Friday, 27 December 2013

2013 finished

Still searching.....

Thursday, 21 November 2013

4 months later

not got much to say

been riding bikes, been walking, been taking photographs, been enjoying my family and friends

you know, the usual stuff

been thinking too much, been drinking too much

been reading books again, been writing words again

you know, the usual stuff

Friday, 12 July 2013

2 week catch up

Local rides mostly with a few jaunts out of cheshire, well one actually.

Monday 1st, 28 miles along the TPT.

Tuesday 2nd, 20 road miles.

Weds 3rd, 25 miles around Gisburn Forest with Piers, we managed to get lost on man made trails !, and when Piers fell heavily for a few seconds I had that "oh shit" feeling but he manned up and got on with it :-), it was by any standards a good days riding.

Thurs 4th, 62 miles, up to Delamere, just pushing te miles up a bit now.

Friday 5th, 54 miles, Salsa Vaya, damned if I can remember where I went !

Weekend off bikes then boom, straight into a century, a real old fashioned imperial century, Salsa Vaya with 40mm tyres so not exactly easy, mix of 45 off road miles and 55 tarmac, 101 miles and I still felt good in the legs at the end, in fact it was only my wrists that were sore, pleased with that.

Monday 8th, 101 miles.

Tuesday 9th, declared this a rest day, I was tired so just drove to Delamere and had a spin around the singletrack, 8 miles and a picnic.

Weds 10th, 38 miles, rode with Barney to a hill, the biggest hill in Cheshire, slept on top and talked lots of shit. It was Barneys first ever bivvy so it was definatly a "not roughing it"  version and I think he enjoyed it.

travelling relatively light

pub stops along the way

remembering some good times in the past

after some boil in the bag meals (which are delicious BTW) we spoilt ourselves with some fine cheese and wine

I think that we were in his spot

emptying the excess water ( I think thats what it was)

Sunrise shadow

Thursday 11th, early start and another amble through the lanes, 48 miles in total.

That means 384 miles in 9 days of riding, should help me through the Lakes 200 that I am starting on Sunday with another old friend, we aren't racing and not going to be strict on the route, but will be self sufficient and expect to have a least 2 nights under the stars.

Monday, 1 July 2013

MTB Trail Leader

Part of my redunancy package was £1000 that I could spend on "retraining" for a new career, with that in mind I booked myself on to the CTC's MTB trail leader and MTB tech leader courses, both at the Dales MTB centre.

Run by friends Stu and Brenda, its located just to the bottom right of this picture in the fanstastic setting of the dales, the course was run by Sam Cook, one of the legendary mountainbike racers of the early 90's (Sam was a sponsored Orange Bikes rider).

I turned up early on the Monday with an arrangement to go riding with Stu for the day, unfortunately I'd managed to sleep awkwardly and had a crook'd neck :-(, so as Stu had the lawns to cut I went out for a bimble on my own, just along the river and back, but enough to loosen things up a bit.

Tuesday dawned and with it big blue skies and sunshine, too good to miss a ride today, and as the course didn't actually start until 5 that afternoon I decided to explore. Once again heading up river to Gunnerside. I'd long ago seen that there are the remains of lead mines scattered around this area, scanning the map showed at least 2 locations.

Heading uphill in the blazing sunshine proved that my fitness is still sorely lacking, and that despite checking my map several times I managed to miss the right hand turn that would take me into the valley where the remains are, backtracking until I found the trail, I was presented with a lovely swoopy singletrack descent right down to the valley floor, hard to resist letting the Krampus fly.

Had a good long chat with a chap who had walked up the valley to see the ruins, he knew the history of the place well, and we both agreed that whilst we had arrived here for pleasure, the thought of doing a 10 hour shift having walked up from Gunnerside and then back again afterwards was not that appealing !.

Now that I'd dropped all the height, and looking down the valley at some very interseting tracks I decided to head down to Gunnerside by following the river, it was fine for a while, occcasionally getting too technical for my skills which meant the odd carry (also mindful that I was on my own and apart from the walker I hadn't seen anyone for hours).

I ended up in a lovely little wood, that would have been perfect but for the fact that I was carrying a 30lb bike, still it only took half an hour to get through on foot, once down I headed back to the river to follow the trail home, a nice day out, some 30 odd miles covered and back in time for the start of the course.

The course itself was most enjoyable, good folks and a great teacher, Sam has a nice way about him and gets across what he needs to without seemingly any effort, 2 full days of theory and field work and glad to say we all passed, so now I am a qualified MTB trail leader.

Driving home that night meant passing York so I picked up No1 daughter and a car full of stuff to be stored whilst she is away in New Zealand.

Last week was spent at home, just the occasional ride out in between showers, although one day I did get to Delamere for a play out on the new Cotic Solaris.

And then on Thursday finally linking the trans pennine trail with the Middlewood Way so that now when I head into the peaks I no longer have to endure the A6 through Stockport.

