The weather when I set off from the pub at the bottom of Macc Forest seemed fine. A bit cloudy, but nothing to worry about. Certainly ok weather for a solo ride for a few hours. I planned to do the usual route but extend it by a few miles and get some more climbing in. The best thing about this route is that the more road climbs you’re prepared to do, the more technical, rocky downhills you get to do. The few miles of climbing at the start of the route came and went, followed by a lovely downhill. Then the climb up the Cat and Fiddle road came and with it the weather started to get “interesting”. The wind on the tops was very strong and I was being blown off the road (to the left). I remember thinking, “I’ve got to come back this way, and I’m going to be blown into the traffic”. Ah well. I’ll be going downhill and therefore faster, therefore the wind won’t get me. Or something. The bridleway across the moor opposite the C&F was just brilliant. With a tailwind I was battering along it and I was slowing down only a little bit for walkers. Just a token quick squeeze of the brake lever get out of the way go on shift!… and I was suddenly grinning and at the other side of the moor and ready for the proper techy downhill.
Well the wind was just mad. This downhill at Cumberland Brook requires careful selection and execution of a line, and when being blown all over the place that’s just impossible and I was ending up riding all the telly-sized rocks instead of the toaster-sized ones. There was also a nice stream running down it.
Another road climb up to Flash, the highest village in the UK at 1518 feet. Nothing like the altitude we’re going to have to cope with in the Alps but kinda gettin there innit. By now I was getting tired and cold. I simply wasn’t ready for this weather – I hadn’t got enough food to fuel the amount of effort I was having to put in, I should have put my jacket on sooner BEFORE I got cold and I should have scrapped the idea of the extended loop. Anyway, I was here now so I just had to dig deep. A couple of hours later and I was on the home stretch. It was getting dark and I was on the moorland bridleway going back towards the C&F whilst being jetwashed by the weather and just wanting the wind to ease off JUST FOR A MINUTE. This entire route is about 35 miles (I think. I haven’t checked) but it was feeling like 100 at least. On the Cat and Fiddle road I was blown into the path of a car. He beeped, I “responded”. Then down, down, down into the forest, down the road to Macclesfield then through the town centre back to Kath’s where a Sunday roast was waiting. I had seconds.
I arranged to meet up with Phil last night who was riding home from work in the City Centre. He mentioned to me earlier that his missus was feeling unwell (8 months pregnant) and so he wanted to go straight home, as fast as poss.
I was riding like a nutter and knew damn well that Phil would be redlining to try to stave off the inevitable “dropping”. Anyway, we made it to Rammy in double quick time, I had a look at his new kitchen, drank a cuppa T then rode home again. I was on the geared bike so I was able to take full advantage of my recently aquired “singlespeed power”. I’m feeling good and more importantly I’m feeling motivated.
The forecast promised snow this morning but the clouds didn’t deliver. Instead it rained, rained and rained some more. I went out for a ride anway and braved the cold and damp morning. I had planned to ride along the old railway lines up to the sailing club, across the road and into Walshaw to climb up Bently Hall Road. Then it was supposed to be up and over Holcombe Moor then back down though Nangreaves and Birtle. Hmm. I soon got fed up of the horizontal rain and the aftermath of last week’s mental winds. Whilst trying to climb over/under/around/through the eleventy millionth fallen tree, I gave it up and decided jam on toast and Countryfile were a much better proposition.
Still managed a decent 2 hour ride though. I came back along the Finest Singletrack In Salford (spoiled by 3 fallen trees) and was glad that I appear to have finally sorted the chainline on the singlespeed, given that it’s now quiet when I pedal.
Me and Simon are both officially confirmed entries into the Grand Raid Cristalp 2007 and the Fred Whitton Challenge.
In the case of the GRC, it’s the first time I’ve entered a race where you can sort the entry list by nationality. It’s all a bit more scary and “mind-focussing” now.
Have a look here (flying the flag for Industrial Fell Biking and Darwen Dashers)
The schedule I’ve set myself for getting ready for these daft races this year is reasonably punishing but when I’m enjoying the views near Verbier (instead of crying into my bibshorts) it’ll be worth it.
Monday – 30K SS ride or hill intervals
Tuesday – 1 hour run (am) 90 mins turbo session (pm)
Wednesday – long 5 hour ride
Thursday – 1 hour run (am) 90 mins turbo session (pm) – early bedtime!
Friday – easy 1.5 hour recovery ride before work
Saturday – rest
Sunday – long road or MTB ride, alternatively long hilly run – early morning, back before brekky.
There’s the usual irregular schedule of group rides, such as the Industrial Fell Biking trip up and over the Garburn TWICE (to find out which is the best way to ride it) in February.
I’ll be squeezing in a couple of sessions a week on the rower at work and I might even pick up some weights after my morning runs, especially when I increase the training intensity around Easter. The turbo is really handy too as it allows me a really tough session without leaving the house and therefore allows me to spend time with Deb and Rachael. It has to be said though that you simply can’t take part or train for serious events such as the Cristalp without the complete support of your family. Last night I left the house after 7, just as Rachael was going to bed. Got in just after 10 and Deb made me a toastie. How good is that? No Rocky Balboa raw egg smoothies for me. No Sir.