Friday, 21 December 2012

Xmas bingeing

Works do yesterday so pub for a few games of pool before going to Bem Brazil to eat lots and lots of animal chunks. Wow they don't half feed you in that place, some damn nice charred flesh on offer, my favourite was probably the chicken thighs but the pineapple at the end was quite stomach settling. Rest of the day and night was spent pub crawling round Manchester, was a right laugh but I called it a night just after 10 (and gto plenty of abuse for finishing early doors), walking to the train station in the rain I had a daft idea about riding to work in the morning, hmmm. Bottle of water at the station lots more when I got home and woke feeling if not fine then certainly a lot better than I deserved. Mrs told me not to ride in (and that I stank) so waited til she'd gone out and got the bike out. It was marvellous, cruising into work at a nice steady pace, a brief respite from the constant wind and rain we've had lately, lovely. Saw a couple of deer at darcy lever so I stopped to watch them, good start, squirrels, rabbits, sheep, horses, an idiotic school run mum, heron, ducks and geese, alsorts of fauna. Some of the bigger bumps gave my delicate head a bit of pain but other than that I was a happy man xc commuting is brilliant, mind you I'm probably still drunk.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Real life

The new bike honey moon period is over back to wet feet and punctures (plural) riding along the canal monday morning the back end went all wobbly, flipped the bike over and realised that out here it's a bit trickier to change tyres than at the side of the road under sodium lamps and finding somewhere to stand the bike that wasn't water, mud or dog egg covered grass was a bit tricky, thank heaven for head torches is all I can say. Wet feet by the time I got to work but apart from that I was pretty damn clean, these SKS are better than the ones on my pompy, sturdy plastic mudflap on the front prevents ankles/legs getting sprayed and the rear guard is not as long which means wheeling it along on back wheel (negotiating gates/cupboards/lifts) is much easier. After a couple of hours at work I noticed front had gone flat too :-( Not a great strike rate so far then, what with schwalbe duranos on the pompy and mostly tubeless on my MTBs punctures have been pretty rare. Hope this isn't a sign of things to come.

Riding home on monday I got soaked, no I mean proper soaked, ring out your gloves and jacket sleeves and then still big puddles of water under the radiator half an hour later soaked. Lots of rain, was still smiling when I got home tho cx commuting is fun :-)

Friday, 14 December 2012


An impromptu trip to the dentist meant an 8mile roadtrip to leigh, 8 miles off-road/sustrans to monton another 8mile on road to work then 13miles home off-road, all on tired legs, a good test for the all rounder-ness of the day one. This gearing feels exactly halfway between pompino and the 456*, still seemed a bit spinny on the way to leigh but apart from the climb out of bolton it's mostly downhill. Got to leigh feeling OK. Quick sit down in the chair, thankfully nowt painful then off again, been a while since I've ridden around the leigh/tyldesley country, the dirt roads were mainly OK but with occasional patches of dirt coloured ice, sneaky, by the time I spotted them I couldn't avoid them, so slowly breathe out, stay loose, think smooth thoughts and once back on terrafirma then scream like a girl. Looks like there's been some surfacing work been done on the paths here. Most of the tracks leading to route 55 were OK, just a couple of icey/boggy sections but I'm probably seeing them at their winter best, next week after a few days of mild temps and rain they may well be horrible.

Route 55 was despatched quickly, much nicer on bigger softer tyres and lower gearing, I tried a new route near swinton golf club that seemed to be going in the right direction, resulted in a 2 mile loop and ending up not far from where I started, ho hum. Easy spin into Manchester, still felt a little undergeared but not too bad. Down a big flight of stairs to the canal at the YHA, wrists took a bit of a battering but not too bad, then along the canal to work. Another day another route home, I went via the train line and pendlebury canal, despite my tired little leggys I was pretty swift along there, then back on the singletrack and prestolee canal, got home feeling great, really enjoyable commute. So after all that I'm pretty happy with the bike, extended road rides might be a pain (tho not as soul destroying as mtb SS road sections) but hopefully I won't be riding too many of those anyway. If I can keep up the xc commuting through a few weeks of wet winter weather I reckon there's a good chance I'll be flogging my pompino.

*sheldon says pomp 70" day one 63" c456 52" so I wasn't too far off

Day one

Soooo tuesday morning bright and frosty, well dark actually but clear skys and a pretty cool sickle moon. Got to the bottom of the street turned offroad and hit my first obstacle, a vertical wooden plank, not very comfortable on the bike yet I approached slowly and without commitment, lifted the front wheel over had second thoughts and braked and stopped as the rear wheel hit, keeled over against the fence. Ahem. Mind you it could have been worse (Doesn't get any less funny with repeated viewing) The muddy bit through darcy lever was tricky thick crust on the churned up mud slowed you right down then as you slowed you broke through the crust into the sticky mud and tricky to get going again. Yuk. Headed through moses gate, some ice around but managed to avoid most of it and gingerly cross what I couldn't avoid. Got to the wall of death hypothermia, about as wide as the bars so hardly a skinny but there's nearly a mile of it and the frosty bits were off putting, failure may not end up with broken bones but a dunking in the canal in these temps several miles from home would be bad.

There's a right bog before the climb to ringley road almost stalled and fell into that, ewwww. This bike is obviously not as capable on tricky thrutchy stuff as my ss mtb. Some frosty road, over the motorway (climb up to the bridge is never going to be doable with this gearing) and the easy route through HTN country, chatted to a rider commuting without lights (brave) then I said goodbye and really started to shift, this is what this bike is for, playing down the power on open nto too tech trails, woosh. All along the river watching the dawn, clear sky, manchester skyline and peak district behind aw nice.

Bit of cross town stuff, a few short flights of stairs, made it in to work ok, no problems and not even very dirty. Good stuff

Riding home it was even colder, decided to hit the singletrack, SS bikes have their own optimum speed depending on gearing and this one is several mph faster than my c456. So I'm heading down a trail i've not ridden in months, on an unfamiliar bike that is less capable than I'm used to, there's ice around, it's dark and I'm shifting a fair bit faster than usual. So far so awesome :-) Blasted along really enjoying it, lots of fun and quick. Guess I'm used to the new bike then, even managed to hop the missing stone on the WoH but grounded out my chainring on the big step climbing up to nob end (fnar) oops.

Weds was more of the same, set off and my legs felt drained pushig it hard on the singletrack had taken it's toil, was coasting in until I hit the singletrack and then, well this bike likes to go at a certain speed and my legs seemed happy to comply. Few sketchy moment, a tyre rolls over soft mud making a rut this then freezes and these tiny ruts which don't really bother fat tyres can be rather tricky for skinnys, nearly had a few offs when ruts coincided with corners but no actual crashes so far. So far so good, I like it, Thursday would be the big test tho.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

STW ride rivi again

Johnnie decided to host a forum ride, there were a few interested parties, was looking like it might be icy but on the day it was mild wet and windy. Not feeling my usual self, went upto moss bank met Si and we rode over. Hole in the wall was even slippier than it has been but had a brilliant run down wildes, my corner is now very cut up but the rest is in ok nick. Turned out to be 20 of us, briefly, hora had already been riding and was off to the velodrome so didn't make it as far as the pike. I "led" the group off the pike, hit the drops quick got to the ruts and promptly got very sideways and nearly binned it, I could hear binners chuckling behind me, this has gotten a LOT worse since last time (couple of weeks now). I made it down to the cobbled road in one piece then figured I'd stop and watch the carnage, I was not disappointed, a good few tumbles but no injuries. Next we were off to do the top half of wildes, did the two blind bends then saw hiv viz and horses up ahead, eeek, slammed on and shouted for everyone to stop, the horse riders moved off the trail and shouted us through, weeeee. Everyone enjoyed that unlike the super steep road rake and the slog up to the mast where a monster headwind really slowed us down. Some eager fellas sped off into the distance the rest of us stopped at the mast building out of the wind while the more relaxed pace riders caught up. The fast guys eventually came back to join us on the verge of hypothermia just as the back markers caught up, off we go then :-) Mark (I think) was on a very light scandal SS 29er, with a silly high saddle, didn't seem to be slowing him down much as he was close behind me for most of san marino, only fell behind when I let the bike run a bit more when the ground firmed up after the drop. Smiles all round at the bottom and amazingly no punctures, couldn't believe it.

Decision time, the rivi road would be heavy with traffic (and a horrible climb) Johnnie's original idea of going back up san marino would likely have gotten him lynched so I suggested the quarry. Binners and a friend took the road, the rest of us headed quarry-wards. Johnnie was worried about the dodgy corner so I rode on ahead and sat on the edge of the drop to warn/catch people, lots of people walked it, a few cleaned it and a few tried but keeping their weight too far to the left (scared of the drop to the right) and didn't quite make it. Always difficult how to pitch this stuff, reckon we may have put off a few people who could have ridden it and caused those who did attempt it to be a bit too tense but there is a high penalty for failure so guess you should play it safe. There was a crash or two on the steep chute but everyone got to the bottom injury free. Climbed up to scout road, Si split there as his legs were going, then we faced the purgatory of coal pit road, headwind kicked in big time and we suffered a lot. We were waiting ages at the top to regroup, a couple more left us as they had to get home quick. Eventually we climbed up the to the mast rd, I took a few guys thirsty for more up to two lads, Johnnie took the rest down hole in the wall. 2 lads was slippy as ever, all of us getting some unintentional sideways action. Met the group and went to do ICR, Mark took the racing chicken line I hit the roacks, unsurprisingly he was quicker but I'll take the moral victory ;-) my arms were shagged at the bottom, could hardly pull the brakes. Decided I'd head back to the cars with everyone to partake of the cake so down we all went. There was no cake :-( Quick chat with people, johnnie offered me a lift which I declined, said my good byes and headed back up the hill. Halfway up AICR I got the shakes and my legs started to go and I wasa regretted turning down a lift. Re only eaten 2 fig rolls since breakfast, snarfed a few more and started to feel better. Headed down georges lane and home via road, any incline made my legs hurt, was feeling a little delicate by the time I got home.

