Text and photos by Gary Scarlett
(first published Saturday, 21 December 2013, on his blog “Chunky Mamil“)
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?