So after a couple of days of proper low temps, the snow arrives on Satrurday. Yehaa, we're riding tomorrow lads!
Only problem is that when I fire up the jalopy to take the wife to the pub on Saturday night is its raining. How the fuck does that work then ? Car says its -1.5 deg c and its raining!! Shit, maybe tomorrows ride wont be through the winter wonderland that I had hoped for.
Woke on Sunday morning, rubbed my eyes and opened the curtains. Praise the Lord... where the fuck has all this snow come from!! YAY. todays ride will be a snowy one after all.
Gets kitted up, and rides down to Tossers house. Fuck me it IS a bit slippy. A quick rub of the snow shows ice underneath. So, last nights rain must have to melted the snow and then when everywhere is saturated with a layer of water, the temp plummets freezing everying and THEN it snows!! Everywhere had 2-3 inches of snow, but it was lying on 1" of solid ice. Not good on a bike.
We meet up and set off for Darwen Moor. Not been up yon for ages and I thought the weather would be perfect. Loads of Grippy snow overlaying frozen moor. Sadly no.
We got as far as the Golf Course before we knew we had problems. I had foolishly put on a thermal base layer, then a soft shell then goretex. Wrong. I was metling. so decided to strip the base layer off while the weather was ok.
By now it was manifestly obvious that conditions were treacherous to say the least. I had hoped that the black ice would relent on the off road sections, but it didnt. It was like the whole of the West Pennine Moores had been blanketed with a layer of solid ice 1" thick, and then covered with snow. It was Fucking ACE!! We could hardly go 10 yards without a primeavil yelp from one of us as one or more wheels skidded.
The decent from the Golf course has NEVER been ridden with more caution. At the gate, we are giggling like 3 year olds.
The Ground was just so slippery it was laughable. I dreaded the turn onto Longworth Lane, but it wasnt too bad really. We headed up to Blow Job Alley without any incident. Turned into the bumming paradise and started to tentativley speed up on the old tarmac down. I was infront, loving the strange noises our tyres were making in the virgin snow, when I heard a bit of a slide then thump to my left. Jase had gone down. I could tell he was ok before I even turned round because Toss was pissing himself. Jase dusted himself off and bravely got back on. I offered some advise on the smooth action needed to stay upright, but he took no notice. Fuck me it was a total lottery staying on the bike, it was just sheet ice.
Not to be perturbed, I insisted that the next off road section up Piss Poor would be ok. Cut a long story short, it wasnt, it was exactly the same. Miles and miles of trecharous trail that would have you off in the blink of an eye!. But it was just sublime riding. Virgin white stuff, untouched by a living soul, we were the first through it. Lovely.
We were getting a bit more confident on the white stuff now, but it had still taken us 2 hours (!!) to reach here. We looked over to Belmont road and noticed flashing yellows. Looked like some poor bastard had gone through the fence and ended up on his roof. I really wanted to head over to the Country Cafe, but deep down suspected it wouldn't be open, so the guys said we should just head over the moor.
Heading up to the gate at the ruin, we bumped into a guy coming down with his dog. "fuck me, thats hardcore being on bikes" was his greeting. Nice bloke who had the crack actually, and he wished us good luck with the traverse of the moor.Turned out to be a push. Got to the top and we deceded to head straight down to Cadshaw as we didnt really want to be up there with lightning threatning. The descent was a blast! Shooting through drifts that must have been 2' deep going down "The Bastard". Great slippy slidy fun, but Jase's freehub was now starting to freeze. Just before Cadshaw his chain also just fell off. While he put on a new link, it became apparent just how cold it was!
We headed over to the Strawberry Duck, Jase was getting faster and faaster with a bit more confidence. He came straight past me and I was just thinking that he was tonking it that he went down like a sack of shit. He bravely dusted himself down and got back on the bike. However, this proved a point that I had been pondering during the ride. Old experienced heads were still riding upright, but the young charger was going down (with a thud!). He wouldnt listen though :p
The chute to the Duck was ACE, we were all over the place. Jase's hub decided to give up here and he ended up pushing over the dam. Up to the track to Lucas Neils, and he was now spinning with gravity so it was ok.
At the Bottom of Lucas' house we spotted what we thought would have been Mrs. Neil's car.
There is somthing kind of funny at seeing an expensive car stranded in such an inoculouse place.
Light was fading as we got to the top of the hill and the views were just breathtaking. The orange glow of civilisation against the stark black and white of natures canvass was brilliant.
Took off me sunnies as things were looking a bit too black and headed down to the Last Drop. Quick diversion through the old quarry and past The Flag and we were on the way home.
All in all, one of the best rides I've ever had. A hoot from start to finish with a small sense of the epic thrown in for good measure. Mostof the ride wsa through pure white virgin snow. We could have been the only people alive on Gods white earth and it felt great.
A little bit of epic adventure in Bolton.