aaaargh I can’t see!

Road ride last night with Phil. I’d not seen Phil since the 3 Peaks so I was looking forward to the catch-up. We decided to meet up in Bury, ride over to Rochdale, Littleborough, climb Bacup Rd the towards Burnley via the road across the moors (by the Singing Ringing Tree) the down through Rawtenstall and home.

The first hour or so was great – quite a hefty tailwind and an average speed of about 28mph through Walsden. Once we started to climb towards Bacup though, things got very interesting….

As we gradually gained altitude over the 3 mile or so climb, the weather got gradually worse. The already-strong wind started to really gust, it was now a side-wind too so remaining in control was challenging to say the least. The rain was getting heavier, in fact by the time we neared the summit of the climb visibility was very poor mainly because lifting my head up from a facing-down position resulted in heavy rain being blasted straight at it, like being attacked with one of those crowd control water cannons.

The water cannoning got worse and worse as we rode over the top of the hill and started the descent to Bacup. Grovelling down the hill, we both had heads tilted to catch the full force of the deluge on the tops of our heads, bodies completly soaking but by now laughing uncontrollably.

We sensibly cut the route short at this point and took the most direct route home – by now our average speed had dropped a fair bit and we were both getting cold – having to put in extra effort just to stay warm and maintain a reasonable pace into what was now a pretty fierce headwind.

After going our seperate ways in Ramsbottom I carried on as quickly as I could back through the deserted centre of Bury, arriving home just before uncontrollable shivering set in.

Daft(ish) ride

More heavy rain, very strong winds and general weather misery had been forecast for last weekend. In fact the forecasts were so poor and followed such a nasty week of weather, floods, damage and widespread chaos that Dave and I had agreed that despite our plans to ride a record-breaking Daft Ride (yes, there is a record that needs beating), we should lower our ambitions for the time being and embark on a more straightforward route involving lower risk and no complicated logistics.

So I arrived at Dave’s house on Saturday morning with my cross bike, regular kit for a day in the hills and a Gore-Tex jacket. The only thing missing so far was rain….

We set off along a mixture of suburban streets, dual carriageways and cycle paths past allotments that looked like shanty towns, finally arriving on nice country lanes I think towards Longridge. I say ‘I think’ as I’m not entirely sure what route we took. I know that we went to Pendle and climbed some really steep hills near there (in fact once we started climbing we didn’t really stop) and I know that a lot of the roads that we rode were quite remote. The route included a very long rocky bridleway across a fell – I dunno, this is useless! I can’t say for certain which fell it was but it was near Dunsop Fell. All will be explained soon I’m sure.

What I do know is that after 4 hours or so of not being rained on, the rain finally arrived. Hail at first, then just a good old soaking. In some ways I was glad to see the rain as I’d taken the trouble to wear a waterproof (which I hate doing). As we pressed on into the wind, Dave helpfully pointed out the many sights and landmarks that we would have been able to see from our various high vantage points but were unable to do so due to the constant shroud of grey mist – it was like a Radio 4 serial, the audible descriptions allowing the imagination to take over (I was imagining views of snow-capped alps, funfairs and herds of wildebeest though).

Dunsop Fell was left alone for another day – the saturated ground would have made this a soggy slog across a barren moor – so we stopped for a brew and a cake in Dunsop Bridge then pressed on back towards Preston. 99.3 miles later, we arrived back where we started…less than a mile short of a century but almost 10,000 feet of ascent gained in the last 8 hours. Like I said, we climbed a lot.

best laid plans

In spite of my gung-ho previous post, we’ve decided that due to the severe flooding at the moment we may struggle to get to the start of the planned daft ride and back from the finish too, given we’d need to drive through the middle of some pretty badly affected (and rather remote) areas. We’d obviously complete the ride itself, no problems 😉

So….we’re going to do a part road, part off-road Daft Ride instead. A bit closer to home but still very big. What is guaranteed is that we’re going to get wet….

Daft Ride weatherwatch

Dave and I have got another huge Daft Ride planned for this weekend. If the epic-ness of past Daft Rides are anything to go by, this one promises to be BIG.

The weather forecast however suggests that it’s going to be very wet, very windy and possibly pushing the daftness much closer to the ‘stupidity barrier’ than ever before.In fact, there’s a ‘severe weather warning’ for the next few days for most of the area we’ll be riding. 

We’d be silly to attempt such a big ride across such wild and desolate terrain in those conditions – there are 5 ‘major ford crossings’ that might just be deeper than they usually are, it’s likely that the wind will be right in our faces for most of the route, the weather in the last couple of weeks will make sure that the route will be very muddy in lots of places, not to mention the relentless climbing. It’s long enough to ensure we start and finish in darkness too.

Sod it we thought, after several nanoseconds of pondering. It’ll be ace, Let’s do it. 😉

idiot day

Yesterday must have been some kind of ‘Let’s a ll drive like knobheads’ day. I rode a regular route from here across to Oldham, Stalybridge, Glossop, Hayfield and over to Macc via some big ‘orrible climbs. It was pouring with rain, it was getting dark and it was very windy.

With this in mind I was using my brightest lights front and back and was also wearing a bright orange jacket. No matter, everyone was denying my existence anyway, pulling out, pulling across, turning left in front of me, the usual bollocks. One woman wound her window down to demonstrate with her stinking potty mouth just how much class she had after I had shouted “NO!” at her as she strarted to drive her car across my path.

It must be the fact that these people are sat in the safety of their cars that they think it’s ok to shout abuse, wave fingers, ignore cyclists because if they did this to someone face-to-face they’d probably get a slap.

Eventually I left the pillocks and their cars behind and arrived at the proper hills. It was completely dark by now and the wind had picked up. The horizontal rain had also returned and stayed with me until I reached Prestbury where a cottage pie was waiting 😉  My toes were frozen – time to dig out the overshoes again….