl alt T and start haphazardly bashing away at the keys. Hmm, lets try drivers, with FGLRX on I can set the res to widescreen but it knocks out compiz and none of the snap stuff I'm used to from win7 works. Hmm remove fglrx, do some googling xrandr and cvt will sort it, yep sure enough everything works fine now. Reboot and what the hell happened? Back to 1024, ctrc failure messages and fugly icons. Damn xrandr changes aren't permanent, ok apparently I need to vi  /etc/gdm/Init/Default, nope doesn't exist, hmmm. More googling, then some more. Edit Xorg.conf, oh there isn't one. Go to usr/share/xll and bung in a config file there with your custom resolutions, nope, no difference. Install fglrx again and oh look my .conf file has kicked in now but still no compiz. Grrr. More late night googling looks like it might be gconf-editor that I need, it's taken me a long time to get that info tho, dunno if it's my google-fu ineptitude or that the info just isn't easy to find.

Not sure what the point of this post is, just a bit of a rantette I guess, any none linux users well done for reading this far sorry to bore you, do have a go at ubuntu it's nice honestly, on most normal PC/monitors it works fine. Linux users try not to hold me in complete contempt, I am trying :-)

Where did the time go?

2weeks since my last post? Blimey. Well after my big ride I was feeling a little peaky, rest day then a couple of rides to work then 5-aside and inevitably ended up with a cold so an enforced rest week just a little light commuting, not been logging it so tried to guess the mileages. Hopefully back on track again now, not been doing nightrides so not been offroad since the Lee ride. Commuting has been fairly OK-ish, I've shouted at a few drivers not looking where they are going but nothing really scary, fingers crossed that continues or improves (ha!) Still waiting for heavy frost and some stunning wide open clear blue sky winter rides. hopefully getting out tonight, will be windy tho so might have to stick to low level stuff, we'll see.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Dawn til Dusk

I've fancied doing a silly ride for a while now, I'd got an allday no quibbles day pass for the STW lee quarry ride so I'd work around that. Did think about riding over from home but I'd have to set off at daft'o'clock, instead I got my ever helpful wife to drop me off at the body farm It was just getting light but really thick fog meant visibility was low, this was to be a constant throughout the day I don't think visibility ever got above 50ft, claggy indeed. As it was going to be a long muddy slog in places I'd packed the blinglespeed, round the holcombe horseshoe and onto the first leg ripper of the day, the climb up to peel tower, steep as hell but nice and smooth with plenty of grip so no excuses to push, ground may way up that, decent pace along the tops and dropped in to Lumb. Climbed up to Edenfield and the next grinder gin croft lane, mainly concrete which alternated between grippy and slippy for seemingly no reason. Sand Beds Lane beat me, steep rough and slippy and my legs were already protesting, was making quick time so paused for a quick rest. The packhorse slabs round cowpe were slippery, the timeworn grooves in them making for interesting handling. Got to top of leach before 10, the group hadn't even left the car park so stay and wait in the cold or drop in? Drop in obviously. Link road has bedded in nicely nice and swoopy. stuck behind a group but it helped me enjoy the swoopiness rather than caning it and getting out of shape in the corners. At the bottom me and another "loner with people to meet" took a shortcut through the quarry, the guys have placed some big rocks up to stop you doing this (sorry fellas) I stopped next to them and put my foot on top, which slipped straight off over the top and threw me over them, proper cartwheel with bike trying to land on top of me, bloke behind obviously trying to suppress a laugh asked if I was ok and had I not seen the stones? Met up with everyone at the bottom and...climbed straight back up. The slabs were interesting on skinny tyres and a very high saddle rest was OK. Climb back up the link road was slow going but not too taxing. Going down to Crag a guy crashed right in front of me, those slippy rutted packhorse slabs again, couldn't slam on or I'd have hit the deck too, managed to avoid him, he luckily hadn't hurt himself. Crag was nice, was flowing along it quite well until I took a high line round a berm were some sharp rocks ripped the front tyre, tube in and then a sprint to catch everyone up. We did a new route back to sand beds, better than the boggy cowpe way. Got chatting to NBT along there then at a stop I cadged a bit of one of gramejones "blondies" think chocolate brownies but with white chocolate and macadamia nuts. Wow, really nice, I reckon the sugar rush hit me within about 30seconds of eating. We dropped down via the waterworks, some interesting singletrack including a very squeaky bum inducing makeshift bridge and rooty roll in. My memory's a bit vague after that, some road and double track stuff round Harden moor, back up to the top road and a right grinder of a climb up to the windmills which weren't visible until you got to their foot when the rotors would suddenly swoop down into view and disappear again. A bit of a bogfest over to top of leach where I said farewell and set off for home, dropped into edenfield and lumb in proper quick time with grahams route, took the road through helmshore as I didn't fancy the steep rocky climb up, bad move, longer and more climbing. The climb back onto the moors was never going to happen legs were shot by then so pushed up. I was now in a world of hurt, thighs aching, arms pumped, back and shoulders knackered, feet numb even the palms of my hands seemed bruised. Felt good :-) Steep cheeky decent from the tower, around the horseshoe, shot down the roads through entwistle, needed my lights for the chicken run and along the valley to home. Had only taken me 2 hours from leach to home, pretty quick. 54ish miles, felt like a lot more, longest/biggest/hardest singlespeed ride I've done.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Soooo tired

Hard week, 4 commutes, a nightride (a full fat 25mile version rather than the skinny lattes I've been doing the last few months) and 5-aside. Was shattered at weekend, should have been out riding Sunday but even after a full 12hour sleep I still had a massive case of CBA. Used to be able to do this stuff and still go out drink ten pints on Friday night ride 50miles Sunday and start it all again Monday dunno whats up with me. Well not strictly true, the 10 pints thing is just a lie and I can make a good guess at whats up, it's either I'm getting old and frail (nooooooo) or (hopefully) not getting enough sleep - damn kids!
Rode in offroad this morning, unsurprisingly it was quite sloppy. Trees have all denuded since my last xc commute. Trails carpeted in orange leaves, quite picturesque really, hope we get a good solid ground frost soon, want to get back to fast hard trails.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Getting there

Been a good week so far, couple of decent xc commutes then 5aside on weds, where I actually scored! First and last goals of the game no less, not bad for someone nicknamed Eeyore byb fellow players, actually I think the full moniker is "that sweaty b*st*rd with a kick like a mule but who can't shoot straight to save his life" I was well out of practice and my legs were toast afterwards. So not sure why in a fit of bravado/machismo/idiocy I grabbed the SS for nightriding - well that and the fact I was late and it was nearest the door. Just me and Johnnie Si was resting after football. Busy busy, loads of people riding with mega lumen lights, I can see lowey's point not much solitude and escapism on offer. Bit of a malfunction when the sliver of rear brake pad I had left dissappeared on 2 lads, lots of backing plate worn by the bottom, bugger to change them in the cold and dark too, a good 25 mins wasted but Johnnie had stopped to help 2 riders with a flat tyre, neither of whom had a pump(!) so we got to the top of AICR at the same time. Just a quick one, up hole in the wall which felt like a war of attrition but Johnnie pointed out it wasn't muddy enough for attrition so I downgraded to "scuffle of despair". Slipped and slid down the shoulder (with forks locked out doh!) then blast along georges lane and home. Gentle bimble into work on road thursday, full of idiots, notably a stupid fat cow overtook me with her left indicator on and turned into a cul de sac right infront of me. I know she's stupid coz she tried to left hook me, I know she's fat coz I followed her home, I know she's a cow coz when I suggested she sort out her driving (without expletives) she said she had her indicator on so it's ok. Apparently bullying me around the road (if not actively trying to kill me) is fine if you use indicators.
Legs were starting to seize up last night but I wanted another xc ride so grabbed the SS again this morning, chilly, foggy and pretty muddy, felt like a dead weight by the time I got to work, could pedal OK(ish) but getting out of the saddle, hopping, wheelying or other weight shifts were bloody hard work. Legs are pretty sore right now, ride home should be fun. 4 commutes, a night ride and football, think I'm gonna rest this weekend, or maybe go for a run :-)

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

When will I learn?

Didn't do much over the weekend, took kids to park and whilst dicking about with them on the slide I fell and landed on my elbow jolting my chest/shoulder (WWIL number 1) Fortunatley managed not to take out the wife as I fell so she maanged to catch the kids :-)
Rode into work xc again yesterday much drier than friday and the ride home was superb, but for all the leaves on the ground it could have been a summers day (especially considering the summer we've had) apart from the odd mud puddle the trails were well buff and on fresh legs I was motoring, hammered it all the way home. Nailed the trails at drinkwater, now they aren't overgrown and you can actually see the trail speeds are higher :-) Despite several calls to manchester council they haven't removed the fallen tree at forest bank however the leaves and twigs have dropped off so it's lean bike over duck under a branch and then watch out for the other branch at a shallow angle on the ground (will have to watch out for that in the wet) Bolton council however have sorted the blocked bridge near home just a pity the short lead up to it is 6" deep mud.  Weather forecast said we'd be rain free till wednesday too so was looking forward to another 2 fast dry commutes. Got up this morning didn't bother looking out the window just dressed and headed out, obviously it had pissed down over night (wwil 2) lying beggars. Muddy, not a total bogfest but trails are back to slippy not grippy. Bonty mud-Xs are worth their (light) weight in gold, not been dumped on my arse yet.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Careful out there kids, it's slippery