Pretty good ride, nice to show strangers round your local trails, only a middle distance ride but was aching next day, I know the headwind had a big effect but still seemed to have taken a lot out of me, hmmm. Don't think anyone took pics, so sorry, nothing to see here.

Monday, 10 December 2012

On the first day of christmas

OK, ok, the first day of december. Had seen Day Ones a bit cheap at langsett cycles, had another look at the site last weekend to see £105 off! Countdown timer said I had just 30 hours left to purchase (back to full rrp now) Result! get it ordered! Turned up on friday and it looks nice. Weighed it naked against my pompy with guards and they were pretty much same weight, considering the discs and chunky tyres I was happy with that but as it's a working bike it need guards on it. Sooooo...

Rubbish shaky pic but it's a nice blue. Had to do a bit of bodging to get the guards on but pretty happy with the results, they seem sturdy enough.



The thing is, the guards are over 600grammes, I had no idea they were so heavy, this lardy bike is now pushing on for 12Kg ah well lets see how it rides before I start moaning about it.
erm yeah not actually had a chance to ride it yet went up and down the front street and tried riding up some steps, very badly, but not offroad yet, big ride yesterday so no commute, hopefully test it out properly tomorrow, fingers crossed. If the concept works (full guards on proper offroad, well obviously not ICR type stuff but trails more technical than sustrans routes) then I can see a few cheap ways to lose some mass from the bike. If it doesn't work then I may retire the pompy and run this on road/sustrans routes instead, see how it goes.


My ageing mudguards finally gave up the ghost last week, too many lumps and bumps, the mount broke mid commute, rattled my way into work then broke out the zipties.

Sorted. Well til I nipped to the bank at lunchtime and they broke. OK time to call in the big guns.

Duck tape'll do it. Several xc commutes later and it's still going strong. Nice one.

Monday, 19 November 2012


After the sniffle infested riding disaster that was September I've been slowly increasing my mileage so when I Got a pass out for a full days riding this weekend I was wondering about a big ambleside ride or maybe a long route at llandegla, so many choices, unfortunately saturday's forecast was poo so did no prep friday night and sure enough it was piddling down all night and most of the morning, my riding mojo was AWOL. Local slog it is then, let the mrs have a lie in and didn't leave til lunchtime pointing out this wasn't the planned alldayer (which I would be cashing in soon as the weather perked up) Feeling good so I grabbed the singlespeed, I knew it had been a while but checking it was august the last time I rode this, but way back in june (!) since I did a proper SS ride and boy did it show. Grunted up the golf course and I had almost reached winter hill road before I subconsciously flicked my index finger looking for an easier gear. Hole in the wall was just slurry, even my mudXs were having trouble coping. Wildeswood went ok, no way was I going up school climb tho so went down to the barn and up AICR. Messed up the cobbled corner before the pike, only just got around it and I was struggling getting up the final loose section. Not good. Rode the drops and struggled in the ruts, down georges to do wildes singletrack, felt slightly guilty riding this, I had meant to stay away from it during wetter parts of winter but there were plenty of other tyre marks heading for it so wasn't going to deny myself, fun. Up the tarmac to the mast and down san marino, a lot slower than tuesday but still fun.

Over to witton weavers way, dropped down to roddlesworth river then climbed to the cafe, suffering. Up the cobbled road was OK but going up lion's den I was dying, just no strength to pull back on the bars, very nearly stall crashed twice when I tiredly wandered off line and hit rocks. Damn my weak, limp, noodley, little girls roadie arms. Don't matter how many miles you've got in your legs if your arms are shot you'll struggle with thrutchy SS climbs, a shedload of willpower and luck only just got me through the climb. Round the hill and dropped to sunnyhurst and over to whitehall climb, round cadshaw to strawberry duck and around entwistle res, (rear brake gave up) going up the super steep climb on rollercoaster I was trying to grunt and swear myself up it but eventually stalled, where the dog walker I hadn't seen cheerily said "nearly" I'll get it next time. Water had finally seeped into my shoes by now and my toes were getting numb so round turton golf course along the chicked run and home through tonge moor. Got home head to toe covered in mud, my bike making some crunchy noises, dunno if pads wore through or the braking surface fell off, will check the carnage tonight.

39miles 5,500ft. Damned hard work, gonna take a while to get used to proper hills again, still tired this morning, wrists were aching as the cockpit is a bit short for full on climbing but worth it on the downs. Dropper post worked well, I don't normally drop the saddle on the blinglespeed so was descending with more confidence, will strip it tonight see how much crud gets inside during ~5 hours of awful conditions.

off the beaten track

In the last couple of months we've been wearing a groove in our local trails, AICR, pike drops, wildeswood, school climb, ICR maybe 2lads or hole in the wall at somepoint. Anyway getting a bit samey so tuesday as Johnnie was stuck in traffic me n si set off from moss bank park and tried something slightly different, up the golf course and winter hill off the shoulder, lot's of muddy ruts, gully is proper deep and pretty damn slippy just about managed it. Along the horrible cobbles of belmont old road, down ICR, not bad, not far from Si's back wheel and held it together (and picked up another sizeable ding on the down tube next to the last one) Up AICR to georges lane, down wildes singletrack, up old rake and the slog up mast road. San marino was slippy but I did alright, Si's still getting acclimatised to the mud soa little off the pace but kept upright. Next we went down the road to the quarry, crash barriers have been trashed by a car (again) Down the quarry, tricky it's been a while, got down ok then back up horrocks fold and down through smithills. Good run, it was late and I was quite tired at the end, a lot more mud than usual but a nice change.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz and Hello!

Purchased some bicycle blingery from The Bike Monger, time will tell whether this is a good investment or sheer indulgence. Ladies and gentlemen I give you the white industries freewheel.

Slightly disappointed, thought it was going to turn up in some brushed aluminium case, from the fuss others have made, better than a plastic bag and it does look shiny. Bunged it on and gave it a spin, nice tick tick tick sound. Wednesday morning went out and gave it a proper whirl, complete silence while pedalling and then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz* when you freewheel. Imagine the world longest zip hung from the roof of a sky scraper, get hold of the zipper and jump of the roof, that's approaching the sound a WI freewheel produces on a long downhill. Shimano freewheels rrp are £30 now and getting harder to source cheaper, bugger all sealing and a bit clunky, got through 4 since I bought the pompino and that's including me stripping and regreasing them now and again. I have high hopes of this bit of kit. Loads of people out on bikes, crossing Oldfield road I saw a lady cyclist waiting on a road bike, looked closer as I went past, singlespeed/fixie nice, black bike, pink accessories hmm, pink jacket hmmmmm, hang on a minute! Yep it's trio, hello! Long time no see. At hacienda corner there were 4 cyclists infront of me at the lights and another couple behind. Nice to see more bikes around and stopping at lights too :-) *if you care (some people obviously do) an enthusiast has youtubed it so you can listen for yourself.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Kids stuff

Me and Charlie went and met up with Johnnie and his kids at weekend, it did not go well. As predicted charlie managed a tiny bit of riding then decided he'd had enough and wanted to run/walk the rest of the way. Persuasion and coercion weren't working, he wouldn't get back on the bike, cajoling and out right piss taking equally elicited no more riding. Bribery with sweets managed to get him to "ride" to the next gate but that was it, after that he was chauffeured for the rest of the day (I'd taken the bike seat aswell) while his bike was stashed in Johnnies rucksack. Johnnies little 'uns did a cracking job, ripping along the trail, both managed to crash in the same spot in the same manner, one on the way out and the other the way back. A dip in the trail, carry speed down into it then try to get up the other side, not quite enough speed meant they didn't quite made it, started to roll backwards didn't manage to brake and crashed. Both were pretty cool about it and kept on going, good stuff lads. Nice afternoon out, walkers were pretty chilled, just need to get Charlie more interested in riding. Hopefully do another kids ride soon.

Oh and this may be the answer to my indecision, mmmmmm.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Commuter indecision

Commuting was iffy monday, nothing really bad but on the way in a car passed too close then stopped at lights, I went up to driver window, a young lady all dolled up, I said calmly "that was too close" for a second she looked like she was about to ignore me but then turned to face me, mouthed "sorry" then gave me a big smile. Non-plussed, sorry but a nice smile isn't gonna cover it, rode off shaking my head, she did however give me a wide berth when she next passed. On way home in almost stationary traffic a car pulled out from a side street right in front of me, I slowed then when I went to undertake the driver pulled left cutting me up, I was expecting it tho so slowed and as the car came across I rapped the rear bodywork with the back of my hand to let them know I was there (and not happy) turns out fiat puntos are made of tinfoil and there was a massive thunk sound. Oops. I passed on the right and bloke in passenger seat had got the driver (his mum?) to wind her window down and he was hurling abuse at me, I switched to the right hand side of the line of traffic and put the power down, (and spent the rest of the ride looking over my shoulder) different route home for a few days I think. Rode route 55 again on my pompino yesterday, it's a very gentle downhill most of the way in which is fine and full guards on a car/traffic-light/junction free route (well ~70% of the route) is lovely. Gearing is just a bit too high for the way home tho and will have to see if guards survive or if they get rattled to death. Still unsure whether to change the pompino tyres and gearing (slightly gimping it's road capability) or try to fit full guards to my inbred. Or buy a 29er and run cx tyres with full guards. Or buy a pometamine for xc use. Or.... Or..... Hmmm.

