Thursday, 11 August 2011

The difference a week makes..

Last week, I rode twice; once in Sheffield (which I loved) and once at 'home' in the Forest of Dean (which I also loved).  It struck me though, how different the riding is, oop North, the climbs go on and on, and so do the descents, in the FOD, the ups and downs seem way shorter, but what they lack in height or distance is made up for in swoops, turns and grins.

Last week I felt like I was flying, I loved it and could of ridden forever.  This week, my legs have felt weary and I have to admit when the planned wednesday ride was cancelled as the lad I was meant to be riding with had decided the rain called for a trip to the local timber mill instead of a ride on his bike I was relieved.  His offer of moving the ride to tonight was met with initial enthusiasm (hell, it's getting out on a bike, how horrible could it be?) which soon faded and I started flicking through my book of favourite excuses, when 'My bike was eaten by my Japanese house mate' failed to convince even me, and with his story from last week ride ringing in my ears about the awards he hands out for best (or most feeble, depending on your viewpoint) excuse for missing a ride, I resigned myself to having a tough ride with a stoical view that it would only do me good.
So THAT'S what it's meant to look like

I'd already told my work colleagues that I was out on my bike tonight (and, once, the initial 'hilarity' of confirming that yes, I was meeting those men off the Internet again, and of course, I was looking forward to another good hard ride had faded) I actually started simultaneous clock and sky watching.

We headed out from a 'lay-by on the A57' and within 200mtrs I was sweating and cursing whilst trying to heave my bike over and around rocks, the big stuff caught my wheels and the small fist sized ones caused my rear wheel to skitter annoyingly, I briefly lifted my head to see Chris expertly picking his way steadily up the climb.  He's a great tour guide and reaching the summit overlooking Ladybower Resevoir he was able to point out cracking riding throughout the 360 degree view that greeted us.

Ye gods
To be honest, the ride was short, a mere 4.5 miles, but take a look at this.. that's a fair amount of height gain and loss in such a short distance.

My main memory of the ride already is how I need to get my head around the unique riding opportunity riding on grit stone offers, being able to trackstand whilst facing downhill at an angle of about 45degrees for instance.  I also remember just how steep that descent was and how pointing the nose of my bike downhill for 15 minutes is a very novel experience. 

Here's to many more of em