Simon and I attempted to ride the Mary Townley Loop twice yesterday, and we almost did it. We set off really early again, and the first loop was going quite well, despite the rain and mud. Then my front brake went bonkers and needed some intricate fettling to get it going again. The pads had worn to the metal and one of the pistons had come out so far that it ended up at a jaunty angle and wouldn’t retract. It’s not like me to let a brake pad wear out completely like that, so lessons learned. I replaced the pads, wiggled the piston back into place, smacked it with a rock and off we went.
Another problem I was having was a constant need to wee. For some reason the High 5 energy drink I’ve been using passes through me in much the same way as lager does. At one point I was stopping every 10 minutes for a piss. Weird. Perhaps in the race I’ll just wee in my shorts 😉
Once we got back to the cars for a pit/butty stop, we ummed and ahhed and decided the plan would be to do another loop there and then but include a fast road section instead of the most northerly section of the trail. We wouldn’t lose too much mileage like that but we would be faster and thus wouldn’t arrive back to the start in the dark. Our first loop just wasn’t a quick loop in any sense, and we’d lost loads of time due to mechanicals, etc.
So…that’s what we did. More hard riding through countless muddy trails, climbs followed by more climbs and then some more climbing…then a relatively easy section on the road. We rejoined the trail near Summit (yep, that massive trudge up the big hill) then towards Rochdale.
In total, 80 miles and 3500 metres of climbing. I reckon we sacrificed only 15 miles and about 600 metres of climb due to our time-saver diversion so a good plan really.
I’m starting to feel properly ready for the Cristalp now. Yesterday’s ride was tough, but not as tough as I was expecting it to be. I still ate my tea in about 15 seconds though!