My weekend biking has suffered of late. It has played second fiddle to a couple of monumental Saturday piss sessions the last couple of weeks, to the extent that I missed the STW Hebdon ride and also last Sunday. Still, managed to get out during the week, but still not really stretched the legs. So Saturday dawned lovely and I hatched a very last minute plan to do a Dales Epic. So last minute that I had to shoot over to my Dad;s on Saturday night to get the right map.
I planned on doing This route. 36 miles should sort me out. So Gear packed, food made, lucozade bought I went to bed. Alarm went off the next morning and I could hear the rain drumming against the window. Got up, went downstairs, had breakfast, poked head out of the window and promptly fucked off back to bed!
Got up at 12.30 after lounging in the sack with the wife (Kids were sleeping out) and it was still raining! Hard too. I eventually decided to get out anyway and set off at 2.30. Didnt really have a ride in mind so headed over to Rivi in the pouring rain. As usual, once your actually out in it, it isnt so bad and I started to enjoy myself. Not many other people out either. Down the Kennels and up onto the Pike. Not a soul up there and my legs were feeling ok, so balls to it, I'll head over to Darwen and bag the second tower. Piss Poor was out-fackin-rageous! Never seen so much water coming down it. By the time I got to the gate I was pissed through. Al's waterproof shoes completely overwhelmed by the water. The problem here is that as they are "waterproof" when water gets in, it cant get back out. My feet were effectively submerged for the rest of the ride. Good stuff.
Was getting a bit tired now as the soggy conditions made it real hard work to pedal. From the tower I had a total mental breakdown and decided to take the Singletrack over to the Whitehouse and then thought that I;d have a bash at the lovely singletrack that we found earlier in the year. BIG mistake. The ST over to the White House was just a river, punctuated by deep bog. I found out just how deep it was when, after the forty third time of falling off, my leg was swallowed right up to the bollocks.
More fun was in store after the White House as I hit the "Sublime dusty Singletrack ribbon" I think I called it earlier in the year. The contrast couldn't really have been more stark. My previous sufferings paled into insignificance here. The path was just a fucking dark shimmering morass of filth that had a striking resemblance to a cows giant turd. Wading (and I do use that word in its correct sense) through this shit had me questioning just why the fuck I was up there on that moor, on my own, stinking and carrying my bike. Adversity. That was it. Facing up to it and carrying on regardless. Yes, that was the reason.
5 Minutes later and on the moor proper, spuds deep in shite and I decided that it was just plain insanity and I should just accept that this route was probably not one of my best choices after the deluge. Even the cows and sheep looked clean in comparison to me. I feared that when I did, hopefully, make it off the moor and onto the A666, that in my current condition I was likely to be picked up for breaches of the Vagrancy Act.
Several lifetimes later, I did indeed make it off the moor. Here, I had originally planned to take the off road route past the Duck and then home. Well, fuck that for a game of soldiers. I followed Green Arms home pronto. WW, Quarry and Higher Ridings flashed past and before long I was kissing the path at home.
25 miles was all it worked out at. Felt like 50.
Darwen moor is good fun really, taking the proper routes. But that bit of Singletrack to White House wont be seeing me again, not unless we have a 3 year drought. If in any way you feel the urge to pop up to the Moor and have a bash at this route, then I would respectfully request that you read this blog again, more fucking carefully. That or take a canoe.