Thursday, 20 October 2016

lost in the mist

"fancy an early ride over Malvern?" said Dan. Great idea i thought, early morning, sunrise, empty trails before everyone gets up, sounds perfect. "lets do it" was my reply.
last time we did this it was in a howling gale and the thickest mist this side of being able to slice it into pieces with a knife. well either we enterd a time vortex, history repeats itself or the Malvern hills really don't like us being there because it was much the same story this time too. maybe a little less breezey but vision was just as compromised.
It didn't stop us, though the immediate climb from the van nearly did. from resting heart rate to redline without a warm up is not a good idea and a length rest at the summit was needed, then a steady ride of climb and mini descent followed as we inched our way from British camp to Worcestershire beacon for the photo.
then the reward, a great downhill blast back the way we'd come, then a detour around the resevoir, a climb around the back of the BC and back to the van. a short distaqnce but a helluva lot of climbing!
maybe next time we can arrange some sun and some views?
10 miles
total 2219

the Spaniard's birthday ride

Back to the Forest of Dean today and conditions couldn't have been more different to 2 days ago. 
it was the Spaniard's Birthday ride and as i opened the curtains on the morning of the ride my heart sank as there was torrential rain falling from the sky and squally winds blowing the tree opposite, not the best weather for riding in. To save time i thought i'd ride over to Dan's to pick up my lift. I got soaked through even wearing every waterproof item i own. 
the van packed, we headed for the motorway, barely able to see out of the windows as my dampness steamed them up. we were able to inform Craig loudly that we drive on the left in Britain as he proceeded to use the right hand lane towards oncoming traffic! nothing else could go wrong today surely?
then we hit the traffic (thankfully not head on) on the motorway, an accident caused us a half hour delay, but it wasn't all bad, Dan had haribo and it gave the rain chance to ease off.
we arrived at Park end to beautiful blue skies and warm sunshine, a vast contrast to when we started out. We began to unload and assemble the bikes ready to ride and it was at this point Ian said "er...i think i left my rear bolt home.
so things could get worse, a 2 hour drive to find one of us couldn't ride. what a disaster. luckily though Park End isn't just home to the Deanforestrialway, it is also the home of deanforestcycles who we able to supply a lovely Marin FS for the day, ride saved!!
we hit the off piste trails doing shuttle runs back to the top and descending without ever hitting the same descent twice
ride 101, lots of twisty routes with jumps, berms and rooty off camber corners and a few man made log bridges. but my favourite trail was a super fast one, nearly all straight apart form a very tight 'S' bend and a finish that plunged down a band making it very hard to miss  the muddy puddle at the end. brilliant fun! after this we had a quite bite to eat and then headed over to the way marked trails for a "best of session" on the Verderers trail. we passed a lot of tired looking Enduro riders as there was also a race on at the time. I also got recognised from the shorts i was wearing, they usually get a comment or two but not "are you Gary?" turns out Shona had been riding with "Gary" back in December 2012 here's the blog entry for that date and remembered me from the shorts! that wasa slightly bizarre encounter and i suspect Shona was holding back on the climb on her singlespeed so as not to show me up after we exchanged selfies the MTB world isn't really that big is it?
we completed the final descents on the trails and made it back to Park end to return the hire bike in time to use their hosepipe, clean ourselves and the bikes up before heading home.
so, almost disaster but it was all part of a bit of an adventure. I'd like my birthday to go in much the same way.
22 miles
total 2209

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

FoD Day Off

i haven't been to a trail centre for ages, i'm not the biggest fan of way marked trails and how busy they get, but as i mentioned in my previous blog entry i now get a day off in the week so decided to venture to the Forest of Dean.
glorious empty trails, without the stress of riders bearing down on you from behind or being held up on sections by those ifront. it was dry and dusty and the 27.5+ tyres gave a tremendous amount of grip and cushioned the very rooty course very well.
despite my thoughts of crashing and not being found i did try and go as fast as posible (a few strava PR's, go me!) and sessioned the little wooden drop offs on the free miners trail.
ride 100
15 miles
total 2187

a sign of adventure

My new job means working Saturdays so this has cut down my weekend riding opportunities down by half. however working at the weekend does give me a day off to myself during the week. this has a few drawbacks, all my riding buddies work 5 days and have the weekend off so if i ride it'll be solo. this kind of restricts where i ride as going somewhere remote on my own on a week day  and having a mechanical means the chance of rescue is very limited. also crashing would be more of a drama with there being no one there to pick up the pieces untill maybe the weekend.
however, the bonuses are that by and large all the trails are empty of nearly everyone!. no other riders to get in the way or hold up, no horse riders, just the odd O.A.P. dog walking. also all the cafes have planty of room and seemingly bigger portions in the week.
today i stayed local, not from any fear of incidents but just because i thought i'd visit a few trails i'd neglected over the summer and maybe a few trails that would just cause conflict from other users at the weekend.
So, working Saturdays, mixed blessings but on the whole not too much of a burden
ride 99
22 miles
total 2172

