Thursday, 12 December 2013

Ooof! New trails

Si still has a crocked leg and Johnnie got roped into work last minute so out with the rollers, they normally only do 12miles or so, so figured I'd rush out up the usual route do 2lads or hole in the wall and drop to jolly crofters via acron. What a bloody idiot! Rollers do short rides but at speeds that tend to rip my legs off, I'm still recovering from a cold and I'm setting off about 20mins later than I should do, whoops. Flogged my guts out and topped out on matchmoor lane checked my watch, 6:30 bugger I'm late so straight back down the tarmac anyway. Met with the lads up georges and onto winterhill, Simon off like a bloody rocket, as me and Mike reached the top of hole in the wall Si's rear light could be seen bombing up the final straight, Ian and Gaz were gapping us too. Upto the mast and off the shoulder, slippery on the tops had me dabbing but I managed the chute ok. Down the cobbled road and across to Horden and up toward spittlers but we soon turned off for lead mines. Mike expected it to start sloppy but get better, it didn't, sloppy all the way down but boy it was fun, wheels slithering about all over just short of dumping you on your arse, just enough speed so as not to need much pedalling, big grins all round. Over to LMC and up the other side I was at the back but everyone else missed the turn so I was first to the start of the climb with a bunch of speed merchants behind me, eek! I hit it fast and kept going to the first gate but by that time my legs were toast and I knew I was in trouble. Over the fields on an unknown to me trail then onto some singletrack woohoo, more slippy trails, slither. Upto the airmen memorial cross and down some steps, Simon ahead cleared the lot, I was following Ian who stopped just at the bottom of the first big set so I had to stop and push back up taking an unwanted look down at the few steep step sections ahead, gulp. Never spend too long looking at steep stuff, you'll only psyche yourself out. Gaz and Mike went down so I took a deep breath and went for it, hit the first lot ok, the second lot were bigger, just approaching the point of no return I got one of those "I wouldn't normally ride this....but... **** it!" Let go of the brakes rolled in dropped behind the saddle and found myself sitting on my crudguard, saw some slippy looking wooden steps ahead, but I stayed loose and.....cleaned it. Phew, not often I scare myself on local trails, adrenaline pumping we set off for the lower barn. Wasn't looking forward to the climb upto georges lane and halfway up AICR I nearly popped a gel, legs properly fading. Cruised down georges and bombed into Acron, weeeee. Finally got to the Jolly crofters got a pint that lasted 3 minutes and a massive plate of fish and chips that I wolfed down. Leaving the pub with Mike and Gaz half an hour later ready to ride down through the golf course I felt like a new man, 30seconds of pedalling tho reminded me your legs don't repair themselves quite that quickly but I tried to hang on to Mikes back wheel. Dropped to barrow bridge left the lads, coasted home, got myself some pudding and an early(ish) night. Broken by the rollers again.


It is with sadness that I today formally announce the demise of a much loved friend. One of my fleet/quiver/stable* has shuffled off this mortal coil, the etsx is no more. Yep that creaking sound it had been suffering from for, oooh, ages, turned out to be terminal, crack in the seat tube, just a bit embarrassed at how long it took me to notice. It's not as tho I never wash my bike. Several years of solid performance, it has been my go to bike for long days in the saddle where distance rather than height has been the name of the game. Kielder 100, mary townley loop, dales rides, quite a few STW rides, lots of 3 towers loops and many other local rides. Wasn't very light, wasn't very surefooted on the downs but it was a good middle ground and the fastest (in a xc racer kinda way) mtb I've owned, I shall miss it.
Good times.

Nan Bield 14-11-2010
Nan bield winter ride
STW Swaledale ride 26-4-09
Swaledale, jeez was that really 4 years ago?
Clay Bank 4-6-09
Clay Bank 4-6-09

Happily RM have supplied me a new frame, not to look a gift horse in the mouth but it's got even more travel than the already overbiked etsx, I've already got a 5" and a 6" mtb so do I keep this 5andabit frame or flog it and buy a proper fast 29er? Hmmm shred or sell? Tear it up or trade it in? Rag it or retail it? (nobody say "mince or market?") Decisions, decisions.

*delete as appropriate, keep which ever you find most toe curlingly embarrassing ;-)