Climbing to the mast the wind had kicked up a bit, at the top we dropped our saddles and started San Marino whoosh, down we went, launched my front wheel off the first drop and got blown sideways and nearly crashed, oh yeah wind, kept the front end down for the rest of it. Slippery and very rutted I steamed down, not very elegantly but pretty quick if I do say so myself, giggles and burning legs at the bottom. As we dropped through the trees the rain started on the road it was raining hard, looked for a smokers shelter at the namesake of the previous downhill but the resteraunt a clientele mustn't be very smoky so on we went, eased off as we climbed out of Belmont village, around the res then onto Wilton weavers, this turned into a death march, wind opened up from our left blowing horizontal rain at us all the way along. We got to tockholes rd soaked on one side and the next hour or so looked bleak, up the road a bit then up cartridge hill onto Darwen moor, I'd stopped at the bottom for a change of gloves my hands frozen so when I saw Simon ahead stopping and messing about with his pack I feared he'd flatted - nightmare, luckily as I passed I noticed he was only putting his showerproof on, stupidly I ride on, turned the corner at the top and nearly got blown off the bloody hillside, mental windy. I plodded on leaning over into the sidewind at what felt like 45degrees and told around at the top like a muppet waiting for Si, ended up hunkered down trying to shelter behind a gate post! Si came around the bend and also had trouble staying upright, we got out of there quick and went over to do the rutted technical descent. Pretty fun, just about stayed on til the last section, the turn in caused me a dab but good final the same. As I said to Si normally this being winter and crap weather I'd have been on a hardtail mincing down but as I'd ditched it I was attacking it on my heckler, whoop whoop!
We dropped into Darwen and did the track round the backs to Whitehall the rain not relenting and we were getting cold, the easy climb out didnt warm me up much, then onto the road where I started thinking about bailout opportunities. At greenarms we ignored the lure of the rollercoaster and took the tarmac then Wilton weavers to turton tower, even with my last and thickest pair of gloves on my hands were shaking trying to call the mrs check she wasn't using the car. Right plan made, descend home get warm and dry then drive Si and his bike up to his car, easy peasy. The rather large flaw in that plan was windchill, 20mins of downhill on tarmac already chilled, we were bloody freezing by the time we got back, my hands and feet really numb. My mrs supplied warm towels and cups of tea, fantastic. A chilly way to end '13, mmm character building.