Riding is Ace

I can’t remember the last time that two days riding occurred back to back. Well that’s not strictly true. Riding to work doesn’t count and really Wuthering Bikes did fit the bill, but this was the first time in a long time I have been motivated to go out and do some epic riding.

Saturday was a trip down to Tim at Sideways. Didn’t stay long, because I was just dropping off a wheel and a pair of forks for servicing. The plan was to go out riding in Macclesfield and it was a chance to get some tips on directions from him. He did try to persuade me that given the weather I’d have to be mad to go out in the rain, sleet and hail that had characterised the drive down.

Not only that but there was a near road rage incident with an arrogant bastard in a car on Talke Road. We had a disagreement over who had right of way and once I’d backed up to let him past he gave me a good old evil look which I intuitively countered with an up yer kilt two finger salute. That didn’t seem to go down to well and he then tried (for comedy value) to back down the road at speed in pursuit. It didn’t last very long. He almost crashed into a wall and then as another car was coming he probably realised that the whole thing made him look like he had a very small penis.

I ended up turning down Tim’s offer of fine coffee, reading The Outcast and enjoying good conversation and a bit of banter. Tim can be found blogging here. and sped off cross-country to Macc Forest. I parked up at Trentabank and then rode up and through the Forest and then down Wildboarclough. Then it was up past Clough House and Crag Hall and then over Tagsclough Hill past Heild End Farm. Then it was down through Greens and towards Flash Bottom.

From there it was a case of skirting up and over Wildstone Rock and dropping down to Far Brook and following the bridleway up to Hawk’s Nest. From there it was up to Knotbury, after which it was a case of dropping down towards Three Shire Heads, but rather than turning down towards Panniers Pool, I climbed up the road out of Blackclough and then feeling a bit disorientated, ended up taking the trail that contoured around to Reeve-edge and Danebower Quarries, from where it was a case of making a dodgy wade-across-and-try-not-to-drown crossing of the River Dane in full spate.

This followed an earlier bloody-hell-these-rocks-are-slippy and it’s-a-long-way-down crossing of the waterfall rim near Hawk’s Nest. Ironically this later encounter with the funnelled precipitation of the surrounding hills actually warmed my feet up for all of about 30 seconds – not much comfort really as shortly afterwards it was back to having feet like blocks of ice. As has recently been pointed out, winter boots are great at keeping your feet toasty until they get wet inside after which they’re not particularly fabulous even with nice merino socks on.

Fortunately I survived the crossing and then enjoyed the hike and bike climb up the access road back onto the A54 before heading south and taking the turn off for Sparbent. As with the last time I rode this area, what should have been a great descent was marred by a rather icy headwind. Despite this eventually the trail led down to the waterfall at the head of Cumberland Brook from where it was a case of taking a left down to Clough House. Back on to the tarmac and then a slog up Wildboarclough, back up the climb near Chapel House and down back though Macc Forest to the car.

Sunday saw more rain, hail and sleet in Manchester. Despite this I was determined to go out riding and I managed to convince Tyrrell that it was a good plan. We headed down the M56 and there had been so much icy stuff falling out of the Sky that the motorway was white and everyone was doing 30mph. About fifteen minutes later as we made it onto the Cheshire plain it was blue skies and we were blessed with a spectacular spring ride which was the first outing this year that was warm enough for shorts.

We headed into Snowdonia and parked up at Betws-y-Coed before riding the Tarmac Climb of Death up to the Marin trail. It’s been a year or two since I’ve ridden the whole trail and it’s changed a lot in that time. In all it seems to be wearing well. The Deluxe gobbled up everything it had thrown at it and T’s Stumpjumper was rocking. I think the standard tyres (Fast Track Pros) probably aren’t the greatest things in the world and probably contributed to a spectacular crash on one of the many hairpin corners.
Any I found this biking site the other day and found it had some interesting stuff on it… check out totally spoked.

Author: Cris Bloomfield

Usually mountain biking in the North.

One thought on “Riding is Ace”

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