Saturday, 28 December 2013 tree hill......

I like this tree, it sits on its own by the roadside on Dunkery Hill. It has appeared to me through mist and I've ridden by it in glorious sunshine and driving rain.

Ridden the road bike a couple of times this week, once past this tree the other time not. That's this year over cycling wise I think, achieved so much this year, thank you to those who helped me make it.

I like this tree, think it's the bleak but statuesque beautiful loneliness of it..........

Thursday, 26 December 2013 less biscuits....ride up hills........


Saturday, 21 December 2013

........the path I walk's in the wrong direction........

Went out on the road bike last week, the weather forecast was a bit dodgy but I wanted to get up the Toll road one last time before the year was out. You can break up the ride up into two really, the first half just past the toll house is nice and sheltered in the trees and I did my best time of the year. The second half is more exposed and if the wind is in the wrong direction it's hard going, and it was. Once up and after catching my breath I went straight back down, battling across the moors in the wind didn't appeal. Did a loop around some lanes and a sprint down the seafront, the wind in my favour this time.

This week I've been mainly mountain biking, wet,windy and freezing cold on the road bike didn't appeal so I rode up some hills on the big green bike for a couple of days. Quite pleased with how I've progressed this year with my fitness. Eighteen mile mtb rides used to be a major expedition and take most of the day but now I just want to keep riding, what used to be two separate rides I'm now doing as one.

On Thursday I did a loop which took in some hard climbs, even trickier when its wet, muddy and still mulchy out on the trail. It's a balancing act going up hill on the mtb, trying to keep your weight distributed, fighting to keep the front end down whilst the back wheel is slipping did get a bit annoying and led to some expletives. Whacked my shin slipping off, it smarted, didn't cry though.

Lucky with the weather again though but it was cold on top of the hill before heading back to home. A herd of Exmoor ponies came and said hello though which was nice., went like this.

On Friday I went in the opposite direction but just went where the mood took me. I did consider keeping low and riding some lower paths but that doesn't make sense so headed up then down Dunster Path to the red mud. Went this way to see how I fared on the fireroad slog up after riding yesterday, not my quickest but did it, nearly 6000ft of climbing in 36 miles, is that classed as hill repeats?

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 say to me I don't talk enough but when I do I'm a fool......

A tragic teenage hero of mine once said "When taking a journey, it's not about the getting there, it's enjoying the view on the way" I enjoyed the view today......

I did a usual loop but was feeling really good so extended it a bit more, so glad I did because it meant I got some more images.

Actually felt strong on the bike today don;t know why but enjoyed it, went something like this.......

Thursday, 5 December 2013

........can you hear the silence?...........

I've been neglecting the blog a bit lately and riding my mtb so I thought I'd put both of those straight today. I have been riding though and meeting interesting people so although the keys have been idle I haven't. With my rest days falling during the week and a last minute window in my good friend Jennifer's schedule, I grabbed the opportunity to visit her and ride some of that flat stuff last Wednesday. Nice riding around the levels a real haven for birds, swans, herons, starlings the odd magpie and even a partridge but no pear tree :) We rode some of those long straight roads they like around there but thankfully with little wind, stopped for coffee, chatted and even found a hill to ride up on the way back.

Yesterday started a bit damp but I had to get out so did a quick loop on the road bike, it wasn't too bad and was glad I got out. Still lots of colour about but as a friend of mine commented about this photo, winters coming over the hill :)

In the afternoon I was invited to lunch by the lovely Elke who promotes all things good on Exmoor through her Exmoor4all website. She had organised a Christmas lunch for some Exmoor business folk and kindly invited me along too as I always try to show how wonderful it is around here through the blog. The location was The Culbone, a pleasure to get to as it means driving up and along Porlock hill with great views to enjoy on the way. The food was excellent and so was the company, nice to meet people I sort of knew through twitter and some new people too.