Moonlight sonata

Tuesday nightride was moved to monday this week, suited me, weather was looking better and boy did we luck out. Set off wrapped up warm it was pretty cold out. Got up on to Burnt Edge and I could see mist heading down the valley. As I got into the mist it was illuminated from behind by the floodlights on the big house/farm on scout rd, peripheral vision was all lit up, pretty weird. Was running late so sped down Hole in't Wall, was a certain amount of "floating" going on, skimming over the top of mud not much grip, if I'd had to swerve or avoid something I'd have been in trouble but made it down ok. Down wildes and along the path to top barn. Met Si and johnnie, all the mist above looked disconcerting but I assured them it'd be reet. We climbed up and sure enough as we got to georges lane the mist started to thin, we got to the top of the pike and just had to stop switch off lights and go "WOW". Full moon, mist sweeping over the hills, winterhill mast, 2 lads and a couple of other peaks were peeping out of the mist. Absolutely stunning, we stood and oggled for a while, pretty mild up there too. Dropped down off the pike, pretty sketchy in the ruts, I did some more "floating" reckon I could have a crash on the way at which point I'll slow right down but so far winging it and staying loose is keeping me rubber side down. Went and did the rooty wildeswood trail, slippery! Si hasn't done this so tried to get him to follow us blindly off the drop at the end (worked for me and johnnie first time we rode it) but with the dark and mud we were going slow enough for him to see ahead and he slammed on the anchors. Refusal I'm afraid, maybe next time. Chatted as we climbed up school climb, shedded a layer or two due to the temp, lovely evening. ICR next, I followed Si's line down and was doing ok, thought I was going to pass him after the last corner too but hit a few big rocks and got well off line. Split at the bottom I started climbing rivi again, the full moon was so bright I decided to try riding by it, silvery light over everything, couldn't see a lot of surface detail but could see see bumps well enough for a chunky tired mtb with suspension forks. Upto and along georges lane, looked up and the view was fantastic, moon shining seeming to burn a cone of light through the clouds, this it the closest I could find on google and it doesn't even come close. Chickened out and hit the lights as I sped down passed the woods, went home via the golf course. As I descended into bolton it got colder and colder pretty sure there was some sort of temperature inversion going on, Johnnie confirmed he found the same dropping into chorley. Thoroughly sorted nightride, nice weather, decent trails, good company, no crashes and views to die for.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Bung some tunes on while you read. Not been upto much as I've been suffering from lurgy since last tuesday's nightride, still not right but been ignoring it and doing a bit of gentle riding when i can. A thread on STW got me thinking more about my commute, I want an offroad lite version, away from cars but no muddy mess when it's wall to wall rain. NCN 55 sounds a good start bolton to eccles. Did it on my pompino but road gearing is a bit high and the gravel and teensy bit of mud isn't great on 23c slicks @100psi, so........
last monday night I dug the inbred out from the back of the shed and knocked it up in the kitchen, I was waiting to be interrupted by the mrs with "isn't that yet another bike?" but she never said owt, phew. Finally got it cobbled together a proper mish mash, mismatched brakes, odd bar grips, duck tape rim strips, just used what I had lying around. Was getting on by the time I finished so threw tools into cupboard and went to bed, then jumped out 20mins later when I remembered I hadn't tightened the stem bolts and would no doubt forget by morning. Here it is

nice huh?

Tuesday was very wet but the ride in wasn't too bad at all. This is how mountain bikes used to be, in fact this bears an uncanny resemblance to my old kona lava dome. Long stem and skinny bars good for a stretched out pedalling position, rubbish for wheelying/hops tho. Bar ends are great, wider grip further forward just where you want it for climbing I do kinda miss these, 44x18 is a good compromise might play around a little maybe 44x16, tyres are at 50psi so slightly bumpy but there's nothing too rough on the NCN and they're fast for the road sections. Old pedals are a bit clunky to get into and crudguards aren't great when it's proper wet.
Overall not bad, I reckon a cx bike with full guards would be better but dunno if it's doable and I aint go the cash for that just now anyway so we'll see how this latest incarnation of the inbred lasts. Might not be very long as it happens, freehub isnt freewheeling very well and BB is making some crunchy noises, it'll do to test the route tho, see if it's doable daily over winter, it's an extra couple of miles and not sorted out a car free route from eccles to manchester yet. Will see.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Welcome back Si

Si was out last night, first ride since he broke his leg. Doesn't appear to have slowed him down much (either that or I've gotten lazy/slow lately), I put a bit of distance into him on 2 lads but wildes and ICR he was right behind me. Similarly climbing he was doing pretty well, the golf course is a tough opener for anyone who's been off the bike but he was fine with it, school climb and AICR up to the pike was no hassle for him either. Chilly but clear-ish night, pretty damn wet underfoot led to some amusing handling a few times but not bad considering all the rain. A nice run out, good to have Si riding again.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Pics n stuff

Oops, pretty sure this must have happened on the ice cream run on Tuesday night, heckler and etsx both have (not as bad) dents in the same place, seem to recall inbred had one too, maybe it's time to start padding my downtubes.

This years superb bike video full of dirty tricks and cunning stunts with an awesome soundtrack. Makes me go "ooooh" and want to ride my bike, just a pity it's winter and awful weather :-( Bump it up to HD and enjoy.

A very grubby Alex, he's been chewing (kids) paintbrushes aswell as his picnic lunch and Charlie at the back being a robot with only the aid of a cream cake box, see we did have 1 or 2 decent days in summer

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

I'll have a P please Bob

Just been doing some calculations, been pretty lax with riding totals so far this year. While my total mileage is still in the "not bad" region the offroad total is rubbish, about 500miles behind the usual for this stage of the year, the awful summer and messed up trails mean there's far too many "P commute" entries over there >>>>>>>>>
sad face
Not even been managing many offroad commutes which normally perks up my XC mileage, it might not be proper mountain biking but it's fun and a lot more enjoyable than road commuting, so I'll make the most of it when I can. Trouble is, the way they trails are I'd be covered in mud head to toe by the time I got to work and while work are pretty chilled about me sneaking my bike in, leaving a mud trail behind me and mud dripping off my bike during the day might lead to problems. Hmm see what I can sort out the next few weeks, definitely need to get some more xc miles in....

It might not rain

About the best weather prediction for riding I've heard in a while. Busy weekend, I was hungover saturday, mrs on sunday so no riding, eager to do a decent night ride then. Johnnie had checked the weather and also convinced Danny to come out. Not ridden with Danny in yonks and this would be the first bona fide night ride (you know darkness, lights needed, mild hypothermia) so I was looking forward to it. Dragged my bike out of the cupboard and the cranks would barely turn whoops no time to change bearings so set off, climbing up barrow bridge was interesting, legs and lungs still not up to full working order. The light was fading as I rode up winterhill and had to put my lights on for 2 lads, bit of faffage to get light position sorted and I still struggled, I'm not used to nightride tunnel vision. Down wildes getting darker, dropped into the trees and whoosh total blackout, proper night riding. Pinged my way down there then headed for the barn, we met up, danny on his new 5 with some proper bling bits nice! Up to the pike pretty damn cold up top, we all struggled a bit in the ruts off the pike and met a slightly eccentric guy at the bottom. He said he was just up there star gazing, we reckoned the bag he had was probably contained his trusty axe and the heads of of some lone unfortunate ramblers/bikers. You know the mad axe murderer who chases you when you're out on your own in the dark? This was him. Puncture stop on george's as johnnie had picked up a massive thorn, got pretty cold waiting, set off again but within minutes his tyre was flat again, he'd pinched the tube with his tyre lever, oops. New tube, tyre fitted by hand this time, we set off up winterhill all of us freezing by this time but the climb soon warmed us up. At the top of 2 lads we compared lights, Johnnie has a new trouty number, not as futuristic looking and at first wasn't the "turn night into day" effect that I expected. However once we did a direct comparison it was obvious it was atleast twice as bright as my hope 4s, jealous! The downhill was despatched easily enough, a bit quicker for me this time, danny managed to get well off course somehow, ended up missing the gulley and came round the very top of the hill at the bottom. Next we hit ICR, I got a bit sketchy on the last corner, I had to dab then couldn't get clipped in as i was getting bounced around, but I survived. We split then, I rode back up AICR to george's lane, I'd forgotten my MP3 player and it was eerie riding up on my own in the silence, fortunately the axeman had gone. I was shattered by the time I hit chorley old road so took the easy route back home on road, quick bite to eat then off to bed and out like a light. Sleep of the righteous (righteously knackered)

Friday, 5 October 2012

Nasty man

Spent most of yesterday upsetting people, what can I say, I'm bad. Got up and took the youngest to the docs where a nasty lady nice children's nurse gave him 3 injections whilst I held him down, he was not impressed. Walked to nursery with him on my shoulders, battering his bonce off a door lintel on the way, left a red mark but it didn't seem to bother him, he's hard, gets that from his mum. Back home and grabbed a spot of lunch before taking the bike out for a long overdue "proper ride" Last nights curry leftovers does not make a good preride snack however the resulting indigestion (see i upset my own stomach!) does disguise the burning in post cold lungs, so not all bad. Pedalling up a very quiet back street my gears were making a lot of noise, I looked down to see what the problem was, glanced up "SHIiiii..." car pulling out of a junction right in front of me, we both slammed on, driver (and his wife) scowled at me as I rode passed, I scowled right back, you pulled out infront of me mate don't give me that look. Upto winter hill down 2 lads, fun got a bit of an unintentional two wheeled slide going on round the dip/right/left a quarter of the way down, weeee.

