Well I had a cracking day on Sunday. Seeing my good friend Tom Hutton had strayed out of the mountains of Snowdonia on MBR Magazine business (and not too far from where I live) I asked if I could tag along for the ride and so I joined him and Steph in the Chilterns. Continue reading “The Chilterns with MTB Guiding”→
I hadn’t been out for a few weeks due to family commitments, a cold and yes I had avoided the rubbish weather on maybe 1 or 2 occasions; but today I was going out and needed to get some miles in and much needed time in the saddle.
The UK weather certainly showed me that it can be unpredictable at this time of the year. I couldn’t decide to keep the rain gear and water proof gloves on or to pack it away and just wear the T shirt. I had it all other than snow.
I planned a loop that I had to commit to and short cuts weren’t really going to be an option. But I went prepared with a small packed lunch, snacks and my Alpkit Kraku stove and Mytimug. I had chosen a specific spot for my mid-ride brew, but my lacking fitness and some strong headwinds put me half an hour from where I wanted to stop.
But this little spot by the River Kennet worked out perfect.
In some form of preparation for my upcoming British Cycling course I used only a map and compass for navigation. Yes, you may spot a Garmin on my bike in the photos but this was purely to keep an eye on the time and to record my activity.
My original planned lunch spot above Alton Barnes was a tad windy, but at least by the time I arrived at the highest point in Wiltshire the sun came back out and I could admire the views.
I only did around 24 miles, but with 2000 ft of elevation gain (38km and 650m) it was a good test of my fitness after 3 weeks of no riding.
Spending 4-5 solitary hours in the outdoors gives you time to reflect and relax and I realised how much I enjoy this time by myself as much as I do with friends playing about in the woods.
Wiltshire has a lot to offer for good cross country routes and with plenty of time to think about it, I really feel a plan coming together…
This time of the year my local “trails” are muddy. I know, so are yours but mine are not very interesting at the best of times so when it gets muddy it simply is no fun at all.
I am not a geologist but I can confidently say we have a heavy clay content in our soil around here so when it gets wet no “mud tyre” or “winter tyre” will cope. So the only solution if you want a proper ride is to visit a trail centre.
As we were going to be in Wales it would be rude not to take in a trail, so we hatched a plan to visit Cwmcarn and ride the Cafall.
I was determined this time to take some photos and with the misty conditions it was certainly moody and picturesque enough for some fine results. Hopefully you will agree.
This ride was great and theres a lot to be said about making the effort to find a trail centre during the winter. They are built to take a battering from riders abusing them and of course the weather, especially in Wales. A combination of the trees and elevation profile will allow rain to either be drunk by the vegetation or run off down the hillside to join the local rivers out of the way. So save for a few patches we managed to ride around in some damp but not muddy conditions.
Now, there’s not getting away from it, its time to see my face and listen to me talk. 2017 will see me do more video (hopefully much better than this one) so get used to it!
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