So to today, very windy so definite mtb day, getting blown across the road on the road bike didn't appeal at all. The usual slog up to Hopcott but sheltered and the trails were dry after this cold snap and rapid progress to the top of Grabbist hill with the wind behind me. Although it was dry the tracks are covered in leaves and hide roots, rocks and toxic dog leftovers, luckily just the odd stone whacked me in the shin today.

I went for a loop around the Crown estate woodland on the other side of Dunster, hard going in the wind on the exposed climb up and around Black Hill to the trig point. The descent was very quick but a bit boring on the fireroads but once nearer Dunster I rode some more interesting tracks before heading back up Grabbist Hill.

After negotiating the ascent of Grabbist I headed back up the ridge and down some of my favourite tracks back towards home, felt good, rode up stuff, not a bad ride at all.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

...............some summer days I hide away and wait for rain to come........

Sundays off are a rare treat for me so I grabbed the opportunity to get up early and hit the hills on the mtb. I didn't feel like it at first though, tired after going back on shift my and head felt clogged up with stupid thoughts, the first hill of the day felt like hard work even more than usual.

 I persevered though, the weather was cold, still and grey my kind of weather, the cloud just sits on the hills and you can get lost in the mist. Went down some new tracks and up some tracks I usually go down you get the idea, even though the legs felt like lead I still rode up them.

There's a little track someone has made out in the forest so I headed down that towards home. So quiet and peaceful in the trees not a sound even the squirrels must of been having a lie in. It was so quiet I wish I could capture the moment or portray it better, it was a good place to be........

Thursday, 7 November 2013

......dead leaves and the dirty ground......

Well, it's getting dark earlier, the rain hasn't seemed to of stopped for a good couple of weeks and the roads and trails are covered in debris. I heard somewhere about it being a late Autumn so the leaves are falling off the trees later than usual that plus the wet weather equals mulch everywhere. If in doubt I always opt for the mountain bike in these conditions, grippy tyres and quiet trails away from roads always seems a good idea. I know some people lock themselves away for the winter on their turbo trainers but I've tried that, it's not my thing. It feels like torture to me, time stands still and you're on a bicycle not actually going anywhere which also makes me feel weird, perhaps I have motion issues? I'm sure it is supposed to be like torture, make you sweat and work hard for when it brightens up and you leave me behind because all I've been doing is trundling about on a heavy mtb.

It wasn't raining today though and the wind was non existent at least down at sea level as I set off upwards towards the moors. Off exploring today, rough idea where I was going but somewhere I'd not even visited before. First descent of the day summed up most of the ride, leaf and rock strewn washed down by the rainwater with the added obstacle of freshly dug rain channels to negotiate. The next ascent along Dunster Path was a challenge, very wet, very rocky lots of catching pedals and tyres slipping, anyway shin scars are a mountain bikers badge of honour but it's a good job I've got decent clearance on the frame!

After Webbers Post and nearly getting swept away crossing Cloutsham Ford which was very deep, axle height, who needs chain lube, I took the road up and past the farm. I chose this way because I wanted to visit the little church at Stoke Pero.  I'm not religious but I do like a bit of History and apparently it's the highest church in England which also means downhill time.

The trail down to the river was brilliant, steep and narrow through the trees and down to the raging river and across the bridge. A nice steady spin alongside the river through to Horner and along the road to Allerford, more up, too many tracks to choose from. I zig zagged my way up, hard work under the trees in the mulch and some poor route choices didn't help which meant the odd push until I got to the top of the hill. A welcome breather in the sunshine at the beacon then it was all downhill to home down through more zig zag paths to the harbour.

Very wet trails but at least I was out on the bike on Exmoor and that really can't get much better?

Strava bit......

Sunday, 3 November 2013

........If everything could ever be this real forever........

I left the bike at home today, put on some sturdy shoes picked up the camera for a change and went for a walk through Horner Woods along the river. It was surprisingly quiet for a Sunday which made it even more peaceful, just the sound of the river running through the valley, a beautiful place that's only a ten minute drive from home.