Onto wildes stormed down there and down the dirt road where a dog nearly ran out in front of me, I saw it started to brake, saw it was on a lead (woman walking out of her drive) so let go and kept on. Lady took offence to this and started shouting at me but I ignored her, if me getting a bit close to your dog upsets you keep the lead tighter when approaching junctions, it is a road after all (there was a car behind me too). Sorry not very good for biker/walker relations but I have a very low threshold for dog walkers. Upto the pike where I met a guy in Team GB outfit on a cross bike. Was going to ask if he was a proper team GB member but as he got off to walk on the rocky corner before the pike, I guess not. Fun and games coming off the pike then went up the winter hill access road, mini bus came down the narrow road I held centre of the road until he slowed and moved to his left I slowed moved to my left, we passed each other waving thanks. Cool. Next came a silver 4x4 same again I held the centre he slowed but moved over to my side of the road, eek! I had to swerve off the road and called him a naughty name. He stopped and after I had passed reversed to follow me. Oh dear some anticyclist nutter. I got back to the centre of the road and hoped he wasn't psychotic enough to run me down, we eventually got to a wider bit of road where he could turn side on and shout at me "It's no cycling". Well for starters this bit where we are is still 20meters from the No cycling sign, where we passed was on a perfectly legal road section and I'm pretty sure even if I was in contravention of a RoW you're still not allowed to run me off the road with your 4x4 you odious little man! Unfortunately I didn't have this response lined up in my head I was just trying to get on with my ride without idiots trying to bring me down so I ignored him and rode off.

San marino cheered me up, proper cut up and now some interesting wheel traps, I nearly came off when I did a 2' drop off and my wheels sank upon landing almost stopping me dead, I slithered off in a rutted section and some more wheel grabbing wet grit bogs nearly got me, survived tho. Headed over to darwen next via WWW, did the river trail down slipper lowe and hit the sweetspot of gradient rockyness and bravado where I could leave the brakes alone and batter over the trail at a manageable terminal velocity. Upto the tower and down the access road weeeeee, so fast, could do with clipping the trees/bushes at the trail edge to open up visibility and go even faster, as it is some blind corners mean you have to slow right down and the last big water bar now has a whopping great ditch infront of it so mucho speed and massive bunnyhop or mince over it, ashamed to say I took the latter option. Home via turton res and tower again managing to upset some sensitive soul in his car, how? Well not sure TBH, just by me being on the road on a bike I think.

Despite all the people I upset I managed to enjoy myself, got very muddy, tired myself out and scared myself, 36miles, not bad considering all the time off the bike lately.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The *@#! ride

This is the inclusive caring sharing hippy site remember, if you want swearies lowey will sort you out :-) Sunday we went riding, called johnnie in the morning to confirm when he started into a coughing fit which sounded like he was hacking up a lung, I wasn't feeling great either. Oh dear. It was poo weather turning even worse as we hit the first climb, all the trails were boggy, visibility was nil, driving incessant rain, headwinds, technique was rusty, distance was a frankly embarrassing 9 miles, 3 ups, 4 downs on slimy slippery rutted trails and by the time we'd finished I was soaking wet and covered in mud. What a great ride, big smile on my face on the drive home. Magic. Good to get out when you can. Still want this bloody rain to stop tho, grrrr.

Monday, 24 September 2012

commuter success

This mornings commute, well it was windy, it rained the whole way in, I got a puncture (fortunately a topper upper, didn't have to replace tube midride) bike felt weird like the back end wasn't connected to the front, it was busy, it was murky, my stealth tights and neoprene overshoes leaked, my gloves were saturated I was soaked by the time I got to work...

and I loved it! over 2 weeks since I was on a bike, even a grim commute was awesome, sooo glad to be back on 2 wheels. Has to be said despite being damp I was snuggly warm, bolton coucil have widened some of the cycles lanes on my commute and no-one nearly killed me, so a better than average commute anyway :-) Just ordered some reproofer for the normally excellent stealths so should be sorted soon, mud tyre also ordered, winter it seems is upon us, lets see how my resolve holds out under the relentless rain we're getting.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

To all the doubters

You can fit a sofa in the back of a chevy matiz.

Not been too well for a while now so no riding but then again weather hasn't exactly been conducive has it? Still pretty pissed off tho and getting fat and unfit.
Oh yeah and SSUK has been cancelled :-(
Wow that seems a good deal, cassette is a bit small for my liking but all that for less than a grand? Nice!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

1, 2, many, lots

Another day off another day without the car or willing volunteers to taxi me around to nice riding destinations, ho hum stick with local then. Another nice forecast that was a bit over optimistic, another big ride planned, same old same old. All lycra'd up and ready to go in my disco slippers, pity then when I hit the trails and was reminded of the shite weather we'd had, mud and puddles everywhere, coupled with no guards, no waterproof shorts or boots, oh dear. Anyway set off to do the full 3 towers compendium and maybe some extras afterwards. Up the golf course, two lads, wildeswood, school climb, ICR, up AICR, pike, sun was out, nice and warm and managed to ride down the slabs and ruts quickly and smoothly for the first time in ages. Up hole in the wall where my left knee started to ache, not a good sign so early in the ride. On to the mast, san marino is even more cut up than last time but still a decent ride down, calves and thighs battered and burning by the bottom, ouchy. Round belmont res and witton weavers way, drop down the roddlesworth river trail (wet!) and round the resers, steep up to the road and steep down to earnsdale res and the long cobbled road climb back up onto the moor then up lions den and over to the technical chute. Last time it was dodgy, riding up to it I thought "this trail is gonna have me this time" how true! Before I even got to the chute I popped the front wheel off a drop landed on an off camber grass tuft front slipped back slipped ended up at 45degrees to the trail, dab. seconds later a greasy little rut had me dabbing again, in the chute whilst threading the front wheel between some big rocks the back wheel slipped 6" sideways of another rock, dab, thought I'd got away lightly then as it eased off very reminiscent of nan bield ride I misinterpreted the edge of the trail and the front wheel dropped off, crash. Hmmm.

Up to the tower and down the walker free superfast sunny hurst trail, woosh, along the ginnel to whitehall and prospect farm then the dirt road from cadshaw to wayoh res and that lovely 2.7mile 600ft climb up to the bodyfarm, mmm. Nice ride round holcombe up the super steep climb to the tower, down the steppy drop then up the climb again, never mind feel the burn, feel the fade, distinct lack of power in my legs. I had considered a foray over to cragg quarry but my aching knee and the mudbath of cowpe lowe put me off so down the cheeky trail and back around holcombe. Hmm so which way back, decisions decisions, hey my knee has stopped complaining how about back round the towers, sorted. That crowthorn climb served as a nice injection of speed if a little bland, stopped at the duck to scrounge some water, no cash for the gorgeous looking choccy cake. Had a chat with a 70 year old geezer stopped for a mid-ride tipple, longtime cyclist, followed the tour one year in the 60s, skied and ridden most of europe, has his proper mtb (a 20year old mint condition Klein) at his lakeland gaff where he does most of his riding, awesome. Would have stayed to chat more but it was 4pm had to motor. Back the way I'd come to darwen then straight up the dirt roads to the tower, this is a relentless climb specially with tired legs but made it up just. Had considered heading for rivi via brinscall and maybe great hill but no time. Unlike friday's road ride which seemed to drag it ddidn't feel like I'd been out for 6hours already, it had flown by. So straight over the top and down cartridge hill and onto WWW. Was weird, my stomach was empty and threatening to implode, any sign of an incline and my legs were powerless but on the flat I could still wind up the speed pretty well, so shifted over to belmont in quicktime and lined up for san marino climb. Started well and after hoiking up the big step midway I thought I might have it nailed but on a very muddy cut up section I got offline and fell into a huge chasm of a ditch then further up I got distracted by a rider coming down the hill, wandered offline and stopped again, ah well they can't all be winners. Headed over to the shoulder and belmont old road, sodden joyless cobbled hell that it is. Round to georges lane and I grovelled up to the pike then managed to crash going down the slabs, a grassy rut got me again. Kids bath time was rapidly approaching so big ringed it all the way down the road and was home in 20minutes, big cup of tea, slab of cake and a sit down in the garden with the hose cooling my aching legs. Aaaaah.

Mapped out and it looks like I was robbed, I was sure I was on for 70miles but cutting the route short and missing brinscall and great hill robbed me of some miles and ascent, should have set off earlier. Final figures 65miles and 9,774ft in 8 hours, as ever "it felt like more". I'm not in my best shape at the moment but as things are I'm pretty happy with the 2 big rides I've done this long weekend. Just felt like I had a lot of riding to make up for the low mileage this summer and the most of september is booked up with other stuff :-(
Roll on SSUK

Silver Streak

Kick out the shocking summer we've had with a big road ride. Despite road riding for a few years now I've never managed a century but then again as I'm first and foremost a mountain biker I'm quite proud of my longest ride being a proper rufty tufty offroad one, so kinda mixed feelings on this issue. Anyway decided to head for blackpool and maybe manage a century. Forecast was for hot and sunny with no wind, half hour after setting off it transpired it was cloudy, cool and breezy, arm warmers and gillet donned I carried on, tockholes, hoghton, samlesbury, missed my turning and ended up on a M6 feeder dual carriageway, whoops won't do that again. Preston woodplumpton, headwind not very strong but relentless, inskip, elswick, singleton, weeton. **** me long flat road riding is boring, road is fun if you're going hell for leather but taking it easy is rubbish. Got to the seafront and had a ride up the prom, loads of people about but it was trying to rain so ate my cake, bought some rock for the boys and headed off. Back the way I came till woodplumpton then over to longridge and ribchester, get a few gentle hills in. Roads round ribchester are a right old mess, don't remember them being that broken up but they've had that filler stuff layed over the top and it's not good, got bounced about all over the place. Legs were fading so stopped for my customary mid ride newsagents refuel, double decker and a bottle of pop, just the ticket. Through Blackburn, diversion through longshaw and tracks round the back of ewood, then a lovely steep climb back to tockholes and back home the way I came, riding through Bromley Cross I realised the rock had gone out of my pocket, gutted! Got home feeling tired and legs pretty empty and starving! Major refuel time.

