Sunday, March 30, 2014

Day of the triffids.

Saturday was a day I was looking forward to all week, a days biking and then meeting up in Glasgow for food and a comedy gig. I got on the train early on to meet Graham, a mate of mine from GMBC in the west end, then pedal out to milngavie to meet the others, and Robin who was driving to the start.

There were only five of us, as the club social was the night before, so hangovers possibly made some folks minds up. Off we went, along the west highland way to carbeth huts, but to be honest, I'm not really sure where we were after that!, as Graham and Chris knew these trails, the rest of us just followed along. Our aim was to get up and over auchineden hill, aka 'the whangie' a wee hill popular with Glaswegian climbers for years as it has a few accessible scrambles and is not far from the city.


The hill itself is a tale of two trails, the climb up being grassy and quite wide, whereas the descent was a hoot of tight, rocky singletrack, I'm sure this won't be the last visit here. After that, we had a wee bit of road work, before heading over the moor to auchengillan, where a scout camp was in progress. Great to see youngsters embracing the outdoors, fires being preferred to iPads for a change.

Back onto the WHW for a wee bit, and familiar trails such as Rosie's, fire breaker, boardwalk and eventually the riverside back into milngavie. Robin then decided to show us his flora identification skills, whilst pedalling alongside me, pointing out weird looking triffid like plants down by the allander water. So amazed by these triffids was he, that he veered into me (you know I'm right robinho!) and the two of us ended up in a tangled heap on the Tarmac path, much to amusement of a forty something ned. I think we made his day!.

So 40k later, back on the train home to get scrubbed up for the evening ahead, great day.




Friday, March 14, 2014

Locally sourced....

I've had a really good weeks riding this week, just riding around my local trails. On Monday I headed out for a nightride up to dundonald hill, but got sidetracked in the 'secret woods' trails in the middle of Troon on the way. It's just a little woodland area in the middle of troops most salubrious area, but at night it does feel far more rural. There must be around 2-3 miles of lovely rolling, rooty singletrack, which is perfect for some XC training laps. I'll need to fit some interval training in here this year.

Tuesday was an even nicer ebpvening than Monday, must have been one of the most spectacular sunsets I've ever seen in the shire, but I forgot my camera. Idiot. I had an hour or two messing about on the jumps at Auchincruive, before meeting Julie and two old riding mates of mine, Craig P and big JC. I've not been out with them for ages, so it was great to show them my local stuff, as they are from Kilmarnock, so anything is better than their local trails.

Thursday was our usual figure of eight loop at fairlie, accompanied by Robin and my puffer buddy, kaiser klaus. The trails up there are still muddy, but not as slick, so hopefully they'll continue to drain and show us how good they are in time for summer.

3 nightrides, no rain. Great week.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Typical Ayrshire weather...

This morning was the first time I've done the monkton-tarbolton-failford-stair-annbank loop since before the strathpuffer, and I must admit, after 10 minutes I was ready for chucking it. The stair-rod rain was really hammering into my face heading along the side of the airport, but I knew I'd have a tailwind all the way to tarbolton. After that, it's all off road, and mainly in the woods, so plenty shelter.

Here comes the rain


And it's gone again...


River Ayr gorge


Plenty rain last night!


Could almost be summer

38K, and back in time for elevenses. Sweet.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

First Lakes ride of 2014


Sunday morning was lovely in the shire, but by the time Robin, Julie and I got onto the M74, a day of drizzle had begun. However, the north west lakes can take on an eerie beauty on days like that, with mist hanging over the mirror pond-like derwent water.

We had decided on a slightly different configuration of a popular route of ours, the borrowdale bash, starting on the west of the lake near hawse end outdoor centre. This meant a nice warm up along the lakeside path to the south of the lake, then cycling along the, ahem, footpath to manesty on the east. The main road down the east of derwent is closed to traffic at the moment, so we were untroubled by cars for a change, which was nice.

Untroubled doesn't last long in the lakes though, as the Tarmac climb up to ashness bridge gets the lungs going and the heart pumping, then once the road gets flatter, a tasty headwind had built up heading toward watendlath. After a short but steep climb off-road from the lochan, one of my favourite descents in the lakes lies before you - the the techy bedrockfest down to rosthwaite, and it didn't disappoint.



The discovery of a previously unnoticed tearoom at rosthwaite was awesome, as we were wet and getting cold from the descent, so a pint of tea and a massive slice of almond and cherry cake was very welcome.


All that was left climbing wise was the hoist up the devilishly steep honister pass. Which we passed on!. Instead, we took a wee shortcut, pushing up a footpath to the lovely undulating trail which ultimately leads to castle crags. I used to really love this descent, but I now feel it's just a bit too straight and ploughy, more of a test of nerve rather than skills. Still good though.

After this, I managed to talk R n J into a wee push up cat bells, as they were set to head for the warmth of the car. This was an accidental spot of good luck, as we spotted a path we'd never seen before, a bridleway higher up than the lake path, which was pretty good fun, and even ended up descending right to the car!. By which point it was chucking it down, Oh how I love getting changed by a road side in the rain.....

Great day though, and some tasty food in threlkeld before heading back up the road. A great start to our lakes rides for 2014.