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.