Not been doing much as I've had another cold, spent 2 weeks mincing into work on road barely getting my heart rate above rest. Finally made it out for a night ride on weds, Johnnie was there, he's not been too well lately either, only Simon on usual form. Up to the pike, trails not too bad considering all the rain, down the drops and over to hole int wall, lots of slippage on the wet muddy grass, getting quite a bit sideways climbing but cleaned it. 2 lads was proper slippy so went a bit gingerly, down the chute at the end I was trying unsuccessfully to slow down when I noticed a vole or shrew (something small and furry anyway) running down the narrow channel ahead of me, tried to slow but couldn't and looked like I went over it, eek! stopped when I could and went back, no sign so hopefully I missed it. Down wildes next, I was on autopilot, quickish but nowt special, got to the corner before the wood and noticed Si was pretty close behind so I got on the pedals  and let it all get a bit sketchy, was wet but not too slippy, pushing my limits made me enjoy it more. Made it to the bottom no sign of anyone behind me :-) Si confirmed I did seem to suddenly disappear. Johnnie split there and we carried on up school climb, really was a perfect evening for riding, clear skies, not a breath of wind absolutley still, trails not too damp, brilliant. Up to ICR, been taking a few risks here lately when Si has been breathing down my neck so I made sure he went first seems a lot rockier than usual but no dramas. Back to cars and home.
Decided to give the xc commute a go this morning, not as well drained as most of the rivi trails, quite muddy and more slippage going on but I wasn't too muddy when I rolled in to work could still do with a hosepipe at work to rinse bike down tho :-) Was really tense and slow on the wet slippy canal stones, wil take a few goes before I relax, trust my tyres and get quicker again. No dog walkers about, did see 1 biker, oh and a bat flew along the clifton park singletrack really close to me for a few seconds cool.

Friday, 7 October 2011


Tuesday nightrides have been switched to Wednesday so Johnnie can play at being chuck norris, pity coz Tuesday was a decent evening. Weather was looking grim, Johnnie cancelled due to poorly tummy, me and Si braved the elements. It had been cloudy all afternoon, as we set off from moss bank park we thought we might just get away with it, nope 2mins in it started to rain, steady drizzle set in as we hit scout road. Going up Burnt edge the north east wind (well it was blowing NE dunno if thats a nor'easterly or a sou'westerly) and constant rain soaked my left side, going down 2 lads and wildes soaked my front, could hardly see a thing, mist and a solid wall of rain, my glasses were useless, fortunatley my innertube+ziptie fender kept my eyes grit free, Si's shop bought version didn't work quite so well. Bit of a mooch round the fps near the barn (no walkers around eh? wrong, who the hell goes walking in weather like this? :-) ) up AICR very wet now, Si's main Hope light packed up with no warning, oops, no pike or san marino then. Along georges lane that NE wind soaked my right side, up hole in't wall rain pouring down my back for the complete drowned rat effect. Down burnt edge back onto scout rd, Si's joystick cut out too, oh dear. I loaned him mine for the drop through the golf course then home for a warm shower and dry clothes. Two and a half hours of constant rain, at least it was warm. It's all points in the karma bank tho, you have to endure autumn and winter nights like this to earn the fantastic summers like we just had....oh wait....

Thursday, 6 October 2011


Monday me and Si hit the lakes, as the weather had taken a dramatic downturn from weekend I decided a known all weather route would be a good bet so the grizedale inaugural STW ride then. Parked up in grizedale and hit the northface climb and on to parkamoor, the view from the top was...well...white. Mist everywhere, visibility down to 15meters, ah well a great lakeland view denied. Moor lane was bloody brilliant as usual rocks drops whoops and turns, loved it. Up breasty haw and down the 4X track again another good 'un. Slack wood was slippy we both did the drop after eyeing it up then slithered our way down to the road. The drizzle ramped up a notch here, the climb up to claife was long but I was getting into the rythmn, letting the plush suspension soak up the bumps and spinning along, heckler might weigh a tonne but it does do some things very well. Bit of a mix up in the woods but we found some more singletrack and didn't go far off course at all. Colthouse was good, very wet in parts but still a right laugh, nearly lost the back end on a slippy grassy corner but managed to hold it and some nice ladies held the midway gate open for us. Into hawkshead and up vicarage road, this is a beast of a climb long, steep, relentless. Finally hit the fireroads and clipped along nicely, looking forward to "titties track". Unfortunatley I am rubbish at navigating in forests, I eventually twigged something was not right and sure enough not long later we came to the bottom of titties. Damn blast and buggeration! Si's legs were fried and he didn't fancy riding up it, so we went down "suicide" where I had a couple of goes to try and cheer myself up, no good tho, was kicking myself for the rest of the day.
I know my signature rides are "can't ride up it, can't ride down it" but this is a great normal ride just riding bikes up stuff and speeding down them again with grins plastered on faces. No hour long hikes and no pucker inducing, do or die, tech fest downs....just riding along. No suffering just fun.

and I now know where we went wrong and I absolutley positively won't do it again.

Oh yeah nearly forgot on the way home Si had a blowout in lane 4 of the M6. Of course people in lanes 1,2 and 3 didn't want to let a car on three tyres and one rim cut across to the hard shoulder but we made it eventually. Si consigned me to the grass verge while he changed it. I never realised how bloody loud motorway traffic is when you're right next to it. A traffic patrol came passed us and drove right on by, thanks guys. Soon sorted and back on the road. Phew!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Howgills soggy bottom

Friday dawned nice and sunny couldn't decide where to ride, a man from Kew Gardens was on the news on thursday saying plants are all confused by the weather and the soil is technically in drought conditions. Drought conditions sounded good so headed for bowderdale. Now this starts with a right kicker, 800ft in the first mile and finally tops out 1800 after 3 miles. Took me 90mins, missed the first switchback then later spun out on a chute where rocks peaked through the grass, shoulda taken the right hand line. All this low down grunting and pulling back on the bars wrecked my triceps pretty quick and took some serious toll on my legs but finally got to the calf and began the (4+ mile!) descent. Looks like the big rains tore this up pretty bad, been repaired since but a few dodgy gullies to avoid. First couple of miles were cool, just the odd bit of water then it got worse, drought conditions my arse, proper wet. Mostly just water and light mud but a few boggy sections. Bowderdale to ravenstonedale was a pain in the arse, I'm sure farmers have got it in for walkers and riders. Every gate was either knackered and a right bugger to open or had 2 or 3 latches, also one narrow section was almost unrideable due to being churned up by cows, I wasn't happy. Climb out of ravenstonedale was a drag and I was starting to worry about bonking, crested the top to see the sun reflected off the trail to murthwaite, great more puddles! Wasn't bad after the first few meters tho. Got a bit lost on the murthwaite parks descent. Trail I was on petered out, no sign of another, a cracking little downhill but I couldn' find it, my navigation PDA crashed I had a mini strop, eventually found it and loved it. Front wheel went on backside beck so walked that, Cautley beck climb nearly finished me off but the singletrack along cautley was ace. Dropped onto the road and coasted into Sedburgh for a refuel at the village bakery. So some ups and downs, me and the bike looked like I'd just done a winter ride but I had tan lines on my arms. It's not just the plants that are confused.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Better late than never

So our indian summer finally showed up and I belatedly did the peaks pootle route, nice! Parked up on mam tor last wednesday, did dirtlow rake, this seems to have been sanitised since I last did it (quite a long time ago) so a bit boring. Pindale seemed even sketchier than usual. The climb up bradwell clough was pretty harsh but the down was well worth it singletracky swoopy bits nadgery bits steep bits, brilliant. Spotted a drop off line (on the left at 9:09) so had a go at that. Back along through the quarry and over to castleton, which was packed. I swear people walk around these tourist hotspots with their eyes shut, loads of people walked out infront of me. Climbed up the broken road, never been up here before and was keen to have a play. There were a few drop offs to do so had a play on all the mere mortal sized ones. Turns out my etsx rear sus goes a bit squiffy on big landings, hmm. Found the take off from the crash but without a cameraman to run into. I was launching slighlty more to the left and cornering on the landing rather than hitting the brakes, nearly lost it on 4th go when I hit it a bit quick, braked during the corner on loose gravel (!) front lost grip a couple of times squeaky bum time. Anyway playtime over I went up to mam tor and down cold side, never done this the top has been sanitised and it didn't look very appealing but it was excellent, soon got narrow, rocky and twisty and flowed straight into the climb back up. Was suffering by this point but rode/pushed back up to the top. Still hungry for more but without the legs for it I pushed up rushup so I could do the last steep bit down to the road then bombed across to the car. Gorgeous day and some new trails.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

So many choices

Day off booked tomorrow, weather looking good, all bikes in tip top shape rideable, not got a clue where I'm going to go, peaks, lakes, calderdale, yorkshire dales....not got a clue yet. Just hope I don't end up having a lie in...again. Had intended to do the peaks pootle last weekend but slogging my guts out all week (hey I'm an IT desk jockey, carrying PCs and crawling under desks all day is practically forced labour to me) then a rough night with the kids on friday I woke up to rain on saturday and sacked it off, lie in, lovely it was too. Woke after 10 still raining outside feeling nicely rested and decided I'd made the right choice. Regretted it when I saw the vid on sunday tho :-( nice weather some trails I haven't done, much fun being had.
Nice leisurely ride in monday morning, splitting headache all monday afternoon, rode home monday felt ok, I'd taken it easy but felt pretty tired monday night, maybe not do anything too big tomorrow then.

