Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Scotchmen Go Riding in the Snow

The Scotchland wing of Velocake have been going a bit stir crazy recently because of a little snow. Well, over a foot of snow, a slight thaw, a freezing of the half-melted snow, two hard frosts then another few inches of snow. There's been a handful of rides but they've either been part-hikes or sketchy attempts at road and lessons in black-ice-avoidance.

However, by the 23rd, the conditions were actually fine so after a couple of exploratory spins on the 23rd and 24th, a ride was planned for the 27th. Cue the immediate jinxing of the 27th ride......

Over the night of the 26th into the 27th, things went a little wrong. The temperature rose, the snow started to melt and rain came, but overnight the temperature dropped again and more snow arrived so James and I were facing a mess of snow, slush and minimal traction.

The slipping started from the top of the hill outside my house and didn't let up. Wheelspins, sliding, stalling, front wheels disappearing into drifts........a loop that would take an hour was taking longer and longer, even though sections were dropped.

After a 'short cut' via the park to avoid the main road, the attempt to ride the initial trail at the back of town was abandoned before we'd even gotten to the main trailhead, a u-turn down the deserted high street replacing it as we headed to the south trail.

We were greeted by a walker, who kindly expressed his surprise and warned us of the impending conditions we faced. We explained that this was better than sitting in the house and, being a likeminded soul, he understood.

From then on it was ride....spin....slip....walk.....remount.... slide...remount....ride....slip....


We eventually reached the turn off to the Pale Ale Trail but based on what we had faced so far, it was judged to be unwise but the recent weather seems to have provided a new entrance as the fence has collapsed. We'll be back with some cutting tools. We also took the opportunity to have a rest stop here and a little drink.


Pressing on, we rode, slipped, walked up to the farm then finally fond some proper traction in the tractor tracks and rode incredibly slowly down the other side of the hill, where we met a couple of people out for a walk.

"Are you two doing this for a bet?"

I think that summed it up.

Missing out another section, we hit the road for a spell, desperate as we were to play russian roulette with drivers who seemed to think that manners, the highway code, the law were suspended because of some snow then a final couple of trail sections.

More slippy slidy nonsense then an ill-advised descent to the railway line....though I'm sure James might disagree as he seemed to enjoy it until this anyway....

Princess takes a tumble.

Another hike followed but we eventually got to a ridable trail and finally reached the road connection to home.

2 1/2 hours to ride what usually takes under an hour? Must be winter....


Mullerton said...

you should make the most of it whilst you've got it, it'll be may again soon, remember last years heat stroke? Btw, Jamesy looks a right princess, drinking from a flask with his wee pinky up.

I'm not really gay said...

you did better than me and Bars today, an hour on the ice at Delamere was enough, deadly stuff and his £10K bke didn't stop him making an arse of himself in front of the tourists.

are you heading north for tod cross Mikey ?

grant said...

That was yesterday. It was almost fun. :-)

Jamesy is a princess by name, proncess by nature. :-)

I went out on the crossbike today and bailed on the roads due to heavy fog/idiots in cars, ended up having to hike through snow up to a foot deep then could only get to the same road I bailed from in the first place as the other track was a nightmare.

Had to risk it anyway, discovered that my brakes are apalling in the wet and crawled home a soaking mess.

Gawd I love winter. :-)

Rocketdog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rocketdog said...

i'd have posted my snow riding pics but my Velocake jersey was hidden by my coat, i wasn't man enough to wear short sleeves in -12 i'm ashamed to say