Mapped out my ride with some trepidation, final answer 101 woohoo! best of both worlds, bearing in mind keilder has been mapped out at between 102 and 107, I've managed a road century but still got an MTB ride as my longest ride, excellent. 101 in 7 hours, a not very inspiring 14.odd mph average.
Gratuitous bike by the beach shot

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Donk airways flight 20812

Final call for boarding. We went back to llandegla yesterday, first time for a while and I probably spent more time in the air yesterday than the last 12months combined riding (admittedly only about an inch off the ground). The day did not start well, lots and lots of rain and lots and lots of traffic, took us ages to get there but atleast the rain had stopped by the time we parked up. Quick run up to the practice section, did the drop off line, we regrouped at the top and I suggested another run, this time without the girly screams. Better. Onto the (little) jump line which we rode and failed to get any proper air on but did get our wheels off the ground. I followed johnnie up the boardwalk, he stopped when he saw the proper tight corner unfortunately a bad place to stop with me 3feet from his back wheel, stalled couldn't unclip fell off the boardwalk, just managed to unclip and land on my feet. Nice start. Burk then did the boardwalk the other way round, bricked it on the entry slowed down too much and his back wheel slipped down the berm but he made it round, phew. Nice start. Went over to the freeride section, did a slow run to scope it out, some table tops with rocks/logs on the top to "incentivise" you to jump them but still rollable. Burk was in lead and surprisingly took the northshore line, some twisty turny boardwalk, round rocks, over fallen trees lovely, just 2 sharp turns where you weren't sure if the rear tyre would stay on, on the right hander I hopped the back end round ok, on the left hander I didn't feel confident enough so just held my breath/shut my eyes and hoped - squeaky bum time. Couple of blind crests on the last bit so we limped back to the start - nothing to stress about will go for it next time. 15minutes in and we were already hyped up on adrenaline and we'd all had a few scares each. The red route out is still a trek but it's an ok warm up I guess, the rollercoaster kicks off the singletrack and the yellow pine jumps but the rest is a bit mleh until you get to snowdon view, now we're talking. Wiggly bits then over to parallel universe, jumps for people who can't jump, brilliant, step ups, step downs,. table tops, very shallow double, love it. Headed back up the fire road to snowdon view and did big jim's this time, swoopy singletrack and some rollers and berms, nice. Drop shore then my favourite bit "dave the fox" nice a flowy hardly have to pedal or brake, enough rollers to pump and berms to keep your speed, weeeeeee. Up badgers then yep back to snowdon view and did it all again. Spot of lunch then on we go, JJs jumps were fun, I remembered there was a double jump I had trouble with last time so put it in a decent gear and pedalled like mad saw a double or table top lined up for the double as I got close I realised they were BIG doubles, too late to change line hit and hope, woosh, got a bit out of shape in the air but landed ok. Next up was B line, brand new to us, 2 (out of 3) points for difficulty and described as "large", hmm. Drop/roll onto boardwalk quite wide and you can pick up speed got some air off the lip and roller then jumped off the end, this is fun, jump jump berm, woohoo, then loads more jumps like parallel universe with a rock frosting penalty if you don't make the jump. Brilliant stuff, I was firing ito stuff pretty fast then a forum quote came to mind something about people who can't jump riding the new stuff blind and crashing their brains out, oops, I reigned it in a little but sure enough most of it was fairly consequence free, one step up was a bit hairy, as it drops away pretty steeply on the far side, if you over do it on the launch you could end up a long way from the ground. Ha dot go back for another go, faster this time, nearly hit the tree on the drop off the boardwalk but managed to do the rest with a big grin slapped on my mush. Down some more, one section before the fire road there was a quick succession of tabletops, I got to the fireroad and could hear behind me "OooohshhhhT!" "OooohshhhhT!" "OooohshhhhT!" "OooohshhhhT!" as Johnnie hit each one :-) Bit more down then a lot of up/down trails. The new red route to the cafe has changed a lot, some tough steep climbs and some nice singletrack, was wishing for a dropper seatpost along there and was getting very tired. Again some red/black confusion, after tear arsing round the black runs on massive berms no problem you then get onto the red which you can pick up and hold speed quite easily then you get to a wiggly section with no berms and nearly crash. No berms so keeping on course is harder than riding the black, bit strange. Anyway keep the speed down a bit and it's a nice trail, the red would make a great XC blast. Bit of confusion near the end, needs a couple more signposts really but got back only to find the cafe shut! Gutted. There were a couple of section we didn't do, the twins/triplets, double drop rock and one of the freeride lines but we were knackered so another time. The new stuff is really good and if you take the fire road shortcuts you can do a lot of the fun wiggly jumpy stuff without pedalling far. I suggest you give it a go.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Not the 3 towers

Sunday 12:30 Brimmed my camelbak this was to be a 3litre ride, was supposed to be an early start but my mrs' impromptu upgrade from couple of drinks with a mate to full on night out meant I'd better let her have a lie in if I valued my riding time :-) Weather was overcast but warm, perfect for the 3 towers compendium which I still haven't completed yet. Nice fast pace up brunt edge, feeling fast, dropped down from 2lads into rain, hmm, did the rooty wildes wood line and the rain started properly. Bugger. Looked like the rain had set in for good over rivi so I sacked off the pike and rode back up to winter hill to see what the other side of the hill looked like. Headwind and drizzle up hole in the wall, grrr. Near the top I got that "out in the rain playing silly buggers" feeling and a smile crept onto my face soon washed off by even heavier rain and that sun tan lotion (that seemed a good idea less than an hour ago) running into my eyes. Got to the top of san marino the other side of the hill was just as bad, looked back to see the sky clear and sunny over rivi, ****socks! Went down san marino anyway, someone has kindly spray painted the best line, dunno what event has been on, got down OK but now covered in mud. Down the road and across belmont res, over WW to tockholes woods, where I saw a guy looking like a cross between a character out of Skrim and someone out of a Kiss video. Black leather and polished steel ensemble with black and white painted face, oh yeah and a sword. Hmm, bit further on was a guy walking down the trail in roman centurion type outfit and a pike and just at the top were two groups of people in various armour and armed with all sorts of medieval pointy-ness marching at each other seemingly getting ready to rumble. At our current speeds I'd be trying to ride passed them just as it all kicked off, so I sped up "scuse me, coming through", bizarre, might have said something about grown men (and women!) playing in the woods then that phrase about glass houses popped into my head. Darwen hill turned into a bit of a grind, headwinds damp conditions, the rocky singletrack that I normally enjoy I was slipping all over the shop, upto the tower, nice fast downhill into darwen perked me up but the climb up through whitehall onto the A666 had me in the doldrums again. The tandem of wet feet and hands has always demoralised me and I was considering bailing out. The sun was coming out and I remembered I had some spare gloves so stopped ate my fig rolls put on my dry gloves and set off again a new man (with squelchy feet) Down through edge fold and on up the school lane and crowthorne climbs, with the sun on my back and nice views they were dispatched pretty easily. Passed the bodyfarm and round to peel tower I found some form, and kept the speed up. Twiddled up the steep climb to the tower down the steps back up the climb and down the cheeky track. Good stuff, pedalled hard back to the bodyfarm, sped back to entwistle, round turton res, along the roller coaster, passed turton tower, through the golf course and dunscar, lowey's private singletrack (mud bath) and just for old time sakes I went up agony hill the standout feature from my school XC course, not quite as agonising as it was at school (when I was a big jessie) but was hardwork with tired legs. Back home though hall ith wood and the valley, seeing more destroyed trails, weather really has taken it's toll the last couple of years. So no 3 towers but not too shabby after all, first time I've cracked 40miles XC this year, a commendable amount of climbing too (6750ft) bit achey today.


Big day out, Johnnies return to nan bield, said he wasn't nervous, me and burk certainly were when we loaded the bikes onto the bike rack and it rotated backwards alarmingly, before reaching the motorway the carrier had scraped the road a couple of times and the whole lot was swaying quite a lot, my bike was last on so first to hit the tarmac in any disaster, I had to stop myself looking back. Johnnie was confident it'd be fine and to be fair he was proved right, he also figured out the problem was a missing bolt (gulp!)
Parked at kentmere it was already roasting hot, nice easy climb up Stile end and then a trickier than I remember drop into longsleddale some off camber rutted rock slabs, cheeky.

Burk had a flat on the faster lower section so we sat in the sun while he fixed it, set off and 10 seconds later I heard "woaaaah" burk had flatted again and this time shredded his tyre, 10cm tear in the sidewall, oops. Bit of bodging got him on his way (back to the car)

Apparently this only lasted 20mins but he rewrapped it and it got him back to the car. Me and Johnnie carried on, the nice easy(ish) road up to gatesgarth has been trashed by rain/water, pretty unrideable even before it gets steep.

