Wow. Today three members of the North Cheshire Clarion and a potential new member headed over to Rivington Moor for a few mile mountain bike ride. We met in a pub car park at 10am and set up the bikes and headed onto the first climb of the day. The route up to Winter Hill was a rocky technical climb, which for the first big xc ride of this year caused my heart to try pumping out my chest. Once up the views were fantastic, a beautiful clear but cold day (it was so cold that the normal running water down the side was frozen solid). As we crossed the moor I could hear a rattle from the rear of the Marin, slightly concerned about this I stopped and discovered that my rear disk brake was loose due to the retaining nuts falling off. A quick fix with cable ties was quickly unfixed with the first brake as the force of the caliper moving to stop the bike ripped it clean off. This resulted in stripping the bike apart and removing the rear brake completely.
As we pressed on my reduced braking capabilities was beginning to terrify me. We met two really nice guys who knew the moor likes the back of their hand and kindly took us to some fantastic single tracks with some amazing berms, jumps and drop-offs. In the words of our unofficially guide "it was proper gnarly". All this with one working brake was not the best idea. We stopped at Rivington Barn for a brew where I managed to get two nuts to fit the caliper back on.
Pretty pointless putting it back on as it was back on the climb, back upto the top of Winter Hill. The climb from the barn took close to 45 minutes, which was a killer and one which i was doing well on until we hit a stretch of single track which blew my legs apart, the rest of the climb was a real struggle and I started to realise I had "bonked" (not enough food).
For me the highlight of the day was meeting an old couple at the very top of the moor, whilst trying to recover my breathe. The old chap was talking about the cycling clubs he had once been in and mentioned that he thought cycling clubs were reducing. When he saw the North Cheshire Clarion shirt he suddenly started laughing and told us he was a member of the Clarion in the 50's, which for me was fantastic to hear. The stories he told during our brief chat will live long in my memory.
What have I learned about my first big XC ride of the year? Eat, eat and eat some more. I estimate that the ride caused me to burn in the region of 3 - 4,000 calories. All I had eaten was a bowl of porridge and a nutrigrain bar which is fair to little for attempting such a big ride. Now home I have consumed about my body weight in chicken and pasta as well as cheese on toast. I cant stand up and every little move is now hurting but it was well worth it and I had a great time with the lads.
Weigh in tomorrow, if I haven't lost any ill be gutted.