Thursday, 22 September 2011


My quest for speed has been pretty much non-existent but last week ended with a bit of a bang, friday I went in xc, lovely, bit muddy but not too bad at all considering recent weather. Nice all day, suited up for ride home, shorts, t shirt and gillet, got out the door and light rain, oh dear, waiting at lights in town I donned my well travelled but underused arm warmers. As I got to offroad the rain started proper, did consider waiting under the trees for it to die down but I had to get home and go shopping for Charlies birthday presents so put in some serious effort and  get home quick. Coming through drinkwater park I went under the viaduct one of those perfect timing moments where weather can play jokes on you, it was already raining hard, I got a quarter second of let up as I passed under the viaduct only to be greeted by a wall of rain on the other side, absolutely bouncing down. Quickly soaked to the skin, or atleast I thought I was soaked until I hit some over hanging ferns where I realised I could and did get a fair bit wetter. The woods singletrack was taken at full speed, spinning out along the road passed the sewage works, as fast as I dared along the canal  stone edging and blasted through moses gate. Properly pushing myself, felt great. last steep road climb to home I had a grin plastered to my mush, partly coz I was having such a laugh but also to make sure everyone was in no doubt I wasn't suffering here, I didn't want any "Haha look at the stupid/poor cyclist caught out in the rain" this was fun. Home, swill bike and legs down, empty shoes of water thow everthing straight in washer, go shopping. For the record I reckon arm warmers and a gillet are better than a waterproof for summer (ha!) showers (haha!).
Bit peaky saturday but had a fun day, took charlie to curly wurlys (like whacky wharehouse) I've never been before, was great watching him run/climb/slide round and I joined him briefly, helped him over some obstacle and watched in horror as he almost folded in half on landing, only to jump up and carry on laughing, then I went over, did the same on landing and quickly realised I'm not quite as supple as him, ouch. Babys head wetting later, took it easy paced myself and left early still puking next day tho, jury's still out as to whether it was dodgy kebab, a bug or just self inflicted. A mate was puking on the night after only a couple of pints so could be bug or I could just still be in denial. I'd perked up by the time of Charlies party all the family came round and we all had fun and some gorgeous chocolate cake, my mrs is getting some proper leet baking skillz.
Monday was booked off for riding so it was a pity I woke up feeling like death, aching all over, head bunged up, getting seriously out of breath going up 1 flight of stairs, bugger. DIY it is then. Not turned a pedal since friday, me and Si were sposed to be riding this friday but a big job has broke out at work so Si being a company man has cancelled his hol, I (being less workplace motivated) would have been tempted to ride anyway but as I'm still not right I'll not bother and instead accrue some work brownie points, which at last review were worth even less than home based ones. Ho hum

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Ah yep, that's night riding.

Gurning up hole in the wall on my singlespeed, rear tyre ripping up some grass just about keeping traction, lights illuminating the incessant drizzle and mist, ay up winters back. After last weeks rest I wanted to get a full weeks commuting in, weather looked foreboding but no rain yet, wasn't sure whether to ride to rivi or car, always feel like a lightweight driving up but being able to decide last minute to ditch for waterproofs and a nice warm dry ride home are powerful incentives. I manned up and rode. Barrowbridge reminded me I was out of shape, up to winter hill down hole int wall due to lateness, a saddle up mince, as was wildes. Over to rivi and met Johnnie, he's had even longer off the bike so leisurely climb to the pike whilst catching up on events. Met some of the boggies at the top, chatted a little then we all launched down the drops. Down georges lane just got to the big puddle on the corner when Johnnie shouted me back. As the boggies infront passed a guy with bike leant up against the side of the trail, one boggie asked "OK mate?" guy says "No".....nobody stopped, johnnie checked "did he just say No?" boggie confirmed. Oh well, we'll stop then eh? The guy had flatted but then his pump had broke so we leant him one. Black mark against the boggies there, not very charitable, especially after actually asking.
Anyway up hole in the wall, over to san marino and more saddle up mincing (that carbon seatpost is begining to look like a liability) lots of new water run off gulleys and damage from last weeks mini monsoon and my brakes howled everytime i touched them - which was a lot. I had a couple of dodgy moments where I almost lost it, as did Johnnie, but we got down safe, final chinwag and then a quick blast home on the road. Short one but just the job.

Pleasant enough commute this morning, chilly but reasonably quiet, I noticed a couple of cyclists join the height roundabout from swinton just as I got on, they followed me onto east lancs, together we hogged our lane all the way to salford uni, felt safer than normal apart from the prick who squeezed between us and a motorbike in the middle lane, silver car, golf I think, bwfc sticker on back window, unable to use the middle pedal, didn't get the reg, too busy swearing and gesticulating. nice day, was hoping to ride in xc tomorrow but looks like it'll be pissing down again :-( Think that's it for this year, apart from (hopefully) some frozen winter trail action we will have to wait til next spring for dry dusty trails.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Still lurgy-ed

Still got a cold, so my idea of grabbing a keilder cancellation last minute was out the window, lucky escape there I feel, ouch. I had decided if I wasn't doing keilder I'd do a biggy to make up for it. Weather was looking good, alarm woke me at 6, felt rough so hit snooze and had another 2 hours kip, feeling a bit better I got up at 8 and headed for the peaks. Parked up on the road between glossop and hayfield, headed over to lantern pike. Passed a big group of horse riders just below the pike, they started off with "You're not going to ride up that are you?!" but quickly moved on to "check out his legs" and a few phwaors ego stroked I kept on. Ripped down the other side but the steep climb up ollersett showed up my lack of fitness, proper struggle, my travel plans were duly amended no trip to edale today. My bike was creaking like mad too, there was a bit of play in the back end last time out so I'd tightened everything up extra tight but now it made a racket every time I stood up. Grrr. Peep o day, up mt famine, drop into roych clough, nice, picked up a flat but it held till the bottom, quick change and back up to mt famine and dropped into caldwell clough, where I ran into the horse ladies again, more astonishment, more perving - them, not me. I dropped down into hayfield and headed back up towards kinder res. I stopped for a crackin cumberland barm (with egg) at the butty van and got chatting to another mountain biker Lee, he's an STWer and does the peaks pootles, he recommended coming along to the next one. He was headed the same way so we slogged up kinder and did the middle moor descent together, we each pointed out other routes we'd done in the area. Middlemoor was great, lots of pink heather, pretty dry and fast, multiple line choices, some faster than others, especially if you forgot to unlock your forks ;-) excellent stuff. At the bottom we split Lee was headed over to lantern pike I had an appointment with some cheek. I pushed most of the way up chunal moor but the wormstones singletrack was well worth it, cracking end to the ride. Bit short considering I had all day but I wasn't up for anymore. Hope I can get rid of this cold for next week, really slowing me down. Stripped the bike at home, everything looked ok, bearings seem smooth, back together with the minimum torque to prevent play and it seems OK, no creaking, hmmm.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011


Bank holiday weekend my arse, total washout. Weather was gash. Entire family had a cold, no time/mates/energy to go riding.  Did manage to go for a walk up rivi with my sister and 10week old nephew George on the Friday before the weekend weather set in. Charlie in nursery, me Alex strapped to me, George strapped to my sister, my mrs unencumbered but still struggling (lightweight). Nice walk, nice views built up an appetite and went to the blundell arms for the feast we had earnt. Unfortunately I went for posh nosh (chicken and chorizo on sweet potatoe mash), very nice but not much to it, I was covetously ogling my sister's gargantuan burger, chips and onion rings, can't remember what my mrs had but not enough for me to scavenge from :-0
Rest of weekend we hardly went out, swimming trip was fun but bad weather prevented the trip to the park afterwards. Yesterday we were going stir crazy so wrapped up and went to the park despite the rain, charlie was loving it slipping and sliding all over the climbing frame (giving us a few scares), completely oblivious to the worsening weather. Stood in the relentless rain, passing families were giving us "are you mental?" looks, we eventually dragged charlie home when it got silly wet.
Decided to take the longer quiet to work today, 5minutes in I hear someone revving up behind me, came flying passed close and beeped their horn. Tool! I wasn't in primary, was actually pretty close to the kerb, no other cars about, doesn't matter this wasn't a driver who had a grievance with my riding it was some nobber who likes to buzz cyclists. Black celica old style (sega rally shape) dick in the driving seat, keep an eye out. Other than that a reasonable ride in.

What tyres for....apples

I now know there's quite a few apple trees on my commute, one section of singletrack was covered in them last week, grip was erm interesting. Monday and tuesday were quiet commutes. Tuesday night me and Si did the usual, 2lads, wildeswood, ICR, pike, san marino quarries, smithills. Quite nice, load of faffage tho, Si broke a chain and my rocky mountain was creaking, has been for a while, I thought it was the shock mounts (now replaced) but nope, spent a 5 mins trying to narrow it down, bearings maybe, hmm. Anyway decent ride. Thursday was a bit of a miserable start, damp and foggy but halfway through my commute the sun came out and wow. In the woods, still a bit of mist about, sun shining through the trees, shafts of sunlight lighting up the mist, fantastic. This type of thing but more singletracky. Coming home was fun, took the scenic route and one section o ftrail was just a mass of vegetation, you'd have no idea there was a trail there at the start, hard going until I got onto a more frequently used section. The footbridge near me is still out of action, some people obviously have been climbing over the barrier as some generous soul has covered the barrier and nearby handholds with grease, again that doesn't sound like an official council actions to me. Calls to the ROW office later.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Eject, Eject! ...and more walking

A guy at work (roadie) told me a couple years ago about jumping from his bike in a dodgy moment, speed, loose corner and traffic were involved can't remember the exact details. I thought why the hell would you want to jump from your bike unless you'd already crashed? Now I kinda see his point.

