Mary gives us a kicking

Simon and I rode the Mary Townley yesterday on singlespeeds. Another early start, and we were off straight from the cars up one of the biggest climbs on the route. I’m sure it would have been less painful, turning a moderate gear (instead of a tiny one), if I’d warmed up first, but hey ho. We rode the first part of the route in fact without any kind of incident, then we were distracted by a ramshackle wooden shed toilet thing in a field and went the wrong way (WTF is a ladies dunny doing in that field anyway?) up a big grassy climb that REALLY hurt. Once we’d spotted our error we were miles from the intended bridleway…so down the road we went. The wrong way down a huge hill. Then we spotted that error and climbed back up the road. Bah.

Once we rejoined the MTL, we were off again at a decent pace. By now however, our feed stops were getting more frequent. Singlespeeding a route like this was bigger than anything I’d done with one gear and I was starting to realise the real limitations of the bike. Just getting to the top of moderate climbs was becoming a world of pain and the amount of food that can be realistically consumed was evidently far less than the carbohydrate that was being expended.

We went wrong again a couple of times due to some “missing” bridleway signs and whilst we got back on track we were both reduced to the odd push uphill here and there. We canned it when the time was getting on even though we probably only had 5 miles of the MTL to go. Once back at the cars (via Rochdale town centre) in a glycogen-defecit dizzy haze, the GPS revealed we’d covered 64 miles. The MTL is only 47! We took 9 hours to complete our adventure – I’m taking 90 minutes off for getting lost and another hour for the pushing 😉 So that’s the MTL on a singlespeed in 6.5 hours! See what I did there??

That’s a proper training ride, I tell thee.