So we did a bit of pushing rode some of the cobbled section and I finally managed to clean a small section just before the plateau. We did the final steep push up to the top of gatesgarth but mindful of how long it had taken, what a ballache the NB climb is and Burk waiting at the car tugging on our conscience we decided to cut across harter fell to NB instead of dropping down to haweswater. More pushing, bit more riding and the views just got better and better as we climbed, fantastic day.

I was getting a little apprehensive as we approached NB but in the meantime the drop off harter fell had my concentration, proper technical. Reckon I rode about three quarters of it and after that NB was a walk in the park. Johnnie crashed here bigtime a few years back, bit of concussion, amnesia, collecting a facial scar and putting me right off my line with all the blood. As we rode down I was shouting "was it this corner?" and a few seconds later I'd hear johnnie behind me "nope", "this one?" "no" "this one?" "no" "this one?" "yeah, oh ****!" Yep he crashed again, fortunately he dismounted and landed safely, I went back up to talk him through it. Despite not worrying about it previously when he actually got to the corner of death he had gotten very nervous, this was a big thing after all. Tight switchback with a big rock on it to screw up your line, instead of trying to avoid the rock I suggested making it part of the line and using it to get round the corner and we managed to go from this

to this

(dunno why it's out of focus)
Success! Good stuff, johnnie was well made up. We kept on going, Johnnie had a bit of an off on a very dodgy water bar, I had a crash on a bland none de-script bit of trail, lost concentration and my front wheel just dropped off the edge of the trail landing me on my face, damn. The drop down to hallow bank quarter is great, nice and technical with some steep steps, I really enjoyed it, happy that he'd conquered what he came to do Johnnie was happy to walk the dodgier sections but he could not believe how far it was from the foot of NB back to kentmere, when he did this post crash he thought it was switchbacks 5mins of trail then onto the road, forgetting about the 3miles or so of trail he had ridden, well blunt force trauma will do that to your memory. Got back to the car to find burk sunning himself, bit miffed at wasting a day, might pack a spare tyre next time :-) I managed to destroy another bashguard somewhere along the way too. Only 11 miles but a really fun ride

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Peak performance

Was pencilled in to do a lakes ride but my chauffeur didn't fancy it so we hit the peaks instead, think I've ridden the peaks more than the lakes so far this year. Parked up on rushup edge again but this time headed down to roych clough, slightly dodgy moment when a rock my arse went skyward just as I was riding off a drop but made it down OK and for the first time cleaned the climb out, I've normally got quite a few miles in my legs by the time I tackle this, as did Johnnie chapeu to us. Another mtber passed us on the way to mount famine and we did a bit of back and forth through gates. Got chatting at the turn off to coldwell clough, Steve was briefly going the same way as us so we did the coldwell descent and he talked us into finishing the descent to kinder road. We were headed for Jacobs and Steve decided he'd join us and showed us a shortcut (which wasn't actually there but hey ho) We chatted climbing up the grassy hill by kinder res and got to oaken clough having bypassed most of the horrible rocky climb, result.

I've never ridden down jacobs ladder so this was new, of course we were swapping crash horror stories on the approach to this big rocky downhill but we managed not to jinx ourselves or  make each other so nervous that we crashed. We all made it down smiling, not bad at all, not as awesome a descent as it is a climb, but it's a pleasurable way of losing some altitude. Gentle coast into edale then the climb to hollins cross, a stupid mistake caused me to dab about 3/4ers of the way up, pity reckoned I could have cleaned it. From here we took another new to me downhill into castleton, not the bit steep rocky descent oh no that's reserved for walkers instead we get a grassy rutted old thing, typical peaks trail designation. It actually got a bit tastier further down, not bad after all. Steve bought us a pint in castleton, was turning into a nice relaxed day of riding, weather was holding out too. Another trip up the broken road, stopped for a play, did the first drop, landed it OK but was so tense adue to having an audience I think I may have caused some internal damage. Johnnie looked at it but decided not to, me and Steve rode off Johnnie caught up telling us he had managed to sort his head out and rode the drop without an audience, good work. Another couple of drops ridden, Steve wasn't mentally prepared for playing silly buggers but said he was inspired and he'd be back with friends and a first aid kit. Next was the climb up rushup, Johnnie was suffering a bit by this point but I just kept going and he followed, about halfway up he asked if there was no easier way at which point Steve pointed to the (very flat) road below us, "yep, see that?" I normally keep quiet about bailout routes until we are atleast 3/4ers of the way up the final climb or someone shows indisputable signs of their will and spirit having been utterly crushed, but Johnnie stoically continued on, if he was cursing me under his breath I didn't hear :-)

Last descent down the roman road, laughs all round, Steve split there and we hit the traffic for a very slow drive home. Another good day from an iffy forecast, suntan topped up, marvellous.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Nothing new

Started watching the olympic road race, breakaway group blah blah 4hours until the finish, set the recorder and went out. Got back later and to watch it fast forward through all the chasing, hmm not caught up yet, keep going, nope still not together, fast forward to shots of pall mall, erm why are there only 2 guys? WTF, where is the rest of the peleton? How depressing, specially after the big build up. Media hype but didn't happen on the day, sound familiar?

Ride planned for sunday morning but it was hammering it down so scrapped that, brightened up in the afternoon tho when I was busy, been here before.

Monday I did get out for a ride with Burk, rain through the night and showers predicted so where to go? Low cloud so passes are out, wet so grassy stuff out, hmm how about grisedale (again), the kind of familiarity I can deal with. Nothing much to report, lots of puddles so got quite wet but ground was good going, not much rain, even some sun, good riding, no crashes, lovely. No problems til the last descent, I got to the bottom waited.... and waited no sign of burk so rode 2/3rds of the way back up to find him fixing a puncture, ah well more downhill for me. Just over 3 hours is pretty quick for us.

Can we have some more summer now please?

Thursday, 26 July 2012

testosterone fuelled idiocy

Harry the spider decided to do a TDF tribute ride, feeling all patriotic about wiggins' win I thought why not. Johnnie drove to mine and we headed out, took the scenic route (radcliffe) but still got there early. Bit of a wait before we got going btu eventually we set off where it became abundantly clear mountain bikers suck at road riding and can't manage a peleton to save their life (or indeed 40% of their energy) as much the fault of the faster riders inability to keep a steady pace as the slower riders inability (or apathy) to keep up but in fits and starts we reached ainsworth and then a wonderful thing happened, the big rings came out egos inflated and several riders charged the downhill and sprinted up the other side to walshaw, woohoo, check it out, we're racing. Excellent fun. Regroup for the "Col Du Gran Batard" turns out it's a hill I've done a couple times on extended commutes upto affetside. Started climbing with Johnnie and molgrips (who had ridden over from preston!) but when HtS came passed I tagged onto him, chatted a bit then after the chicane either he faded slightly or I just felt strong but I started to head away from him, then I got the bit between my teeth and turned on the power and kept on til I was giving it everything, felt good, apart from the racing road rides are basically just trashing yourself so that's what I did.

Regroup at the top and flew down the roman road, through hawkshaw and headed down to tottington some more hill sprints happened :-)  and then we ended up at the bottom of the col again, HtS jokingly suggested doing it again, I took him far too seriously and suggested me, Johnnie and molgrips went back up taking a shorter and more interesting route back to my house, bizarrely they agreed. Set off back up a more steady pace this time, staying together, headed down totty rd to harwood, quick climb to stitch mi lane, drop through breightmet then another sprint up thicketford brow. and a coast home, well until we got to the lights at the bottom of my street where johnnie said he was getting ready to make his move :-) We waited for the lights to change and sprinted, down the hill right fork and a final charge upto my house, johnnie couldn't get into big ring so was out of the running, molgrips was catching me up but couldn't make it in time and I crossed the line ahead. Quick brew at mine before Johnnie ferried molgrips prestonwards.  Absolute corker of a night, perfect weather just the right temp not a breath of wind, light traffic and a selection of like minded people up for playing silly buggers on them racing bikes.

Welcome back burk

Busy weekend of boozing meant no riding but did see some good TDF action, how good was Cav's win on friday? Peleton chasing right until the end and then Cav shot passed roche and sanchez :-) Anyway monday was booked for Burks first ride of the year, (mixture of bad weather and him working all hours) drove to the peaks again parked at the bottom of rushup and started along the road then went down cold side then back up to hollins cross. I was riding the etsx and figured 1 the front tyre was shot and 2 the spindly rear airotor was not upto the job, definitely less power than usual. Up to mam nick and passed oxlow house over to do dirtlow rake again (sketchy but not bad), and pindale again (nightmare). I was on the hemlock last week, did it fast and comfortably, this time on the etsx was scary, slow, getting bounced everywhere, not good at all. Dunno if it was less travel or geometry to blame. We headed over to brough and climbed brough lane to do bradwell edge. Started well but as we got into the trees it just turned to slop, deep thick mud, horrible, note for future, check condition with locals before doing this again. As we got to the steeper bit near the end it dried up and was OK, so not terrible but a bit of a let down. Back through the cement works over to castleton and up the broken road, Buirk was rapidly tiring so no messing on the drops, back up to mam nick and rushup edge climb. Climb was OK but at a gate stop I noticed my rear suspension was in the 4" travel mode, no idea when that had happened but that might explain my downhill woes, less suspension and steeper head angles so I was right on both counts, soon fixed that. We finally got to the descent (why do the walkers get a nice stone bedded route across the top but bikers get a boggy mess?) Got to the first gate where I admonished burk for (accidentally) straying onto the chicken run. He claimed it was quicker anyway, I raised my eyebrows, "faster is it?" game on! I took the sunken road he took the chicken line, I hammered the pedals bouncing over rocks trying to keep the power on (bike handling much better now), I could see burk to the side overtaking then dropping back due to obstructions on his narrow path. Getting close to the bottom it looked like burk was going to win it but right at the bottom there were cows on his line and I sneaked passed. Got to the bottom both of us blowing and laughing like loons, brilliant fun.

