Posted by: Stu | February 10, 2009

Snow white and the mountain bikers (Tuesday, 10 February 2009)

There hasn’t been all that much biking since Christmas what with it being a bit dark and wintery. I dusted off my lights for some winter night riding in autumn, but I’ve not even managed to get any of that in.

Anyway, with an email from Mark last week saying he and his lovely lady, Sarah, were up for a gentle spin around Glentress on the weekend… sounds good to us, we thought. However, with the biggest amount of snowfall the UK has seen for 20 years last week, Sarah and her pals thought it may not be all that great an idea, and wimped out.

Of course, Phil, Ally and I are real men… and desperate to get out for a pedal, so a bit of snow wasn’t going to stop us. Well, it certainly slowed us down a bit. There was a heap of snow in the borders and I had completely underestimated the potential packing down of the snow on the trails, turning it to thick ice in places. This made the going somewhat, errr, interesting. Trying to hold traction on the climbs was pretty dam difficult, but at least an interesting challenge. The descents, however, were a different pan of salmon all together.

On the downs, things changed from being an interesting challenge, and quite comical in places, to timid skittering toward certain death. You needed to brake to stop yourself going anything faster than walking pace and risk sliding into a tree, a rock, a badger… who knows. But too much braking, especially on the front, and you lock your wheels and end up with your face in the frosty white and frozen solid dirt. Phil got a swift lesson in this as we hit a section of trail that had become a run off to some melt water and turned into a rooty singletrack ice rink. He slid straight off his bike and down a verge into a tree stump and a couple of rocks. This just wasn’t fun anymore.

At the bottom of that section of trail we gathered our thoughts, wits and nerves and contemplated turning down the fire road back to the van. Mean while a rather friendly robin joined us in the hope that we might share some power-bars with him… so we did. This little fella was great, he hopped about a bit around us and on and off our bikes and cheered us right up before we headed the short route back to the car park and… more importantly… coffee and carrot cake 🙂

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