Roads and rocks

Went for a long-ish ride on the Patriot yesterday in the White Peak. This is a route I’ve done many times before and consists of mainly tarmac climbs and rocky conveyor-belt downhills. The last time I was up here I was on a hardtail, but this time I couldn’t be bothered with finesse and high levels of skill and wanted just high speed instead.

Three Shires Head

 The hightpoint was definately the drop down Cumberland Cottage. It would have been Charity Lane if it wasn’t for those pesky kids.

Forgot about the clocks going back and ended up racing against the sunset through Macc town centre.

 The route is basically this one:

…with an extra loop added to the start and finish. Start at Trentabank, climb through the forest and up the long drag to the Cat and Fiddle..then join this route.

Going back, drop back to the forest via the C&F again (get to about 40mph on the road) then through the forest. You can even add the section through Macc town centre to my Mum-in-Laws. Ahem.

can you taste paraffin?

We’ve just got back from a few days up in Scotland, staying on the coast between Mabie and Dalbeattie forests.Whilst I’m a big fan of trail centres, I thought it would be a good idea to mark up a route cross-country between the two locations, and incorporate a ride at Mabie with Michael. Back over to Dalbeattie, then drop down through the forest North to South, riding as much singletrack as possible.The plan worked. Set off early and started to climb up to the summit of Little Hard Hill. It was a hard hill, but it’s not little. I gained over 550 metres of vertical in 1 hour 20 minutes of continual climbing. The fog that had hidden pretty much everything from view for the early part of the ascent was now below me and I was climbing further from the clouds below, feeling the warmth from the sun.

To my left were some deer, running though the brush. High above a couple of fighter planes were just kind of “flying about”.

From the top of the hill, I could see one of the finest views I’ve ever seen in my life. I could also see the cloud ahead of me that I would be spending the rest of the day in.

I started to descend the fireroad on the other side of the hill and continued to ride downhill, full tilt for 6 or 7 kilometres. I lost all of the altitude I’d gained earlier and only used the brakes to negotiate the tight hairpin bend halfway down. This was just awesome.

Once at Mabie, Michael and I rode the red route. I’d taken him around the red at Dalbeattie a couple of days earlier, and whilst he enjoyed it I think the technical rock-fest sections of it meant he didn’t experience any real “flow”. He was off and pushing quite a bit, in fact. He is only 12 after all. Mabie though is a lot different. Fast bermed turns, roots and lovely forest singletrack is what this is all about and we both loved it. I prefer rock-fests to be honest, but I was planning to do that later.

Back to meet Deb at the car, then I was off on the blue route out of the North side of the forest on my own again. 35 miles so far and well over 1000 metres of vertical climb. Riding along the road towards Dalbeattie I was buzzed again by the low flying antics of Ice Man and Maverick in their multi million pound toys. I remember thinking that someone was playing with firelighters nearby, then realised that the air was thick with aviation fuel. Hopefully there won’t be any lasting damage to my lungs as by this time I was sucking in air from Guildford….

Back into Dalbeattie forest, then picked up the green route that would take me straight to the red route just near the slab. I was tired by this point and was dabbing a few times on the wet granite obstacles. Daft mistakes really, but after this kind of mileage keeping it all together on a relentless onslaught of fridge-sized boulders becomes very tough.

53 miles, 1500 metres of climbing. What makes it even more satisfying is the fact that apart form the two trail centres none of this was familiar terrain – it was all plotted on the OS map a week prior. I have to say though that the first climb did take me by surprise…!

Gods of tri

So I’ve been training a fair bit recently. Quite well structured too, but I’ve found that I’m just not spending enough time at home with Deb, Rach and Syd for my liking.

So….I’ve got a new plan. This involves loads of riding and loads of running, but a lot of it in the early morning or on the turbo trainer. It does mean though that I turn into even more of a hermit but at least I’ve a plan I can stick to that’s flexible enough to accommodate those whacky random things that sometimes just happen.

The whole focus at work seems to be moving towards a triathlon event in summer next year. Now, I’ve seen many people over the years boast how they’re going to beat so and so in such and such a race, but I’ve learned that the best policy is one of dignified restraint. You can talk a good race all day long, but that’s time I’d rather be thinking about my next training ride/run or what food I need to be eating right now.
There’s a lot of pretenders in this world who’ll rather try to push the psychological to the limits even if you’re just not listening.

Quietly (or as quiet as I can be when publishing this on the Internet), I’m pretty confident. I’ll do the bike leg (cos I reckon I’m pretty good), Rob will do the run (cos he’s a pretty handy half marathoner) and Wendy – cos she’s done a bit of swimming and her confidence will build.
More updates on that one over the next 8 months.

Is it cracked?

Another singlespeed ride in the dark. Even though my local loop isn’t blessed with great big hills all over the place (not devoid of climbs though), running a 34:16 makes it sufficiently challenging to make my legs feel like they’ve been out to play for a bit.

The mud wasn’t too bad considering this week’s rain, so I rode over the Nob End and the lovely singletrack and dirt jumps (to roll over) in the nature reserve.

There’s been a huge amount of tree felling recently, so I stopped in a clearing that last week was dense woodland. Someone’s been busy.

It didn’t rain either, despite some evil-looking clouds knocking around all threatening-like.

This Kona’s starting to creak a bit now and the chain tensioner’s starting to be problematic. It’s not really tensioning the chain any more and the adjustment bolt has rounded. I’ll add it to the “smack with hammer” list for this weekend along with the pesky Patriot bearings and that bloody white van that a bloke in the next street keeps leaving outside the house.

Time to sell the frame I reckon. It’s a shame really, cos this ancient, slightly-too-small-for-me  Kona has been my introduction to singlespeeding and frankly, I’ve loved every single frantic mile of it. Really. You should try it.

With a rigid fork.

Urgh. Running.

So happy

Started running again this morning cos I’m just not getting out on the bike as much as I’d like to. My first run for several weeks, in fact. I need to do this for the fitness it provides, but that’s not to say I enjoy it too much.

The dog loves it though.

I’ve started small, and I’m going to work my way back up. I’ve got a duathlon pencilled in later on in Winter (oop Calderdale way) so I’ve something to aim for. I’m also thinking of how many fell races I can fit in next year. Quite a few, I reckon.

My legs are hurting now though.

7am I’m up, then out with the dog down to the woods for some slip slide action in my pumps. Down through the Clough and session the big hill* a few times before completing the loop and heading off home. Won’t be long before I’m doing 1 hour runs before breakfast.

Then I’ll start doing it with an over-the-shoulder-cyclocross bike. Maybe.

*not that big in all honesty