Full turn out on friday, me, Burk, Si and Johnnie, weather was looking good, I'd planned to do a slightly shorter newlands route in the morning then something else later so we set off early. The climb up stoneycroft gill was ok to start, good and techy, not too steep. Then it got steeper, and rockier.

Johnnie seemed to be suffering from recent lack of riding and the excesses of the night before but we were all struggling to push up high moss. The climb to Sail summit is now switchbacked and slightly easier but still not doable by any of us on the day.

(you can see our route up way over to the left of the ridge)

Some hairy moments hiking over the scar but finally we were on Crag hill, 2700ft and a good 2000ft of down to come.

The first 400ft was a screamer, fast open with a few corners and drainage ditches to contend with, bit of a pedal then onto whiteless edge. Good stuff but altho I'd brought the big bike I'd frgotten to bring the corresponding cajones, a couple of dabs plus new shoes lead to having trouble getting clipped back in and riding on top the pedals instead of in them - sketchy. Some really nice bits along there. Whiteless pike was a fair bit more tech than I expected, a couple of bits I might have managed but I bottled it and a few bits I definitley didn't have the skill for. Some sketchy off piste moments too as I over cooked a corner or two.

Johnnies gnarr face

Halfway down I flatted, burk went on ahead Si and johnnie stopped with me. Just as I was ready to go again a family came passed telling us our mate had crashed but was ok. I set off, despite knowing a friend had already stacked I still went at it pretty hard, came over the crest of a hill and saw burk, about 5ft infront of me but 20ft down oops. Properly steep grass followed by insanely steep grass then rocks then back to properly steep. I braked hard but wasn't slowing down, back was trying to skid, much more pressure and the front would too, still way too fast, more front brake, oh dear. Just as front wheel started to go over the insanely steep bit I started to bin the bike. Fortunatley stabbing my foot down to the ground managed to stop me. Phew. Behind me Si and johnnie had similar trouble but made it safely. Burk had crested the hill, seen the slope, binned his bike on the grass but still slid along, his bike was headed for a drop at the side so had to grab it and try to slow himself down at the same time - with an appreciative audience :-) Cue lots of giggling at our lucky escapes. Don't do this downhill in the wet, it would be lethal! Still lots of steep grass down to go but we carried on a little more gingerly. Climb out of buttermere was ok to begin with but soon had us walking again. Johnnie was having difficulties walking, the fancy doohickey lacing systems on one of his boots had locked so he couldn't loosen it for walking, he was quite angry about this (did someone say hopping mad?) Si and burk had grim determination etched on their faces.

So far the lads weren't impressed, too much walking/carrying and too technical downs but now we had the newlands singletrack and I was quietly confident things would turn around. Sure enough 30 seconds in and I could hear whoops behind me. A 6" wide trail of loveliness, some bits opened out where it was steep and loose and then narrowed again, fast, twisty, turny and not a walker in sight superb. Grins all round at the bottom, my route choice vindicated. Trouble is it took us over 4 hours, everyone was knackered and I was on a time limit. No time for a second ride, certainly not skiddaw which was the original plan :-( Only 12 miles but 4500 ft of climbing in that, tough going. Postride refuel, vegan porkless pie or mansized proper version?

If you want pics of the downhill speak to lowey I can't be arsed stopping halfway to whip out the camera for shakey badly taken pics.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Fair weather cyclists

Friday was looking very grim and Si Johnnie and I didn't fancy driving all the way to the lakes to get rained on, plus I was never going to attempt the planned route in the rain, too rocky/technical, so we gibbed out, a local ride was mentioned but never really happened. This weekend was the STW north meets TJ ride at rivi, I made sure I was free on sunday (as did Si) but it got moved to saturday - oh well sounds like they had a good un. Me and Si decided to still do a local ride sunday, after all the wet weather I'd decided to SS it and had dismantled my geared bikes for various maintenance. Woke up sunday with a sore throat and my knees (which have been OK lately) were moaning a bit - excellent for a ss ride! Was actually ok riding tho, winter hill/san marino, heavens opened for a short spell, over to darwen via WWW, skipped the permanently wet tockholes downhill, found seom singletrack instead. Cafe stop tea and some very nice apple slice and custard, mmm. Up onto the hill, down the techy chute, steep climb to the tower and down into darwen on MrSparkles route. Heading back to bolton we ended up on some cheek near turton res where we mostly managed to avoid the sunday crowds (but were exceedingly polite to the [mostly miserable] walkers we did run into) From Bromley cross we used ginnels back streets and various less travelled routes to get back to moss bank park. Good ride, punishing SS ride, arms, legs and shoulders knackered, very tired. Nice and sunny for cleaning my bike when I got home - typical.

Thursday, 11 August 2011


Tuesday night I went out for a quick spin with Si, had been commuting on road but had such a monster headwind monday and tuesday afternoon my legs were already battered. Met up at moss bank and headed up, golf course, holdens farm, 2 lads. Dropped down 2 lads, nice, wildeswood, even nicer. Decided for a change to go straight up the hill passed higher knoll farm, not tried this in yonks (school climb? commonwealth climb? can't remember what everyone else calls it), was quite dry so wasn't as bad as I thought, bet it's a bugger when wet, proper steep near the top. Up the rutted droppy climb to the pike, didn't clean that, something to work on in future. Down the steps, not done them for ages either, Si flatted on the corners just after but soon sorted that and on to ICR. On the section after the tarmac drop I could hear Si right up behind me so I started pushing it a bit, then I came to my senses, "chill Dave, you're on a hardtail stop trying to outrun him". Lots of rocks kicked up, knocked a chunk out of my crank - lucky it wasn't the frame, Si said quite a few rocks were getting flicked at him from my rear wheel - oops. Back up the hill and over to san marino. light was starting to fade but made it down pretty quick, calves were wreckin by the end, the last few little drops at the bottom jarred my legs as they started to seize up, ouch. Had to dig out our joystick backup lights for going through the quarry - sketchy, will need to bring proper lights next week I reckon. Climb up horrocks fold, drop through smithills, it was proper dark under the trees, ah tunnel vision nightriding, forgotten what it was like. Another good'un, no drama's, no mechanicals (Si's puncture apart), no bad conditions, just nice trails. Kebab on the way home - it's what emergency £5ers are for - mmm :-)

Wednesday, 10 August 2011


Me and burk headed up the lakes on friday, weather was looking iffy and as we parked up above coniston it was cloudy, cold and windy so I layered up. Down spoon hall was fun but after seeing chris crash last time I chickened out and unclipped on a few bits. Heading round the top of coniston we were warming up so shed some layers, then even more going up lawson park, hmm not putting on sun tan lotion may have been an error. We schlepped up lawson park, a grind but not bad. Parkamoor was excellent, nice and dry, rocky, grippy, fast, ace. We blitzed passed a family pushing bikes up and Burk said they looked in awe, seemingly impressed with speed over the rocks. apart from them the trails were deserted. The bridge from arklid farm to water yeat was closed, the farmer informed us it had been out since the '09 rains, he said "we've had to manage for 18months, you can manage a day". OK mr grumpy, a 5miles diversion didn't appeal so we found a "dangerous bridge - anglers only" foot bridge a bit further down the road and pushed through Birk Row farm. Why anglers only? maybe the locals don't like them :-)
A spot of lunch near houlker hall and across woodland fell managing no navigational errors this time. Push up to Troughton and then another grumpy local at Hole Beck cottages eventually restrained her dog but then shouted at us for nearly taking the obvious track instead of the not at all obvious bridleway passed the cottages. Got a bit lost on this climb but eventually popped out at broughton woods. During some minor faff a rider on a cube appeared just having done the road climb, quick chat I offered to show him through the woods but he wanted a rest and burk had already setoff so I went. Ridden this a few times but noticed on the map there's a section of singletrack I'd never ridden so we gave it a go, overgroan and a bit boggy at the moment. Also got attacked, an overhanging fern frond was hiding a pretty beefy bramble branch it caught in the crook of my ebow, ow. Back on the fireroad I starte dto pick the dozen or so thorns embedded in my arm, cube man caught up and joined us for the rest of the ride. He was at the end of a 2 week riding holiday, been upto scotland done all 7 stanes and worked his way down to the lakes riding most days. Not on his own tho, his GF was down in coniston busying herself while he rode, me and burk just exchanged looks, we'd never have got away with that with our respective partners, even before kids.
After the singletrack in the woods we climbed up natty bridge and on to walna scar, painful. Nearly lost a shoe by white pike when I went knee deep into the bog. Got to the quarries and without a rest (cube man's mrs was waiting) set off on the climb, ashamed to say I didn't even make it to the hairpins this time, got knocked off line and stopped, terrible effort. Walna scar down was brilliant as ever but they are in the middle of resurfacing it, Boooo! They've only done a small section from bottom of goatfoot crags at the moment, fast but silky smooth and boring as hell, hope they don't do much more. Bombed down to the car pushing the tyres to break away point on the fast gravel near the bottom, brilliant. Directed cubeman (who had done the downhill with saddle at full height - !) to spoon hall and set off for home with a quick stop at thrang crag wood for ice creams. I was (mildly) bloodied and (sun) burnt but a very good day.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Don't cross Cross Fell

