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.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

.......I shouldn’t laugh, but I know I’m a failure in your eyes......

I started the week accruing brownie points on Tuesday, taking the girls to Exeter for some half term retail therapy. Whilst they scoured the shops I drank far too much coffee and didn't eat a great deal and wandered around the outside of the cathedral to take some pics, you had to pay to see the inside, I didn't fancy paying but I'd pay for not eating the next day.

On Wednesday my good friend Steve came over from the Mendips, he likes Exmoor and wanted to spend the day riding the trails. We started by taking in the South West Coast path and the excellent descent down Lynch Combe, a new one for Steve, then along the lanes to Bossington to take the cycle path to Porlock. We found the cycle path(?) fine if you have a mtb or cross bike, a bit muddy if you want to take your road bike along it though. We then headed up the Toll road to the first hairpin then went off road and upwards and upwards a bit more. I was struggling with the inclines whilst Steve seemingly sped up them with little effort, mainly rough forestry tracks through the evergreens. I've never ridden around this area on the mtb before so I always like new even if I was struggling to get up the hills. I finally got to the top of the hill and was rewarded with the descent off Porlock Common through the woods to Hawcombe. Our fun was curtailed for a bit by a man in a tractor chopping trees down which has ruined a great bit of trail but it is commercial woodland. Up and down the lanes to Horner hoping for coffee but the tea gardens were closed so it was bike and hike up through Eastwater, the river was really swollen so any river crossings were out of the question.

After negotiating the bridges and a stray hound we had some down for a while, along Dunster path and the red mud to Brockwell, along the lanes and a final ascent. We discussed the option of heading to the pub but decided against it and Steve disappeared up the hill and I trudged up after him. The tank was empty today again, can't explain why, don't know if I went off too quick, didn't eat enough and or it was just one of those days. What I do know is that its the furthest I've ridden on the mtb, we didn't stay low it was with bloody good company and needs doing again sometime.

I could of gone out on the mtb with some of the cycling club this morning but I'm always cautious of riding with strangers after a bad experience a few years back. I always worry about my ability to keep up and the way I've been feeling lately I thought better of it so went out alone. A usual loop, sunshine to start with and a bit of rain halfway but I managed to get some nice shots on the way round and didn't feel too bad but did take it relatively easy.