It’s about time I got back into regular ‘big’ rides after a couple of months of short(ish) rides, turbo training, running and sometime quite frustrating levels of inconsistency. What I need right now are regular doses of several hours off road, more than a couple of smaller loops linked together requiring a bit more planning, plenty of hills, a good deal more effort and spare batteries for the lights. Last night was quite large, getting on for 4 hours, 3 regular rides spliced together to form one big endurance training extravaganza. For the full Strathpuffer training effect it was also cold, damp and quite foggy (foggy on the moors anyway).
To give me an extra kick up the arse I rode the ‘maybe-to-tall-gear’ Uber-Niche Ghetto 96er Singlespeed and set off along the road and then onto the cobbled tracks to Birtle. I knew the climb was going to be horrible but luckily I managed to reach the top of the hill without pulling a back muscle despite the need for some brutal bar-wrenching and weight shifting to maintain traction. The mud-fest that used to be Scotland Road needed to be walked along in parts, which was a shame as in the summer this is a pretty good descent but I was eventually on the moorland track above Nangreaves and heading up towards Edenfield. Down into Irwell Vale, across the road to climb Robin Hood’s Well to Holcombe Moor then along the rocky track to the Maggot Farm. The persistent rain this week has turned the little streams that run across this trail into raging torrents of water – ankle-deep (No way was I riding across them) and with a current. Awesome.
By now my brakes really were non-existent, the organic pads in the front brake were being worn away at an alarming rate (I’d forgot I had organics in there to be honest), after braking more than twice I was having to stop to adjust the calliper. Eventually I just gave up on this and instead got my foot ready to do an emergency unclip to brake with that instead. Just as worrying were the funny noises emanating from my freehub….
Just as I got to the road to start the final leg of the ride, my main lights packed in, leaving me with just the helmet lamp to guide me through the late night traffic. My spare battery for the HID lamp seems to have a loose connection again. That was handy. Grrr.
I arrived home just before midnight, drank a pint of chocolate milk and went to bed…but not before I’d watched a video clip of me at the Manx End to End that was broadcast on Sky Sports 3 the other night. Amy very kindly posted it on the Internet, Brant then put it on the Ragley site. 6 seconds of fame at last. I’ll get to see the whole programme eventually, with any luck 😉