Well yesterday was my Birthday and I was damned if I was going to spend 12 hours of it working so I got the day off. Hours of time to myself calls for just one thing so with that I packed Betsy and my belongings into the car and took a trip to my favourite riding ground at Hamsterley Forest.
I didn't hold out much hope with weather. It basically been the weather for slugs these last two months and they have taken over the cycle paths on my commute to work creating something of a slalom course. (have you ever removed dead slugs off your bike, bit grim!) The weekend had been all good and dry despite the forecasters telling us otherwise. Personally think they have just given up and now just tell us it'll rain as most of the time they will be right. It was drizzling when I was sorting the car out but I wasn't going to let a little rain ruin my birthday ride. As it turns out the rain stopped when I got to to my destination and remained dry for the rest of the day.
I love Hamsterley forest as it has some great single track and marked routes as well as more traditional roaming mountain biking across the moor lands that surround it.
I set out on the climb to Transmission, a flowing berm fest with bomb holes, jumps and launch points. The climb is long and steep but at least varied and was a real test for my little legs on a singlespeed. I got up no problems, it appears this mid thirties man is only old by number.
This video gives an idea of what its like. There are many tracks like this and I don't even consider this the best part. I want to know what the guy is doing just walking up the hill at the beginning is all about. Lazy Man! I passed a couple of DH riders on my way to the next big climb dumping their gears to cope with the long climb to come. As I passed the guy shouted that this was where I over took him. Which I promptly did with a return of "yeah on a singlespeed to!" He seemed a bit put out by that. I made it to the top which wasn't easy. Its a loose gully ridden climb with a good 10% gradient in places. But I made it all the same and so had a little drink and snack rest. As I was about to set off the guys finally got to the top having had to walk most of the way up the hill. Smug mode.
That wasn't the only time I dropped people on climbs cross country riders included. Needless to say I got many comments of people thinking me superfit or just plain mad. No idea if any of these apply to me but I was probably sporting the bigger grin.
Despite all the rain the trails weren't that bad and the all weather tracks had been just that, which is a credit to the guys and gals of Hamsterley Trailblazers for their building skills and dedication. They've created some great riding no matter what the weather throws at it and we've really had lots of rain. One day we has our months rain in two hours. I did just under three hours and was starting to feel the climbs more in my upper body than legs but I was happy with my day.
Had a lovely big meal out in the evening with the family and ate far to much so it was a good day.
On the plus side I woke up today ready for my commute to work feeling fresh. My legs never hurt or felt stiff. So I may be 35 but by all accounts I'm still 21.