Despite all I was taught in school at a time that feels like it comes straight out of 'Call the midwife' Lancashire is not in fact a land of dark satanic mills any longer. When the sun beams down on the moors as it did yesterday there may be no finer place to be. Of course anyone from Yorkshire will argue that and I, hailing as I do from the west countryKnow that both were both completely wrong, it is of course Somerset!
My day started not on the day of the ride itself but 24 hours before with a quick wash and polish of the bike and a topup of the Stans sealant in the tyres. Followed by the collection of the required bits and pieces, being careful to forget at least one item. I work on the basis that I will forget something so it's best to do it beforehand and make sure it's something unimportant. Fnally loading the route onto the garmin, yes I know the route well but senior moments do happen and for some weird reason I sometimes mix up right and left when asked which way. The results are quite amusing although on occasion harsh words are heard!
I also did my good deed by giving our illustrious chairman a lift, a long story involving car sales and knees not being fit for purpose. Pleasant enough sat in the sun at the start although a chill wind made me wonder if my selection of shirt was going to be sufficient. Not to worry, as nine of us set of we soon warmed up climbing straight away up onto the top of the sun dappled moors looming above us. The top part of the track used to be quite a test of skill and ability involving washed out ruts and rocky bits, alas now 'improved'. Speaking of which after crossing the moor there used to be a short section in a similar style which qualified as entertaining. Sadly this too has been improved, a debatable point of view as it's now covered in 2" of loose gravel which makes for a distinctly hairy descent particularly as there are three drop offs of 12"-18". I'm pleased to report that everyone arrived safely at the bottom to take part in the 'that was a bit iffy' discussion.
One of todays riders, Dennis, had ridden over from home to join us today. Apart from the climb over to Printshop in Darwen we appeared to be retracing his outward route. Happily I was able to point out that when we arrived back after the ride he could repeat the first part again just for the fun of it. Strangely passing his house and joining the narrow lane we came face to face with his good lady in her electric car, of course it would be the narrowest part as well. How delightfully ironic if later that day she complained about 'cylists taking up all the lane'.
At Wayoh reservoir, doing its picture postcardy best for us we crossed the dam and climbed a couple of short and initially thigh burningly steep sections of singletrack. This brings you to the reason I ride this route this way round, a long, superb, grin enducing and above all fast descent to todays watering hole!
Sharon and I allowed ourselves a little childish licence as we raced each other to the bottom. If asked she would say 'yes i won' but i am above all else a gentleman and always allow ladies first. I'm sure if she'd shouted 'last one down buys the teas' I might have thought twice about that.
We'll treat lunch like TV ads and fast forward a bit to find us climbing (again) up the 13% bit up through the local golf course and heading towards Egerton quarry and threading through various bits of trail to pick up the lovely track that is the Witton Weavers Way. Today this often mudfest of a track is dry as a bone, well bar a puddle or two, and is frankly thouroughly enjoyable however many times you ride it.
Back at the start now we sauntered into the Royal fir a refreshing glass from a choice and totally unheard of selection of ales and ciders. Yours truly elected for the landlords recommendation for a glass of cider....wow....fruity, ever so slightly cloudy and most importantly delicious. In the words of a famous actor in an equally well known film 'I'll be back'!
Thanks to everyone for a really pleasant social ride, hope I see you all again on the next ride on our Dales weekend. Apart form the camera thing I've got photos sorted, now all I have to do is remember who came along, bear with me I'll get it by the next ride.