Sunday, 31 August 2008


At home,
drawing pictures of mountain tops,
with him on top
Lemon yellow sun,
arms raised in a V
The dead lay in pools of maroon below *

Good turnout today.10 of us on the road up to the barn.early start.0800. Jeff ,Danny , Tim ( other),Andy ,Andrew,Gaz,Chris,Dave,John,and me.

Today is to be a slightly longer jaunt than usual ,a simple affair,up and over the back then over towards Darwen.It all started quite well.
Usual climb up from the car ,through the gardens ,under the 3 arches but ,un-usually,where we'd turn up towards the pigeon tower we hoofed it straight up to the bridleway ,just popping out under the Pike.A good warm up for the legs in the muggy morning mist.
From here we went over towards Wilders Moor to connect with the service road up to the TV mast.It was a bit of a slippy slog last week ,but this week ,it was a little drier.Not much ,but a bit.
Halfway up there's that tricky watery nadgery crossing to negotiate. It's a lot more furrowed than it used to be, with a tricky exit. I bottled out of the last bit last week ,fearing a spectacular SPD moment into the brook.This week I attacked it with a little more gutso and .......bottled it.That last bit is becoming a bane of mine in recent times. What's the worst that could happen ?Let's see.

Dave's turn.It all started quite convincingly.The MTB colossus turning the pedals ,smoothly ,with balance and poise.Like Nancy Kominski.Hang on ,she was a painter,I mean Olga Korbutt. Just on that last bit, it all went wrong. A dab of the boot and then disaster.Over the back he lands heavily ,still clipped in. Not good. Dave recently had knee surgery for an ACL injury. Uh oh.
After a few minutes ,composing,he decides to try up to the road at the top , but with the bulk of a big ride in front of us,with a twisted knee, he thinks it best to head back. In that situation home would be the last place i'd want to go,what with the impending ear bashing ,but ,hey .
Get well soon . I'm sure a few days rest with a turnip under his pillow will do it a world of good.

So ,man down ,we carry on. On to the mast. The mast is still 'out of bounds' while we all 'go digickal' ,or something,for our benefit. Nobody asked me.We take the now well trodden 'detour' that's quickly turning into a replica of Flanders fields and head for the gate at the top of the 'tunnel' downhill ,modern day evidence of the mine workings about these here parts.It must have been good fun riding a pit wagon back down the hill to Belmont because I can tell you it's a right ding dong on a mountainbike.
I'm on the Fisher HiFi today, with a change of tyres.Which is another story . I like tyres,me. I've swapped the' stock' ( which is American for standard) Bontrager Jones (lightweights ,I feel)for my 'in stock' Contimentals.A 'Vertical '2.3 on the back and at the business end a monster 'Diesel 2.5'. I have the same pair on the Meta so this hill will be a good opportunity to compare and contrast. I cant say they've transformed the bike ,that would be too dramatic,but ,maybe it's me . I find them reassuring.No problems on the long downhill,in fact fairly flying down the first bit with some big drops and jumps walloped good style. The Fisher's a belter. Danny's on the meta and having fun too. It's splitting hairs.

From Belmont we have a short section on the road,10 mins or so to the Witton Weavers Way.A few miles to go ,then the caff. It's fairly bog standard bridleway ,rolling along with Belmont Reservoir below to our left. All OK ,but why arent the sheep potty trained? Anyway...

Caff . Tockholes .Cake of the future.Victoria sponge.Excellent ,with a lovely 'bite' .Canned working class cream. oh dear oh dear.Earl Grey. No lemon. Avoid at all costs.
Actually it was all very nice. I think we caught the guy short handed though. 10,sorry 9 ,of us all turning up ,mad for carbs.