Soo sounds like cross fell tried to kill lowey, well it certainly broke us. Tuesday I was still tired from sundays hillathon, by the time I met with Si I'd decided to bail early so we did loweys ST (cleared that corner again, on a HT this time - woot!) and the climb up horrocks fold then took the express tarmac all the way home. Rode in weds morning to get my shock mount sorted but rested thurs. Me and Burk parked up at Kirkland, bit of cloud but looking to clear up, plan was to ride up cross fell drop to garrigill, back via tynehead/troutbeck/dun fell and the downhill to blencarn. Start of the climb was OK, warm, trails in good nick, feeling ok, riding plenty. Been up this before but as we were in thick cloud that time none of it looked familiar. Got boggy and rocky by the old workings, pushing commenced, started feeling tired and when back on the bike my line choices were dodgy, Burk asked if I was feeling alright, I wasn't. Finally got to the start of the downhill, it clouded over and a headwind picked up boooo. Dropped to gregs hut, kept going, this "downhill" had a lot of up. I started grumbling (less than 2 hours in), Gavgas had said tynehead could be boggy, all the water around suggested t would be very boggy and the dun fell peaks looked high, so we started revising the route, down to garrigill and back up the same route. At long man hill we realised it would be boring straight gravel road all the way down to garrigill. Sack that off, turn back now was the decision. We got back up to to gregg's pretty quick so we had a look round, never been in a bothy before, spartan but welcome in nasty weather I guess. The cold cloudy trudge up to the top of cross fell was depressing, moaning at myself, should have rested more, shouldn't have ridden in on wednesday, should have gone to bed earlier, should have brought a lighter bike etc etc. On the top the sun finally came out and my mood improved, just the excellent downhill to go...if we could only find it, eventually we got on track dropped our saddles and set off. Boggy bit, rocks, boggy bit, rocks, boggy bit, 5 minutes in to the downhill our max speed was 5mph, hmmm. Finally got to drier ground with a gradient and woooooohooo. 5mins later I stopped to rest my aching hands and calves, burk pulled up behind me, our discs were blue, I was sure if we lay the bikes down they'd set fire to the grass. Tink tink tink as the discs cooled down, us giggling like idiots, as soon as we could we carried on. We hit a small grassy drop and I heard burk whoop like a kid, down into to a fern sided chute, nearly hit a sheep that appeared suddenly from the bushes, hit a couple of rutted muddy sections way too fast but mananged to hold on and got to the bottom completely pumped up on adrenaline, this downhill kicks ass, superb.
Gavgas suggested the route I'd planned didn't really "get the best out of the area", what he probably meant was "it's rubbish" and he'd be right. The proper version is 40miles ouch, loweys attempted version is a more reasonable 30 but I reckon the best bet is up the west side of cross fell, push across the top and then blencarn downhill and do 2 loops, that would be 17ish miles and 5000ft climbing and a shedload of grins, maybe a winner?

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Man Down

A guy at work, who I knew rode a bit, came off his bike and broke his arm, in three places - ouch. Was in HDU for a while, pretty bad then. When I found out the details tho it was even worse. Riding down an off road cycle path, dog walker on one side of the track dog on other, just as our man is passing the walker called the dog over, dog runs infront of our man, he hits it and soon after hits the deck. This is something Si says he's seen a lot and he's had a good few near misses where, if the walker had just kept quiet, the dog would have stayed where it was no drama. Anyway our mans lying on the deck in a serious amount of pain having difficulty sitting up never mind standing, what does dickhead walker do? Yep walks off. Aren't some people complete arseholes? Guy had to ring his daughter to come get him and drive him to hospital, ends up in HDU, few days in hospital, out now but still not at work and won't be riding for a good while :-(

Monday, 25 July 2011

Bit of a Beasting

It had to happen, been watching TdF all week so sunday I dusted off my road bike. Mrs said I had 5hours, was pretty sure I wouldn't need that long. So setoff to find as many hills as possible, started in harwood with a grinder, a couple round tottington then over to ramsbottom. Went over passed peel tower and going into a dip saw a rider speeding towards me, noticed it was samuri "awright Jon" now we were both going pretty quick, I think we both turned to see if the other was stopping for a chat, neither of us looked like stopping so we both carried on :-) Mind you what can you chat about on a road ride? MTB you can bang on for hours, which trails in good nick, crashes or close calls, riding fast or slow, is bike handling well, are the new tyres any good etc. Road ride:
Do your legs hurt yet?
yep, yours?
Yep...nice weather eh?
Ahem. On to the climb up grane rd, a biggy tho not quite as big as I'd expected (ridden down it a few times, thought it would be mahoosive climb), nasty little headwind. Onto broadhead drop to hoddlesdon, along to edgeworth, nice empty road flat out drops and climbs, up to the top of broadhead again, darwen, BJ alley, belmont. Legs were feeling pretty wrecked by now, checked my watch only just over 2 hours in! The climb up rivi rd properly hurt my legs but the car free flat out descent was great, just got slowed by traffic on sheep house. Up Chorley old rd to georges lane onto matchmoor, last and biggest climb of the day, the switchback onto mm nearly broke me. Scout rd then belmont rd to home absolutley shattered. The most hurt I've dished out to myself on a bike in <4hours, arms and shoulders frigged aswell as legs. 58miles 6500ft, tired today.

Friday, 22 July 2011

How Disappointing

Been doing plenty of offroad commutes and all was well in the world, (yesterdays puncture not withstanding - torn sidewall) I switch to road today - partly due to rain but mainly due to getting up 30mins late - and it goes downhill. Overtake a line of waiting traffic, as I get near the front it starts moving, I find a space and move back in and over to the now useable cycle lane. A few cars later mondeo man cuts across the cycle lane slightly and starts pointing at the side of his head. Hmm, I shrug the universal "Eh?" he keeps pointing to side of his head, more like a gun pointed at his head rather than "you are tapped/mental" sign. No idea what that was about. A few minutes later at the bottom of a dip a rider absolutley flies passed me, the speed, the shaved legs and minimalist lycra shouts roadie but he's on a mtb, proper knobly tyres, off road shoes, tube taped to seatpost, maybe an xc racer then. Anyway I'm up on the pedals and catch him on the climb, keep up with him for a while on the flat almost spinning out the whole way. Guy is properly quick, I don't draft him cos some of his line choices are a bit iffy, my lack of gears mean I aint gonna stick with him on the upcoming downhill so after 10mins of suffering i ease off and save some energy for the dual carriageway. I'm well out of practice on my commuter racing.
Totally hogging the lane and caning it on the DC is still working for me so far, no dodgy passes and the few people who did get stuck behind me for a few seconds didn't start honking and screaming, nice one! I hit the lights on broad street with speed just as they were changing, big head start on the traffic so I move across to the 3rd lane for my intended destination, couple of seconds later a motor bike passes me the rider sticks his hand out left signal, right signal, left signal, right. Same guy did the same thing at the same place a few weeks ago, he obviously doesn't like my lack of signalling, hey ho. At the next set of lights he's waiting so I coast to a stop next to him, he thinks I'm going to run the red and starts to shout "red light" I calmly say "yeah I know, look mate I'm never going to signal on that stretch, I'm too busy pedalling and concentrating on not getting run over by arsehole drivers" I'm not trying for an argument, I'm calm and speak quietly, just letting him know why I don't signal there but he goes off on one saying he's done his cycle proficiency, I should signal etc etc. It's a dodgy bit of road, drivers treat it as a drag strip, there's loads of lane changing, my signals would mostly be ignored, no way I'm taking my hands off the bars and brakes there. He moans a bit more, I can't understand due to his full face helmet. Lights change we set off, further down I'm leant against a bus at a red light, I hear him behind me moaning some more, no idea what he said. Lights are about to change I edge ahead of the bus (which was half over the stop line) and biker screams about red light...which has just changed, I head off. Don't think me and him are going to get on, bet I see him again soon too.
Sun is shining now, should have dragged my arse out of bed earlier and come in offroad.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

One of them really nice ones

Sun shining through the trees and reflecting off the river, fast dry trails, sinuous singletrack, fresh legs, plenty of speed, leaves and twigs whipping the ends of my bars, brmc salvation on the ipod. One of those commute moments that makes me really happy to be a cyclist. Just think, some people have no idea about these little pleasures, sat in their tin boxes or packed sardine like onto the train, the usual morning monotony.

**** me, I'm a lucky sod.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

All pink and lovely

So it rained at weekend, I'm not a fan of mud during the spring/summer but on my commutes (same trail 4 times in 2 days) I've been watching the trail slowly dry out, puddles recede and buffness return, it's kinda cool, I like it. Still prefer sun and dust tho. Went out riding last night, while trying to decide on a route Si suggested great hill, I was worried it would be boggy but we went with it. It was a bit boggy, at one point my left foot just sank into the turf, upto my bloody knee, pulled it out sharpish, fortunatley shoe still attached. Other than that not too bad, just a bit soft for pedalling. A cracking run down to the steps, no one else about so brakes off, full speed ahead. Si managed to ding his front rim (crest) so badly the tubeless wouldn't reseal, that's got me worried, I'm just about to build up a crest on a rear wheel for my ETSX, to replace the 6month old multiple-y dinged xt wheel. Maybe crest are a bit fragile for me....hmm. Dropping in to white coppice a couple of gullys with mud in but other wise it's riding very well. Good shout Si. Johnnie split there, me and Si rode back round anglezarke, sun was setting looking very red, reflected in the water, gorgeous, wish I'd had a camera. Left Si at the barn I rode back up to georges lane and blitzed home on road, downhill all the way weeeee.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Clapham again

Another iffy looking forecast so I took Burk round Tony's clapham loop. It was nice and sunny on the way up, I actually broke out the suncream. I pulled my mmmbop out of the car and realised I'd been messing with the cranks recently but hadn't tightened them up properly, eek no 8mm allen key, Burk who has the same cranks didn't either. Bugger. I knocked on Tonys pad but no answer (i was going to say hi anyway, would be rude not to when riding his trails:-) ), fortunatley across the road some guys were fitting solar panels and they had one. Life saver. Out uphill under the bridges didn't seem so bad this time, along to woodend, at meldings barn we ran into trouble, seriously overgrown trail, full of nettles, brambles and other various flora. Nightmare, kept going for most of it getting stung every 30 seconds or so but got so bad we were wobbling along there was a good chance one of us would come a cropper and end up falling into nettles. We chucked the bikes over a wall and rode through the field, legs were still stinging saturday afternoon! We looped round to feizor and climbed over to Wharfe. I warned Burk about the slab after the ford but it looked nowt special and as it was dry we both rode it no drama. Slog upto Long Scar and along the top, sulber nick was just as difficult as last time but the drop back to Wharfe was well worth it, fun and games all the way back to thwaite lane, fast grassy twisty start, some rocky bits thrown in and all that wall lined narrow track winding it's way down the hill. On the way back to clapham it started raining but not too bad and cleared again. The bakery at higher benton supplied post ride replenishment, ham mini quiche and pork pie was all they had left but mmm, wow they have some tasty pigs round there! Another decent day despite the forecast, mind you we got stuck in a proper torrential downpour in blackrod, flooded roads, zero visibility and hale. Felt sorry for the 2 roadies we passed, unlucky.

