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