The ride that nearly wasn't

Getting a bit behind on my ride diary, waaaay back on the 16th weather was looking iffy, bbc and metcheck reckoned keswick would be fine till about 12, hmm, wasn't feeling great weather was putting me off lack of mojo etc etc. In the end I decided to set off hella early (5:30am) and try to get borrowdale bash done before the rain set in. Was miserable in bolton, not looking good, set off upto keswick and the rain cleared just as I hit cumbria, nice. Found my usual spot blocked by scouts who had appropriated the entire car park for the day, unsure if they can do that but CBA getting aggro so parked at ashness bridge instead. On the bike for 8am, up to the lookout, along watendlath beck and up the unrideable climb. Descent down Birketts leap was lovely as ever and while I wasn't nailing everything 100% perfect I got down it pretty well. Now decision time risk a big old add on or stick to the plan, sod it big hills here we come. Took the BW to stonethwaite then up the farmtrack up langstrath valley. Me and burk did the BW up Stake pass a while back and it was 'orrible, I had high hopes for this side of the beck. Started well not 100% rideable but better than the east side. Then I got to marsh at the bottom of stake and the track ended never to be seen again til I got to angle tarn. The push up angle tarn gill was tough going but eventually made it, only the stair case to go

Made my way up that and then "oh yeah just the other staircase to go"

Finally made it to the top, views were gorgeous, took a few pics, was going to post them but screw that, if you want to see them get your arse up to esk hause, you won't be dissapointed. Someone had beaten me to it, there was a tent up on the top, sounded like they were just getting up (at 11!) Had taken 2 hours to get up, seem to remember the stake route was over 3, not bad. Set in for the descent, it's a biggy. Some nice fast bits, some nadgery rocky sections, a short carry at the ford after sprinkle tarn then battered my way down to stockley bridge, suspension working overtime, rear shock sounded like a turkey gobbling up the hits and both shock and forks were pretty warm to the touch by the bottom. Brilliant managed to clear the slab near the bottom too good stuff 30minute descent all in. Rolled into seatoller hungry and thirsty I had only packed food and water for a short run. Pub supplied the good, massive flapjack, luxurious hot chocolate and a refilled camelbak - brilliant. Tired legs hit the climb out, didn't clean the rocky road but managed the super steep grassy bit to the top with much grunting and gurning. Trail along the top was nice and eventually lined up for the rocktastic drop into grange. I've had issues with this before and continued to do so. Made it about halfway down before the repeated pings from the front tyre bottoming out turned into hisses of escaping air. Whoops. Perforated the spare tube trying to lever the tyre back on, kids if a tyre won't go on by hand your not doing it right, change technique don't reach for the levers!. So I bunged in the DH spare I normally keep for tubeless malfunctions. Set off and was going well, was approaching a gate, old lady spotted me and held gate open for me, I yelled my thanks as I launched off a rocky step onto some rocks, an almighty pop! and bang bang bang of bare rim on rocks, oops.
That looks terminal, lesson number 2, use rim strips with flows if you use normal tyres. Old lady closed the gate walked passed me and said "that's because you were going too quick" thanks. Repaired a spare and got going again but I wasn't risking it and headed back to the car and that steep climb to ashness bridge, lovely way to end a ride!

Nice day out, the sunny weather had held on beyond the forecast, was trying to rain as I packed up at 1, just a bit of a rubbish end and it looks like my flows will never inflate tubeless again due to rock damage, oh dear. Looks like I'll be rebuilding it again - well I do need the practice.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

More Pootling

Another peaks pootle, johnnie bailed at last minute so drove up on my tod, despite the preceding weather it was looking like a nice day. Rushup is closed for the foreseeable so I had to make a quick detour parked at winnats head and did cold side/harden clough to get me warmed up, met the group at edale and wow, 37! Oh dear, I was worried about a faffathon but turned out to be ok actually. Lots of familiar faces Pook and NBT were organising, Neil (h4muf), hora, Cotic sola rider from the HTN night ride last month and Sheldon (niche knight and singlespeed event organiser extraordinaire) on a northern visit. Some not so familiar, including crazy legs on a crossbike. Hard start up chapel gate soon separated the field, managed the first half then struggled a bit before manning up and riding the rest. Riding down the roman road I was going well til my new gear cable slipped dropping me into a low gear and had to freewheel to the bottom. Sorted it at the regroup then along a car free rushup edge to do dirtlowe rake, just as I set off Sheldon passed me so I put my foot down and tried to keep up., this guy is quick, I ran out of gears but couldn't have managed much faster anyway and I was only just keeping up, me on a 6" full susser him on a hardtail and he still had a couple of bike lengths on me by the bottom. We were about quits on pindale, impressive, wouldn't fancy doing that on a hardtail.
We dropped into Hope the climbed up to hope cross, did Jaggers Clough ok, no walkers or horsists for once, tho Pooks mate managed to overshoot the corner and bin it into the ravine, not injuries fortunately. Steep climb out then tear down the double track. A few punctures meant a delay at the bottom so I nipped back up to check all was OK (and do the second half again) Nice gentle roll back into Edale and a chat at the carpark where Hells got out some fantastic chocolate brownies, being tired may have put an edge on my hunger but these were top notch, awesome baking skillz. I just had to negotiate the climb back up out of the valley, ouch. Hit it pretty quick as the weather was starting to turn rain spots appearing on the road, knackered by the time I got to the car, a good day out with a sociable bunch, was a bit sun burnt too - who'd have thunk it in July?

Friday, 13 July 2012

TDF wannabe

SO the tours on and after watching the arse end of last year I've started watching a bit earlier this year. Good stuff, watched the sky team destroy the peleton on the last hill on Saturday, so much damage in 6km. I just need to learn to keep my mouth shut and not text other people the results incase they aren't watching live. Sorry Johnnie.

Any from out of nowhere the sun put in an appearance yesterday so I dragged the road bike out of the attic, blew off the cobwebs and took the long route into work and a loooong route home. Round the edge of heaton park, through simister, oops bit of dirt road, passed by Si's place, onto ashworth valley, my own col du galibier. OK CdG is 1200 meters and ashy valley is only 600 feet but gotta work with what you've got. Hard going anyway but fun in a masochistic way. Onto the top road and a long drop into edenfield, nice. Climbing up through haslingden I missed my turn off and ended up heading into blackburn, no worries weathers nice I can nip back up grane rd and do broadhead. Things were going well til I reached blackburn where someone over took me right before a roundabout then cut me up pulling in right upto the kerb to turn left, then got all arsey when I swearily suggested they move out of my way.
Grane road was something else tho, evening commuters from blackburn to haslingden, what a bunch of arseholes. All uphill, my legs were shot, singletrack road, 50mph speed limit not good. Secondary position leaving room for people to pass meant no-one touched they brakes or indeed steering wheel and sped passed me at 50 with about 12" to spare, primary position meant they had to move over and brake slightly but still doing a fair whack squeezing between me and oncoming traffic, scary. Moving way over to the right led to people slowing right down but passing with in a couple of inches of my elbow. I was getting proper irate and doing a lot of swearing and arm waving. Then going down broadhead an oncoming motorbiker decided to overtake a car just as it was passing me, squeezing between the 2 of us doing an unholy rate of knots, yeah cheers my 2 wheeled brethren. Sooo many dicks.

Not long after I got onto broadhead I noticed a roadie behind me, I was determined to keep away from him till I hit the bottom but no chance, I was jiggered and he caught me before higher head. I tagged on, was going to compare notes with him on grane rd traffic but tbh I was having trouble holding his wheel. Followed him til he split then limped home. Had to stop for a minute to stretch and give me knees a break. Guy approached me saying he was a PTI and asking if I was having trouble with my calves (that I was stretching) I said "no my knees", he said "ah well not much you can do about that" not sure if he was going offer me a roadside massage if it was a muscular problem!!!

Not a bad ride, not going near grane rd again tho.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The eternal creak of borked cranks*

Despite the weather forecast the grey laden clouds and my own personal meteorological cynicism we did not get soaked last night, wahey. Rode the singlespeed, 3 reasons, one the aforementioned weather, two to see if the cranks would bed in and stop creaking and three if they didn't Johnnie would be urging me to take the spare cranks he had for sale, gratis, just to stop the racket :-) Climb up the golf course was hard work, first time singlespeeding on proper hills for a while and my legs were still hurting from running at weekend but the weather was nice and warm just a bit misty and the odd drop of rain. Mist got quite damp on top of winter hill, down hole in the wall, down AICR (saw a deer) and met johnnie at the bottom. Back up and to the pike and chatted to some other riders about... yep you guessed it, the weather. Quite a few riders about actually. The ride off the pike reminded me I was out of practice descending with saddle up, over the first drop handlebars turned slightly, front wheel dug in, front tyre folded over, cacked myself, I immediately slowed right down, johnnie caught up and went to pass me but due to the camber of the gully pushing us into the middle we nearly hit each other, a right old mess. Slogged up hole in the wall, just about cleaning the gulley, down 2 lads and the new wildes trail, (saddle down bit better but still pretty shoddy) then back up the tarmac. Johnnie then headed for ICR I went up hole in the wall again (stalled in the gulley), upto the mast but considering my performance so far decided against san marino, did the shooting hut descent (badly) and then tucked in for a long road descent home. Not bad considering, as johnnie said it would make a great nightride in October, still a long way from the balmy summer nightrides we should be doing in July.

