Met Simon at bob smithy's and we set off, on winter hill visibility was awful, cloud meant we could only see about 5' in front, can see more at night! Glasses were misting up so had to ride without, my eyes were constantly getting grit in them. 2 lads then wildeswood and up school climb. At the bogs on George's lane a ranger saw us and asked us to stick to the footpaths as there had been a lot of damage lately, we readily agreed ;-) then he realised what he said and corrected himself. Told us the track we had just come up was a footpath, which is true, it's also a 6' wide cobbled road, he may have just been making a point but the chance of us damaging that by riding over it was none existent. Up to the pike, no view, down to hole in the wall and up to the mast. I would normally grabbed the singlespeed with the rain but Simon had said he'd be on full sus so I better had be too. Going down San Marino I was glad of it too, we raced each other down, proper quick, buzzing at the bottom, not quite hi fiving but close :-) only silly dampened by now having both boots full of muddy water.
Over to Wilton weavers we did the permanent wet descent into tockholes woods and the long slow climb up to Darwen moor. The rocky singletrack was very slippery and the climb back up to the tower was gruelling. Simon had crashed earlier so took some time to straighten his bars while I wrung out my socks and emptied my boots. The drop into sunny hurst was done almost brake free, good job coz by the time I hit the bottom pulling the rear brake to the bar barely slowed me. Down the steps I could hear a metallic knocking, stopped to look over my bike, suspension and frame looked ok so set off, clunk clunk, checked again couldn't find the source so set off. At the bottom I finally spotted my rear brake calliper hanging off by 1 bolt. Oh dear. Down into Darwen for a replacement. About an hour lost and some nice little trails missed out. Road climb out of Darwen, along the roller coaster and dropped to The Duck, Simon managed to resist the call of the beer figuring he'd never get started again.
The Long slog up to crowthorn and quarlton heights was taken steadily. The climb up to peel tower Simon gapped me near the top. We Descended down the steps and back around to quarlton, Simon dropped me properly on the climb back up to the body farm, my legs were shot. Back brake pads were gone by now, so the speedy road descent was a bit nervy. Back passed The Duck up to green arms and down to turton tower. We split after that, after 8 hours in the rain I limped home knackered, bike suffering, no back brake, gears running a 30 second delay between clicking the shifter and the chain actually swapping cogs* Got home rinsed the bike down, showered and tried to rest and refuel ready for my next adventure.....
*tried to clean the gear cables next day but they were so gunked up I had to remove the inner, at which point a load of muddy water poured from the outer.