Forecast was correct

I’ve planned out a big ride around Pendle Hill but the forecast for Sunday was pretty grim and I thought that it’d just be miserable trying it out under leaden skies.

Before the heavens opened

So I headed in that direction and revisited the trails at Gisburn Forest. It’s been a few years and it’s strange how you forget what the trails are like. In short if you want to practice root strewn technical climbs through a forest this is the place to go.

Out of the woods on the open track climb up to the upper loop the heavens opened and it rained heavily for the rest of the ride. I ended up taking Long Way Down rather than the Gully run as a descent. The conditions made it a pretty miserable second half ride with water sloshing in shoes and gloves. At least it was warm.

Savaged

Take some trail maintenance tools. Clear some of the undergrowth. Cut back some of the tree growth. Great plan.

Didn’t take into account midges, mosquitos and horse flies. Proper bitten in addition to the standard set of nettle stings and bramble scratches this morning.

Welcome to July.

Llandegla Classic

I can’t remember the last time I did Llandegla as a complete route, I normally end up going off piste with Neil and Lardy and sampling things outside the boundaries. This weekend it was just me so I did most of the red and some of the black bits (there are now some forks in the trail where you can chose between different options) and it was like a voyage of discovery. There were some bits that I had genuinely forgotten existed, which made it very worthwhile.

The weather was descent, the trails were dry, a 2pm start meant the trails were relatively quiet and the recently fettled bike made solid and creak free (thanks to a new bottom bracket) progress around at a descent pace. Not the longest ride but a good one.

Rishi (no Sunak)

Rishton Loop

Headed over to Rishton near Blackburn for a loop which was a Frankenstein of two other loops. The southern most one it turned out was all road and a missed opportunity as I passed a couple of bridleways. Might have to return and do some more recce work.

When they arrived, the off-road bits were mint. Some really good bits of Singletrack, including some nice little sunken trails and technical climbs. There was also some classic Singletrack ribbons which were great, except the bit through the gorse bushes on one of the hill sides which was a prickly bit to navigate.

Rishton Loop

Some good views and bits of Lancashire where you could have been in the middle of Wales miles from anywhere. Then over the next hill, you were back into obvious civilisation. Lovely little Father’s Day ride.

Goodbye Durham

So today was my last day working in Durham, so earlier this week I returned to the Land of the Prince Bishops to say farewell.

County Durham

The weather was kind, the ground was baked hard and dusty. The trails ranged from the improved, to the neglected to the lost.

County Durham
Cheeky Trails

There were cheeky trails, there were peacocks, lovely folk and head height cow parsley and handlebar high nettles.

Noisy Peacock
Finchdale Priory

After 7.5 years of riding, including a full year where I commuted by bike everyday even during the Beast of the East, I have come to know and love the place. I had bought the Chameleon with the intent of keeping that exploring going, but COVID killed off that idea. I’ll bank those – might get back and be able to try them one day.

County Durham
County Durham

That UNESCO World Heritage Site view of the city is truly a rarity in this modern age, there’s certainly no boring commutes getting into work in Durham.

Durham City
Durham City

Two Passes and Two Gates

Longendale

Rugby season is over so up at 6.30am and out to the Dark Peak District for a classic ride.

Longendale Head

Longendale Trail up to the Woodhead Pass, the Now Track down to Langsett, along Mickledon Edge and over and Cut Gate to Derwent Reservoir then up Snake Pass to just shy of the summit before taking Doctor’s Gate ultra technical trail down to Old Glossop…

Woodhead Pass
Woodhead Pass

It was scorch out there, low 30s and I had to beg some sunscreen off some walkers I bumped into. Also ran out of water on the final climb up the Snake, that was properly hard.

Woodhead Pass Snow Track
Mickledon Edge

I have never ridden Cut Gate when it has been so dry – literally dusty and all rideable which was a complete first!

Cut Gate Final Descent
Doctor's Gate

At the bottom of Doctor’s Gate as you come into Old Glossop there is a pub and for the thirsty biker it was like finding an Oasis. Suitably refreshed it was back over the tops back to the start of the Longendale Trail. A long but really good loop.

Doctor's Gate
Santa Cruz Megatower

Roubaix Hunting

Lydiate Roubaix

So went hunting for more bits of Roubaix in the local area. Found one of the good local bits trashed by the farmer over the winter – good foot of mud over the cobbles. Pretty much unridable, hoping that it will dry out and be back to a more usable state by the summer.

Sefton Downhill

Re-rode the “descent” from the Leeds-Liverpool canal down to Crosby, there is a 22m drop…