Sunday, 18 December 2016

More filthy fun in the mud!

So this week I've done a bit more on the rollers but my only ride of note was today's off road mud bashing. Before I could leave Harvey tried to trap me in the house by kidnapping my feet. I managed to get away from my friendly Labrador and the plan was to meet those C&Ders hardy enough for an off road ride at Weekly Woods.

The plan worked a treat and that leads me to the even bigger plan which was to try the route from a few weeks back but in the other, far more sensible direction! Our team today was Andy P, Ken, (Mark,) Sparky, (Mark,) Bairdy and me. A spin through Weekly Woods and the Weekly Hall wood appeared to be going well until our resident womble got a puncture. Much hilarity and taunting ensued. Mark is apparently well practised at puncture repair and you really could hardly tell. His pumping technique was sound though. I pointed at the large bubble on my front wheel where my tubeless tyre was behaving well and sealing itself nicely. 

From there we headed into the Medieval capital of England that is Geddington and onto Geddington Chase with some trepidation. We knew from a few weeks ago it would be pretty boggy. However the most enjoyable bit was pretty firm and we enjoyed the downhill run towards the badger sets. Then as predicted it got boggy and also as predicted Bairdy was the first to come off. He over confidently passed other group members before discovering the source of their caution! It was hard work but definitely passable. I think this might be the last time it's worth riding until it dries again in the Spring. The womble's tumble then set the president for the rest of the ride as waiting for Mark became the norm.

The pic above is Mark finally reaching the end of the Chase. He admitted that this off road lark was harder than he'd thought. Now to be fair to him, Bairdy is one of the most improved riders in our club. He easily keeps pace with the fast group on road rides and it's not all down to his Chinese knock off Bianci/Campagnola products.

This is me showing Bairdy how it's done!

Next off we had some road through Brigstock and then onto the trail that had taken us to Lieveden New Bield last time out. That uphill section was brutal last time out and it was no surprise to find it was easier downhill but actually still work rather than just coasting. I blogged about Lieveden last time so I won't tell you all about this National Trust site again. Needless to say it's not improved by a bunch of dirty MAMILs. Great picture again Andy.

Not far from Lievden we met a bunch of shooters with dogs. They were friendly enough but advised us we shouldn't be on bikes there. So, given they had big guns, we walked for a bit and then as we were sure they were wrong and it was a bridleway, got back on. Well, well, well...the sign below shows we were right. It was indeed a bridleway. Discretion is still the better part of valour though, especially when the people you could argue with have 12 bores!

Riding the other way we'd really struggled on the bridleway from Aldwinkle. This time round it was nicer downhill but a little bit on the slippy slidy hairy side. Andy P expertly led the way. Bairdy took another tumble...

You can see from this picture that we were dealing with tricky conditions. But hey this is what makes these rides so much fun. I really can't imagine enjoying these tracks half as much on a dry sweaty Summer day.

Mark continued with his struggles but then we've had a few weeks practise at this and it is different to road rides so it's no surprise. He did however have no problem catching up with us when sheep were present...

We had a lovely ride by the river with some interesting bridge crossings as we made our way to Thrapston. Andy P found us some great little trails and also a great deal of mud! Mark was struggling more and more and I have to say I think his unusual QR lever positioning really needs a mention! To be fair I was knackered once again. These rides are a real test of strength and stamina.

Finally we popped back onto the road near Woodford. We had some more off road options but decided that was enough for one day and headed back on the roads. Up through Twywell was hard work. Then we headed on a familiar road route back to Warkton, Andy P set the pace and teh rest of us sat on his wheel. He said he wondered why no one else took a turn at the front but in truth we were all doing everything we could just to keep his wheel. I really hope these rides are helping my fitness because they feel like they should! The last bit of the ride home for me was just keeping the pedals turning.

As I arrived home I realised we'd done nearly 40 miles. No mean feat in those conditions. I also realised I had exactly ten minutes to get showered and changed and in the car for our family Christmas lunch! I downed a pint of milk so fast it gave me brain freeze before we went to the Hare at Loddington. It was a lovely meal out and I got a most appropriate secret Santa gift!

Five things I like almost as much as riding my bike. It's good but inaccurate. It should be five things I like as much as riding my BIKES! Also bacon is good but it does not come before cleaning my bike or going to the bike shop! On cleaning my bike. I had to do it in the dark and it was a really big effort!

Final word of the day goes to Mark who is pictured here in all his filth back at our headquarters C&D Cycles. He looks shattered doesn't he? Well we ragged Mark mercilessly on the ride and I've carried on in the blog. However Mark is a man with a good sense of humour and he takes it all as we very well, Good job really it won't stop anytime soon!

Final thoughts today go to congratulating those KCC cyclones who made the trip to Berkhamsted. I was really jealous of their course today with a tricky looking bridge. It was however too far for us with the family lunch to attend. 

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My video recommendation this week comes from the legend that is Guy Martin. Our tea drinking, lorry mechanic, motorbike racer, record breaker has clocked up 11,000 miles cycling this year. He has just aborted a round Britain record attempt because, well you know, he's a bit broken. Nothing more tea won't fix! Anyway if you haven't seen it, check out "Our Guy in China," available on All 4.

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Okay I'm done and just like last week I'm going to sleep very well!!!

Happy Pedaling

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