Forecast for Saturday morning was belting. Unfortunately non of the lads could make a ride so it was to be a solo. The night before I hadnt really got anything planned, but waking up early on the Saturday and seeing the sun shining through the curtains I decided on making the most of it.
Bike fully fixed and I was feeling pretty fit from all the cycling I have been doing so I thought I'd have a bash at the Four Towers, but in reverse. I was a little panicy about being back in time to pick Jazzie up from work, but it turned out I would be well on the right side.
Dropped into the valley and climbed up past the Last Drop. Lots of walkers about enjoying the sunshine and the trails were bone dry. Through the gold course and dropped down to the Witton Weavers. Climbed halfway up and took the path down to Victoria Mill. Only ever climbed up this way, but it was a good little down hill actually.
Into Chapeltown and over the dam. Still water reflecting a lovely blue sky.
Now started the climb up to Crowthorn and the body farm. Legs felt very strong here and middle ringed it all the way up. Superb view from the top, but the wind had picked up from nowhere and made the path round the horseshoe a bit more like hard work.
At the fork I decided on going up to Pilgrims cross and hitting Peel tower from the Bull hill side. Was a bit concerned about the boggyness, but neednt have bothered as it was pretty dry and was riding really well.
Dropped down to the second tower (peel) and realised that I hadn't actually visited Turton! Cockend.
I took the rocky track down to the start of the return round the horseshoe and it was fucking great fun. Bike felt brilliant with the shock now serviced and my new front brake finally giving me a bit of confidence to fly down here.
Passed a couple of jocksters on the Horseshoe and swapped pleasantnesses. Was soon at the top of Crowthorn again for the sprint down to Wayoh. The steep climb up to the Duck was a lot easier than I thought it would be but the chute up to Cadshaw was pretty hard work.
Up the Bastard and it was at this point that I started to perhaps realise that my legs were feeling great. I didnt even stop at the top for a breather, just carried on to the top of the moor. All the recent cycling I;ve been doing is really paying off and I think I'm probably about the fittest I;ve been in years.
The Moor crossing to Darwen Tower (number 3) was a pleasure. Lovely views and firm riding. They have even brought up a load of stone to repair the mud baths on the moor.
Big group of Jocksters at the tower who were very friendly and had a good chinwag with. From here I thought I'd visit the cafe for some food which meant that I could go down Stepback Cough. This has been well washed away over winter and is now a FANTASTIC balls out rocky downhill, grinning from ear to ear and the blast down to the cafe was good fun too.
Bacon and a massive pot of tea from the Cafe hit the spot.
Spun along the road to the start off piss poor which I took the the farm then over the Dam. Legs were beginning to feel it a little bit here as, apart from the cafe I had be on a fast pace all the way round. Up Sheep Houses and the Belmont road to the Pike. Long slow climb up and slapped my hand against number 4. Bit breezy but the view was ace.
Still had a bit in the legs so decided to push up the kennels and hit San Marino, but at the top of the kennels i needed a lie down as my back was aching a bit.
Well deserved rest though. San Marino was fucking brilliant. Apart from the fact that I minced every drop after the spaniel because I just can NOT get used to flats and my feet coming off them.
Steady blast down Belmont Road and home. Was hoping to push the ride out to 40 miles, but in the end it worked out at a whisker under 38 and 4.3k of climbing. Wonderful day out on the bike.