*atleast I hope it's the cranks, if not its my frame :-(

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Come back to what you know

A full nightride, sorted. We had a new guest, Craig came over form darwen, just getting back into mountain biking, visited our side of the hills to check out the trails. I rode over in the drizzle and was inside the cloud climbing burnt edge. Dropped down hole in the wall and wildes, quite dry considering the weather, through the trees was wet but it nearly alwasy is. Rain and most of the cloud had cleared by the time I met Johnnie and Craig and we set off. Up to georges and down ICR, nice easy intro for Craig. Upto to the pike where we saw a couple guys on Intenses set off, we followed and had a chat at the bottom, after a few mins I realised they were part of the group I met and rode with in Spain with Switchbacks a few years back. Rode with them along georges and they showed us a rooty singletrack bit through wildeswood, nice, altho one of them trashed his rear mech and had to freewheel home. Swapped details may be meeting up with them for future night rides.
Up hole in the wall not too bad as I turned back I saw a runner catching up with Johnnie and Craig decided to give him a run for his money, shifted into middle ring and put in some effort breathing hard expecting to hear footsteps any minute, near the top I was feeling the strain turned back and runner was miles away, mixture of pride and dissappointment at the wasted effort. Quick regroup then on up to the mast and did san marino cut up but fairly dry. Split at the bottom Johnnie and Craig taking the road back to rivi, I skipped the quarries and rode through smithills to home. Good to do a proper ride, the drive up and short rides I have been doing are a bit feeble.

Goit eaten alive again are the midgies on steroids this year or what?

Monday, 25 June 2012

Warmers is where it's at

Nowt much to report, been riding to work xc where possible, getting pretty muddy in the process and slowly going round the twist. My blinglespeed was creaking form the BB area, stripped it down and sure enough the bottom bracket had some play, oh dear <18months old and it's shot, so much for "square taper lasts forever" to be fair the play was pretty minor and I would normally have continued to use it but that big carbon downtube amplifies sounds and the creaking was doing my head in. New bb was silent for one ride but then creaking continued, loads of faff tried, replacement nds crank all to no avail, looks like the cranks have had it. Will have to put some external bearings crankset on it, not good on a wet weather bike, will have to get my arse into gear and bodge some greaseport versions - don't hold your breath.

In other news it's raining but warm with it making sartorial choices troublesome, waterproofs are already out in my book but even softshells are proving boil in the bag at the moment so I've been going for "stay warm when wet". Roubaix arm and knee warmers with a gillet, pacamac showerproof on standby for stair rod rain. Works well for commutes, got totally soaked once and quite damp a few times, longer rides might be risky but for hour long stuff it's fine.

No extracurricular activities, need some decent riding soon, just an OK forecast and I'd book some riding time but no, rain rain and more rain, just not  quite as bad as recent. Well whoopee :-(

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Blah blah blah weak ass excuse

So basically you're gibbing out of this weeks nightride?

Spiral fracture of the fibula. Ouch. Thats Si's summer of riding "attached to another object by an inclined plane, wrapped helically around an axis". I dunno, he survives stainburn then breaks his leg having a kick about with the lads from work*. Apparently it made an awesome sound when it broke, heard the length of the pitch (I wasn't there, still trying to grow a new big toe nail since the original was removed during my last game) Just waiting to get it pinned, his ankle is in a pretty bad way too.

Man down!

*I may get a T shirt printed up for him with that slogan

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Nervous tension/where's your head at

Typical, at a quarter to home time the heavens open, cheers! After our heavy exertions at stainburn (a whole 8 miles according to Si's sportstracker) it was a tough choice in the morning, a wet (well, damp) ride to work xc and then a short nightride or an ride in on the blacktop then a longer nightride. After several disappointing incidents on road I really don't like running the gauntlet anymore so xc it was. Just a light smattering f mud on the way in, dry day was looking forward to the trails having dried out. Nope, chucking it down and I was in my proper riding gear that I would want for my nightride so I wimped out and got the train home, nice and dry.

Met Si at moss bank again, in the rain - again, and headed up the hill. 2lads and wildes dispatched ok despite being greasy, heading up school climb I told Si I still felt nervous from stainburn, weirdly he agreed, emotional scarring I tell you, Si figured post traumatic stress disorder. Lining up somewhat apprehensively at the top of ICR Si went first, me at the back on my hardtail. I Started following his line, to the left of the tarmac then changed my mind cut across and jumped off the tarmac heading right , landed badly (thought I'd flatted the front) went off course and onto the grass, hit several very big rocks each slowing me down till I almost stalled and then another bounced me off into the undergrowth. More crashes in 2 days than all of last year!

Tried to get my head together, upto the pike where the weather had cleared on our particular hill and it seemed a nice night, off the top along georges and up to san marino, taken a bit gentler than we have done recently, got down ok into a load of drizzle, shower proofs on. Did the quarry, up horrocks fold and down smithills and home. Not bad, hope all this crashing stops, if the saying "if you're not crashing you're not learning" is true I'm happy to stay stoopid.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Sessioning Stainburn (dude)

Or how to scare the **** out of yourself on a bank holiday weekend. Troutie (purveyor of fine lighting) posted some pics of stainburn a while back, Johnnie liked the look of it so suggested we visit sometime, weather was looking iffy so a bit of trail centre action sounded just the ticket, did consider penmachno after lowey praised it but it's >2hours away. We met Si in the car park and set off on the red, straight into the action with a bit of downhill, nice start, some climbing round tight switchbacks and squeezing the bars through tightly packed trees. We swerved off for the short red loop, the next section was downhillish, not losing much height but nice and swoopy and some very skinny skinnies, we took the berms instead and we were back at the carpark, hmm that was short. Back along the red again this time doing the downhill line, now this was more like it, some small drops, few small (rollable) jumps, tight switchbacks which I couldn't let go of the brakes on and rocky sections. Really enjoyed this bit, big drop in the middle, doesn't look it but it's 3-4 feet, rollable but should be jumpable if you can carry speed into it. Then more twists and turns down to the bottom, great stuff, a few ace sections with a rocky hump just before a corner, bike trying to fly into the air off the hump but pushing the front wheel down ready for the corner and whoosh around it. Nice. Climb up to the top again with a detour on the lower mini black route, a stepping stone ride across the top of some rocks then some bloody hard uphill, tight singletrack, steep with big boulders to (fail to) get over.

Back at the CP again and off round the black, following guys in full facers (gulp) so thankful it was dryish as this is all rock. First biggie was a steep roll in ok in but rocky exit, I rolled in ok but didn't make the corner. Si did a better job of it, johnnie declined. Spine was interesting feature of the climb, Johnnie was starting to see a common theme, a nice easy path just off to the side of the mentally technical trail climb, he was querying the pointlessness of making climbing harder, I drew his attention to the fact we were riding our bikes as usual in circles, pointless anyway. Skirted close to the CP again the down the next section, more rocks, off camber on the edge of the hill with some felled trees with spiky branch stumps  running along the hillside, there to prevent you takling a chicken run but also a terrifying incentive to not fall off and impale yourself on them. Unfortunatley Si binned it on a dodgy section but managed to land on trail, johnnie declined. The next scrotum shrivelling section was hovis a steep rocky turn, recced it, I had a go with Si and johnnie ready to catch me if I went over the edge, I made it round but then went off piste. IIRC Si rode up to it but refused, johnnie declined again. Straight after that was cascade another rock ride. First go saw me go off the left on the second rock, second go I nearly made it to the end of the rocks but binned to the left again and heading straight for a tree, instead of concentrating on trying to miss it I panic braked and slammed into it with my shoulder. Ouch. Next was the woodwork me and Si rode it but couldn't make the rocky corner so exited left straight down, Johnnie went for it but went off piste to the right headed for a tree before his front wheel dug into the leaf mulch and swung him right, disaster averted. Next one wasn't very skinny but was high up, the trick was to ride it straight off, unfortunately everyone had a look, some good riders came passed, we had a sit down and something to eat, by this time my limited bottle had completely gone, didn't want to do it, said as much then lined up and did it anyway, clipped a tree on the way in but up onto the board, veered left but held on and then rode out and off the drop. Phew. Johnnie fancied a go at the seesaw, I was staying well clear. He lined up, rode onto it then had 2nd thoughts and put his feet down, then decided to shuffle forward while astride his bike. Cue comedy moment as seesaw tips forward almost throwing him over the handlebars, oh how we laughed, he got some serious stick off us yesterday :) I decided to have a go rode up, seesaw tipped, I wobbled and fell left tumbling into the undergrowth. 2nd go rode up, tipped, wobbled, went right but managed to ride out off piste, I'll have that as a clean. Rest was ok but we were so scarred by the last half hour that the dead easy drop to fade high speed jump was taken at slow speed cause we were expecting something scary.

Up to the CP and another red run, faster this time with a little less braking then the black again ridden at pace, no stopping to scope lines out, I rode much smoother too, I get into a flow and take stuff easier when I "just ride". First slab dispatched ok if not quite smoothly, scary off camber no worries tho Si binned it in same place, hovis done, cascade ridden and only brushed the tree this time. Woodwork ridden, skinny done smoothly seesaw ridden and ridden out of properly tho I did a graceful dismount off the bike as I realised I had too little speed for the drop off at the end of the boards. (didn't attempt the skinnys between the high beam and the seesaw, maybe another day) Another ride/push up and another run at the excellent red. Awesome. Stainburn is like a mini DH centre, ride down push/winch up. Lots of stuff to learn on, don't forget your pads (just in case) and take plenty of bottle, would love to have this on our doorstep.

Whilst looking for stainburn vids I came across this, someone has sexed up lee quarry, gorgeous video.