The race against the slow cooker

Another ride on the Pennine Bridleway at the weekend. I’d planned to ride hard for 6 hours or so – luckily the amount of big hills on the PBW means that the going is never easy anyway…

Normally I ride from the house and join the bridleway near Oldham – this time though I thought I’d try to be clever and join it a bit further north, thus increasing the amount of offroad in the ride.

Unfortunately the maze of minor roads around Oldham and Saddleworth had me confused for quite some time (I really should get out on the road bike and gain some knowledge of that side of Greater Manchester) and just as I was getting a bit frustrated by the seemingly endless number of wrong turns, I saw the PBW sign and cracked on with the ride south.

I’d not ridden the Ragley TD:1 since Relentless 24 seven weeks ago and I’d almost forgotten what a hoot it is to ride – especially when you get the tyre pressures  spot on and the conditions are dry and fast.

Fast, that is, until I reached a narrow section of trail that was covered in ice. A puddle, about 15ft long, had frozen over and was positioned just nicely on a slight bend.

The front wheel let go and started to slide sideways. Still hurtling forwards I thought, “this is going to hurt” but just as the bike had leant over enough for the front wheel to let go entirely, the puddle ended and the tyres gripped again. I rode away from that with my heart still in my mouth like when you almost crash your car; shaking a bit, giggling a bit too.

Onwards towards Glossop and the interim section that follows the Trans Pennine Trail for a while. It’s been an interim route for years now – I suspect that it’s permanent really.

Through Glossop and more climbing, rejoining the Pennine Bridleway eventually and starting to climb, then an ace rocky downhill followed by the long gradual climb to the summit of Lantern Pike. The last off-road descent of the route down to Birth Vale was much nicer than the last time I was here (and we’d climbed it) before I started the 20 miles or so on the road towards Prestbury. I had to get a move on now – the light was fading and my tea was going to be ready soon…

Reaching the top of the climb to Pott Shrigley just as the sun was setting, the temperature started to drop even further – I doubt that it had gone above freezing all day but now it had started to plummet. A fast road descent was just what I needed then to make my face go completely numb.

That didn’t matter though – tea was a huge pan of stew with crusty bread and red cabbage.