After a weekend away in Anglesey with Jan, this week will be all about riding bikes and not drinking, today I went out in the rain on the Salsa Vaya, 28 miles in under 2 hours without really trying at all, maybe there is a hint of fitness finally coming through ?

Tuesday, 11 June 2013


is a picture is worth a thousand words ?

70 miles door to door, 1000 metres of climbing, 6000 calories.

day 1 - 40 miles, 12inch subway sandwich, chicken jalfrezi, chocolate pudding, tea, whisky, cold and windy, 5 hours saddle time.

day 2 - 30 miles, no food, little drink, downhill pretty much all the way, 2 and 1/2 hours saddle time.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Sunburn on Anglesey

Early start on Monday saw me at Conway RSPB for a stroll around the reserve, nothing of note to report but the salty air, soon enough I was back on the island and parked up at Beaumaris, the plan was to head north and explore around the Penmon headland then uphill stepply to drop down to Fedw Fawr for more bird watching, however....

3 miles in and I stopped at a car park to take in the view over the Menai Straits, propped the bike up and retreated to a bench, bang, over goes the bike, blown by the wind, rear mech hanger bent !

Being a good boy scout I had a spare hanger in my saddle bag, annoyed with myself for letting this happen I set about exhanging it, well, I got as far as unwrapping the multi tool to realise that there isn't a 1.5mm allen key on the tool, I had no choice now other to bend it back straight and hope it would last until I could find a suitable allen key. I knew that there wouldn't be any chance of getting one where I'd planned to go so headed back to Beaumaris, none to be found here but I was told that there was a hardware store in Menai.

5 miles in blistering sun later and I had the right size allen key in my possesion, but as the gears were now shiftng better than before I decided to leave well alone, if the worst should happen I now had the means to change the hanger out.

By now it was dinner time so I had a bag of chips (and half of the most disgusting cheese and onion pie ever) and headed over to llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch for a cold drink, and then back to plan A.

Along the way I stopped for a while to watch a Buzzard toying with a couple of crows, or was it the other way round ? and then on to the priory at Penmon for a scratch around, I've no religous beliefs at all but find old churches, well all churches, interesting places

Heading back to the car and another stop for a drink and cool down to be greeted with this wonderful view across to the hills of Snowdonia

And then a final explore, I'd spotted a well defined track just off the road last time I was here so decided to check it out, it was obviously a footpath but with no "no bikes" signs and no one around I headed up it, about a half mile in and the trail headed upwards into a thickly tree lined woods, then some wood work over a stream leading to a clearing and a middle ages castle that I never knew existed, nothing spectacular but an exciting find for me. On the way back down I could smell wild garlic so followed the trail (and my nose) to see where else this trail went, eventually coming to a stile and a "no bikes" sign, looking over the stile I could see the source of the smell.

30 hot and dusty miles today and I was toast.

Tuesday came soon enough and I decided to head west along the coast, once again to Cemlyn for an hour to start a new book, The Lands Wild Music by Mark Tredinnick, essays about the land, engrossing stuff but also requires a lot of concentration, I think this will take some reading :-)

Again, big blue skies, a light breeze, and no people !, moving onto Carmel Head and again no people, lots of Fulmars on the nest and a single solitary porpoise.

Lunch at the windmill and more churches and chapels to explore, another 30 miles, this time at a leisurely pace so not so done in at the end of the day.

Wednesday and Thursday I'd planned as walking days, and thats what I did, Newbourough Beach on Wednesday and then local to the hotel on Thursday.

I saw this old chap struggling along the beach on a standard mountainbike, he was enjoying his day out regardless and I thought it churlish to tell him about fat bikes on sand so we just chatted about the weather and the tides.

I called into South Stack on the way back, stonechats, wheatears, skylarks and more in attendance as well as the usuall Guillimots and Razorbills.

And then an hour at Cemlyn watching and photographing the Terns

more Terns here

Thursday was a good 10 miles walking, headed to Cemlyn via the Wylfa nuclear power station, was atonished just how close I could get to the facility, presumabley I was being closely watched on the CCTV, more Tern watching, they didnt seem to be as successful at fishing this time, many coming back to land with nothing.

Then back to Caemeas for a sandwhich and then out the other way south to Llanbadrig church and Porth When.

2 pair of Choughs, numerous Fulmars and Gannets far out at sea.

Friday and time to head home, but of course the sun was shining brightly so more riding required, a quick spin out to the far side of Cemlyn, back to town and out around some new to me lanes on the other side, just seeing where they go and how I can link these up with others for a coastal back lane ride I'm starting the think about.

Bike packed in the car, and I'm away home, but then I'm thinking about the cream tea I had a Penmon on Monday, and I'm thinking that I'm not in a rush to get home....

Before I know it, the bike is out of the car, reassembled and I'm pedaling along the coast again, savouring this wonderful weather, by now I'm fed up of taking photographs, content to just spin along and again find a few more links for the coastal back lanes ride.

A quiet 100 bike miles and 18 miles of walking, many pints of beer, good food, lots of reading and  sunburn to be proud of, another week of retirement ticked off :-).