"I played around with love before,
I was silly and you know that I played the fool .
But then you came into my life and you changed that,
Cause I know what I want and where it's at ,
Yeah " *
Excellent spin out today. classic ,pioneering spirit ride of adventure , stylee.
Apart from Jeff picking me up in the car , but , stay tuned.
Set out from the usual Rivi' car park . Bit chilly . Finding it hard work on cold legs , and with a bit of a banging head . Late night last night . No sauce , but , it was Amy's , my daughter's, birthday ( 8 ). Turned into a late one .
So we climb on and up the usual ,back of the barn, and just as we're getting some kind of rythmn , we bump into Andy the plumber. I hope he's corgi registerered. Gassing , see ?
He's heading back , and we're heading off , so we press on . Cold again out of the sun . Hmm. I've a route in mind that I've been meaning to do all summer , but the opportunity has'nt arisen as yet . Variation on a theme , jig it about a bit , keep it fresh .I was going to come on one of the vintage bikes in the quiver , but for a couple of logistical reasons I opt for the Cannondale Rush. Besides , it's up for renewal anytime and should at least be run-in when it goes.
We pop out at the usual ' Pidgeon Tower ' and whereas we'd often head to the Pike , today we head away towards Belmont Lane / Georges lane , around the back of the moor . I tend to come up this the other way . It's a bit of a boneshaker , and very wet . Running water and rock strewn puddles . Bit greasy . Incidentally the view of Hordern Stoops in the bright morning sunshine and the the view to the west ( gazes westward....Clwydian range....)was spectaclear.
I'd pre-empted this rock strewn puddle tomfoolery and fitted a pair of mudguards . Jeff ,( Geordicus mannuss alivus) eschews such refinements . How we laughed as we popped out on the Sheep House lane , me absolutely bone dry with hardly a speck of mud , and him utterly slathered from head to toe like some kind of mud fetish tiswas cage beauty spa facial inmate. Yea . Just like that.
In a further break from convention , we head down towards Belmont on the tarmac for only a minute or so , then dive off to take that sneaky muddy moorland uphill from the post-office ( ? ) . Except today we have the run of the hill and are heading down . Usually we'd climb up this . It can be a bit of a slimy old dog of a climb , but still preferable to the road. I'm thinking that even if it's boggy ( which is likely ) , we'll have Newton on our side , and it wont be too bad .
Er.... OK . It was muddy , but the phrase of the day was ' It's do-able ' . And it was . A few dabs . Some rancid stinky bits , but it was OK . Do - able .
We pop out at the post office in Belmont and turn right , heading for the 'San-marino tunnel'. I no what you're thinking ( did he fire 6 shots , or only 5 ). You're right . We're at the wrong end of the downhill . The uphill bit . It's do-able .
I've been MTBing a fair old while now , who's counting , but I can't ever remember riding up this . I might have very early on , but I cant remember , and I can remember most things .
So we dig in and head up . To truly know the downhill one must first conquer the uphill . It's a basic teaching that underpins all buddhism. We know that hill . Booya. It's a long , virtually relentless spin up . There's a little respite about a third up , on that twisty cutting bit (?), but apart from that it's up up up all the way . It really is all do-able too. Theres no point where it is too steep or too slippy . I dabbed once and so did Jeff .Near the top it gets a little stony and rutted , just as you've properly had enough and you can taste the gate . It's a good test .
Oh , I should mention the Cannondale Rush . Er ,very good . Climbs very well .
We're rewarded for our efforts with a different , equally spectaclearly good view . Nice day today . Bit nippy up top . All downhill from here ....Bwhahaha
At the gate ,facing the mast , we turn left ,across the moors ,initially on that detour bit,but we carry on . I'm on a mission . I'm thinking ,again , that we have the lie of the land in our favour and whilst I guess , nay expect muddiness , it will be all , er , do-able . I'm seeking out Dean Head Reservoir . I've never seen it , and wish too . Do I need any other reason ?
Lie of the land or not , it is proper gungy. Spinning in a low gear though we make decent enough progress. I googlemapped it at a mile from the gate to the turning for the reservoir . It was a long mile .
We turn off to our right . We can already see the reservoir , shimmering like a million mirrorballs , the trail leads down , still a bit boggy and twisty to take us virtually down to the waters edge and a really nice view off in the distance of the daddy mast and it's little baby towers. We stopped for a few minutes , accompanied by a stiff cool breeze , just taking it all in . And some Terry's chocolate orange. It was'nt Terry's , it was Jeff's.
We set off , and whilst I have a vague idea where we're going , it's not crystal.Winging it .I drop down a steep bank to our left that tightens into scalextric singletrack ( scalextrack ? ) for a few hundred metres. Brilliant twisty old school new downhill fun ensues ,with a sharp shocker of a corner to finish ,that I came very close to getting intimate with.
Then it goes a bit wrong . Just a little . My googlemap picture in my head is a bit fuzzy . At a gate the trail seems to continue ,albeit very poorly defined , on towards the Walker Fold area . Minutes later 'wading ' through the impassable deep marram grass I was transported back in time to my minds eye , and a previous bike/life/adventure. These modern bikes are all well and good , but you just cant beat getting a bit off piste.
On the familiar equestrian trails around Walker Fold now , heading back , a bit more 'upness'. Up through the secret hidden valley , across the mast rd , and then up again to the Two Lads . And relax . Nearly there . And another brilliant view , black rainclouds over Billinge , and Blackpool Tower popping up on the horizon .What a day . Chilly stiff wind up here ,though.
The Two Lads descent down to the dog kennels is rapidly becoming a favourite of mine . The last few times I've been down it I 've been on one of the brilliant demo Scotts . As good as they were/are ,with the brakes the wrong way around ( for me ) , I could never quite feel 100% happy letting them rip . No such problem on the Cannondale rush here. I've said that over a certain price all good bikes are good. Yea , the Scotts are fantastic but the Cannondale at roughly half the price is no slouch either . It's a 4" travel bike that feels bigger . Even with the mad lefty 'fork ' up front it is pretty good. I open up the taps and let it rip . It tracks corners so very positively and the back end is so stiff laterally it feels superb dropping off the big drops into the channel . Momentarily I remind myself that I'm going faster than I like , but keep it open anyway . The tyres deserve a mention . I like tyres , me . You should try riding without them . Anyway , today I have the Continental Mountain King in a 2.2 and a 2.4. Previously I had'nt really rated them . I dont think theyre as versatile for our trails as the Verticals,and cost more. Today though , they have been OK , good even . On the slippy muddy sections , of which there were many , they worked well and cleaned off well . They're technically the wrong way round though . Mark ( that pierced pie eyed weirdo out of the shop )rode the bike on the manc2B'pool ride and swapped the tyres for slicks . When he put the proper tyres back on he put the thin one on the front , and the fat one on the back . They worked well enough though , so I'm not complaining . They were so squirmy on the short tarmac sections though, at one point I thought I had a flat .
Jeff dusts himself off after a minor disagreement with the steps to the kennels , and we carry on , carward bound . Under the shadow of the Pike , not today , and on to the Ice Cream Run . I drop the saddle and cane it down ,too fast again . The Rush is brilliant . On a hill like this you'd never need any more . What could top such a brilliant ride ?
Two ' 99s' served at the bottom of the ICR by a lovely young eastern european lady , wearing an impossibly tight pair of jeans that just fitted all the right places . Iz nice .
* Fat back (tyre) band.
I left my camera phone at the car , so no pix , but I'll put the map up .
Here .....I plotted it in a hurry , but you'll get the gist of it. If you click on the graphic you can see the elevation and open it up in googleearth ,and stuff.