Maybe this blog should be called mud, blood and sweat.
Headed out for a MTB ride today, over to Marple (on the Misty Marple route from Vertabrate Publishings Dark Peak Mountain bike rides) for a quick 2 hour blast.
I was on my Whyte 901, which has had some front suspension issues in the past- they are Reba Airs, and the air cartridge went after about 200 miles. I took it back and it was replaced, but a friend who has exactly the same bike, and the same issue, has had the replacement replaced because it blew out on him again- just from commuting... so I'm basically just waiting for the forks to go again.
I started the ride in the middle of the route in the book- at the high point. So there was a lot of going down to begin with, which is never a bad thing.
Bearing in mind that I nearly snapped my leg in half (backwards) at the lantern pike race at the weekend (if you haven't read that blog, its over in the GlobalTherapies blog), I am still a little ginger about putting excessive weight through the extended knee. On the way to the beginning of the ride- just going up the road, I thought I could feel the hamstrings tighten a little bit too much, but after a while, they loosened off, and it was all good.
Much hilarity ensued as I came bombing down a track, avoiding puddles, until there was one which really couldnt be avoided- so I thought I'd go straight through it. Nope. Man swallower. It pretty much came up to half way up the wheels. No way was I getting through that one at that speed. Not for the first time was I glad that I had flats, not spds on the mountain bike, that could have ended up a lot more muddy and wet than it did.
I carried on and there weren't too many issues for a while, the descents were only slightly technical, and going along the Goyt way was a pleasant enough experience.
It was only on the second half of the ride that the hills got really interesting.
Cycling up a steep slope, littered with stones and rocks, with step ups every so often, when you're quite tired already make for an interesting problem.
I make no bones of the fact that I'm not a brilliant biker, I certainly couldn't hold my own in an enduro- certainly not in my current state of fitness, and I take my hat off to people that can ride on this stuff non-stop for 12 or 24 hours.
My feet stayed pretty much glued to the pedals- I had the Roclites on- but they still don't feel as secure as the Mudrocs did on the V12s. There must be a very different rubber compound going on there.
On a side note, the V12s, even though they have been used for thousands of miles, through bog, rain, commuting in London etc, and they have long since lost their original colour, they are still going strong, and as my shin bears testament- they are still as spikey as the day they were bought.
I continued on, and back to the gear cave, a delightful route, but with a fair few stoppages for map reading etc. The Garmin says that I spent 2:15 actually moving, and 2:30 for the entire ride- which sounds about right- 15 mins of faff.
Now I've done the route, I think that a sub 2hour blast from home is an easy possibility, though if I do it in muddier conditions, I'm going to be needing some new tyres pretty soon.