Thursday, 7 July 2011


1. A person who is enthusiastically interested in and very knowledgeable about a particular subject
verb buffed, past participle; buffed, past tense; buffing, present participle; buffs, 3rd person singular present
1. Polish (something)
2. Give (leather) a velvety finish by removing the surface of the grain
1. Being in good physical shape with fine muscle tone
2. Loweys secret singletrack
Tuesday nightride was shifted to monday this week due to weather forecast and it was lovely. I was runnnig late, Charlie was playing in the garden, I went to say bye and he ran towards me falling flat on his face. Whilst I maybe should have patted him on the back said "pain is just weakness leaving the body son, bye" and left, I didn't think it would go down well with anybody so stayed for a while. Up winter hill quicktime, managed to get from 2 lads to rivi school in a not too shabby 10mins, everything riding really well. Met up at rivi only to find Johnnie and Si both with the same riding top on as me, go team Aldi! How embarrassing. Straight up the hill, new rule, no stopping to chat in woods, got eaten alive last week at the gate near the top barn. Upto the pike, few people about, over to hole in the wall and up to the mast. From there we dropped down the singletrack passed the shooting hut, only ridden up this before, quite nice at the moment, don't fancy it in winter tho.

Over to the singletrack, awesome, really good, long twisty turny ribbon of trail. Some corners you couldn't see due to long grass just guess the line stay loose and hope. We got down to the second stile, I think we all rode everything upto that point. Next was the steep end section and that last corner, I rode upto it but didn't fancy my chances. There is a line above the corner coming in from the other side, I pushed up that and had a go, another refusal but managed it 2nd time, cool. Si had a crack whilst Johnnie commented "it's just a bit steep with some lumps" Si binned it but soft landing in the ferns. Johnnie had a go, just aiming to get further than Si, he fell of at the same spot, whoops. I pointed out if he'd gone OTB he'd have beaten Si but he wasn't having it. Quarries next which everyone rode first time despite Johnnie noticing how big the drop to the right was (someone was stood there first time he rode it) Back up horrocks fold and Smithills dean, here I split as it was getting late but which way?...ooh go on then I'll do Loweys ST again :-)

Light was fading but hit it just as fast, was feeling tired and had a near miss or two, coming up to the last corner I was in two minds but just went with it....and cleaned it! I was well impressed, never thought I'd ride it, I was well made up. Had to tell someone and I knew even if my Mrs was up when I got home (unlikely) she'd say "oh" which is exactly what she did on tuesday morning, so I text Johnnie, his reply was, predictably, "video or it didn't happen" grrr. So down through the quarry and long road downhill home racing the dark, big grin plastered across my face. Will have to try it again soon.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Yes it was a bit

I'd booked Friday off for a ride but I had no one to ride with so I planned a biggy, with no one to complain about the climbs being too steep or the descents too scary or the route was too long or that their legs were hurting* I had a blank canvas. High street would be involved, I parked in Kentmere climbed out of the valley, up dubbs and garburn road. It was a lovely morning and the trail was a lot better than last time I went up there this time I managed to ride the first few corners then I started being sensible, lots of miles and climbing to go so chill out and don't attack silly climbs. Up to garburn pass then climb to the yoke, on a seriously steep bit I pedalled hard and thought "dig deep dave" then I remembered the route and amended it to "don't dig deep, dig shallow...with one of those plastic spades" Dropping from Yoke I went over an innocuous rock not very hard and got a flat. Grrr, ust tyre was at 45psi (!) full of sealant but wouldn't seal. Pushed up Ill Bell to give it some time but nope still wouldn't seal. Bunged in a downhill tube in and pumped it up to 60ish. Gave a rough sluggish ride (>400g tube) but no more problems. Ill Bell descent was mental didn't ride much of the top at all. Froswick was better, then I got to the thornthwaite crag beacon, cool never been here before. On to riggindale straits and onto the ullswater classic loop, one of my favourite rides. Along the undulating trail to Loadpot and the loooong gentle descent to the cockpit, lovely. The route to howtown has changed over the years, now has loads of G-out gulleys/rollers, hit them at top speed and it's awesome, which with no walkers around is what I did. At howtown the nice lady at the pub refilled my camlebak and I set off to do the ullswater trail, at 12:30 oh dear. It was packed with walkers but I'm happy to say they were all nice people moved out of the way as I rode, when I was pushing they chatted, just a lovely vibe going on. Minted. The trail was as good as usual, I got a clean run at all the down and along bits and I pushed up all the hard climbs. I was feeling the strain at patterdale, at this point my original plan was to turn round, do the ullswater trail in reverse, go up boredale hause and drop back into patterdale before heading back to high street, but after mapping it at 46miles/10500ft climbing total I'd decided I probably wouldn't bother with that bit, I was right. A quick change (how nice is a fresh riding top after 5 hours of hot weather riding?) and on to the soul destroying slog that is the climb upto the Knott. Purgatory, absolute bloody nightmare, 2miles 1800ft I walked about 90% of it, carrying my bike up the grass staircase I was having serious doubts about finishing, legs were dead I was almost out of water and I had a long way to go. Flapjacks, powergel, serious talking to, keep going. Finally hit high street and it got easier, did a lot of riding up to thornthwaite and I felt lots better, I skipped Froswick peak taking the route around it, slogged up to Ill Bell, another carry, and finally made it to Yoke, from here it was pretty much all downhill to the car, over 3 miles of it. Pitched staircase to start, flat out hardpack, some rocky/grassland singletrack, then onto the rockfest of garburn pass. My arms and legs were wrecked by the time I got to the car. Battered, righteous complete muscle fatigue, home for a long soak and a lot of sleep. Hardest ride of the year, I didn't have a camera but if you squint and add a dash of imagination this photoshopped mspainted pic from last winters ride should give you some idea ;-)

Apologies to deejay for murdering his very nice picture

*only joking guys, you know I like social rides really)

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Over ambitious

Does 46miles with 10500ft of climbing sound too much? Hmm I can feel a loooong road bailout option coming up.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Sun's shining get riding

Gorgeous morning ride into work monday, trails a bit wet but drying nicely, sting-o-rama tho, all the trailsides are overgrown, have to push brake levers out so they don't get pulled by passing vegetation. Couple of dog related emergency stops too, if your dog "goes" for riders/people keep it on a lead please, good job I slow down and cover the brakes round pooches. Met my mrs and kids in the park on the way home and we watched charlie going up and down the big slide....repeatedly :-) He does like slides. Yesterday's commute was just as nice, ride home went a bit wonky tho. A few weeks ago on the narrow section near clifton works, metal fence left side, wooden post/metal tube cross bars on the right, I managed to clip my handlebar on wooden post, front wheel swung right and hit the next post stopping me dead back end lifted and saddle hit the fence and the bike jammed in place. I was a bit shook up but ok, my 1998ish flite saddle was ripped, grrrrr. Anyway last night I managed to clip my bars again, same spot but this time I managed to straighten up but my body went left and my shoulder hit the metal fence, a few times actually, at about 12mph. Bit of a cheese grater effect, ouch. Got me thinking tho, rufty tufty mtbers always seem to have arms and legs covered in grazes, bruises, lumps gouged out of their shins etc, I don't, guess I just don't push myself hard enough, not sure if thats good or bad as I am a big girls blouse quite averse to pain.

Tuesday night ride, I was short on time so went down hole in the wall instead of 2lads, normally boring or proper sketchy on mud and wet grass but now, bone dry it's very fast and quite fun! Down wildes and met up with Johnnie and Si only a little late. Up to the pike and over to winter hill where we met GavinB, by the looks of it one of the aformentioned rufty tufty scuffed mountain bikers (I assume, dunno, maybe he wrestles lions for a living) waiting for a slow group of bikers (his words) on their way down to vacate the trail and give him a clean run. We chatted for a few mins then Gavin set off I gave him a bit of a start then chased, so I'm competitive, so sue me. He is quick! Him on HT me on FS and I assume I have the home advantage but that didn't amount for much. I was flying, pushing a bit harder than usual, at that speed it was tricky to tell if I was catching up, if I was I wasn't closing the gap very quickly. Anyway about halfway he pulled up, I'm sorry to say I shot straight passed, Si and Johnnie both checked he was ok (double puncture) Flying down more punture-ees said Hi as I passed, hit the bottom and the rest of the group, turns out it was lowey and friends, think it was wors who'd flatted, so we had a chat. Down Belmont road to the quarry, where we all managed the drop off chute, back up to scout rd and up winter hill, it was getting late and I was now heading away from home but it was too nice to stop. So back down hole in the wall, halfway down wildes where I eventually split, up old rake and down georges. Noticed I'd got a flat, fairly slow one tho so stop top it up then ride very fast. Managed on just 2 stops, tyre is only 2 rides old, dissappointing.
Gavin has done a vid, an edit, 1st half of it is the run where I was chasing, second half is from his earlier first run.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Skipton, the return.

