"Girlies on standby ,waving just to say hi ...." *
Brilliant ride today. For the first time in a long time I’m riding my old ‘Fisher . Shakedown for next weeks silliness. Tyre test . I like tyres ,me.
Intended to ride up to Rivi ,but in the end Jeff and I were against the clock meeting Chris up there ,so at the last minute we threw the bikes in the car and drove up .
Met Chris at 9 o’clock on the barn rd. It was bitterly cold as we got out of the car . It’s gonna be cold on top.
It didn’t disappoint as usual. All the usual spots featured with a few variations on the ’usual’ theme. Up through the gardens ,as usual , but took a different ’middle’ route. It’s a climb I used to do all the time ,but hadn’t done in ,probably, years. I’d kinda forgotten how tough it was ,spitting us out near the swimming pool . A good warm up . Not warm enough to slip out of my jacket though.
Up the front of the Pike .Killer today . Apart from silly skinny tyres on that tricky corner pinging me all over the place it was also blowing a gale .Fierce and freezing cold. The last bit up to the top was a real battle of will. A strong headwind ,turning to a crosswind ,finally turning into a tailwind. Very very cold and fresh on top.
Off the back .Not sure . Very windy. Silly skinny tyres performed beyond what can be reasonably expected.
Patchy sheets of ice on the bridleway past ’ Dog Kennel Cottage’. Up Wilders Moor .Transformed from last weeks slimy bogfest into a rock hard baked Alaska.
Skinny tyres sublimely brilliant. Do you know how when you were a kid with new trainers running dead fast . Like that. Still didn’t nail Humphreys Ditch though.
Mast Rd. Bitterly cold .V.Strong crosswind. Feeling totally alive.
Across the slabs to Smithills Moor. Into the wind. Hard as hell. Rutted singletrack baked rock hard . Chris found the only boggy bit.
Skinny tyres don’t seem too silly at all riding the steps .Maybe if you were to analyse that ,scientifically ,it might be.
Off the moors past the big fancy farmhouse . Skinny tyres feel like a road bike on the tarmac. Wind at my back easily touching 80 or 90 mph. Humming. G flat.
Variation on a theme again. Up Alex’s steps, walking ,obviously. Turning right ,avoiding last weeks scorpioni ,heading back around to the mast rd I take a sneaky right off the main bridleway. I’ve an idea where it goes ,but honestly I have never ever ridden it. Turned out to be a right ding dong of a climb. In a channel with melting ice. Dancing up . More skinny tyre action. Ace . Tricky . The top reveals a beautiful little clough ,steps either side in and out. Had a crack down the side going in ,no chance pedalling out . Lovely little spot though. Just as the sun came out .Still windy ,still kinda at our backs ,bit techy ,rutty singletrack ,on to the mast rd ,just where I figured.
Up the mast rd . Again.
Bitter. Again .
Variation on a theme .Again.
We’re doing the run to the kennels . Fairly British standard run these days ,so perversely I suggest climbing up to the Two Lads first and heading off from there . We’ve spun around and the wind’s at our back .Flying up . The tyres feel ace . View . Nice . With a bit of shelter and some sunshine it’s like a different day.
The drop off the side of the Two Lads to join the kennel run is good ,with a mad corkscrew ,G-out of a corner over a stream. Jeff goes on ahead to get some shots.
I’m not sure about this bit . Skinny tyres have been better than is believable up to now ,but coming up are a couple of tasty drops . I’m thinking snakebite sized drops. The Fisher feels great though ,I’d forgotten just how much I like this bike . Again I’m probably going just a smidge quicker than is sensible on a 26x1.5 . It certainly makes you think about your ‘line’ . Gotta switch on . It’s a completely ( more complete ?) experience than blatting down on a full suspension bike. OK ,you’re not going quite as fast ,but it feels like you are . The drops come up quick . No snakebite(s). Result.
Time for a brew. From the dog kennel (Pike)cottage there are a few options. Chris wants Ice Cream. Hmm.
Past the bottom of the Pike I’m really feeling the rocks under the tyres . This is like a billiard table compared to the Ice Cream Run. Ah well. I can take my time . Well , maybe .
Really not sure about this . I convince myself with memories of rigid muddy fox couriers .
I wont say I go full pelt ,and I do avoid the slab ,that’s a deffo snakebite just there ,but skipping through the dinner plate rocks it doesn’t feel like I’m going any slower than when I’m running 2.5s. I’m thinking “ Any minute now” .Up onto the raised bit .Then I’m at the bottom.
Chris got his ice cream .With some strawberry sauce . To the forearm .
One final diversion . Instead of the usual blast down the road to the café we turn through the gate ,head down to the back of the Hall Barn and pick up some sneaky singletrack heading for the smell of bacon.
Same cake as usual ,but with a cherry on top . A perfect reflection of the ride.
Those tyres . Continental Cross Country 1.5s. Get some .