Been a few weeks since i moved to Manchester now and what riding i have done has definitely firmed up my belief that i was meant to come here.
The peak district is on my door step now.. not to mention having a world class velodrome just down the road in case the urge to start track riding takes me( at the moment its just a spectator sport).
Last weekend i managed the first real ride out since i moved here.. hilly road ride, really hilly.. taking in some of the great climbs which i think will be featuring in this winters training... never had easy access to 20 minute plus long climbs:) The ride was with a local rider that also uses the XC RACER forum, James (Tottle). It was this ride which highlighted the importance of preparation, with a limited breakfast ( i hadn't been shopping) and heavy commuting tyres on my cross bike instead of road skinnies i was destined for a hard day from the start.
The first proper climb up to the 'brickworks' was tough but managed, James spinning and easy gear and it felt like i was running flat tyres... the climb aptly named 'Long Hill' started to signal the beginning of the end.. weather was now typically hot for this time of year ( who shifted summer to the last few weeks of September, i obviously didn't get the memo) and the big tyres weren't rolling too well... the stomach was feeling empty.
After managing to get over Long Hill and down into the bottom of the Goyt valley i had to grovel up the climb to the Cat and Fiddle pub... from here it was a lengthy downhill with some cheeky uphill sections to get you out the saddle and working... to cut this tale short i cracked on the final flattish 30 minutes of the ride.. i just had to sit up and take 5.. nothing left in the legs. It has been a while since i cracked but was happy to have been worked, always happy to know i have had a hard day.. sure its makes you stronger somehow.
This weekend i did the same ride again, slightly longer as i got a little confused with the route directions but took in all the climbs again.. this time with a proper breakfast and skinny tyres on the cross bikes... everything i grovelled up last week was a big ring climb this time around..made me happy.. weather was great again and views on the climbs fantastic.. not all is lost i can still rde and last weekend was just a slight hick up:)
Mid week between these 2 road rides i managed to get in the first night ride of the forthcoming winter... led by Charlie Wigfall, XC RACER team manager and also joining us riding James (Tottle)... venue was Macclesfield forest as a starting point and then a nice loop taking in some great rocky climbs and descents.
The AY UP lights allowed some crazy descending in the dark although the combination of big rocks and rigid forks gave me 2 pinch flats.. one fixed with a borrowed tube from Charlie after i discovered mine i was carrying was knackered and the second with a patch from James...
Great riding already and i have only been here 2 weeks... Dusk till Dawn next week on the singlespeed... and the search for some sponsorship for next year continues with my preference now being to race single speed all year:)