Burk was up for a ride so booked friday off, weather was looking mixed, turned out to be warmish but proper cloudy. After we did this ride last year Si said he fancied a go at it, I recommended waiting till after a dry spell and I was right. We parked up and set off, steep climb to start naturally. Up onto Sharp Haw on Flasby fell, the descent to Flasby is a cracker but today it was proper muddy so slower than last time and I quickly regretted having neither rear crud guard nor waterproof shorts. Road to Hetton then the long climb up rylstone fell. Once again I fluffed the steps near the top (no one else to blame this time), went back for another go, got passed the steps but was offline and soon had to stop, grrr. The route across the tops was fun apart from the multitude of puddle and the approach to embsay was a slog instead of a gentle singletrack freewheel. The crag was awesome as usual, dry and now free of ferns so it seemed easier as you could spot your line easier. I refused a steep chute switchback as I got blown off line on the entry, Burk followed suit but the rest was sketchily doable, brilliant.

No pub stop at Embsay village this time, along to Halton east and up moor lane where it went a bit wonky. Burks legs imploded (same spot as last time) I realised my PDA only had 1:50k map for the 2nd half of the route but wouldn't display the route ontop of it and we were quickly running out of time as Burk had to pick up his nipper from nursery. So scrap the 2nd half of the ride again, back to car via embsay again. Back to the crag and I managed to ride the chute, a right then left hander, the line through the 1st corner sends you straight at a big rock, I managed to get on top of it, lift the back end round a bit (thank the big S for SPDs) and down the second bit. Burk managed the first bit but couldn't get the back end round and had to dab but a good effort. A few not very short cuts got us to the car. Not a bad ride but will have to return again (after a dry spell) to do the full route.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Plenty to say

Took charlie out for a spin in leverhulme park on saturday, first time off road since his first ever ride. He doesn't like the fast bumpy bits (downhill with a kicker at the bottom) but he likes getting sideways round gravelly corners :-) Brand new hope hoops don't like getting sideways on gravelly corners, managed to put a bit of a wobble on them. Not sure how much is the rim and how much is the not so good halo ust tyre. We went down to the river and he walked straight into it and had a splash around, then we went for a run around on the footy field, nice.
A rather nice commute on monday, the baby bunnies and geese were out, the trails were dry, the sun was shining, few people about on the way home so got a lot of use out of my bell (which I've just noticed has n+1 written on the side :-) ) everyone friendly having a nice day, top stuff. Bagged myself a pair of oakley MX goggles on the way home too, might be useful for wet downhill days. Tuesday was a bit grim so back on the road. Now stabiliser has almost scared me off riding dual carriageways I think his report on how normal inoffensive drivers gang up with their collective stupidity to kill cyclists is bang on. I've had a couple of 4x4 drivers swerve round me at the last minute and the person behind (too close behind) come passed incredibly close. I've been dodging the 50mph DC on my commute but the alternatives aren't great. A slow cycle route which has 1 chicane and 6 slalom gates within a quarter mile. A road route, extra 1.5miles, a section of narrow 30 limit rd which often has speeders rat running, a roundabout where I turn right and often get drivers (also turning right) going round it the wrong way to over take me followed by a fast downhill heavy with traffic and lots of side roads for people to pull out on me. After trying various routes I'm back to the DC but totally hogging the left lane to prevent the above. But instead of just primary I'm between dead centre of lane and the right of centre, 2 mornings of that haven't been too bad, no attempted kills, no beeps either (yet) tho I have noted a few drivers muttering to themselves whilst passing me. See how it goes.
No-one else could make tuesday night ride and my mrs looked tired so I stayed home, went out for a ride last night instead. Got a bloody flat again down wildeswood (ust tyre+stans), pumped it back up and it stayed put for rest of ride (and overnight) dunno whats going on there, burping, badly applied rim strip (that'll be me then) or just crap tyre. 2lads, wildes, pike, san marino, quarry, home through eagly and hall ith wood. Very tired at the end, fish, chips, cake, strawberrys and a bucket of tea to replenish energy.
Might have bagged myself a bargain, dt240 wheel, mint condition rim, totally shagged bearings, much cheapness. Will have to see how much it costs to get it up and running before I decide if it was bargain or bust, I did a full bearing change on my very similar 440 for £25ish so fingers crossed.

Friday, 17 June 2011


So another friday, another grim forecast, another road commute cop out, another lovely day. Grrr! Weather forecasters haven't got a bloody clue have they? I'd actually booked today off, planned a ride with Burk who rang in sick last night with a note from his mum. "Please excuse mark from games this week as he has diori diareer diareaor he's got a dicky tummy." Weather forecast as mentioned was grim turning grimmer becoming biblical in places. The Mrs already had plans, charlie was at nursery so I cancelled my day off and am now sat at work blinded by the sunlight reflecting off the building opposite. (I am aware as soon as I hit Post and gear up for the ride home it will piss down)
Went out for a quick ride last night instead, the Mmmbop is finally built up again after stripping it for the blinglespeed and the hope hoop I bought 5months ago was finally used in anger. As soon as I got off road I broke a spoke (which tart thought red alloy nipples were a good idea?) Wheel stayed true tho. Up the valley, hall i'th wood and eagley were wet with some lethal cobbles and mossy tarmac, looks like I'm still dodging the rain. Bike felt ok, had a few things to tweak seems sorted now. Tried some new trails with mixed results. A good climb up to horrocks fold, rubbish descent down the other side, some flights of steps to jump, some boggy bits. Got home and chilled out for a bit including extolling the virtues of stans + sealent on a public forum so obviously when I went to put bike away I had a flat. Grrr. I pumped it back up, give it a shake and it was still fine this morning, maybe I got a puncture near home and it didn't get chance to seal. Now booked more days off work, hope these work out better for riding.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

uppy downy stuff

Just me and Si out on tuesday and I had borrowed junkyards old gravity dropper to give it a go. Easy enough to fit, cable routing might be a pain it's a bit in the way at the moment. Rode up to meet Si and I noticed some play straight away, bit of rotational sideways waggle but some fore/aft too. The key and guide can be replaced on GDs so rotational should be fixable dunno about fore/aft. Up barrow bridge and winter hill and on to 2 lads, dropper is only a 3" version so for proper downhills I need to lower seatpost anyway, down 2 lads we went, not bad, drier than I expected, good run and down the top half of wildeswood too. Back up old rake and hole in the wall. San marino was faaaaaast, along belmont rd up scout rd and down through the quarries, Si had a bit of trouble but not too much. Up horrocks fold to scout rd car park and drop into smithills, up smithills dean rd back to scout rd again! Round to walker fold and we dropped down into barrow bridge ending with the 63 steps, well sketchy, varying length steep steps, guard rail on both sides so pretty narrow and tricky to get into a rythmn. I got down slowly but not exactly comfortable. Si went down a few steps then suffered a bit of a refusal so I pushed back up and we went looking at an alternate route...which turned out to be a completely unrideable staircase. Back to 63steps then, I started even slower this time but the front wheel would flip flop left and right alternatly as you corrected, over corrected, corrected again until I got 3/4s of the way and let go of the brakes. Easiest way might be to let go the brakes at the top and rip all the way down but lots of bottle and/or a DH bike needed.
Then we split and I headed home fast, which is where I started to appreciate the GD. Pedal pedal pedal, seat down bunny hop big kerb, seat up, pedal pedal, down, flick bike left/right round tight chicane, up, pedal, down, steep roll in, up pedal. I normally do my route home without messing with the seat, no problem but I could get round/over/down the obstacles quicker without having the seat in the way, no slow down at all to nail the bunnyhops, hardly any braking needed for the corners or roll in, just hammer it all the way. Would be great for the 1 or 2 races events I do each year and for fast solo rides. I knew a compulsive saddle dropper like me would want one as soon as I tried it. I still think they are heavy, expensive and (possibly) shonky but...maybe I'll get one, we'll see.

