Wednesday, 21 January 2015
I started with the alternative From the Door route, still muddy and a couple of guys went down it sideways but at least we avoided the rickety bridge which could collapse at any moment and I didn’t think 7 riders passing over it would help. Then up the rooty climb (I cleaned it!), up the long shortcut and onto the start of “missing lens” the downhill trail we discovered last week. It was a challenge for some of the guys, but it would have been remiss of me not to show it to Ben and the Puppy who flew down it with their usual mix of panache, skill and seat of the pants riding. We regrouped on the other side of the stream crossing and Ant and Jonnie made for the visitor centre while the rest of us checked out the trail with the big drops. Here we got chatting to the guy in the picture, his trail dog was loving it, what a great way to exercise your pet!
After some picture taking we rendezvoused with Ant and Jonnie at the top of the hill and it ws at this point disaster struck for Ant, he’d negotiated all the technical routes both up and downhill but it only takes a lowering of concentration and a patch of ice on innocuous looking tarmac to ruin your day and maybe the next few weeks. Ant went straight over on his shoulder, all I heard was the scrape of bike on tarmac and normally it’s a case of the rider getting up, checking their bike and brushing themselves down whilst the rest of us laugh and take the piss. This time though it was more serious and Ant looked in a lot of pain. Thankfully he still seemed to have full movement in his shoulder and after Dan moved him out of the road onto the verge and the shock of falling wore off he got back on the bike. At the top of the next climb it was clear Ant was struggling and having trouble pulling on the bars. He made the correct decision to stop and head back to his car and home. Thankfully Jonnie was with him to drive. Unable to do anything else and a little concerned as Ant disappeared without letting us know (don’t do that again please Ant, we were concerned something even worse might have occurred for a while!) this I suppose is the trouble with large groups where the leader isn’t totally sure what’s going on at the back. The rest of us carried on and rode the remarkably dry Kids trail, then Bono and the Esses before a well earned cuppa and cake at the visitor centre. It was here the second disaster struck.
Thankfully not life threatening a puncture is still a pain in the back side, especially on a fat bike This time it was Dan’s turn. We took out the ruptured tube, found two separate thorns in the tyre and removed them and then popped in a fresh tube. However this new tube went down even faster than the original!. I offered my tube but we were close to the railway where Dan could get a ride home so he insisted that was what he’d do. Not a great end to the ride.
The final leg for me was with new guy Ian who seems very enthusiastic and I reckon we’ll see him out again despite the incidents we encountered.
It was very icy in the back lanes where the weak sun hadn’t reached and we tiptoed around, I even got rear wheel spin on a slight uphill incline and that was with my backside firmly on the saddle.
So cheers to Dan, The Puppy, Ben, Ian, Ant and Jonnie for coming out. The biggest turn out for a while. I fear we may have put some people off though, it’s not always this hazardous!
total 94 miles
commute 40 miles