Sunday, 16 October 2016

autumn evening

straight from work, taking the long route home via shortwood and the towpath, absolutely glorious weather and not a soul seen. perfection
ride 98
12 miles
total 2150

Monday, 26 September 2016

hunting the scarecrow

8 of us met at the church and within 1 mile we were down to 6 but the hardcore hunters were ready for the trek into scarecrow country, between us we knew a route that would keep us under our prey's radar, keep us fed and with enough technicality to stay alert.
a round-a-bout route around waseley keeping hidden on an ancient stream bed brought us to the final climb to the top of clent. here. things got serious. every field we passed had the potential to contain an early warning scarecrow that could message ahead to the big gathering and tip them off of our approach. put we progressed well and even a slick water pipe trap that had been set for us failed to halt our progress but it did almost catch me out.
as we entered the village it was soon evident that the scarecrows were using human shields to confuse us, we had to carefully navigate this sea of humanity risking the use of bells to disperse them. then suddenly we were surrounded, the hunters had become the hunted!
we turned tail with only thoughts of survival in our minds, luckily Kris knew a secret way out of the village and we made our way across field egdes and loose muddy bridleways and eventually sightings of the enemy became fewer until we reached the border of their territory and safety.
ride 97
30 miles
total 2138

Saturday, 24 September 2016

how fast can you run?

can you get across the field in 15 seconds? 'cause the bull can do it in 16! it's a sure way to get a Strava PR!
ride 96
41 miles
total 2108

Candle power

I'd heard that there had been a fire locally, thankfully no one was injured but the news photos were quite impressive so I pootled down to have a look. the factory unit recycled wax and this made for a surreal landscape in the aftermath. the metal part of the building had melted and collapsed in, the huge blocks of wax had melted and flowed downhill encasing everything in its path, including a fork lift truck, trees and the entrances to other businesses. there was a constant stream of sightseers so I didn't linger and continued my ride back home via the intervals of the upper part of the canal
ride 95
15 miles
total 2067

no Leaf and bean to be seen

another route through the Warwickshire and Worcestershire countryside, this time I'd planned to ride to Cheltenham and back via Tewksbury. However the wind today was horrendous. i think 50 miles of this route was straight into it. Head winds sap your energy and i felt it wise to cut the ride shorter than i'd planned. I went via Evesham, winchcombe and Broadway in a loop hoping that the change of direction would lessen the wind.
feeling very hungry i stopped off at "leaf and Bean" in Broadway. i stopped in the courtyard under the sign that said "please take a seat and we'll be out to take your order in a few minutes" this was next to the "CCTV"  sign. i presumed my arrival was shown on some sort of scren. i waited 5 minutes. It was just after lunchtime and suspecting they were probably busy i left my bike and walked over to the cafe and stood in the doorway. it is only small and i was passed by at least 2 staff at least twice. no one spoke to me even though i was an obsticle to their passage. i gave them the benefit of the doubt and presuming i wasn't invisible again presumed they'd spotted me and would be out to take my order. sadly this wasn't the case and my table which could have been laden with a mutlitude of delights remained barren. i got fed up and i was starving so left insearch of some basic service and sustinance. boith of which Leaf and Bean failed to provide.
ride 94
68 miles
total 2052

racing to the end

another stratford ride today, this time from home with a little cyclocross on the way. we;; CX spectating in the local woods. Much to high intensity for me but the riders are very skilled keeping upright on the technical course in pitcheroak woods.
a lot of road on this route but as unsuitable as the 29 plus bike might look it's actually very comfortable and although it's never going to achieve as high an average speed as a road bike it does speed along quite briskly.
a bit of greenway, avoiding a dubious looking crash between a cyclist and a dog walker (they said they were ok) and a trip though the ford at Coughton were the highlights and i got home with a satisfying ache in my legs
ride 93
68 miles
total 1984