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....?

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