We decided against the ascent of Jubilee tower,purely due to time constraints/spousal harmony and not at all anything to do with the fact that we had just 'loaded'. In fact I was now fully 'settee'd up'. No problem . The descent through Roddlesworth is recompense enough, a fast ,winding blast through the trees ,and with only one 'near death', 'big brake ' moment well worth a visit.
We pop out on the Belmont Road at the 'Hare and Hounds' in Abbey Village. Our night riding venue of old. I'll have to get my lights sorted ,and my mojo ,and get back out on a Thursday night for some nocturnal fun.
A bit more road work from here ,skirting Wheelton and heading up the long tarmac climb to the top edge of the woods and 'Mini B.C '. It just keeps coming.
Mini B.C could be described as an 'alternative' descent through the woods. It's definitely 'off piste'. It starts quite innocuously with a flattish ,overgrown ,singletrack running alongside the boundary fence with a few tricky hops and skips ,trials-y,and then turns sharply to run down to the Goyt crossing. This is a bridge of sorts. It is ,in fact, a fence ,barbed wire ,sat on top of a wall with a 10' drop to the side.Could be funny with a slip of the pedal. so we get off and carry. This is the start of the DH proper. A short kick up ,and then drop in. Make sure the seat's down. Rocks ,roots ,bombhole,drop-offs. It's got the lot. Ace.

Another conference sees us decide on the Goyt singletrack as being the quickest route back.Quickest? I dunno. A right laugh.Deffo. Its a path ,exactly the same width as your 'Q factor' ( google it ). Undulating alongside the hill,occasionally on an off camber ,and frequently with derailleur sized rocks.No major casualties though as we re-group at the bottom end near the White Coppice cricket pitch.Nearly there now.Tiring a bit.Still managed a hop over the Goyt 'bridge of death' though.
As we hit the road we have another choice. It's uphill whichever way we go ,but the choice is either head along the road for a bit and climb over the 'Nab', OR , immediatly to our left is an avg 17% climb up to Jepsons/Lead Mines. Hmmm. Nab it is then. Up and over.A simple affair then.
Yew Tree at Nickleton Brow , turn right down 'The Street' and up behind the Rivi School ,5 mins to the car.
Top top ride,albeit not without incident.
Precipitation %age chance ,83%. Got in the car .Started the engine.Started to rain. Just Brilliant.

No Pix today due to broken phone/camera although I'm sure theyre just a click away.

*Pearl Jam . ' Jeremy ' . What was that bloody album ,er....?

Monday, 25 August 2008


"He tells me in his bedroom voice
C'mon honey, let's go make some noise
Time it goes so fast
When you're having fun " *

Good little spin today.Usual meet at 9 ( ish )on the barn Rd.I picked up Jeff and we met Dave and Andy with Stu bringing up the rear in the A-Team van.
I was on the Commencal this week. A big difference from the stupid old bikes I've been riding recently.
We set off on the now standard climb up through the gardens,winding up to the pigeon tower and ,after a short rest purely for the view,pushed on to the Pike.It's a different tactic on this bike compared to the stupid old bikes.It's happy to spin uphill all day long ,but out o'the saddle climbs are a no-no.Five and a half inches of bounce front and rear soak up all the power,but by way of recompense,sat here post ride I'm not aching in every bone. Ah well.
It goes down good too,but as I've said before ,the masochist in me likes a bit more 'involvement'.
We stopped for a blow on the Pike and i had a chat with guy on a pink bike.Pink.Say no more.Nudge nudge wink wink.He's a goer.
We dropped off the back of the pike,usually I'd say 'as usual' but i've not been up here for a few weeks and the rain has eroded it something ace.It's not especially harder,just different,edgier.I dunno . It's a laugh every time.
From the gate at the bottom we turned left ,past the Pike Cottage,and on to the bottom of Wilders Moor lifting our bikes over the gate at the bottom of the moorland slog,a bit moist ,but not as bad as I've seen.
We all pedalled up to the half way point gully crossing ,where I had a fairly good attempt at the nadgery bit ,but truthfully I bottled out on the last bit,unclipping my SPDs a half crank before the top.What can I say.It was slippy and very eroded.The shame will live with my future generations for centuries to come.Jehwah forgive me.
Overwhelmed by a general feeling of inadequacy I hoofed the last bit to the mast road with the lads on the big bikes ,Andy and Stu.Just to be social.
It was Mark Twain who said " 18 holes of mountainbiking spoils a good walk ".