Monday, 13 June 2011

I am the rain (dodge) king

Last week it pissed it down all week, but I somehow managed to get a full week (well 4 days) commuting and a nightride with out getting wet. Monday I managed to miss the showers, tuesday too, got home it was looking a bit grim so I grabbed the SS and went out. Just as I was getting to burnt edge there were a few drops of rain but I turned round and bolton was engulfed in a wall of rain, a pretty double rainbow too. Could clearly see the main one curving from markland hill to horrocks fold and a fainter one above it, nice and a lucky escape for me. While descending I passed some riders going up hole in the wall, down to the barn and another big group of riders just setting off from there, amongst other, plenty of riders about. Met Johnnie and we decided for a change to go round Lead mines clough. Across belmont old rd and met the guys from hole in the wall on the descent from rivington rd. Chatted to them for a while then we dropped into Lead mines and caught up with the big group from the barn, luckily they were at the gate halfway up the climb back out so I cleaned the whole climb for the first time (ever I think but def 1st time SS). A mooch round the res then off home via the pike. Thursday was more of the same everywhere I went the road was wet and full of puddles but no rain. Friday was forecast thunder and rain so I ditched the idea of riding in xc and took the road bike again but of course it was fine and sunny all day (well until 5 anyway). Grrrr. Took the long route home and pushed a bit harder than usual, after which I spent all weekend coughing, always seem to have something wrong with me lately, not properly ill just niggly stuff, can't remember the last time I felt 100%. Dunno whats up, it's certainly not overtraining.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

It's not always about the ride you know.......well not all the time.

or Two Blogs Collide, if you prefer.
Wednesday the weather forecast was looking up so I text the usual suspects about riding on friday. No response from lowey, the rest negative, Johnnie had DIY to do sommat about connecting his water supply but I soon set him straight nice weather, not been out in ages, we were riding. Thursday we set plans, 7am start, a couple of lakes routes planned. Then Lowey text, him and his chums were already in the lakes and were riding walna scar on friday, did we want to join them? Hmm crack of dawn hikeabike slog with techfest downs or join the slackers club, late start, a relaxed pace, probably beer fuelled ride with pub and swim stop...? I'll take option B please.
We got stuck in traffic so the start at torver was even later, me, johnnie, lowey, toss, weest, and chris. The lads were feeling a little hungover and the steeeeep tarmac start did not help. It was already hot and not a breath of wind about, lovely if a little uncomfortable for riding in. We dropped down to water yeat bridge all happy, getting into riding mode. Up Long Mire where Chris spotted some newts (I've not seen any in person before) and over on to park head road. The drop to seathwaite is a classic, rocky but a fast and a lot of fun. Lowey went ahead to take pics, I charged down after loving it. I stopped at the first gate, Johnnie and chris soon caught up. Looking back I could see the other 3 a bit away then disaster I saw someone go over the bars and their bike land ontop of them. It was lowey and he stayed down a long time. Weest and Toss were there with him but it was a tense few minutes for us at the gate until we saw him get up and carry on. Only a bit cut and bruised (lucky considering the terrain) but his back brake was wrecked. Ouch. The next section has been sanitised, ie they've dumped a load of clay like soil ontop of the rocks and turned it into a quagmire :-( A slightly subdued pub stop, the heat and stark reminder of the consequences of mistakes meant there was only me boozing (and only a half at that) Next we went up the valley to a gorgeous spot on Tarn Beck, a little pool with small water fall either end. It felt icey cold at first but got used to it and standing under the waterfall was fantastic, the most powerful jacuzzi ever, magic! Toss was getting a little over excited, he seemed to be enjoying it a little too much :-)
Eventually carried on to walna scar. Stop for a rock climb at the bottom then the long long slog to the top. Took us well over an hour to get to the top, heads were dunked in Long Hall Gill at several points in a failed effort to keep cool. A long rest at the quarries til loins were sufficiently girded for the final section. I set off riding very dubious of managing much but I kept on keeping on, up the steep bit round the switch back until about 10meters from the top where a teeny tiny stone knocked me off line I went off trail left, swung back on tghen straight off the right where I collapsed and didn't move for quite a long while. Bugger!
Regroup at the top where a couple of us discovered just how dehydrated we had become.
We set off down, I'd pushed too hard on the way up I was feeling a bit rubbery and it took me a while to get into it, Lowey was having a bit of a 'mare, unsurprisingly considering the lack of rear brake, everyone else was whooping with delight. We eyed up the drop off halfway down, with a new big run off ditch hazard, only Chris had the bottle to jump it. Seeing him bin it (yes in the ditch) the rest of us rolled it. Down spoon hall, wet rock sketch, and onto the campsite, the guys stripped my bike for spares while lowey drove me to get my car.
A pretty short 6hour ride with an average speed to make our trip to Boot last year look quick (despite which I was still knackered by the end) but nonetheless a brilliant day out. Definitley the best option, cheers for the invite lads.

Monday, 23 May 2011


Absolutley brilliant, a little short for my liking, (but i think they could have made it 10 times longer and I'd still have complained) definitley the funniest game I've ever played. There is a co-op mode which would drag out the playtime but I'd need some geek friends and/or a decent internet connection for that. Get it, it's awesome.
"I'm going to attempt a manual over ride on this wall, could get a bit technical. hang on!"

Friday, 20 May 2011


Managed to sneak out for a couple of night rides, no word from johnnie so went on my own tuesday, I was dressed up for monsoon weather and it actually wasn't bad so I overheated plenty :-( Up winterhill where I noticed my brand new chaintug had fallen apart, the threaded bar had unthreaded and dropped off! Useless, wheel had shifted in dropouts. Turns out shimano QRs done up well bastard tight will hold the wheel in place OK. Down 2lads, wildes, pike, hole in't wall were my lack of fitness showed, I was broken, ended up pushing! Then back home slowly the way I came looking for the missing chaintug parts, no luck.
Tonight was a bit better, certainly faster and felt stronger, sun was doing it's best impression of a balmy summer evening despite the chill in the air and water on the ground, sneaky bugger! Up winterhill (bloke parked up getting some very close attention to his lap from his passenger) down san marino, was riding through belmont after only 60mins of riding, cool. Along WW and upto Darwen tower, along the backs to whitehall and home via roller coaster, turton tower and finally the chicken run along the railway. 28miles in 2.5hours, some road miles perked the average up but I'm happy with that, finally a quick(ish) ride - remember that getting quick plan? Well it's not going too well so far.
Oh and both rides were done without lowering the saddle (worried about delaminating my carbon seatpost possibly an unwise purchase that), how the hell do people manage to go quick like that? dunno how much slower I actually am on the downhills but it feels like lots. When I'm stood up and I want to bend my knees I can only drop a couple of inches before my arse hits the saddle how do you soak up drops/impacts with that much travel/movement? If only dropper seatposts weren't so expensive, heavy and shonky.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Well I never knew that

Wilderswood , my favourite local downhill, didn't used to be a wood and it used to have a gert big castle (well a big hoose anyway) on top, Rockhaven Castle right next to georges lane. Saw a book at my dads about old horwich, some interesting stuff in there, I'd never even heard the name rockhaven before. Down at the bottom of the downhill there used to big a whopping great textile factory aswell. The mill was knocked down early last century, the castle was knocked down during WW2 cos it was feared it would be a useful navigation/fixing point for german bombers aiming for the locomotive works and apparently "some stone travelled to America in the form of ballast in the grain ships". Area was then forested over later, for which I am quite appreciative :-)

Monday, 9 May 2011

Home at last

Happy now :-)

Friday, 6 May 2011


Now the not so good stuff. When Mrs woke me at 1:30am to tell me she was in labour we called the hospital and they said the 2 community midwives on call had just finished a delivery but had to go back to base and do paperwork and it would be "dangerous" to send them out to us, we had to sit and hold tight til 8am, they suggested the mrs go back to bed to slow things down a bit! Big black mark there then. Fortunatley mother in law has done significant midwife training, she came round and said it was early days yet (she was still as pissed off as us at the treatment tho) and as it turned out things didn't progress too quick and 8 was a reasonable time for the midwifes to show (and they were good)
When he was born alex was breathing very hard very quick and his oxygen levels were low so after some umming and arring an ambulance was called (again) and mum and baby went to hospital. Looks like it was probably just fluid inhaled during labour so hopefully they'll be back tomorrow, fingers crossed.
Cleaning up after a homebirth is grim. My mrs would recommend a water birth, I would recommend a waterbirth at a hospital, I'm pretty sure fathers don't have to strain (bleurgh) drain and scrub down the pools at hospital post partem.
In hospital last night mrs was feeling dizzy, prob low blood sugar, wanted a drink so I went to get a coke or another tasty sugary beverage. Nope the hospital has a veto on sugary drinks, not allowed, not even the perennial hospital visitors favourite lucozade. Not a thing. Kind of a health trip, promoting healthiersweetener addled drinks so I'm half with them on this, but seeing as how you can buy as many creme eggs/marsbars/doubledeckers as you can stuff down your fat hole to go with your "healthy" drink I'm left feeling a bit pissed off that I can't have a full fat coke despite foregoing a calorific chocolate feast. Proper health policy or none at all please.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

That was wierd

Mrs giving birth to our second child in our front room, she always wanted a "home confinement" but last time it wasn't to be, complications. This time she wanted a home thingy with added wet. This is Charlies inflatable pool at his grandpas

and this is the behemoth his mum bought for his lil' siblings water birth.

Thats a hell of an upgrade for charlie's paddling pool next summer! Easily fit 2 adults in there, 3 or 4 if you're good friends ;-) Took 10minutes to inflate with leccy pump but an hour to fill. Helped a lot with pain relief apparently altho it was a bit dark inside the pool for the midwives (3 of them!) to see what they were doing so I broke out the hope 4. "Ooh that's bright isn't it?" money well spent! Mrs started flagging after 10 hours of contractions so I pepped her up with some caffeine power gels, sickly sweet temporary recovery food stuff of champions. It was getting on, things didn't seem to be progressing so an ambulance was called. As we heard the sirens the mother in law pulled the gas&air out of mr good wife's mouth and said "MTFU and push" (I may be paraphrasing). And lo with some mighty heaving and a fair bit of screaming Alex* was born.

Awesome and the bike geek in me is proud to know the lighting and nutritional needs of this home confinement were supplied by my hobby :-)

For those who care about such things weight was an eye watering 10lb 6oz, it has to be said he looks the double of charlie, well actually more of a 1.5 scale replica than a double.

*provisionally, we both like alex but his full name sounds bloody stupid, especially in a bolton accent (we only realised this when the midwife asked us for his name for the notes). Hmm.