Saturday, 29 August 2009

Glentress Black

I was in Edinburgh all day Thursday on business, stayed overnight in Livingston and drove down to Glentess on Friday morning. Last time I was there I did the Red Trail, this time it was to be the Black. The weather had promised to be bad all week, but the overnight rain had cleared and it was just windy. However the trails were very wet with lots of water splashes. As usual the trails are in excellent repair, the Black has a different character to the Red, much more rocky and exposed. The Black is 30 Kms, it took me 3 ½ hours in total with a couple of stops. The climbs are very big, but the trails are so well designed its almost effortless. Some of the downhill are very exposed, a fall from the trail and you wouldn’t stop till the bottom of the valley! I felt a long way from the trailhead when I reached the TV tower, it’s over 600 metres high, Started the return through Deliverance and then Redemption passing through the Ewok Village, minus the boardwalks, they are being replaced. The Black joins the Red towards the end, before arriving back at the trailhead.

A fantastic enjoyable ride, superbly designed trails, may be the best in the UK.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Sunday Group Ride

We met at Wildeswood car park, Dean, Phil, Dave and I. Dean had a plan to ride over to Great Hill and White Coppice. Today was the first outing for Phil's new bike, I know he's pleased with it.

The route took up to the Mast Road via Two Lads, then off Winter Hill by the steep end, down to the road and across to the flagged path to Great Hill, weather was warm but very windy. The descent to White Coppice is brilliant, in spite for the wind trying to blow us off course. A short trip up up Healey Nab and back to Horwich.

Really tired today after yesterdays ride, but managed 30 miles all in, some new trails again today and some nice countryside, interesting to see how some parts of the hills are very wet and muddy and a few metres away dry sandy ground.

Mileage so far this year nearly 2,400, already beat last years modest total by 200 miles and its only August! Lets see what it is at the end of the year.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Early Saturday

The weather wes decidedly cool at 7 am when I left home, the sun wasn't quite up, but it promised to be a good day. Usual route to Horwich, then Lever Park, the Pike, Two Lads, Winter Hill and then down Coalpits and home, a nice 30 miles, became relly warm at the end. Trails very wet and slippery. Lots of other riders around this morning.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Sunday Group Ride

Sunday morning and back to normal after all the holidays etc with the usual group, Richard, Dean, Rob, Dave and Phil. We met at Wildeswood Car park.

The route took us by the iron lamp path towards Two Lads, but we cut off or the mast road before getting to Two Lads. We then went along the edge of the ridge towards Scout Road and Walker Fold, along the road and then up towards Coalpits Road. We diverted off the usual ascent to have a look at the lake (actually a reservoir) that used to supply water to the Barrow Bridge Mill. This lake is not well known and is only really visible as its reached. It’s a nice spot and has fantastic views over Bolton and Manchester. From there up Coalpits to the mast and down the cheeky trail to Belmont. Phil took off down the trail and left us all for dead, arriving a full three minutes before the rest of us!

At the bottom of the cheeky trail we met up with some guys who were out testing Scott carbon bikes, all very impressive, they were with Alan’s Bikes of Wigan.

From Belmont we found a path up by the right hand side of the road, which proved to be a bit wet and muddy, also we had to pass a bull which provided some light relief! Then to the top of the pass, along Belmont Road to Georges Lane, a quick trip up to the Pike and then home.

It was great to be back out with the group after a few solitary rides.

Sports Tracker said 25 miles, see the plot HERE

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Yorkshire Dales

Took a drive up to Askrigg which is in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire. The route is a circular route that I chose to start at Askrigg. There was nowhere to park in the village, so a small layby had o suffice, a few hundred meters from the village centre. Normally I don't like to drive to ride somewhere, I like to ride right from the door, but anyway it's a nice drive up the M6 via Sedburgh. The whole of the route is ridable, the first leg included a long climb on a green road, and I mean green, a carpet of grass for the most of the way. There is a long easy decent from the top to Thoralby, really nice, with a few technical sections is Aysgarth Falls . There is a cafe and tea room at the falls in the National Park Centre, which is where I had lunch, the weather was excellent around 20 degrees and sunshine all day. From Aysgarth there is a climb up to Bolton Castle, another tea room there!. The next section back to Askrigg is via green roads and stone tracks, all dry and as I say ridable, not last weeks sortie to the Lakes.

See the Sports Tracker route and a few photographs HERE

Thursday, 6 August 2009

I knew when I set out that it was going to be a tough day, but I didn't know how tough!

I left Staveley around 09.30 on a figure of eight route. My plan took me from the village, up to the top of Garburn Pass, and down to Kentmere. This first part was fine, good riding, steep ascent, but more or less ridable all the way except for a couple of short pushes. The descent into Kentmere is brilliant, steep and rocky all the way down. Stopped for a sandwich and drink half way down the next section from Kentmere to Sadgill was also fine, a bit muddy and an indistinct trail. The next climb took me up by the side of Buckbarrow Crag, the bridleway is very old and seems to have built by placing massive flat stones on edge, so the effect is really bumpy and where it was very steep not possible to ride. So it was a very long push to the top of the next pass, Gatesgath. From there down to Dudderwick, no respite, the next climb was to the top of Nan Bield Pass, a major undertaking for me, coming after what had come earlier, it ended up a very long push and carry to the top, all 3 miles of it. In some places this trail is almost vertical, climbing up great rock steps. At the top is supposed to be the start of 14 miles of “classic singletrack”, I didn't seem to find it, the first section was very steep, and being so far from the car and on my own I took it very carefully, when it levelled out and it was possible to ride, it seemed that every 20 metres there was a deep stone drain, about 600 mm deep and for me impossible to ride over. The last few miles were easy enough, and through beautiful countryside, but was by now too tired to appreciate it.

Back in Staveley I wanted to have a look at the famous Wilf's Cafe, when I got there there was some kind of beer festival going on outside, there were lots of fatties with big bellies hanging out in the sunshine, I just rode past, back to the car and home. Bought a very large cup of tea at Forton, with lots of sugar!

I used my phone with Sports Tracker, unfortunately the battery went flat, but anyway I was quite impressed with the result. You can have a look HERE

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Iron Man

Got up very early, leaving the house at 4.30 to get to the start of the Iron Man Competition at Rivington. The start was 6.00 am, with a 2.4 mile swim, then 112 miles on the bikes and finally a marathon to finish. I think about 1700 took part. At 6.00 am there weren’t very many spectators, a few hundred I suppose. The swimming start was good as it’s a mass start, soon thinned out though, difficult to see much, swimmers too far away.
Rode up to the summit of Belmont Road off road to catch up to the riders as they crested the summit, there were all shapes and sizes and indeed all different ages, there are some over 70’s in the comp. Interesting to see the different bikes, from all carbon to ancient garden shed models!
Watched for a while then got out my stove and pans and cooked my breakfast, it was freezing in the wind at 7.00 am! Rode back along Belmont Road, then to the Pike for a short loop and back home by 10.30.