On the top of the moors near the mast there was a fairly stiff breeze blowing.As we set off across the slabs we turned into it and it cut across the trail.Just to make it that bit more tasty.Once we ran out of slabs and hit the peaty moorland again it was quite boggy in places,requiring a front wheel loft+manual to keep up the momentum.Hard going in the wind though.

The next bit takes us on a loop back around to the mast road.Easy bridleways rolling over the moors past Gilligants farm.We climbed back up the mast road ( more masochism) to enable us to do the classic 'dog kennels' .It's not too far to climb ,5 mins ,and well worth the effort.
I set off across more boggy ,peaty moorland ,wheelieing across deep mud gullies and trying to stay loose in the ruts.,not easy with andy breathing down my neck.A pleasure I havent had since we stayed in those digs in edale in '87.He was fit then.At the top of the kennel run proper I chose the technical right hand line ,with Andy taking the schoolboy left hand line only to rejoin at the last well eroded tasty last drop bit. Ever seen swallows catching flies?It was like that.
We regrouped at the cottage to find out Jeff had taken a wee tumble . Twice. The second time he banged his head ( with helmet ) and now had double vision. Twice the fun then. We gave him 8 secs standing count and pressed on.Ding ding . Round two.
Ice Cream Run.



Ok ,maybe not that bad,but you've got to build it up a bit.I'd gone on ahead to take some pix on the downhill.Everyone came past without incident and I got back on the bike to finish the drop to the carpark( no ice cream van today).
Halfway down Dave and Jeff are stopped in the middle of the trail. I assume theyre waiting for me ,or something. Jeff's hit a fair sized boulder,gone over the bars and head butted the floor.Oh ,and banged his ribs and knocked his elbow.And he was speaking in tongues.Fairly normal then.

Time for a brew then.
Straight down Sheephouse Ln to the tea rooms. A pot of Earl Grey WITH a slice of lemon AND a slice of victoria sponge'll fix owt. I dont know what Jeff had though ,but he seemed better after it.
Andy was tempted by the servant girl's baps ,and I have to say they did look tasty,but in the end he went for the lemon drizzle cake.
A short spin back to the car from here and all in all a good ride,if not exactly 'as usual'.

* Bangles.(Not) just another Manic Monday.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Sunday, 10 August 2008


"if i had a cape that made me disappear ,I'd fly around the world for days,just so I could hear
the rich count their dimes ,
whilst the Africans cry
and record it on a tape and stream it high across the sky " *

Funny day today ,meteorologically speaking.Set out to Jeff's house at 9, facing a stiff breeze.Stiffer than that .Er....a gale.No, less than that.Anyway.A bit windy.Head on.
We set off to Haigh Hall towards the canal with dark clouds filling one half of the sky.Broody.
An initial sprinkle saw us put on our pakamaks.And take them off 10 mins later.It was still quite warm.Muggy really. I was struggling to breathe again.Just a tad.That was all we saw of the rain ,directly,but as we hit the grounds of Haigh it was all over the place ,mixed with dirt, 20 yr old tyres squirming on the 20 yr old bike.Tasty.Like a fish.
Fairly simple up/down /toast /home affair.Nothing to report,except maybe the guy 'trail repairing' at the bottom end near Leyland Mill Ln. Like a beaver.
Another old school ride then.Just spinning.No chain ,and all that.Dodged the big rain in a classic style.Bounced down all around us.Result.

Good good.
* Get Cape .Wear Cape .Fly.
No reason ,just listening to it as i'm banging away and the lyric caught my ear.

Sunday, 3 August 2008


"It's a nice day for a -white wedding "*

Another gentle spin.I can see a pattern developing. Chest has been OK all week long .Change in the weather ,see.

Woke up on saturday with the occasionally recurring bad back.I dont like to mention it .

A gentle spin often does it good.Sat here I'm not so sure.Ah well.rock hard 20 yr old bike . Hmmm

Jeff came to ours a bit later than usual.He's been burning the midnight oil in his new job as an exotic dancer so needed a bit of a lie-in.

Basically ,we meandered with the canal up to Haigh Hall ,had a bit of toast etc,and meandered back,putting the world to rights as we went/came.

Good ,all good.

* Billy Idol. Good luck Gaz .